Welcome back, Jody. Why do you write historical romances?
I love reading historicals, so naturally that’s what I’m drawn to write. I’m fascinated with all of the things that happen in other times and places that seem so foreign to us now. I really appreciate when historical facts are woven into books seamlessly so that I’m learning but don’t really realize I am. And I hope that I can do that in my books too.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
I've had plenty of writing-related happy moments! But a personal happy moment was when I was newly married and had just moved near my parents, my dad came over for dinner one night. It was just him with me and my husband. I made a pot of really spicy chili (too spicy, actually!). We had a wonderful evening together. Two nights later he died of a massive heart attack. That dinner was the last time I saw him, and now when I look back at it, I see the time we had together as a gift.
I so understand that. James and I miss our parents a lot. They’ve been gone for a long time. How has being published changed your life?
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.
What are you reading right now?
I'm reading books by two debut authors: Made to Match by Melissa Tagg and Burning Sky by Lori Benton.
What is your current work in progress?
Currently I'm working on the first book of my Michigan Lighthouse series that will be releasing late next year (2014).
What would be your dream vacation?
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.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
With my inspired-by stories (like my current release Rebellious Heart), I choose the characters from history I'd like to write about first and the setting is simply the by-product.
All of my other books so far are set in
Michigan which is where I currently live. I
love being able to bring Michigan
history to life which hasn't been done in too many historical romances.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
My other hobbies when I’m not writing or reading? Drinking coffee and eating chocolate—of course!
No seriously. At this stage in my life because I’m busy teaching my children and being a mom, I spend most of my free time doing family-related things. Amidst all of the busyness, we do try to carve out fun family time each week. We love taking family bike rides together, playing games, and having family movie nights.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I struggle the most during the editing phase of each of my books. The love affair that started during the first draft comes to an end. I fall out of love with my books. By the last edit—called the Galley Review—I finally reach a point where I loathe the book, think it’s the worst thing I’ve ever written, and wish I could just throw it away.
I overcome my loathing of one book by starting a love affair with the first draft of another story. Such a system continually keeps me writing!
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Write a couple of books first and unleash your creativity. Then start reading books that explain how to write. Study techniques, practice them, and keep writing. When you begin reaching a level in your writing where you think you’re ready to start querying, get a critique partner to read your work, vamp up your online presence, and immerse yourself in the writing industry
Tell us about the featured book.
Rebellious Heart is another story inspired by a famous couple from history similar to my books, The Preacher's Bride and The Doctor's Lady. This book is set in Colonial America and inspired by the beautiful courtship of John and Abigail Adams.
John and Abigail Adams are known for their wonderful marriage full of love and friendship. They penned numerous letters to one another during their lifetime. And although much has been recorded of their marriage, very little has been written about their early days and courtship. I thought it would be fascinating to bring that early period to life for our modern generation.
As in previous books, I've changed the names of the main characters and fictionalized aspects of the story. In Rebellious Heart, Susanna Smith plays the role of Abigail Adams and Ben Ross stages for John Adams.
Please give us the first page of the book.
“He’s guilty of murder.” The judge’s voice echoed through the meetinghouse. “I hereby sentence him to be hanged.”
Murmurs of approval broke the tense silence.
But Susanna Smith’s chest constricted with something close to pity. From her spot in the gallery, she had a clear view of Hermit Crab Joe, of the flicker of surprise that rounded his eyes and cracked the weathered skin of his forehead.
He might be a murderer, but that didn’t stop her from feeling sorry for the lonely old recluse.
“Thank the Lord,” Mary whispered. “Now we can finally sleep peacefully at night.”
Her sister’s words gave breath to her own thoughts, to the worries that had plagued her since several local farmers had discovered the battered, lifeless body of the young maiden along the rocky coast of the bay. The surrounding parishes had been able to speak of nothing but the murder for the past week.
Now perhaps they could resume normal life again.
Susanna folded her hands in her lap. "We need to pray for his poor lost soul.” But even as the words left her mouth, her gaze strayed to the slumped shoulders of Mr. Benjamin Ross sitting on the bench next to Hermit Crab Joe.
Mr. Ross had spoken eloquently and passionately on behalf of his client. His defense had been flawless, and he'd almost made her believe the aged seaman was innocent. Almost.
Yet no one else in their law-abiding community besides Hermit Crab Joe even came close to being a suspect. And it was too frightening to acknowledge the possibility that a murderer still roamed free, that perhaps one of the God-fearing men sitting in the box pews below was to blame instead.
“I hope we'll have the hanging today and be done with this awful affair.” Mary tucked a loose golden curl back under the wide brim of her hat. Her usually pale cheeks were rosy from the stuffiness that had settled upon the square room. The clapboard building which also served as a place of worship was filled beyond capacity. Even with all three doors open, the crispness of the September afternoon had been unable to penetrate the interior of
Middle Parish Meeting House, especially to the gallery where the women sat.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I love hearing from readers! Make sure you stop by one of these places and say hello!
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.comOr you're welcome to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you, Jody, for sharing this new book with us.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Jody Hedlund - Christianbook.com
Rebellious Heart - Amazon.com
Rebellious Heart - Kindle
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