Wednesday, December 8, 2010

An Interview and a Giveaway!

We've all heard the moving stories of famous preachers and missionaries from days gone by. William Carey, Adoniram Judson, Charles Spurgeon, John Bunyan, and countless others. Have you ever thought about the women behind these great men of faith? In her debut novel, The Preacher's Bride, historical romance novelist, Jody Hedlund helps us imagine what it would be like to live in the 1600's, married to a man who is intent on sharing the gospel no matter the cost.

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing author, Jody Hedlund!

Maria: Thanks for joining us today! Tell us a bit about your debut novel, The Preacher's Bride.

Jody: The Preacher’s Bride is a tale about finding true love amidst the intense discrimination and persecution that existed after the Restoration of the monarchy in 1650’s England.

This book is inspired by Elizabeth Bunyan, the second wife of John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress. I loved the brave way Elizabeth defended John during one of his trials when he was under arrest for his “unlicensed” preaching. Her strength to face a court of persecutors and her determination to faithfully support her husband touched me so deeply, that I decided her little-known story needed to be told to the world.

Maria: Which character in your book can you most easily identify with? And why?

Jody: My 92 year old grandmother recently finished reading my book. She wrote me a letter and said she kept seeing my name in place of Elizabeth’s, the heroine. Apparently my grandma was seeing my personality coming across in Elizabeth’s. I didn’t intentionally write Elizabeth to resemble me, but in hindsight, I can see that as a strong woman of faith she shares many of my characteristics.

Maria: Your book has done extremely well! Describe how you felt when you found out The Preacher's Bride was on the CBA best seller list.

Jody: Stunned to make the list. Excited to see a dream come true. Grateful to God for his goodness. Humbled that people are reading and enjoying my book.

Maria: Share some lessons you've learned on your journey from rough draft to publication.

Jody: Perseverance is KEY. There will always be discouraging times no matter where we’re at in the journey. For a while, I wondered if an agent would ever pick me up. And after hearing the dismal statistics about how few debut authors get picked up by publishers, I wondered if a publisher would ever take an interest in my books. But, I persevered and learned that if we continue to grow in our skills and work on our stories, industry professionals will eventually notice us.

Maria: How do you keep your writing fresh?

Jody: Currently I’m in the researching and plotting phase of my third contracted book. While in this phase, I’m reading a couple of fiction-writing “how-to” books. Reading them refreshes me, sparks new ideas, reminds me of techniques I need to practice, and pushes me to improve.

Maria: You're an extremely busy lady, and family is obviously very important to you, how do you prioritize your day? How many hours do you spend writing?

Jody: 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.

Maria: How has being a published author changed you?

Jody: Through the stresses and deadlines and increased workload, God has stretched me to grow. As I’ve juggled a writing career and other responsibilities, I’ve had to learn to let go of some of the things that aren’t important (like a dusted house or perfectly prepared meals) and instead cling to what matters most (like family time).

Maria: Any chance you might write a non-fiction book in the future? If so, what topic?

Jody: I’ve always tossed around the idea of writing non-fiction. Over the years, I’ve had plenty of ideas, particularly about parenting and marriage. I could even see myself delving into a writing how-to book. But for now, at this busy stage in my life, I’m sticking with fiction.

Maria: What goals have you set for your future? Writing and otherwise.

Jody: I’m actually taking the future one day at a time. I want to be obedient to God’s plans for my life. For now, he’s given me a three book contract. I intend to write the very best three books that I possibly can. Then after that, I’ll see where he leads me!

Maria: What final words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers?

Jody: God’s life lessons aren’t always clearly written out on a blackboard. Instead, it’s often when we’re in the middle of difficulties, stresses, and hardships that we slowly begin to see what God is trying to teach us. And ultimately the lesson is that he longs for our holiness more than our happiness.

Maria: Definitely words of wisdom we can all take to heart! Thank you so much for joining us today, Jody! Congratulations on your first successful novel! And God give you many more successes as you continue to write for His honor and glory!

Good news! If you're interested in winning an autographed copy of Jody's debut novel, The Preacher's Bride:

• Leave a comment to this post, include your email address in the following format: morgan(dot) maria(dot)i(at)gmail(dot)com. Entries without an email address are not eligible.

• Receive an extra entry by becoming a follower, or by reminding me that you're already a follower.

• Receive a bonus entry by posting about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook and/or Twitter. Please be sure and let me know you did so in your comment.

• This is open to US residents only. My sincere apology to those followers outside the US.

• Deadline to enter is midnight Eastern Standard Time, Sunday, December 12, 2010. Winner to be announced in Monday's post. The winner will be notified via email.

Take a moment to read Jody's biography!

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 her two-cent writing wisdom.

Visit Jody at the following locations:



  1. Thanks Maria for this interview and book giveaway, I LOVE it and I am interested to learn more about Jody's first book! As a follower of your blog I feel free to enter, my e-mail is marjameijers(at)filternet(dot)nl and I'll re-post on Facebook!!

  2. By the way Maria... I don't see a 'share' button on your blog. I've re-posted on Facebook anyway. I hope many people will sign up, this is a great thing to do in this Christmas season!

  3. Maria, this was great! Count me in on the opportunity for your giveaway.


  4. The Preacher's Bride is an amazing book! I definitely think a how-to book on writing is in Jody's future. Her blog is already a must-read about the publishing industry for me.

  5. Marja - So glad you're interested in Jody's novel! I'm certain you would love it! She's a fantastic writer and her subject matter is wonderful. I've signed you up for the book giveaway (you have 3 entries!!). Thanks for re-posting on FB! (I must admit I don't know about the 'share' button - help?!) And yes, I love the opportunity to do a giveaway right before Christmas! What a great gift!! Have a wonderful day and God bless!

    Diana - Glad you enjoyed the interview! Jody is a wonderful writer and a very sweet lady! I've signed you up for the drawing and given you 2 entries! Have a great day and God bless! :)

  6. Heather - Couldn't agree with you more! Her blog provides essential information for writers, and she does it in a reader-friendly way. I'm with you - bring on the How-To book, Jody! Have a beautiful week! God bless!

  7. Thanks for the great interview, Maria. I'm a huge fan of Jody's work. She's an excellent storyteller. The Preacher's Bride is a wonderful novel. I blasted through it in two sittings, staying up until the wee hours to finish it. I've had the privilege of reading The Doctor's Lady in manuscript form and know Jody's readers are in for another great read.

    Please do not enter me in the drawing. I already have an autographed copy of Jody's book. =)

  8. That is so sweet about your grandmother! What high praise. Best wishes for continued success on the book - I have heard great things about it.
    Im a follower.

  9. Oh wow! Another opportunity to be blessed with a great book! Hi, Maria, I'm excited about this giveaway. I'll be posting a link of your blog post in my blog and will share this on my hubby's Facebook (because I don't have my own). And, of course, I just want to remind you that I'm also one of your stalkers! hahaha.. Take care and be blessed always!

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Oh, my brain... hehe... here's my email:


    By the way, I've posted your giveaway in my blog already (
    and have shared it on my husband's FB & the page "Women of Virtue".
    Weeee... Okay, take care always.

  12. This is my first visit to your site and I really enjoyed the interview. Please enter me into the drawing for THE PREACHER'S BRIDE. It's my birthday today, so that would be a great present!! Thanks!


  13. Wonderful interview! Jody is such an inspiration to me, and I loved her book. Counting down the months until book 2 hits the stands!

  14. Hi everyone! So good to see some new faces as well as some friends I already know! Glad to see you all! :-) And thank you, Maria, for having me here today on your wonderful blog! :-)

  15. It is great to be introduced to a new to me author. Love the book title, as I am a preacher's daughter and a precher's wife. Fun.

    Thanks, Maria, for a great interview.



  16. What a wonderful interview. Thanks for letting us get to know Jody a little bit better.


    I will also post on Facebook and Twitter

  17. Great interview! I loved the book and would love to read it again!

  18. Maria,
    Thanks for the wonderful interview. Jody is indeed a treasure. As are you - hence I am a follower! :)
    My email (as you know) is panzica(dot)susan(at)gmail(dot)com.
    Blessings to you my friend,

  19. Hello! I hope its ok that I posted a link to your giveaway. Loved this book too!
    Natalie :0)

  20. Hi, Maria! I love Jody and I loved, loved, loved her book! Thanks for a wonderful interview. Please count me in for the giveaway. :-)

    I'm a new follower.
    Posted to FB
    mrso_d at yahoo dot com

  21. Hi Maria! Loved this interview with Jody, and her book sounds fascinating. I really enjoy historical fiction. Her thoughts about publishing were also so encouraging.

    I think I'm already a follower. ;)

    Julie jeffjulmission(at)yahoo(dot)com

  22. Thank you so much for the opportunity to receive this book! laughwithusblog at yahoo dot com.

  23. Kelli - Thanks so much for stopping by! What a great opportunity to read Jody's second manuscript already! I'm sure we're all in for a treat. I appreciate you leaving a comment even though you already have The Preacher's Bride. And thanks for the friend request on FB - I look forward to checking out your blog and getting to know you! Have a great weekend, and God bless! :)

    Jan - Great to see your smiling face! I'm sure you would thoroughly enjoy Jody's book! I've signed you up for the giveaway (you have 2 entries!). Have a blessed weekend!

    Cookie - I'm sure you'll love Jody's book if you're chosen as the winner! Thanks for all the promotion!! It's much appreciated! I've signed you up for the giveaway (you have 3 entries!!). Have an amazing weekend, and God bless!

  24. Amber - Happy, happy, birthday!! Welcome to Life Lessons! So nice that you stopped by! I'm sure you would love Jody's book! I've entered you in the drawing (you have 1 entry!) If you'd like to follow my blog, you'll earn a second entry in the drawing. Hope you have a wonderful day! God bless!

    Jill - I definitely agree! I'm looking forward to seeing your novel in print, too!! Have a fantastic weekend, my friend! :)

  25. Jody - A BIG thank you for allowing me the opportunity to interview you! Appreciate you stopping by today! Looking forward in anticipation to your second book, The Doctor's Lady. Have a great weekend and I'll let you know who wins the copy of The Preacher's Bride! Hugs & Blessings! :)

  26. Glenda - So good to see you! Hope you're adjusting to your new location. Wow, as a preacher's daughter and a preacher's wife you'd love Jody's book! I've signed you up for the drawing - you have two entries!! Have a great week and God bless!

    Suzanne - Welcome to Life Lessons! Thanks so much for stopping by! I love getting the opportunity to meet other bloggers. Glad you enjoyed the interview - Jody is a wonderful person as well as a great writer! I've included you in the drawing - you have two entries! If you'd like to become a follower, you can earn another entry! Have a great week and God bless!

    Julie - Welcome to Life Lessons! Thanks so much for stopping by. I've entered you in the drawing for Jody's book, The Preacher's Bride! You've got one entry. If you'd like to become a follower, you can earn another entry! God bless!

  27. Susan - Thanks for stopping by! Jody IS a sweetheart! I've entered you in the drawing - you've got 2 entries! Looking forward to stopping by your blog! Have a beautiful week and God bless!

    Natalie - Welcome to Life Lessons! Thanks for stopping by! Thank you so much for posting the link. Glad you enjoyed the book. I'll be sure to stop by your website! Look forward to getting to know you! God bless!

    Shannon - Welcome to Life Lessons! So glad you stopped by! Thanks for following my blog! Look forward to getting to know you! Jody's book IS amazing, isn't it? I've entered you for the drawing - you have 3 entries! Have a great week & God bless! :)

    Julie - Great to see you! You'll have to be sure to check out Jody's website - her blog is a wealth of information! I know you'd enjoy it! I've entered you for the drawing - you have 2 entries! Have a great week & God bless! :)

    Esther - Thanks so much for stopping by! I know you'd love Jody's book! I've entered you for the drawing - you have 2 entries! Have a fantastic week and God bless!