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The current manuscript is a dual-timeline novel set in Hong Kong. For some reason I’ve found it easier to create the atmosphere of historical Hong Kong (1912-1914) than that of modern-day Hong Kong. So I decided to ask friends to share their thoughts on what makes this city/region special.

The results are in:

  1. The natural beauty of Hong Kong is unbelievable …lush green trees – in fact, green everywhere – and beautiful South China Sea; tropical island scenery; contrast between mountains and sea; and contrast between natural and modern
  2. Public transportation makes life easy for residents and visitors and the city runs efficiently and is kept very clean
  3. Foodie heaven for all tastes and budgets, and more so now, even for aspiring vegans
  4. Great place for outdoor activities ….. beautiful parks and lush hiking trails, rock-climbing, hidden waterfalls and swimming holes, beaches
  5. Very high tech
  6. Fresh markets and street markets are in abundance
  7. Hong Kong has the best skyline in the world
  8. Most of the families in HK hire overseas domestic helpers from Philippines and Indonesia to look after their children and housework. On Sundays these women (95% women) gather in large clusters in different parts of the city to eat, talk, dance, and sell things
  9. Hong Kong is one of the safest places to live in the world
  10. Mountain views
  11. Orchids everywhere
  12. Shopping paradise, again for all interests and budgets, and for what you can’t get here, “almost no borders” insofar as online shopping is concerned
  13. Stanley market and all its small, unique shops
  14. Sunday’s in Shek O and going to the Thai restaurant for lunch
  15. Taking the fast ferry to Macau and a walk in its Portuguese colonial parts
  16. Soho area for great shops and restaurants
  17. Visiting Sai Kung for fresh fish and Sunday bbq
  18. The Foreign Correspondents Club
  19. Views from Kowloon looking over at Hong Kong Island
  20. Edginess and party scene on the streets especially on Friday evenings in Lan Kwai Fong
  21. Walking around the stilt house village of Tai O
  22. Non-stop direct flights to almost anywhere one might wish to go, with almost hassle-free airport, exit and entry
  23. It’s a special place that is full of energy, with people who have drive, resilience, and a “can do” attitude; some of this has been overshadowed by more recent politics
  24. A cosmopolitan city that is very diverse in terms of food, shops, culture, etc.
  25. The British influence from colonial days also makes it unique in terms of culture and diversity and the blend of old and new, western and Chinese
  26. The many foot massage shops
  27. High tea at all of the beautiful hotels
  28. The islands surrounding Hong Kong including Lamma Island for a fish lunch, Cheung Chau, Lantau, and the fishing villages that seem frozen in time
  29. Live seafood available everywhere
  30. Street snacks 
  31. Fast pace of the city, the bustle on the streets
  32. Incredible density of skyscrapers and high-rises; HK ranks #1 of numbers of completed skyscrapers that are taller than 150m
  33. The Peak
  34. A Symphony of Light has set the Victoria Harbour ablaze every night since 2004.
  35. You can see many mainlanders carrying their luggage around Causeway Bay and Tsim Sea Tsui for shopping everyday
  36. Contrasts: In the harbour, you can see junks next to cruise ships; on the streets you can see people hang drying their clothes outside their windows next to gigantic sky scrapers
  37. Stark differences between the classes. There is so much wealth in HK (which most people see), and there is poverty that many people could not imagine.
  38. Made-to-measure clothing available in a few days time

Now, all I have to do is convey some/most of this in the novel in a seamless, unobtrusive fashion! PS – photos are all from my personal collection.

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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.