Writers receive inspiration from many sources. One of my favorite places to look for interesting story ideas is the New Zealand Herald. Several 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.
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 Scarlet Woman and the rest of the 15-book Middlemarch Shifters series is the result.
You can visit Middlemarch on the web and read about the dance at www.middlemarch.co.nz.
This is a list of the books available in the series. They are all currently available from Amazon and are part of Kindle Unlimited.