Apparently (according to Wiki – and more about them tomorrow) this is a misquote, but we’re all familiar with the concept from the film ‘Field of Dreams’ of just doing it, however daft and impossible it seems, and having faith that it’ll all work out. In the film it was about building a baseball pitch in the middle of nowhere. In my blog post today it’s about putting up a niger seed feeder in the garden. In my life, it’s about writing Stonewylde.
At this new house we’d inherited a quadruple bird feeding station complete with squirrel baffle. We’d made friends with the lovely couple who’d lived here for thirty years and were now looking to downsize as the house, and particularly the garden, were just too big for them to cope with. Leaving here was such a wrench for them, and one of the lady’s worries was about the birds. I promised her I’d continue to feed them and keep the bird bath full, and in fact I added my own bird feeder too. In the three months we’ve been here we’ve had so much pleasure watching the garden and the amazing wildlife; the deer was practically at the back door today but I had no camera handy.
A good friend of mine from Dorset said I must add niger seed for finches to the bird-feeding station. I looked it up and the advice was only to invest in a special niger feeder if there were finches around. I’d never seen any here and when I e-mailed the previous owners, they said no, don’t bother with a niger feeder as they’d tried it but no finches had graced the garden. But my Dorset friend was insistent – if you supply niger seed, eventually finches will come. So I did – and the photo above proves how right she was. I’ve seen a pair of goldfinches feeding together (again no camera handy) and I’m hoping this will continue now they’ve found our garden. It’s not been a very hard winter yet and there’s probably still plenty of seed around in the nearby fallow fields. But at least they know we’re here!
And it feels like this with Stonewylde. It took a huge leap of faith originally to borrow the money from my step-father and self-publish the first book after all those rejections from publishers. Nothing happened for ages and then slowly but surely, people started to read the book. It was another leap of faith giving up my teaching career and re-mortgaging my house in order to publish the next two books and devote myself full-time to promoting and continuing with the series. After selling many thousands of copies of the first three books we then took another leap of faith. We decided to sell the rights to a major publisher who were very excited about the prospects of re-launching Stonewylde.
I’m not quite sure what we expected but now, as I’m writing the final Stonewylde book, I can’t help but feel a bit like Ray in the Field of Dreams when he starts to doubt that inner voice. Was it all just an impossible dream? Will the series ever be a real, best-selling success? Will Stonewylde, and the whole concept it represents, ever become a household name? The doubts nag at me as I face the enormous task of writing book five and trying to keep up with all the other online stuff I must do to maintain my presence as an author. But I know I must cast all doubts aside and ‘stiffen the sinews’. I must remember that the goldfinch came. And I must remember that life-changing inner voice experience from Oct 31st 2003.
“You will write – and it will be a huge success.”