Welcome to the second stop in the #exploreleira blog tour where we’re celebrating the (almost) one year book birthday for Songkeeper! It is the second book in the Songkeeper Chronicles, which tells the story of a girl who can hear the song that created the world.
If this is your first encounter with the blog tour, we are continuing a series of alphabet posts looking at the world and characters and magical creatures of the Songkeeper Chronicles … and we have an awesome giveaway that you can enter below! You can find a list of the stops and dates here: #exploreleira tour. (Links will be updated once each post becomes live.)
Today, we’re looking at the letter …
B is for Birdie …
When I first set pen to page on the first draft of the first book in the series, it was with Birdie’s name, the idea of a world created through music, and a vague notion of a rascally, red-headed peddler named Amos. But even though I started with Birdie’s name, it took me a while to figure out who she really was inside.
On the outside, it was easy enough. A young girl. Petite. Dark haired. With eyes that often seem too large for her face. Orphaned and abandoned as a baby, she serves as a drudge at an inn at the beginning of Orphan’s Song. But when it is discovered that she is gifted to hear and sing the Song that created the world, she is forced to flee for her life. Simple, right?
On the inside, it was much more difficult. She is not a flashy, swashbuckling, show-stealer like Amos, nor an indomitable, fight-your-way-up-from-the-ground troublemaker like Ky. So nailing down her character was a challenge. But after a number of drafts, I felt like her true character at last emerged on the page.
She is young, yes. Untrained. Desperate for home and a sense of belonging. And yet … she has steel beneath her skin. There is built within her a sense of self that grounds her even when she does not completely understand what it means to be who she is. Her journey through Orphan’s Song and Songkeeper is one of continued growth.
And in Songkeeper, at last, we see Birdie begin to come into her own—though it is not without a struggle. Throughout the story, Birdie battles with overwhelming fear, anxiety, and an unsettled feeling in her soul. She cannot recall the last time that she felt peace. It is a feeling that I have experienced, and I am sure that others have as well. There are times when I allow the weight of the world, the burden of the things that I feel I must accomplish, or the relentless barrage of my own critique to fester inside, until the turmoil is so great that it feels like it must explode.
In Songkeeper, Birdie fears that she is an imposter. That she will fail in the end and the hope that others have put in her will prove wanting. (Hmm, now how many times have I felt like that as an author?) And in her fear, she seeks control, forgetting that the Song was never her power to begin with.
One of the verses that I thought a lot about when writing Songkeeper was Psalm 46:10. It is a verse many are familiar with, and yet when I truly stop and think about the words, I cannot help but be impressed with the weight that they bear.
“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Man, I need those words stamped on the back of my hands so I can see them all the time.
When I am anxious, be still. Know that He is God.
When I worn thin from striving, be still. Know that He is God.
When I am fearful and trying to wrest things under my control, be still. Know that He is God.
And notice that in our stillness and our knowledge of His power, His name is exalted. He gets the glory.
We see this truth reflected in Birdie’s journey in Songkeeper, and I think that’s what made her story resonate even more with me after the second book. For though there is steel beneath her skin, she feels like there is fear caged inside her chest … struggling to break free. And like us, she must combat that fear through learning to be still and to trust.
She held her breath.
The notes crept toward her and around her, visible now, like specks of fire, of light, of power untold. They swept over and through her, gentle but fierce. Tearing but rebuilding anew. Behind them, the vast melody rose in all its glorious splendor to surround her, and she felt herself pulled into the warmth of that embrace.
Listen, little Songkeeper, the voice whispered, and I will sing you a Song.
Have you ever struggled with being still and simply trusting that the Lord is God?
Want to find out more about Birdie? Check out the links below for a place to purchase the books:
And before you leave, don’t forget to enter the giveaway! One lucky winner will take home a copy of Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper, and a gorgeous handmade mug. Two lucky winners will take home copies of Songkeeper! Open to international entries. Enter through the Rafflecopter below and be sure to continue following the blog tour. You can earn new entries for each post that you visit along the way. Winners will be announced after April 15th.