Interview with Jody Hedlund

» Posted on Nov 4, 2010 in Blog | Comments Off on Interview with Jody Hedlund

This week I’m hosting Mae Nunn with A Season for Family and Jody Hedlund with The Preacher’s Bride. If you want to enter the drawings, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at The drawings end Sunday (November 7th) evening.

An Interview with Jody Hedlund:

1. What made you start writing?

My desire to tell stories was written into my genes by God himself. My mother read out loud to me as a child and helped develop in me a love of reading. And it was through reading and wanting to tell my own stories, that I eventually began to put pen to paper.

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

I’ve been writing fiction for the past 16 years, with a hiatus when my children were young. My debut book, The Preacher’s Bride (just released by Bethany House Publishers,) is the first book I wrote after coming back from my break.

3. How do you handle rejections?

I’ve learned that rejections are a natural part of the process of publication. It doesn’t reflect on me personally. It just means something didn’t resonate within my manuscript. I try to let the rejection push me to work even harder.

4. Why do you write?

There are SO many reasons why, but the top reasons are because stories burn inside me and I can’t hold them in; because I want to offer hope to the hurting; and because I want to bring to life the heroes and stories of the past to a generation who needs to remember.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?


6. What are you working on right now?

The Doctor’s Lady is scheduled to release in September of 2011 and is another “inspired-by” novel, similar to The Preacher’s Bride. It’s a fictionalized story based on the first white woman to travel overland West to Oregon as a missionary to the natives. It’s a marriage of convenience story, but also the tale of how a young woman overcame the odds, endured a dangerous journey, and found true love along the way. In the process, her strength and courage paved the way for all of the women who came after her.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

Generally I don’t characterize anyone after myself or people I know. I usually fashion my characters after real people from history after reading biographies.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.

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 housekeeper 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.

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Writing is like any other profession: we can’t succeed unless we achieve mastery of the subject. And how does one achieve writing mastery? We need to learn everything we can about the craft of writing and then put it into practice. In other words, learn, learn, learn. Write, write, write. Repeat ad infinitum.

10. How important is faith in your books?

By nature of the setting and time period, The Preacher’s Bride is about a religious conflict. My main character, John, was persecuted and eventually imprisoned for his unwillingness to give up his preaching. Religion was vitally important to him, as it was to most people during the 1600’s.

My faith is incredibly important to me too. However, I believe a writer shouldn’t take a reader out of the story in her efforts to convey a message or theme. They should be woven in seamlessly. The themes within The Preacher’s Bride are universal—issues we all deal with no matter our faith or background: discrimination for beliefs, marriage crises, low self-esteem, difficulty prioritizing family, and more.

11. What themes do you like to write about?

The message of The Preacher’s Bride is that sometimes God will lead us down a difficult path or ask us to do hard things, and he doesn’t want us to avoid them for the easy way. Ultimately, he uses those difficulties to shape our character and deepen our love for Him. God has been teaching me that exact lesson over the past years. Through my own personal struggles, God has emphasized that he’s more concerned about my holiness than my happiness

12. What is your writing schedule like?

One of my greatest challenges is finding uninterrupted time to write. As a mom of 5 busy children, I’ve learned to work through questions, chaos, and lots of noise. But I’ve also made a point of disciplining myself to write at the library every Saturday. The extended, concentrated writing time is important too.