Behind the Scenes: Middlemarch Mates
Writers receive inspiration from many sources. One of my favorite places to look for interesting story ideas is the New Zealand Herald. A few years ago, a small headline caught my attention: “Panther Sighted Again.” Evidently, several people living in the Mid-Canterbury area of the South Island had sighted a mystery cat, a large black creature with a tail the same length as its body. In fact there have been recent sightings in the last couple of months. A witness managed to snap a photo but experts still aren’t convinced there really is a big cat running wild in Canterbury.
Around the same time, a small town called Middlemarch came to my notice in a blaze of publicity. Middlemarch is a real town, situated not far from Dunedin, in the South Island of New Zealand. It seems Middlemarch had a problem—plenty of men, but a shortage of young women of marriageable age. The men of the area were having trouble meeting potential partners. Their solution was to hold an annual dance to bring women to the district. A train, dubbed the “love train”, runs from Dunedin bringing women to attend the dance and returning them home afterward. Romances have bloomed as a direct result of couples meeting during the Middlemarch singles dance.
Using writer’s license, I moved the mystery cat a little farther south, planting him firmly in Middlemarch and played a little with the geography of the town. My series Middlemarch Mates is the result.
You can visit Middlemarch on the web and read about the dance at http://www.middlemarch.co.nz.
Middlemarch Mates Series by Shelley Munro:
Scarlet Woman, available now from Ellora’s Cave
Peeping Tom, available now from Ellora’s Cave
Stray Cat Strut, available now from Ellora’s Cave
Assassin, available now from Ellora’s Cave
Cat and Mouse, available now from Ellora’s Cave
Cat Burglar, available now from Ellora’s Cave
Leticia’s Lovers, available now from Ellora’s Cave
CatNap, available now from Ellora’s Cave
Tiger By The Tail, available now from Ellora’s Cave
Blue Lady, available from Ellora’s Cave
Twin Trouble, available from Ellora’s Cave
Lightning Strikes Twice, available from Ellora’s Cave
Shelley in Middlemarch