Tag Archives: The Doctor’s Lady

Interview with Author Jody Hedlund

Today I’m thrilled to have author and blogger Jody Hedlund joining me on The Happiness Project!

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!

The Preacher’s Bride

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.

The Doctor’s Lady

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 think Eli Ernest looks like this. (photo courtesy swoonworthy.net) P.S. This picture makes no sense. Why is he shirtless wearing a sweater? Does it even matter with abs like that?

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.

Where can readers find you?
I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund
I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund
My home base is at my website: jodyhedlund.com

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!

The Best Books of 2011

The last couple of years I hadn’t been reading very much.  Here and there I’d start a new book, but it would take me forever to read it and I usually just watched movies instead.  For 2011 I was determined to read more.  I vowed to read 2 books a month, and I ended up reading 28.  I enjoyed all of them, but here are the creme de la creme of books I read this past year.

Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross

Based on the historical legend that a woman disguised herself as a man and became one of the most influential popes of the Vatican’s history.  Pope Joan is both a historical drama, suspense novel, and romance.  As a young girl, Joan learned to read and write, an education forbidden to women in 800 AD.  The author definitely did her research finding the few facts we know about Pope Joan.  Of course, the Vatican denies her existence, but because of this, the story of Pope Joan is all the more intriguing.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

This book was a complete surprise for how raw and open the author was in this memoir of growing up.  The book begins with her in a cab watching her own mother pick through a dumpster.  Now that’s a scene that will evoke emotion in a reader.  The Glass Castle is really about a family, their ups and downs, the realities and the truest form of magic that exists in Walls’ phenomenal storytelling.  A must read for any author considering writing a memoir.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

This might have been my favorite book of 2011.  I am both immensely impressed with the amount of research this author did on early circuses and her story in general.  She was haled by critics for her ability to write an elderly character’s voice and her characters created for the traveling circus were priceless.  Water for Elephants is a romance and a tale of finding oneself.  It sets you in a world of mystery and hard work.  It inspired a road trip to the Circus World Museum, a place where Gruen began some of her research!  This was a book I could not put down!

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

I read this book in my book club and we had such a fun time discussing the themes of spirits, witches, and magic.  The synopsis of this book, which was inspired by the author’s doctorate research, is a graduate student who discovers an ancestor’s physick book, or medicine book, or book of magic.  As Connie uncovers more about her own family, she’ll learn more than she wants to about the powers within it, but she has to do so before her professor takes matters into his own hands.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I guess I like books with stories behind the stories.  I love looking into how the author’s do their research, and for Stockett, she began this book after September 11th.  She needed to hear a voice that was comforting again, and the voice she thought of was the maid that raised her when she was young.  Thinking about what life must have been like for her is the premise for the story of The Help.  Set early in the civil rights movement, The Help takes on a variety of voices, from the soft spoken and ethical Aibileen, to the no holds barred Minny, and the idealistic, coming of age Skeeter.  Everyone I know who’s read this book has loved it.  If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Um.  Ok, The Hunger Games.  They ruled.  What more do you want me to say?  The movie comes out in March and I’ll be there.  I’m Team Gale.  I do not condone the growing trend of naming your kids Bella or Katniss.  But I Love These Books.

The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund

I had read Jody’s blog before, but not her books.  I won this title in a contest and I couldn’t put it down!  I would’ve never pegged myself as a christian historical romance reader, but I was swooning by page three over Eli Ernest, the rough rider doctor who sets foot towards the new west crossing the Oregon Trail.  And Priscilla White is no weakling, prairie marm.  She may have lots to learn, but she will prove herself to be a tough and strong-willed companion.  I can’t wait to read to Jody’s first book, The Preacher’s Bride this year!

There you have it!  My favorite reads from 2011.  What books were your favorite?  What’s next on your “to read” list?

By the way, the winner of my Life List Club blog post and receiver of an I-Tunes Gift Card and chance to guest post or interview here is Marcy Kennedy!   Congratulations, Marcy, be contacting you soon!

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