Last month, I reviewed Sandra Byrd’s newest historical fiction novel, A Lady in Disguise. This week, I have the privilege of asking her several questions that have been burning in my heart.
Sandra, what do you think compels novelists to write the books they do?
I don’t know that I can speak for all novelists, but I think many of us write about things and eras in which we are interested.
I have loved reading books set in England since I was a young teenager, and have enjoyed both Tudor and Victorian books since that time. So, it was with both pleasure and trepidation that I thought I’d turn my hand toward trying a few of my own!
I wanted to stay true to the era and genre, but also add a perspective or insight that had not been fully explored. Perhaps the most fear-inspiring task in my career was to write in the voice of Queen Elizabeth 1! However, it was also truly satisfying, professionally.
Historical books require a lot of research, so we spend a lot of time with that research, poking around not only to get things right but to turn over undiscovered gems. If you’re writing about eras you love, all that research feels more like pleasure than pain.
What inspired you to tackle sex trafficking in your latest release?
I do always seek to connect my historical heroine with my modern-day readers, so that is on my mind when I’m sifting through story ideas. One lovely, inspiring thing about the Victorians is that they were very active in ministry and helps – so I had many causes from which to choose.
I was going to stick with the tried-and-true works of the Salvation Army, but my research led me to the Pantomime Waifs, and their story struck me, and the stories of those who worked to rescue them, and my heart wrenched – for them, then, and kids, today.
It just all fell into place, and I hope we can somehow keep confronting that and pulling those kids out, keeping other kids safe. Those trafficked children are truly the least of these [tweet that!], and if each of us does one thing to help in one way, we can make a difference.
What surprised you the most as you researched prostitution in Victorian England?
Unhappily surprised that so much of the darkness which pervades our world now, where the vulnerable of all ages must sell their bodies to survive – or have their bodies sold by others – so present. Happy that there were many who were not afraid to leave the comfort of their own homes and lives to help the less fortunate. It was inspiring, really.
We must confront darkness wherever it lurks, and speak for the sake of those who have no voice.
So far, you’ve written devotionals, contemporary fiction, and historical fiction. Can you tell us about your next project and what led you in that direction?
I’ve just completed the manuscript for Lady of a Thousand Treasures, which is also set in Victorian England, an era I love. This book is probably best classified as Victorian Romantic Suspense, and it was thrilling to research and write. There will be two more books in that series, and as soon as the edits are completed for this book, I’ll be diving into the next!
In the meantime, please do check out my devotional, which will release very soon. It’s called The One Year Experiencing God’s Love. I felt like, as I wrote it, I was on a second honeymoon of sorts with the Lord. My prayer is that the readers will feel that very same way as they journey with Him through late 2017 and 2018. Here’s the link!