Road Trippin’ with Tyndale and Sandra Byrd: Stop #7

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

I’m excited to announce Tyndale Fiction’s Road Trip Scavenger Hunt! So happy you are here. To participate, collect the key words through all 13 stops in order, so you can enter to win our grand prize giveaway!

Some details:

  • The adventure begins on Wednesday, August 1. You’ll have two weeks to make your way through all the stops (giveaways will close on Tuesday, August 14).
  • While you do not have to start at Stop #1, keep in mind that the grand prize giveaway phrase will begin with the word you collect at that first stop.
  • To complete your submission for the grand prize giveaway, be sure to collect the key word within each author’s blog post, submitting the final, completed phrase in the form hosted on this page.
  • Also, be sure to enter additional giveaways these authors are hosting on their blogs!

Enjoy the journey—we hope you’ll discover new books along the way as you hear from Tyndale Fiction authors about road trips, the settings of their novels, and more!

I’m excited to introduce you to award-winning author Sandra Byrd. Sandra has written more than 50 books, including fiction, nonfiction, and children’s products. She’s won the prestigious Historical Novel Society Editor’s Choice award and has been included in Booklist’s Top Ten Inspirational Books of the Year. Sandra is offering you an early glimpse into the first book in the Victorian Ladies series, releasing this fall. Lady of a Thousand Treasures, set in Victorian England, is about a young woman tasked with deciding if the man she loves, but who seems to have abandoned her, is worthy of the thousand treasures his father has left behind. If she chooses correctly, she may keep both the man and her family business. If she chooses in error, she will lose both. Please welcome Sandra!

Dining at the George Inn

A Trip to Treasure

We sat at a planked table at the George Inn, encased by stone walls smelling of chalk, eating roast beef and drinking ale; a sign announced the inn had been serving ale since 1397. I let the energetic conversation drift into the background and allowed my thoughts to access the front of my mind. Friends have gathered at this table for so long, talking about Wycliffe, perhaps, soon after his death. Surely they sat here to discuss—however quietly—Henry the Eighth and his band of increasingly not-so-merry wives of Windsor. Did they celebrate Queen Victoria’s happy marriage? Denounce her overly long mourning period? Worry together over bombs blitzing the nation during World War II? It was nearly surreal to realize how that very table had soaked up spills and conversation for 700 years.

When I embark on a road trip—or go on holiday, as the British would say—I want to travel not only to a place, but to a time. I want to know what it’s like now and what it was like then, too. I want everyone around me to be interested, and interesting, and alive. When I pen a historical novel for my much-cherished readers, I want to take them there with me through my words and through the eyes and hearts of my characters.

Eleanor’s Church in London

Miss Eleanor Sheffield, the heroine of my forthcoming novel, Lady of a Thousand Treasures, lived in many of the places I’ve traveled, and she loved (and fretted over) many of the treasures I’ve placed in the book. While I wrote of her praying in her church stall (did you know that many British churches have stalls?), I thought upon what she might have been thinking, lost and worried and wondering, like I sometimes do, why God was silent when she most needed to hear His voice.

I ran my eyes along beautiful majolica pottery. The edges were chipped with the dings of five hundred years, but the blues and greens still shone brilliantly. I realized just how difficult it would be for Eleanor to sell her prized majolica pilgrim’s flask, knowing what it had meant to her father. Venetian wedding cake beads glisten in my cupped palm. Who had blown them? Women, you see, could not blow heavy glass, but beads, delicate and light, they could handle. Perhaps that woman’s touch was why they were now so lovely. What did Eleanor feel when she envisioned these beautiful beads, signaling a marriage, on the neck of Francesca, her rival?

16th Century Italian Majolica

On my research road trips, I take notes and pictures so that, when I return home, I can gather and sort and sift, and they all audition, as it were, for a place in the book. Those bits of ephemera help me relive and imagine it all, so that you, too, can take a road trip to Victorian England though my eyes and heart as well as through the eyes and heart of Miss Eleanor Sheffield.

One of the best things about traveling, of course, is the food! Sometimes that food takes the form of a packet of crisps (or, a bag of chips) in uniquely British flavors; I’ve had ham and cranberry crisps and they are delicious! Quite often, though, my treat is something lovely and sweet to eat with tea, like a trifle. Why not whip up a quick English trifle to enjoy at home at each stop along your reading road trip?

Raspberry Trifle

Easy English Trifle

You can substitute white or pound cake for the angel food, and vanilla pudding or homemade custard if you can’t find Bird’s Custard Powder.

You’ll need:

  • Glass trifle bowl, or coupe glasses, or small Ball mason jars
  • Angel food cake, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • Several cups of fresh raspberries or cut strawberries
  • Bird’s Custard (available online and at World Market), prepared
  • Whipped cream
  • Layer cake, berries, custard, and whipped cream in as many levels as will fit in your glass container (see picture). That’s it! Enjoy!


Here’s the Stop #7 Important Information:

  • You can purchase Sandra’s book, Lady of a Thousand Treasures, here.
  • Clue to write down: memorable
  • Link to Stop #8, the next stop in the scavenger hunt, on Sandra’s Site!


DiAnn’s Giveaway

But wait! Before you go, one lucky person will receive a box of Texas shaped chocolates, a coffee mug reminding the winner of Houston, and a personalized copy of High Treason. To enter DiAnn’s Giveaway, simply sign-up to receive my weekly e-newsletter here, or note in the comments below if you are already a subscriber, and then share this post on a social media page.

I’ll reveal the randomly selected winner on the blog that’s distributed August 21st. (Due to shipping costs, giveaway is applicable to contiguous US residents only.)

Lastly, you can join me on the scavenger hunt at Beth Vogt’s blog, stop #6 here and learn about my Houston road trip.