Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Author Interview | Jody Hedlund | The Doctor's Lady

Jody Hedlund, Author

What prompted you to begin writing? Is it something you have always wanted to do, or did the interest come later?
Like many writers, I’ve been writing since my childhood days. I always loved telling stories. When I was in junior high, I entered my first writing contest for a Biblical fiction story. And when I won, I realized God had indeed gifted me. I think that was when I became more serious about wanting to be a writer when I grew up.

However, as I began my college years, I quickly realized that creative writing wasn’t a career track that would help pay the bills. For a time, God moved me into social work. I went on to get my masters and was thankful for the experiences and opportunities I had during those years of helping underprivileged people.

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.

What was the very first story you ever wrote? Was it ever published?
The first story I wrote was probably in first grade in a spiral notebook. And of course, it’s long gone in the trash! But as far as my adulthood writing career, I wrote five novels that are collecting dust in a closet. They were my practice books, the books that helped me grow and become the writer I am today.

What inspired you to write The Doctor's Lady?


This book is inspired by the true life story of Narcissa Whitman, the first white woman to brave the dangers of overland trail and travel west. In 1836, she married Dr. Whitman, and then the next day left her childhood home and would never return for the purpose of starting a mission among the Nez Perce natives.

It was my hope in this story to bring Narcissa Whitman to life. This heroic woman has often been ignored and at times even disparaged. In reality, she exuded incredible courage to attempt a trip many proclaimed foolishly dangerous. It was called an “unheard-of-journey for females.” Because of her willingness to brave the unknown, she led the way for the many women who would follow in her footsteps in what would later become known as the Oregon Trail.

What is your favorite part of the writing process? Your least favorite?
As a writer, I love telling stories. I especially like the feeling that comes as I near the end of the book when everything looks hopeless, the characters are in big trouble, and somehow I’m able to wrap up the book in a satisfying way. I call it the first-draft love affair! I fall absolutely and madly in love with the story and think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. 

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. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to write an historical novel?
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.

Of course, writing historicals requires more research than novels set in contemporary times. I plan in six to eight weeks of research before I begin writing the novel. I try to get a feel for the time period and learn as much as I can about the setting, plot points, etc. Once I start writing, I try not to let research questions distract me. I may look things up occasionally, but usually I mark issues that need further research and then I go back to them later during editing.

So, what's next? Will you write another historical novel?
In 2012, Unending Devotion, my next historical romance releases. I’m really excited about this story because it’s set in my home state of Michigan. It takes place during the 1880’s at a time in history when the lumber era was at its height. Although the story isn’t inspired by a true person the way my first two books have been, I do include several real people, particularly a real villain by the name of James Carr who was notorious in central Michigan for his violence and for introducing white slavery into the state.

The heroine of the story is a young woman, Lily Young, who is looking for her sister who’s caught up into the degradation of lumber camp life. While Lily searches for her missing sister, she fights against the evil that runs rampant around her, and she fights not to lose her heart to the lumber baron who turns a blind eye to the lawlessness of the lumber business.

Where can reader’s find you?
I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund

I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund

My home base is at my website:

I love the "About" section all of your books include...
Jody Hedlund is an award-winning historical romance novelist and author of the best-selling book, The Preacher's Bride. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Michigan with her husband and five busy children. Her second book, The Doctor’s Lady released in September 2011
Thank you so much for joining us, here at Little Bit Of Wondeful, and for helping us to get to know you a little better!

Jody will be watching the comments section on this post, so if you have any questions for her, you can ask them here, or "like" her Facebook page and chat her up there. I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did! Don't forget to enter to win a copy of her brand new book, The Doctor's Wife, and read all about it here!


  1. Thanks again for having me, Alena! Appreciate it so much! :-)

  2. Anytime! I enjoyed having you, and hope we can work together again, sometime! :)

  3. Thanks for the nice interview, Alena. I'm Jody's critique partner and have been privileged to read Unending Devotion in manuscript form. I think it might be my favorite of her books so far. I enjoyed the interactions between her hunky logger hero and her spunky idealistic heroine. There are some serious spark--along with the page-turning action Jody is known for. =)

  4. Hi Keli! :) I am so jealous you've already read her new book! I can't wait 'til it comes out, and really hope I am lucky enough to get to review it. I haven't yet been able to read her first book, but I can't wait to get my hands on that one, either ;) Thank you for stopping by, and I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

  5. Great post Jody. I learned quite a lot. I have never tried historicals but would like to one day.
    Your interview was very encouraging. Thanks again.

    Glenda Parker


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