My mind must be very open at the moment because I am highly susceptible to the power of suggestion.

Two separate incidents have occurred in the past week which most of you will say is sheer coincidence but I call it uncanny. And I’ve just realised – they both have to do with plumbing! That is kind of weird.

1. I visited a friend last Friday to drop something off and in our brief conversation in the hallway of her house, one of the things that came up was that she had cystitis. I told her, rather boastfully, that I hadn’t had it in over 15 years! And lo and behold, the very next day, the day of my book launch, I got it.

2.Then two days ago, I received an email from another friend. She was apologising for not coming to my launch because her sewer pipes were blocked so badly she and her family couldn’t shower or use the toilet for several days. Then yesterday, what should strike our household but blocked sewer pipes. No shower, no toilet until the plumber saved us with his whirly chain thingamy.

The more I write and the older I grow, the more I notice this kind of thing happening.

Many years ago, I was writing about The Garden of Empress Cassia for a talk I had to do. I was thinking really hard about my main character, Mimi and what I was going to say about her. Then the phone rang. When I picked it up it a man asked in Chinese, ‘Is Mimi there?’ Shivers went down my spine. I felt as if Mimi was standing right beside me and all I had to do was hand the phone to her.  I asked the man what number he wanted. When he told me I was shocked. There was only one digit the difference in Mimi’s number and mine. What are the chances? And to be speaking Chinese too. Weird.

Then another time I was writing about a blowfly that had landed in the hamburger mince. When I’d finished my writing for the day I decided to make hamburgers, of course. As I was mixing up the mince meat with a wooden spoon, a huge blowfly materialised out of nowhere. He literally committed suicide in my hamburger mince as I was stirring.

Well, I was going to ask you to tell me about some uncanny experience that you have had, but then again, maybe another time.

One thing’s for sure though. I am NOT going to watch or listen to the news!


  1. This is such a great picture. Did you draw it?

    I love stories like this but I think you’re right – to be safe don’t listen to the news!

    Did any coincidences happen while you were writing Little Paradise?

    1. The drawing of the boy in the toilet was an illustration I did for The Pearl of Tiger Bay.
      As far as coincidences while I was writing Little Paradise – I might have to think about that because so many things happened during the long drawn out process especially because it was about family history. One thing that stood out very clearly though was that for the whole year and a half that I was writing the book I didn’t have one dream. I began dreaming again the very day I sent the manuscript to Penguin. Strange.

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