“Soft as a whisper, the melody crept toward her, banishing the midnight fears and easing the ache of loneliness. It wrapped around her, the comforting embrace of a friend. Dangerous, Amos had said. Unnatural. But dangerous or not, it was all she had. Birdie slipped into the mysterious melody and allowed it to carry her to sleep at last.” – Orphan’s Song
When I first started writing Orphan’s Song, I had little more than a name—Birdie—and the barest smidgeon of an idea. I knew Birdie was an orphan, that she lived at an inn, and that she heard a melody that no one else could. But beyond that I had no more idea where the story was going than the next random citizen on the street. Out of all the characters populating the by-ways and back-roads of Leira, Birdie probably changed the most over the course of the many drafts and revisions the novel went through before the end. But there were some things that didn’t change. From the beginning, I knew who Birdie is—even if it took me a while to figure out how to best portray it. She’s got a heart bigger than Dunfaen Forest, and a sweet spirit matched only by her courage and the ability to keep on keeping on. She is teachable, but not a push over. When she believes something is worth the fight, her backbone grows harder and straighter than a zoar tree—something that frustrates poor Amos to no end. Birdie is all these things and so much more. But at the heart of it all, she is a lost little girl just searching for a place to belong. Most of us aren’t orphans doomed to a life of drudgery at the local inn. Most of us know our own history … know our parents … have a name we can call our own. But at the same time, I feel like most of us can relate to Birdie’s desire to know where she fits in the world. We want to know our place, to feel at home, to know where we belong, and how we can contribute. This is what made Birdie feel real to me as I wrote her, and I hope it will help make her feel real to you as well.