I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, October 3, 2011

Author Interview: Jody Hedlund (& book giveaway!)

Meeting Jody Hedlund at the 2011 ACFW conference
One of the people I especially wanted to meet at ACFW was author Jody Hedlund. I didn't realize how difficult that would be because Jody is quite well-known and well-liked--understandably so! I finally snagged a photo with her--and a hug!--on the last night.
Jody's newest historical novel, The Doctor's Lady, came out in September. I started reading it--and ignored my family until I finished it. In other words: You want to read this book!

What are you pondering right now?
I'm thankful for where I'm at in my writing career--with two published books (The Preacher's Bride and The Doctor's Lady). I'm sort of like the parent of a baby and a toddler. I don't have all the new book jitters that come with a debut book. I know what to expect and how to handle the various aspects of a book release. And yet, I'm still learning to juggle two books and the new demands that come from adding more. Like any young parent, I'm still learning and growing, but also thankful to be past that brand-new stage.

If not a writer--then what? 
A writing coach. If I ever reach the point where I'm unable to write, I'd love to help and encourage other writers. Or maybe a professional reader--if there is such a thing. I'd love to read and review books as a way to promote and support other authors.

Why this story, The Doctor's Lady?
This story came out of the desire to bring to life a forgotten woman of history, Narcissa Whitman. She was the first white woman to cross the United States overland with her doctor husband with the plan of starting a mission for the Nez Perce natives. She was incredibly brave to risk a trip that was called "the unheard of journey for women." Because of her courage, determination and inspiring faith, she paved the way for all the women who would come after her in what would become known as the Oregon Trail.

So what's your backstory? (I can read your bio--what's left out?)
I'm a professional coffee drinker and connoisseur of fine chocolates! I'm also an avid Survivor watcher and faithful Qdoba burrito eater.

What part of writing comes easily to you and what part would you rather assign to someone else?
I fall passionately in love with my first draft. Of course there are always days when the writing is slow-going and I have to sit down and force myself to just do it. But, overall, I really enjoy writing my first drafts. I fall out of love with my manuscript by the time I get in-house edits. And I usually feel like throwing my book in the trash by the time I get to my very last edit--the galleys. I'd gladly let someone else read through my manuscript for me at that point!

When you're stuck--call it Writer's Block or plain ol' frustration with your characters--what's your never-failed-you-yet way out?
Music always helps me. There's something about passionate, moving songs or soundtracks that elicits deep emotions within me that helps the story flow a bit more smoothly.
But usually, what helps the most is just planting myself in front of the computer, re-reading a little bit of the story, and then forcing my fingers to type the next words. Whether the words are good or bad, I force myself to write.

What's in your To Be Read (TBR) pile?
Like many, my TBR is a mile high. Currently at the top, I have Lisa T. Bergren's new young adult series, River of Time. My daughters have read the books and raved about them. I pulled the first book, Waterfall, to the top of my pile.

For a chance to win a copy of The Doctor's Lady, leave a comment below. You can ask Jody a question or talk Survivor, coffee, or Qdoba! And if you've read either of Jody's books, let us know!


  1. Oh, Wow, I grew up relatively near the Whitmans' home at Ft. Vancouver, the end of the trail--have long been fascinated by Narcissa Whitman so have to read that book--it would be great to win a signed copy. Appreciate this interview, too. Great info. and I'll look for Jody at the next ACFW.

  2. I've heard Jodys name coming up lots lately! I'm going to have to pick up one of her books. :)

    My question for Jody is this: When you were early on your writing journey, what was difficult for you and how did you overcome it?

    Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself today, Jody!

  3. Thanks for being with the Ponderers today, Jody.I love that you're successfully juggling homeschooling with writing, and I love reading about the Oregon Trail, so I look forward to reading your latest book. I know there's no such thing as a "typical day" in your life, but what's your writing goal for each day?

  4. I blasted my way through The Preacher's Bride, but I took my time reading The Doctor's Lady. I read it three times in fact. True story. I'm Jody's critique partner and was privileged to read TDL twice in manuscript form and once in book form. She did such a great job with it. I know how much work and how much heart she put into it, so it's no surprise to me how much readers are enjoying the story.

    I've read Jody's third book and think it just might be my favorite. I loved the interactions between her hunky logger hero and spunky idealistic heroine. There are some nice sparks and some sigh-worthy moments as well. I feel certain readers will find it every bit as captivating a read as I did.

    Please don't enter me in the drawing. I have an autographed copy of The Doctor's Lady in a place of honor on my writing desk.

  5. I really enjoyed Jody's first book. She does historical fiction so, so well. But I have to say I enjoyed The Doctor's Lady even more. Jody's writing keeps getting better and better--so I can't wait for book three.

  6. I believe we were separated at birth. I am a lover of coffee and books. I also love chocolate, but my theighs do not. I also watch surevior,I am hoping Ozzie wins this one. Although I have never tried Qdoba burritos, we have a Funchoes near buy and I cannot get enough of their burritos and enchiladas. Please enter me in your contest, thanks!!

  7. Ooh, I can't wait to read Jody's books! Thanks for bringing us the interview, Beth, and for taking the time to be interviewed, Jody. Fun to hear from you. I'm not a Survivor viewer, but oh I hear you on coffee and Qdoba! Love 'em both. And now, onward to Amazon.com to find your books... :)

  8. I'm so glad you connected with her. I just wish you'd done it at the booth so I could have met her too! ;-).
    Great article Beth.

  9. Hi everyone!! Thank you all for stopping by today!! And thanks to Beth for having me on the MBT Ponderers blog! I loved getting to see you at ACFW too--just wish we could have had longer to chat!

  10. Jeanne T asked: When you were early on your writing journey, what was difficult for you and how did you overcome it?

    My thoughts: Hi Jeanne! Thanks for a great question! Early in my writing career, I struggled with a lot of things. I'd say one of the hardest was research! I was still getting the hang of internet research as well as tracking down reliable documents and biographies. With each book I've written, I've been getting better. And it helps to rub shoulders with other historical authors and learn from them as well!

  11. Roxanne Sherwood Gray asked: I know there's no such thing as a "typical day" in your life, but what's your writing goal for each day?

    My thoughts: Hi Roxanne! Love your question too! You're so right! There isn't a typical day--each day brings challenges and interruptions, especially with 5 kids! But, I do try to make myself sit down for a couple of hours every day at some point or another. And when I'm working on a first draft, I give myself the goal of 1000 words/day. (I've worked my way up to that from 500 per/day with one book, 800 per/day with another, and now I'm at 1000.) When I'm editing, I usually give myself the goal of editing several chapters per day. The tangible goals really help keep me focused!

  12. I haven't yet read Jody's books but have the e-book of The Preacher's Bride. I'm waiting awhile to read it because my book club will be discussing it in March. I've heard so many good things about The Doctor's Lady (and enjoyed the excerpt I read on another blog). I would love to win a copy. Thanks for NOT throwing your books in the trash when it's time for the final edit, Jody! Blessings to you as you continue to write.


  13. Jody, I am anxious to read your new book. Your writing is so beautiful.

  14. I loved The Preacher's Bride and would love to win a copy of The Doctor's Lady. Keli I am very jealous of you getting to read all of her good books first and especially having an autographed copy of The Doctor's Lady .

    Wilma wilmamet6(at)gmail(dot)com

  15. I have The Preacher's Bride sitting by my bed. I'm using it as a reward for finishing my revisions. I've heard so many wonderful things about it.

    Jody, you amaze me. I know you put so much hard work into your family, homeschooling, writing, marketing. Your blog is one of my must reads on a daily basis. I love how transparent you are when you post. You're the real deal, friend!

    My question for you is how to you juggle marketing one book, doing revisions on another book and researching/plotting/editing another book?

    Thanks for joining us at MBT Ponderers!

  16. Great interview! I haven't read any of Ms. Hedlund's books yet, but I'm hoping to soon! I've heard so many good thing's about the Doctor's Lady, so I'm dying to read it :)

    crazi.swans at gmail dot com

  17. I must be a half twin. I only like the coffee and fine chocolates. lol Really enjoyed the interview. Thanks Beth and Jody. I love that you are bringing to life one of America's great pioneer women.

    Question: How long after you started writing seriously was it before you were published?

  18. I will have to look for The Doctor's Lady. As a kid, a book called The Oregon Trail was a favorite. I read it several times (the children were left to make the trek alone with a baby after their parents died!). When do you find time to do historical research?!

  19. Lisa Jordan asked: How to you juggle marketing one book, doing revisions on another book and researching/plotting/editing another book?

    My thoughts: Lisa, oooh, you know how to ask the hard question! ;-) I could take a blog post to write the answer to your question! But instead I'll give you the shortened version! During the several months surrounding a book's release, I've come to realize it's just going to be hectic. We'll have blog tours, reader emails, book signings, etc. At the same time, I try to guard my daily writing time. So when those couple of hours come, I set aside all the other work and just focus on my writing. The past couple of weeks I was doing rewrites. And during those macro-edits, I've found that I need to set aside my WIP and focus solely on the rewrites. Now that I've turned rewrites back in to my editor, I'll jump back into my WIP. I try not to neglect my writing, amidst all the other things that need to be done, if that makes sense!

  20. Pat Trainum asked: How long after you started writing seriously was it before you were published?

    My thoughts: Pat, that's a great question, but hard to answer! :-) I've been writing seriously for a long time. I took a hiatus when my children were young, and about five years ago started really working hard on my writing again. The Preacher's Bride (which released last year) was the first book I wrote after that hiatus. It took me a couple of years after completing it to see it on the shelf. I consider myself fortunate for getting published fairly quickly after returning from my hiatus (but that was only because I'd worked for many many years early on in my career). Hope that answers your question!

  21. Kelly Irvin asked: When do you find time to do historical research?!

    My thoughts: I tend to do most of my research before I start the writing of the book. I generally spend about 6-8 weeks researching, reading biographies, and getting a good grasp of the time period. Then when I start writing the story, I'm very comfortable already and don't have to stop too often to do more research. Fortunately I really enjoy the research part! :-)