The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Rachel Wojnarowski is Carol Ellmore! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This week Jody Hedlund is in the spotlight! To win a copy of her Unending Devotion, leave a comment on this post!
Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?
I’m a coffee-guzzling, chocolate-loving, avid-reader, and passionate writer! I’ve been married to my college sweetheart for twenty-one years, and we have five busy children whom we homeschool. When I’m not teaching or running my kids to activities, I try to squeeze in my writing time.
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…
I write historical romances. My first two published books The Preacher’s Bride and The Doctor’s Lady are inspired by real life heroes of the Christian faith and their love relationships.
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
I’m pretty sure I was born with a pen in one hand and a notebook in the other. Since my earliest days, I loved making up stories and writing them down. The passion followed me into adulthood. And after many twists and turns along the path, I’ve finally been able to channel that passion into a full time writing career.
What are your biggest distractions?
Between my homeschooling and writing I have two full time jobs. It’s definitely not easy. But like any other writer trying to balance dual careers or multiple responsibilities, I’ve had to look for ways to make it work. I’ve scaled-back on outside commitments and simplified home life as much as possible. I also stick to a very strict writing schedule when I’m in first draft mode. I block out writing time and don’t let myself go to bed at night unless I get in my daily word count.
What do you most like about being a writer? Least like?
Most like: 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.
Least like: 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. During the Galley stage, I’m fraught with insecurity and fear.
What advice would you give to new writers?
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.
What’s on the book horizon for you?
My newest book, Unending Devotion has recently released. I live in central Michigan in an area that was once filled with towering white pines and that played a major role in the lumber era. In the 1870’s through the early 1880’s, lumbering employed more workers than any other industrial occupation in the United States. The white pine tree was considered “green gold” and netted greater profit than the gold rush of the West.
During my research for the book, I began reading biographies about people who lived during the lumber era. And as I did, I ran across stories of young women who didn’t fit into the glamorized legends and songs.
The stories of many of these women were much darker. They’re tales of women who were abused, exploited, and even enslaved.
Unending Devotion is inspired by one of those women, Jennie King. She rode a train into central Michigan in answer to newspaper ad for a job. She expected to work in a hotel. Instead she found herself enslaved in a brothel. She fled, but was recaptured and beaten. The brave and desperate woman escaped again, wearing only a nightgown, and this time gained help from a local family. The brothel owner tried to get her back again. But the family helped smuggle Jennie out of town and to a safe place.
In fact, Unending Devotion is tour with Litfuse right now! Head on over and see what other readers are saying about it and enter for your chance to win a Nikon Photography package!
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?
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.com
Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)