Jody Hedlund is an award-winning historical romance novelist and author of the best-selling book, The Preacher’s Bride. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Michigan with her husband and five busy children. Her second book, The Doctor’s Lady released in September 2011.
If you’ve never checked out Jody’s blog, it’s a fabulous site for writers with thought provoking posts and excellent resources and advice.
Jody’s here today answering questions about her writing and what she and the kiddos like to do in their free time. But before we get to the interview, I want you to hear how wonderful her books are!
In 1650s England, a young Puritan maiden is on a mission to save the baby of her newly widowed preacher–whether her assistance is wanted or not. Always ready to help those in need, Elizabeth ignores John’s protests of her aid. She’s even willing to risk her lone marriage prospect to help the little family.
Yet Elizabeth’s new role as nanny takes a dangerous turn when John’s boldness from the pulpit makes him a target of political and religious leaders. As the preacher’s enemies become desperate to silence him, they draw Elizabeth into a deadly web of deception. Finding herself in more danger than she ever bargained for, she’s more determined than ever to save the child–and man–she’s come to love.
Priscilla White knows she’ll never be a wife or mother and feels God’s call to the mission field in India. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country only long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West once more. But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field.
Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs. Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God’s leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts.
I think I read both of these books in about 4 days and it would’ve been one each had I not had a job to get to. Her books are rich in history and tell the tales of the women who supported their catalyst men. The Preacher’s Bride was a warm tale of relentless commitment of one family to do God’s work. And The Doctor’s Lady (my favorite of the two) brings to life the harsh conditions of the Oregon Trail made by one of the first women to cross.
Now let’s hear from Jody!
What made you want to be a writer? Did you always know historical romance was the genre for you?
I’m pretty sure I was born with a pen in one hand and a notebook in the other. Since my earliest days, I loved making up stories and writing them down. The passion followed me into adulthood. During my college and post-graduate years, I began to devour every book on writing that I could get my hands on. I filled note cards with all of the things I was learning, and I wrote numerous practice books. After many twists and turns along the path, I’ve finally been able to channel my passion into a full time writing career.
At first I started writing contemporary fiction. But then I realized I really ought to be writing what I loved reading—which is historical romance. Besides, I’m a big history buff, so the research is a lot of fun for me.
What’s the biggest life lesson writing has taught you?
The writing life is full of many lessons, so it’s tough to pick just one! Probably one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that success comes in baby steps and that each tiny step is hard-earned. In other words, most of us won’t have success served to us on a silver platter (as nice as that sounds!). Instead we have to go out and earn our bread and butter with back-breaking labor.
Your heroines are always kind, strong-willed, yet helpful women, how much of YOU goes into your protagonists?
Would it be conceited of me to say that those kind, strong-willed, helpful heroines reflect me one hundred percent? *grin* No, seriously, my heroines are the kind of women I aspire to be.
I envision your male leads to look something like Joe Manganiello, does your husband ever get jealous? 🙂
My husband is an easy-going kind of guy. And although he’s very proud of my books, he’s not the fiction-reader type. In the twenty years we’ve been married, I can count on one hand the number of fiction books he’s started (but never finished!). So what he doesn’t know about my male leads won’t hurt him, right?
Do you think you’ll ever write your own memoir on life and love, like Elizabeth Gilbert or Julie Powell? I know I’d be interested in reading it!
Aw, thank you! At this point in my life, I don’t see myself branching out of fiction. It’s so much more exciting than real life. For all my non-fiction cravings, I get to spill out my thoughts and experiences and meanderings on my blog. But who knows, maybe someday, I’ll venture into more.
A big part of your blog is promoting and inspiring other writers. You even offer an in depth character worksheet you created. Who were the mentors and motivators in your journey towards publication?
My mentors were the many numerous writing craft books that I’ve read over the years. I’ve learned from so many other writers who’ve taken the time impart their wisdom. Up at the top of my list of favorite writing gurus is James Scott Bell. His book Plot & Structure is my writing bible.
If you weren’t writing, what other profession would you be doing?
Fulltime reader? Is there such a thing? *grin* I’d definitely take a fulltime reader job especially if it involved a comfy chair in a bookstore with an endless supply of rich coffee and gooey chocolate pastries.
You based your two novels on real historical stories of religious innovators and missionaries. If you could meet any historical person, dead or alive, who would you most like to talk to?
I’d love to meet some of the women I’ve written about both in books I’ve published and those that are yet to be published. The strong women from history fascinate me. History hasn’t always given proper recognition or prominence to many women of the past. We often hear about great men and the heroic things that they did. History (mostly recorded by men) often neglected to tell the stories about the wives that stood beside some of these great men, the women who faced danger and deprivation and were just as heroic in their own way.
What’s your favorite vacation spot? Or what is your dream vacation spot?
I’d love to take a research trip to England or Germany and visit castles. I know my husband would enjoy going too and would put up with my obsessive need to read about and study all the historical details of everything I come across.
My children on the other hand don’t have as much patience for my appetite for history. So I’d love to take them hiking in the Rockies or to Yellowstone.
What holiday do you and the kids get most excited about?
I get excited about any holiday that involves chocolate, which incidentally is most of the holidays since I’ve been able to condition my family on the utmost importance of giving chocolate. And my kids get excited about any holiday that involves getting presents. Go figure!
What do you do when you’re not writing, teaching the kids, folding laundry, and/or cooking? What hobbies or talents do you still hope to try?
I hope to get better at sleeping. No seriously, this last year I’ve made it my goal to try to take as good of care of my body as I do my mind. So I’ve added the E-word (Exercise) to my packed daily schedule. And I’m actually finding that I’m really liking exercising.
The fun’s not over yet! Jody has graciously offered to give away a copy of her new book, The Doctor’s Lady, to one reader! Drop a line in the comments and you’re entered to win! Chat with you all below!