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INTERVIEW: Mimi Matthews Empathizes with Her Characters

Updated: Jan 29

Welcome to the Tuesday Author Interview with Christina Boyd for the Who, What, Where, When, and Why.

I first starting reading Mimi Matthews's historical romance novels about five years ago after Laurel Anne Nattress of Austenprose recommended her. A gothic Devon abbey was the setting for intrigue with no little yearning between the unlikely heroine and her roguish captain. Sensual from the first pages, The Matrimonial Advertisement left me breathless by the last. I remember thinking, "This is why I read historical romance." Mimi elevates her prose to incomparable heights through tight plots and an elegant hand. Her deft storytelling is sublime: subtle details that build from well-intended words. Since 2018, I've read every novel Mimi has published. And it's been a pleasure to watch her star rise.

CHRISTINA: What do you think is your strength as a writer?

MIMI: Empathy. I’ve been through a lot, mainly with my health and the changing circumstances related to it. I know what it is to have to start over, to grapple with unhappy circumstances, to experience loss of hope. It helps me connect with my characters, most of whom begin their stories from a place of crisis where they have to pick themselves up, reinvent themselves, or figure a way out of a desperate situation.

CHRISTINA: That's why your characters read so authentic--even with a two-hundred-year age difference.

Panster or plotter or hybrid?

MIMI: Panster, to my occasional regret. I discover the story as I go, letting inspiration take me in often surprising directions. It can be exciting. It can also be stressful when inspiration lags or if I’m feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or ill. I’m incredibly envious of plotters in those moments.


CHRISTINA: Ha! As they say, "The grass is always greener..."

What is your favorite of your own novels?

MIMI: This is really difficult! It’s like choosing a favorite child. However, if I had to pick a top three, it would be Gentleman Jim, A Convenient Fiction, and The Siren of Sussex. 

Bijou, one of Mimi's Siamese cats, helps unbox THE LILY OF LUDGATE HILL. Photo cred Mimi Matthews.

CHRISTINA: I loved all those books, but my favorite remains The Matrimonial Advertisement. Love Justin Thornhill.

If you were to revise any of your books, which would you choose and why?

MIMI: Definitely The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter. It was originally a Regency novel, meant as the companion piece to The Work of Art (it was about the hero’s rakehell older brother). I ended up rewriting it as a standalone Victorian romance. It’s a choice I still regret.

CHRISTINA: Really? Now I will forever wonder about that book. Well, you could always write the two novels as a screenplay.

Best advice for new writers:

MIMI: Write what you love. You’ll never stick with it otherwise.

CHRISTINA: Great advice. It's like going on a road trip with someone. You will be together for days, weeks, months.

Do you hide any secrets in your novels only a select few might know?

MIMI: A few!

CHRISTINA: Hmm... Now I am wondering what?

Dreamcast your next book:

MIMI: For The Lily of Ludgate Hill, I would love Jodi Comer to play Lady Anne Deveril and Chris Evans to play Felix Hartford. They look pretty close to how I imagined the characters!

CHRISTINA: Ooh, great casting. I'd watch that.

If you could tell your 21-year-old self anything, what would you share?

MIMI: Be kinder, both to yourself and to other people. In the end, kindness is what matters most.

CHRISTINA: Too true. Kindness is a sign of personal work and someone who has self-understanding and wisdom. Thank you, Mimi, for your thoughtful interview as you launch your latest The Lily of Ludgate Hill. I loved it! And my 5-star review is coming on January 18. Best wishes on your next in the series. You deserve every good thing. As always, please know how much I appreciate your generous support of my writing too.


USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning Victorian romances, including The Siren of Sussex, a 2023 RUSA Reading List shortlist pick for Best Romance; Fair as a Star, a Library Journal Best Romance of 2020; Gentleman Jim, a Kirkus Best Book of 2020; and The Work of Art, winner of the 2020 HOLT Medallion and a 2021 Daphne du Maurier Award nominee. Mimi’s novels have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus, and Shelf Awareness, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine.

In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a retired Andalusian dressage horse, a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats. To learn more, please visit her website.


Enjoyed the interview and love her books. :)

Replying to

She’s such a gracious interview. I’d love to meet her in real life one day.

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