Wednesday, June 10, 2015

HEARTS MADE WHOLE - Jody Hedlund - One Free Book, Plus More

Bio: Jody Hedlund is a best-selling and award-winning author who loves history and happily-ever-afters. She makes her home in Midland, MI with her husband and five children. When she's not writing another of her page-turning stories, you can usually find her sipping coffee, eating chocolate, and reading.

Welcome, Jody. How do you manage to balance your life as a full time author and mom to five busy children?
It’s definitely not easy to manage my busy household of five children and squeeze in time for writing. But fortunately my husband is very helpful and pitches in to help wherever possible. We really work together as a team to support each other in our pursuits and work.

For example, when he's home he often takes over the household responsibilities, runs kids to activities, and pitches in with homeschooling so that I can have concentrated blocks of time to write.

We've also simplified our home life and outside commitments as much as possible. We expect our children to shoulder responsibilities around the home. And last but certainly not least, I rely upon my mom for lots of help too. She helps homeschool, cook meals, and even runs my kids to activities.

Do you ever get writer's block? How do you work your way past it?
No, fortunately, I rarely get writer’s block. I give myself a daily word count of how much I need to write, and I stick to it as best as I can. Whatever amount I miss one day, I try to make up on another day of that week. Having the daily/weekly goals helps keep me going even when I’m not in the mood.

However, if I ever get into a slump, I put in my earbuds and listen to music. The steady rhythm helps me block out distractions, inspires me, and often evokes strong emotions deep inside me.

Do you do a lot of research for your novels? Do you do it before, in the middle, or after you write your novel.
Since I write historicals, research is an integral part of my writing process. I usually spend anywhere between 4-6 weeks on initial research, reading biographies, getting a feel for the time period, and digging into the meat that will comprise the plot of my book.

Once I start writing the first draft, I have to stop from time to time to do a little more research, particularly if I switch settings within the story. But usually, if I don’t know something, I’ll highlight it and then do more research during my editing phase.

How do you name each character?
The process of coming up with names is quite complicated, and I generally take a lot of elements into consideration. I keep a running list of all the heroes and heroines of my books and try not to duplicate anything too closely to a name I've already used.

I also take into consideration names used doing the time period and the ethnicity of my characters. For example, in my first lighthouse book Love Unexpected, I chose Irish names that were commonly used during the 1800's because both of the main characters had an Irish heritage.

Sometimes I consider symbolism for names. Other times, particularly in my inspired-by stories, I try to pick a name that is similar to the character from history that I'm portraying.

What essential ingredients do you strive for in your novels to ensure an authentic love story emerges?
I always try to incorporate the elements that I like to see in the romances I read. That includes deep emotions that are birthed out of a character's past. I also like to have a relationship that evolves organically throughout the book. I try not to have my characters being antagonistic to one another the whole book and then finally falling in love in the last chapter at the last minute. I want the couple to move from friendship to falling in love gradually and to have a growing attraction (with the sparks flying!) throughout the book.

At the same time, however, I don't like to have the love relationship resolve too early in the book. Readers don't want the "happily-ever-after" moment to come until the end. So while the relationship is developing, it's important to find ways to keep the couple from being fully together until the end.

What stands out in your mind about 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.

What Scripture verse has inspired you in your writing?
Among many, here’s one I aspire to live by: Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. (Ecc. 9:10) I believe in working responsibly and hard with the gifts we’ve been given.

What do you do to get away from it all?
READ!! I absolutely love reading! When I find a really good book, I have a hard time tearing myself away from it to get to sleep.

What is your family up to these days?
My husband and I are celebrating 24 years of marriage this summer! Yay! My oldest son is graduating from high school and will be attending a private Christian college in the fall, Cedarville University in Ohio. My twins will be turning 16 during the summer and getting their driver's licenses. Since they are involved in SO many activities, I'm looking forward to them driving themselves places! My youngest two children have completed 4th and 6th grade and in an Adventures In Odyssey phase. I think they've listened to just about every episode that's ever been made!

Tell us about the featured book.
Can she forgive the hurting man who costs her the role she loves?

After her father’s death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren’t supposed to have such roles, so it’s only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper–even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.

Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He’s secured the position of lighthouse keeper mostly for the isolation–the chance to hide from his past is appealing. He’s not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who’s angry with him for taking her job and for his inability to properly run the light. When his failings endanger others, he and Caroline realize he’s in no shape to run the lighthouse, but he’s unwilling to let anyone close enough to help. Caroline feels drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope…and possibly love?

Please give us the first page of the book.
Windmill Point Lighthouse
Michigan, May 1865
A distant flash of lightning crisscrossed the darkening skies of the west, followed by the call of a nearby loon. “I don’t think you should set out.” Caroline Taylor clutched her shawl tighter against a cool gust that wrestled with it. “The storm’s coming fast.”

Her father shoved the rowboat across the gravelly shore of Lake St. Clair. “We’ll be fine,” he said over his broad shoulder. “We’ll beat the storm. Besides, I’ve crossed this lake in more storms that I can count.”

The old doctor already waited on a bench inside the cutter, clasping his top hat and fighting with the wind to keep it on his head. “I can’t stay any longer, Caroline,” the doctor said. “I’ve done all I can for your sister.”

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund
I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund
My home base is at my website:
For lots of fun pictures, follow me on Pinterest:
I get personal on Instagram:
Or you're welcome to email me at:

Jody Hedlund's Afternoon at the Beach Giveaway

Hearts Made Whole Jody Hedlund
Thank you, Jody, for sharing this new book with us, and I know my readers will want to sign up for the giveaway.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Hearts Made Whole -
Hearts Made Whole (Beacons of Hope) - Amazon
Hearts Made Whole (Beacons of Hope Book #2) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book on this blog. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Caryl Kane said...

I LOVE Jody Helund's books! I can't wait to read HEARTS MADE WHOLE. Thank you for the giveaway.

Caryl in Texas

Beth Gillihan said...

I love Jody's books! Looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for the chance to win!

Beth in Montana

Deanne said...

I am looking forward to reading the second book in the series. Jody writes such masterpieces her books are not to be missed. Thank you for the giveaway.
Deanne in Pennsylvania

Pam K. said...

I have read several of Jody's books (the others are on my "want to read" list) and really liked them. Her books are well-researched and well-written, with compelling characters and an interesting storyline. I'd very much like to win a copy of Hearts Made Whole. Thanks for the interview and the chance to win.


sm said...

I really enjoy lighthouses and have a lighthouse passport book. I know I would enjoy your series on lighthouses. Thanks for writing them. sm CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Mary Preston said...

Love the fact that there is a lighthouse in the story. This sounds wonderful.

Mary P


Bonnie Roof said...

Thanks for the interesting interview, Jody and Lena!! I love the story lines and emotions in Jody's books and would love to read "Hearts Made Whole"!! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!!


Jean said...

Have read almost all of Jody's books, and would love to add this one, as well.

Jean Keopid
West Palm Beach read almost all of Jody's books, and would love to add this one, as well.

Jean , FL

Loraine Nunley said...

I am looking forward to reading Jody's latest. Having grown up in Michigan, I have a special love for lighthouses and the stories around them. Thanks for the interview and giveaway!
Loraine in TX

Patty said...

Jody is one of the best in historical fiction! Looking forward to reading this series.

Patty in SC

Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

All your books look and sound interesting and I would love the chance to read one of them sometime!!! Thanks for the awesome giveaway and God Bless you!!!

Sarah Richmond

Shannah Mauney said...

Oh I would LOVE to win! :D

Shannah M., NC

Rebecca said...

Jody Hedlund is a great author, and I am looking forward to Heart's Made Whole.

Melanie Backus said...

Thank you, Miss Lena!

Melanie Backus, TX

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me can't wait to read your book!!
Conway, SC.

Trixi said...

First of all, Jody, congrats on 24 years of marriage! And to your son's graduation & soon-to-be college bound. Also, having 16yr olds able to run themselves around would be a burden lifted. What a great family it sounds like you have and I can see your love for the Lord in each member :-)
And your new book "Hearts Made Whole" sounds like a great story, the first page alone drew me in. I've read a couple of fiction books with lighthouses in them (historical) & enjoyed them. Such rich history and from the sounds of it, many many hours of research :-)
Thank you for talking a bit about yourself and your book on this post today & for the chance to win a copy of your book! Blessings to you and your lovely family!

Trixi in OR

Brenda Arrington said...

Can't wait to read this book. I know I will enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

I love reading historical fiction and this sounds like a book I would love to read. Thank you for sharing Jody with us Lena.
marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
Maryann in NY

Abigail Richmond said...

Looks awesome!!! Please enter me.

Blanch NC

Jennifer Bretsch said...

I loved the first book in the series and am looking forward to this one. Thanks for the great giveaway!

Jennifer Bretsch
St. Louis, MO

Rebecca said...

This sounds like such a great book!

Rebecca in Oregon

Anonymous said...

I would love to win Jody's book. She has great books. Thanks for a chance.

rubynreba said...

I always enjoy a good historical fiction book.
Beth from IA

Samantha said...

I love this series by Jody Hedlund!!! And I love the covers!

I live in Canada :)

Danielle Hull said...

Jody has such a great blog where she shares her experiences with other writers!

Melissa M. said...

Good verse--one I struggle with a lot.

I haven't read the first in this series, but I love lighthouses and I think I'd like the books.

-Melissa M. in TN

Pam Graber said...

Loved the first book in this series! Would love to win Hearts Made Whole!

Pam in Ohio