“It's hard being left behind. (...) It's hard to be the one who stays.”
The inspiration started with the Moon God. I was utterly fascinated with the typical vision of the Moon God, this white-haired, white-moustached/bearded jolly old man who would connect the love and marriage affinities of all the mortals in the world with a red thread. I wondered, what was his love story? What was his views of love? Would he be heartbroken at how easily marriages are connected and broken these days?
So, I started conceptualising his love story, and I realised that his love story would span a few lifetimes, the tone of his story would lean towards being more serious and bittersweet. I wanted to write a romantic comedy - something light, something that would make you feel warm or let your mind fly free when you watch the moon. So, I decided to create Little Moon, a "niece" of the Moon God. She was a character that was part of the Moon God's love story, and instead of writing about San Yue and Hsiao first, I changed the chronology. So, we get to read about their second chance at love, we get to have fun!
Little Moon's Matchmaking Mission is really a romantic comedy from Chapter 1 to Chapter 12. Chapter 13 is meant to make you re-look the whole previous chapters, where there is a kind of symmetry between the past and present - Yue and Hsiao helping a couple give birth just like the Moon God and Ye Liu on their first meeting, Yue finally playing for Hsiao a song on the flute to hilarious consequences. But more importantly, Yue unlike San Yue, got to follow Hsiao on his adventure to become a great King this time. San Yue had a life only of waiting, and she never got to wait for Hsiao to return alive.
In Little Moon, Hsiao had to wait for Yue, a "long unknowable wait".
This was my exploration of the idea of the timing in relationship, and the question, "Would you wait for someone all your life?" Would you wait for nothing? Or, is waiting, being the one who stays, also a kind of love?
In all love stories, there is the idea of "fate" - that fate determines whether the couple's fate are tragic and happy. But, in some ways, fate is just the author's invisible hand? I have always been fascinated by the use of "deus ex machina" (god from the machine), basically a device used to solve an impossible problem so that the story can resolve into a happy ending. For example, a bad guy is killed by an even greater bad guy, the parent's objections to the children's marriage are magically resolved by the sudden appearance of a rich character or the poor girl is actually the heir of a fortune, etc.
I knew I wanted my characters to have their happiness, because I'm the optimistic sort (haha). At the end, when all the citizens of the Yan Kingdom were praying for the Yan Emperor to get his heart's desire. I thought, at this point, all of us, readers and writer, are perhaps like the citizens too - praying for that happy ending.