February is the perfect month for a Fridge Club pick such as Arranged by Catherine McKenzie. It’s all about love: finding it, hating it, loving it, missing it, wanting it, and everything in between. This is a super fun read that follows Anne Blythe as she tries to find love by way of a secret arranged marriage firm. Anne picks all the wrong guys—the hot, mouth watering ones that end up treating her like garbage. Fed up with being 30-something and still single, with her perfect brother all settled with a gorgeous family, and her best friend just engaged, she accepts a sign that leads to an arranged marriage firm. But she doesn’t meet The One right away. There are some twists and outbursts and drunks that are hilarious and realistic. The result is a romantic, light-hearted story about pursuing love, finding friendship and all the gorgeous messiness that comes with it.
An Interview with Catherine McKenzie
Catherine McKenzie was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. A graduate of McGill University and McGill Law School, McKenzie practices law in Montreal. Her novels SPIN and ARRANGED are International Bestsellers. They, along with her third novel, FORGOTTEN, will all be published in the US by William Morrow in 2012. SPIN has also been published in French (Ivresse) and German (Sternhagelverliebt), and ARRANGED will be published in French in June, 2012.
Where did you get the idea for a book like this?
I know a couple of people who had arranged marriages actually (traditional ones) and I was kind of fascinated to meet their wives. And when I did I was even more fascinated to learn that they hadn’t necessarily had traditional upbringings, so I had the idea floating around in my head about why someone would do that in this day and age. And of course shows like the Bachelor also got me asking that question. One day, the idea of a north american woman using an arranged marriage service just popped into my head and I couldn’t get it out.
This novel takes online dating to the next level. Do these types of arranged marriage firms actually exist? Do you think finding love this way is possible?
I don’t know if they exist like they do in the book. There are certainly traditional arranged marriage brokers who work with people from certain cultural backgrounds, but – as far as I know – no eharmanoy style ones. I think finding a certain kind of love this way is possible – love based on friendship, love that builds over time. And I’m sure in some cases there’s that love-at-first-sight feeling too.
How has your writing process changed since Spin?
I actually wrote Arranged before I wrote Spin, but my writing process has changed in subtle ways over the years. I certainly have a better idea of how to incorporate editorial suggestions, and with the book I’m writing now, I’ve actually tried using an outline (which I haven’t done before). Need to work on my outlining skills though!
While reading Arranged, I kept thinking about how this book could be adapted into film. What actors would you want for each role?
It’s funny but it is so hard for me to answer that question! I generally don’t have a clear mental image of what the characters look like, I just know what they don’t look like, if that makes any sense. That being said, Jack does resemble fellow Canadian James Tupper (Men in Trees, Revenge). In my head, anyway.
First there was Spin. Then there was Arranged. What’s next?
Forgotten is coming in May in Canada and September in the US. It’s about a woman who goes to Africa for what’s supposed to be a short trip, but gets stuck there after a natural disaster hits. When she returns home, she learns that everyone thought she was dead and her whole life is turned upside down.