I realised my destiny after chance chat with Beyoncé

IT WAS a brief encounter with one of the world's biggest pop divas.

But while the fleeting moment between superstar Beyonc Knowles and former college boss Howard McKenzie may not have had a lasting effect on the singing sensation's career, it has had a life-changing impact on the latter's.

Mr McKenzie, who hit the headlines when he left Jewel and Esk College amid a probe into a 20 million funding shortfall, used the chance meeting with the ex-Destiny's Child star as inspiration for his first book – a raunchy novel set in Edinburgh.

Hide Ad

The parallels between his own life and that of the book's main character are striking, though he insists that his encounter with Beyonc lasted no more than just a few seconds.

The book, called Love Smiles, is the story of a man who runs his own consultancy business – as Mr McKenzie does – and his new-found relationship with a famous singer during a visit to the Capital.

The two end up spending time together, visiting the city's famous haunts and bars and fall slowly in love.

Mills and Boon fans will get more than just a love story from this book, however, with Mr McKenzie admitting it is a tad "racy".

The 54-year-old, who lives in Livingston, said: "The whole premise is based on when I met Beyonc Knowles in the Balmoral when the MTV Awards were in Edinburgh.

"I was in the corridor and when I opened the door, Beyonc Knowles was there.

Hide Ad

"I said 'you're Beyonc Knowles' and she said 'you're Howard McKenzie'.

"I thought 'bloody hell, she knows me' but then I realised I had a name badge on because I was at a seminar.

Hide Ad

"Your first book, I'm told, has a lot of yourself in it and this is very much a collection of things that have happened to me and others around me.

"I'm told it's very romantic and a bit sexy here and there and a bit racy."

Mr McKenzie left Jewel and Esk in April 2009 following an investigation into the massive funding shortfall, however, the college insisted at the time that his resignation and the investigation were not linked.

He went on the following year to become chief executive of Edinburgh-based Citizens Advice Scotland – which runs the country's Citizens Advice Bureau – but lasted just one week in this post.

Mr McKenzie said: "When I left the college, I decided I would spend time being creative, which is a side of me I have suppressed for years.

"I do a bit of painting and I knew I had a book in me as well.

Hide Ad

"It's a very different lifestyle than I had before and I rather enjoy letting that creative side let rip."

Staff at Jewel and Esk College are understood to be shocked that their ex-boss has penned a raunchy novel.

Hide Ad

One insider said: "There's been quite a bit of chat about Howard's book.

"It was a real surprise to hear that he had become a published novelist.

"Apparently, the story line is a bit on the raunchy side – which is a bit of a shocker.

"We're all just wondering if there will be a sequel, perhaps set in a top Edinburgh college."


SO, ARE there parallels between author Howard McKenzie and main character Simon Macintosh?

• Howard: Was a tenant dairy farmer before becoming a lecturer in agriculture and went on to be principal of Jewel and Esk.

Hide Ad

Simon: Started out as a farm labourer, went to agricultural college and acquired a degree before getting a job teaching at an agricultural college and running the Business School in Edinburgh.

• Howard: Has two daughters.

Simon: Has two daughters.

• Howard: Has his own consultancy in Edinburgh.

Simon: Has his own consultancy in Edinburgh.

• Howard: Had a chance encounter with Beyonce Knowles in a capital hotel.

Simon: Meets singer BK Shore in an Edinburgh hotel.

• Howard: Lives just outside Edinburgh, in Livingston.

Simon: Lives in "a fairly traditional detached house just outside Edinburgh".

Related topics: