Flames lapped at the monk’s robes. He raced down the corridors that crackled with the collision of dampness and heat, dodging fire-lit debris. So this was to be the end, then. The night the stones of Ballyfir Monastery would tell their last tale… 

So begins the tale of a humble monk, his unwavering courage, and the bronze bottle he sends into the night with a prayer that its contents might bring hope—the very word etched into the bottle—to someone, somewhere.

Message in a Bottle 2

The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection follows the journey of that same bottle throughout the centuries in five novellas. It travels the world and touches hearts… and today, we’d like to invite you along for that journey.

Would you care to come along with us for a look behind the scenes in this short five-stop blog tour? At each stop, one of the five co-authors will interview another, to take you chronologically through the novella collection and unwrap some fun bonus material.

Today I’m kicking us off with an interview of Heather, who wrote the first novella in the collection.

Oh! And don’t miss the chance to enter the giveaway (more information at the bottom of this post). Thank you for joining us, friends!

It’s my joy to host the author in our collection, Heather Day Gilbert and her novella The Distant tide. This is a Viking-era novella and I’m reading it now. Friends, it’s wonderful! I’ve been a long-time fan of Heather’s Viking fiction and it’s been an absolute treat to be whisked away…

Heather Day Gilbert

So climb aboard this creaking longship with us (mind the battle axes 😉 ), have a bowl of honeyed oats, and let’s chat with Heather about her new tale!

1) Did you learn anything new about Vikings in your research for The Distant Tide?

I did! I hadn’t really studied this time period in Viking history before—after the Vikings had raided and settled in Ireland. I also enjoyed learning more about the Normans, who were pushing into Ireland at this time and basically taking over. The area where I’ve set Princess Britta’s castle is actually in an area that the Normans didn’t manage to capture, so it worked out very well with my plotline.


2) What makes your heroine unique in this story?

Princess Britta is a bookish introvert who would rather stay home than go out, but the conflicting burden of her heart is to be a missionary to those who haven’t heard of Christ. It was fun weaving this story so that God provided for the desires of her heart, without forcing her into a mold she didn’t fit. Britta is also bold in her own ways, and like most of my heroines, she occasionally carries a weapon. 😉

The Distant Tide

3) Is there a love triangle in The Distant Tide?

I wouldn’t exactly call it that, but I will say that women at Britta’s age often struggle with what qualities to look for in a future husband, and Britta has a choice to make.


4) How does writing for a collection differ from writing your individual novels/novellas?

I believe it just brings an added dimension of enthusiasm for the project! This group of ladies was so amazing to work with. Because we’re brainstorming elements of the stories together (such as the Prologue/Epilogue and then details on the bottle), we bond on an author level since we’re creating together.


5) Any interesting childhood experiences you’d like to share?

One thing that hit me lately is that many of my memorable childhood moments involved trees—or more specifically, me climbing them or hanging out in them. I remember munching green apples in my grandparents’ tree while I read. You’ll notice there’s a scene like that with Britta, and all my books thus far do include woods scenes or tree scenes. This is part of why my personal publisher imprint is titled “WoodHaven Press”.

Heather Gilbert


HEATHER DAY GILBERT, a Grace Award winner and bestselling author, writes novels that capture life in all its messy, bittersweet, hope-filled glory. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, generational story-telling runs in her blood. Heather is a graduate of Bob Jones University, and she and her husband are raising their children in the same home in which Heather grew up.

Heather’s Viking historical novels, God’s Daughter and Forest Child, are Amazon Norse bestsellers. Heather also authored the bestselling Murder in the Mountains mystery series, the Hemlock Creek Suspense series, and the Indie Publishing Handbook: Four Key Elements for the Self-Publisher. Find out more at heatherdaygilbert.com.



As part of this exciting launch week, we’re giving away some lovely goodies including a small portion of Ireland (yes, you read that right!) a special map and more. To enter, simply click on the image below. 

Next up on the blog hop… come say hello to Amanda Dykes, author of the whimsical Scottish-Gypsy tale in the collection. She’s over on Heather’s blog this very moment with more fun in store. See you there!