When I sold my first novel, The Snow Falcon, at the age of thirty-nine, for a sum in excess of three hundred and fifty thousand pounds, I not only realised a dream, but also discovered the truth in the adage 'strength comes from adversity'.
It was the end of a turbulent period that had begun three and a half years earlier when Harrison and his wife secured a second mortgage on their house in New Zealand to fund a mail order vitamin business. It took just six months for them to lose everything. This gave Stuart the opportunity to write full time, and the first book was an X-Files type thriller, his second another thriller but this time with a heavily sexual theme. Half way through writing the second book, Stuart and his wife Dale and four month old son moved to England with no income, no assets and enough money to survive two years. Eventually he finished the third novel, and sent it away to an agent who told him she quite liked it. Other agents returned the manuscript with polite notes . With time running out to make a go at being an author, Stuart wrote six days a week for seven or eight hours daily, churning out four or five thousand words a day. Two novels and one a crime thriller were started and abandoned half way through the first draft. The pressure to hit on the right genre, a story that felt as if it had that x factor that makes a cook appealing was enormous. He was literally counting down the days, watching his dream slip away.
Then he wrote The Snow Falcon, in eight drafts, a trip to Canada where the story is set, and probably a million words before it was complete. It's about people overcoming the difficult events of their pasts, about love and jealousy and how one man helps an injured falcon to return to the wild, and in doing so finds the capacity within himself to love again.