Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Interview Feature: Jody Hedlund

Good day, readers! Jody is joining us today to celebrate her new release, An Uncertain Choice. 


Jody Hedlund is an award-winning and bestselling author of inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

As a busy mama-writer, she has the wonderful privilege of teaching her crew of 5 children at home. In between grading math papers and giving spelling tests, she occasionally does a load of laundry and washes dishes. When she's not busy being a mama, you can find her in front of her laptop working on another of her page-turning stories. 

She loves reading almost as much as she loves writing, especially when it also involves chocolate and coffee.


After writing for the adult market, why did you decide to transition to young adult books?

I have five children and three of them are now teens. That means that over the past few years I've ended up reading a lot of books in the Young Adult genre not only to stay abreast of what my kids are reading, but also to have discussions about the topics and world views within the books.
All that to say, I've fallen in love with reading YA books! Naturally, as I've fallen in love with reading them, I had to consider the possibility of writing them. And while I have a lot of other things going on my publishing career, I decided I wanted to make this move into YA now while I still had teens at home to read my books (and give me feedback!).


An Uncertain Choice is a romance. What is the inspiration behind this kind of story?

My two oldest daughters (twins) are in high school. They're starting to notice boys. And boys are starting to notice them.

Okay, who am I kidding? My teen daughters have been paying attention to boys for quite a few years. Yes, they're human. But of course, up until now they've been a tad young to enter the world of dating. My husband would prefer that we have a family rule, "No dating until at least the age of 22." And he'll likely greet any boy that comes calling for them with a baseball bat in hand (wink!).

But because we know that we can't beat away the boys forever, we wanted to have a tool that we could use for our daughters to help prepare them for dating.

Let's face it, the dating world has become rather big and scary to many young people. And rightly so. Our modern culture, particularly social media, has changed the nature of dating.  Cell phones, texting, Facebook, online dating services, etc. have all impacted the how's, why's, what's, and when's of dating.

When I began to think about what kinds of dating experiences I wanted my daughters to have, I decided to write a book that models the purity, nobility, and courtly love that existed in the days of old, during the times of knights and their ladies, a time in history when chivalry was at its height. Thus, An Uncertain Choice was birthed.

What's the story about and who are the main characters? 
The heroine is a beautiful and wealthy young woman named Lady Rosemarie. She's on the cusp of her eighteenth birthday and knows her destiny is to fulfill a vow made by her parents. In light of their infertility, her parents had promised to give their firstborn back to God for a life of service and celibacy when she turned eighteen. Now with only one month before her birthday, Lady Rosemarie receives the news that there is an exception to the Ancient Vow–if she finds true love and is married by her birthday, then she's exempt from having to become a nun.

Faced with a growing loneliness and the possibility of losing control over the people she rules with compassion, Lady Rosemarie questions whether life in a cloister is really the best choice for her life. She agrees to allow the three handsomest and noblest knights in the land the chance to win her heart in one month.

Enter on stage, the three heart throbs! Sir Collin, Sir Bennet, and Sir Derrick. Each one is completely honorable and noble in his own way. Lady Rosemarie will have a tough choice ahead of her. Now you'll have to read the book to find out who she chooses and why!


Why do you write? 

I write because I love telling stories. I love the quote by Toni Morrison because it sums up part of why I write: "If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." Essentially I write the stories that I LOVE to read! Of course there are other, deeper reasons I write too. But that's one of the main ones.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?

My biggest challenge at this stage in my life is dividing my time between writing and being a mom. Since I'm a work-from-home mom, there are many special issues that arise around setting boundaries, time management, as well as teaching my children to respect my work time.

And like most modern authors, we're struggling in this new age of shrinking shelf space and closing bookstores to get the word about our books out. With many readers shopping online these days, it's difficult to find ways to promote our books and get discovered by readers. We count it such a blessing when fans spread the word and leave book reviews! We authors appreciate that so much!

What has made you grow the most as a writer?


If I had to narrow down one specific thing that has helped the most in my quest for publication, I’d have to say this: My careful, ongoing, and thorough study and practice of writing techniques has been the single most beneficial aspect of my writing career.In other words, I read writing craft books, studied fiction-writing basics, and then put what I learned into practice. All the studying has been the number one thing to help me in my writing career.


Thanks for joining us today, Jody! 

And thank you for reading, blog-people. :)

Hasta la vista,
Ryebrynn




Due to her parents' promise at her birth, Lady Rosemarie has been prepared to become a nun on the day she turns eighteen. Then, a month before her birthday, a friend of her father's enters the kingdom and proclaims her parents' will left a second choice--if Rosemarie can marry before the eve of her eighteenth year, she will be exempt from the ancient vow.
Before long, Rosemarie is presented with the three most handsome and brave knights in the land. But when the competition for her heart seemingly results in a knight playing foul, she begins to wonder if the convent is the best place after all. If only one of the knights--the one who appears the most guilty--had not already captured her heart.
(see my review here)