In 2011 I was lucky enough to go to China, to Beijing and Xian and then north-west, far off the tourist trail, to a small town called Xingian in Gansu Province. I found it all so fascinating that in the eight years since then I have read loads of books about China – from its earliest history to the modern day, and even did an online (Future Learn) course on the European Discovery of China.
I’ve only written one story though (so far) inspired by the visit and that was The Palace of Complete Happiness which was published in Woman’s Weekly, and that came about by looking again at the names on this map of the Forbidden City.
I chose it as the title story for a collection of previously published with the theme of love … published on St Valentine’s Day last year.
Two for Joy
Superstitious Jess is looking for true love – will the magpies or the tea-leaves point her in the right direction?
Bonnie Prince Charlie
Isabel has an unexpected guest staying for Bed & Breakfast – and there are people who would pay to know his whereabouts.
Sam is enjoying a cappuccino while waiting for his colleague – when he overhears his name being mentioned at the next table.
It’s the year of Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep, but Lindsay, part-time record-spinner on a Scottish island, is feeling far from chirpy.
A Green Wedding Dress
As Caitlin attends a rather strange, small registry office ceremony she can’t help comparing it favourably with her own lavish and traditional wedding.
Please, Mr Postman
When Petra tries to track down some missing letters she ends up meeting some of her new neighbours.
Ae Fond Kiss
When café owner Mary takes part in a flash mob to sing one of the Robert Burns’ love songs she finds herself standing next to one of her customers.
A Parallel Universe
Louise meets David for the first time in fifteen years and wonders about the life they might have had together – is it too late?
See You Later, Alligator
Lizzie’s met an explorer who wrestles alligators but is she intrepid enough to fall in love with him?
And Pomona Came Too
There’s a third party in Nick and Jill’s relationship – his metal detector. He even wants to take it on their weekend break to Basking-in-the-Wold …
Making a Scene
Of course her little boy’s birthday party is Lorna’s first priority but how she wishes she could be in two places at once.
Meet Your Match
Patsy decides it’s time to look for a new partner on a dating site but she gets distracted by her memories, and by three items that have arrived in the mail.
For Love or Money
Jackie is about to marry someone who’s made a lot of money – is she trying to leave her two oldest friends behind?
While escorting a school party through the Forbidden City in Beijing, Milly comes to the conclusion that she can learn a lesson in love from the life of the imperial family.
The Palace of Complete Happiness is available from Amazon on Kindle and in paperback from FeedARead.