In my initial draft, SONGBYRD had a bit stronger sci-fi + action/spy vibe, and the working title was Frequency, which fit that tone. But my dedicated editor fell in love with the women of SONGBYRD and their family history, convincing me that playing that side of the story up would serve it better in the end. The revised, final edition with its gothic undertones and mythological foundation begged for a new title. We brainstormed and threw some ideas out there to see if they'd stick. In the end, Songbyrd won out.
2. Tempest was not a character in the original draft.
My original antagonist was male, older, and related to Innocence in a totally different way (10 points if you can guess who it was!). Revising SONGBYRD led to the birth of one of my favorite characters, Tempest. Restless and deviant, she represents everything Innocence fears about being a Siren. She owns the predatory nature of their lineage and has allowed her shadow side to fully take over, making her a delightful character to write.
3. Stonetop is not a real place, but the Texas Hill Country is.
My parents lived in a little Hill Country town called Blanco for many, many years. When I was looking for a place to set SONGBYRD, I was tired of the Houston setting, which is where I live and therefore easiest to write about. I wanted something different, something that would create a stark contrast to the moody ocean landscape Sirens have long been associated with. The Hill Country came to mind and seemed perfect. With it's decade-long drought and arid landscape, it fit the bill. Plus, after countless weekends there, I could write about it as easily as I would my own city. But I decided a fictional town was best. So Stonetop was born.
4. Summon was inspired by a real name.
My daughters had a friend named Summon (same pronunciation, different spelling), and I thought it would make a wonderful character name, but spelled like the verb. That was the beginning of the names of the Byrd women. After Summon, I decided they all needed to have similar names that hinted at their underlying personas. Of course, Innocence's name was intended to be contradictory, just like her past.
5. Originally, Dalliance disappeared of her own volition.
In the original version, Dalliance wasn't taken into custody for the death of Ray, but chose to turn herself in to a mystery antagonist in order to protect her daughter, leaving Innocence alone and abandoned. Likewise, she doesn't get returned to Innocence in the end, but remains aloof as the story closes with Innocence and Summon hunting her down.
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