Do you believe in serendipity?

crazy rich asians by kevin kwanI’ve always loved the word serendipity – in my estimation, one of those words that sounds like its meaning. And here’s the circumstance.

I’m writing a new novel. Now that isn’t surprising to any of you, is it? However, this novel is contemporary fiction rather than historical and I’ve been approaching it with some trepidation. My ‘brand’ is historical, my writing friends are mainly from the historical fiction community, I’ve conducted surveys on the topic, this blog is all about historical fiction – see what I mean?

The storyline deals with four expat women living in Hong Kong – the challenges involved with living in a foreign country combined with life challenges facing each of these women (money, sex, family etc.). Since one of my characters is of Chinese heritage – an American Born Chinese or ABC, as I’ve now learned – I wanted to explore an idea involving criminal activity in a Hong Kong based bank.

At my husband’s suggestion, I called a friend who’d had a senior role at a Canadian bank to ask about bank-related crimes. She had a number of ideas and when she learned that the setting is Hong Kong immediately told me I should read Crazy Rich Asians for context.

And here’s the serendipity. My mother had come to dinner two days earlier and brought with her several novels I’d given her to read – Mom is religious about returning books. Sometimes she “returns” a novel that wasn’t mine – and in this case, the novel she “returned” was Crazy Rich Asians.

Serendipity? You betcha. And I’m interpreting that as a clear indication that my next novel – East Rising Sun – is meant to be.

In case you’re interested, Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan is a fun read, full of larger-than-life characters living in a super-rich world you and I couldn’t even begin to imagine.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

14 thoughts on “Do you believe in serendipity?”

  1. Sounds like a good idea, MK. I just spent 5 weeks on an island in Thailand with three girls who live in Hong Kong: one Canadian, one Singaporean, and one from Hong Kong. If they are modern girls, rich, and in the know, you need to find out all about them, how they think and what they do. One bit of advice (since I Live in Asia for the last 17 years, don’t use Rising Sun in anything unless it has to do with Japanese. To use it with Chinese would be an instant disaster.

    1. Hi Stuart .. thanks for stopping by. Your comment about rising sun interests me. East Rising Sun is one of the first movements I learned when I took qigong while living in Hong Kong. Looks like I need to rethink the title based on your comment.

  2. I think its good to stretch one’s writing muscles. At least it has done so for me.

    My historical novel comes out next year. Also releasing next year is a picture book co-written with a writer friend. On top of that, I’m finishing revisions on a contemporary romantic comedy which will likely come out later this year or early next year. Its kind of crazy, but fun to do different things. Good luck with the new novel!

  3. you say ‘since one of my characters is an american born asian… i wanted to explore… crime. i see no link between the two.

    unless the canadian bank has direct experience in hong kong… again, i see no link between the two.

    1. Hi IslandJack … should have explained more. My Chinese American character has a very wealthy father who lives in Hong Kong and is the founder of a commercial bank headquartered there. I want to create some sort of scandal in his bank and hence the question of a friend of mine who was in banking. Not trying to connect a Canadian bank to a Hong Kong bank at all – just looking for inside information about what sort of crimes/scandals could occur in the banking world.

  4. The only thing I like better than serendipity when writing is when plot, characters, etc. all click into place and you know you’ve written something good.

  5. I totally believe in serendipity. It happens all the time. I met another author at a party this week. We found that we have the same favorite quote, Browning’s “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a Heaven for?” She proceeded to empty a lovely writer’s bag she’d carried as a purse that night- made from some of her family’s old clothes- with the quote written on it, and gifted it to me.

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