Today I’m pleased to welcome author Jody Hedlund, author of The Preacher’s Bride to The Variety Pages. Pull up a chair and grab a cuppa tea – let’s find out a little more about Jody. Read through to find out how you can win a copy of her book…
1. When did you decide to pursue writing seriously?
After I finished getting my Master Degree in Social Work, I had a difficult time finding a full time job. I lived in Madison Wisconsin at the time, and it was saturated with social workers. So I ended up working part time for a while which freed me to begin seriously pursuing my love of writing. I worked hard at learning basic-fiction writing techniques as well as completing quite a few novels (which I now lovingly refer to as my practice novels).
2. How did you choose what genre to write – or did it choose you?
I admit! I’m a historical romance junkie! I rarely read anything but historical romance and I adore historical romance movies (my latest favorite Young Queen Victoria—it was divine!). I’m also a bit of a history geek—I love reading biographies and finding interesting but little-known facts and people from history. All of that naturally leads to my passion for writing historical romances and I honestly can’t see myself writing anything but that.
3. Tell us a little about your writing process. How do you get from idea to completed draft?
I spend about 6 weeks reading biographies and any other time-period books. I sift through plot ideas, wanting to stick as closely to the facts as possible, but also knowing I need to dramatize the story to bring it to life.
A large part of my planning involves the process of getting to know my characters. I use an extensive character worksheet (available on my blog for free). I try to use what history knows about the real characters, but then fill in the rest and make them larger than life.
Then after my characters are living and breathing in my mind, and after I have a basic plot outline, I start the actual writing. My last book took me five months to write. I challenged myself to write about 800 words a day and ended up with 100,000 words.
4. What are some of your favorite authors to read?
I’m rubbing shoulders with so many other writers throughout cyberland, And I love picking up the books of friends that I’ve met. I have to say the writers I admire the most are the ones who make an effort to connect in a real way with others. Yes, twitter, facebook, and blogging have revolutionized the way we view authors.
Of course, we still want quality writing, but the social in social media is also important in building admiration. Those with warm personalities and kind attitudes can influence us to buy their books. And likewise, we can easily be deterred by authors who come across as cold and haughty on social media sites.
5. What do you like do when you’re not writing?
I love to snuggle with my 4 year old daughter on the couch and listen to my youngest son read. I have fun taking walks with my twin daughters and shooting hoops with my oldest son. And I enjoy chatting with my husband over Qdoba burritos. In other words, I love hanging out with my family!
6. How do you balance writing with the other aspects of your life?
I struggle every day to balance the new demands of being a published author and the mother to five busy children. I try to set personal deadlines ahead of publisher ones so that I’m not running behind. I also keep myself on a fairly strict writing schedule. I block time into my day and stick to it. I give myself daily word count goals or number of chapters to edit, and I work hard to meet my goals. And then I try to be just as intentional with my family—especially setting aside regular family time together.
7. Who is your favorite literary character?
One of my favorites is Jo in Little Women. Of course I love that she was a writer! But I also really admire her creativity, strength, and determination. She worked hard and beat the incredible odds of becoming published. She’s always inspired me to reach higher and work harder!
8. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
My debut book is currently hitting bookstore shelves and it’s been very fun to hear where readers are getting their first sight of it. If you see my book, be sure to take a picture of yourself with it and send it to me via my email so that I can put it into the slide-show in my blog.
Jody Hedlund is a debut historical romance novelist who was a double finalist in the 2009 ACFW Genesis Contest. 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 Midland, Michigan, with her husband and five busy children.
She’s represented by agent Rachelle Gardner and her debut book, The Preacher’s Bride, released in Oct. 2010 and is available online and in most bookstores. Stop by her blog, Author, Jody Hedlund , where she chronicles her journey to publication and dispenses more of her two-cent writing wisdom
Thanks so much for stopping by today, Jody. I’m looking forward to reading your book soon.
To win a copy of The Preacher’s Bride, leave a comment here before midnight my time (Mountain Daylight Time), and I’ll pick a random winner via random.org. Please be sure you leave a valid email address in the comment form so I can let you know you’ve won and get your mailing address. I’ll post a quick announcement here Friday morning as well.
Note: Comments take a few moments to post here, so you won’t see it immediately.