I‘m thrilled to be kicking off the first in a monthly series of writer-mama “Spotlight’s on…” posts. Michigan mama Jody Hedlund has graciously taken time out of her busy life as a home-schooling mother of five, as well as her work as a newly emerging author, to share her insights with Peace Garden Mama.
Jody recently signed a three-book contract with Bethany House Publishers. Her first book, tentatively titled, The Preacher’s Bride, is due to release in October 2010.
As a writer of historical romances, Jody is inspired by the true stories of the great faith heroes of the past and the brides that helped make them into godly men. She also finds inspiration when she’s writing about historical people and events in her home state of Michigan.
After approximately seven years of serious writing, Jody has finally broken through the traditional publishing door and entered a new phase of her writing career—that of becoming a published author.Here’s what she’s got on her mind these days regarding the colorful new author hat she’s adding to her collection. Reader’s, I present to you, Jody Hedlund!
What does it feel like to have broken through? And what are you experiencing right now as you contemplate the future?
Right now I’m still in a state of disbelief! But I’m sure once I get my first set of rewrites from my editor, reality will smack me hard! Seriously, I’m excited about the new path ahead of me, but I also am looking at the uphill climb with a bit of apprehension. Will my friends compliment me on my writing, but secretly not be able to finish my books? Will I be able to handle the new demands of deadlines? How will I handle the marketing? All that to say, getting published is a very exciting process, but not without all the self-doubts too!
As you’re starting this new journey in your writing career, how are you rearranging your life to prepare for the next step? And how has your family responded to your new author hat?
In the past, my family viewed my writing with tolerance and at times mild annoyance. But after finaling in a fiction contest earlier in the year and acquiring an agent, their esteem of my writing began to rise. Now, especially after getting a book contract, they’ve accepted that my writing is important to me. In fact they are thrilled at my success and have been flexible with my adjustments: cooking less, cutting back on hospitality, visiting less with friends, and fewer social commitments.
Has anything surprised you about this new stage? Or have you experienced any adversity?
The biggest surprise was realizing that Bethany House saw enough potential in me that they decided to work with me. I consider myself a fairly ordinary writer. I’ve worked hard over the years to learn the craft, but I’m certainly not Pulitzer-Prize material. With a lot of tenacity and a nudge from God at the right time, I slipped through the publishing door. I want to encourage other writers that if this can happen to me, don’t lose hope that it can happen to you too.
How do you manage to write? As a mother of five children under the age of 12, when do you find the time?
This is often one of the first questions people ask me! Grocery lines, waiting rooms, restaurants—I’m always getting THE question: Five children? (Gasp!) How do you handle so many? Now I get: How do you handle five children AND have a writing career? My answer is the same for both questions: God’s grace is sufficient. With each child he’s given me and with each new step of my writing journey, he stretches me to grow in character. Through mothering and through writing I’ve learned patience, tolerance, perseverance, and much more than I could ever list. Most importantly, my heart has expanded to hold more love than I ever believed possible.
What’s the driving force behind what you do?
I squeak in the time to write whenever I can—early mornings, afternoon rest time, late evenings, and weekends. I have a self-disciplined personality, which helps. But what drives me the most is the desire to tell a story. I love the ability to lose myself in another time and place, to hope and love, and then to share that with others. I pray that my books and my writing journey inspire others to reach for their dreams too.
Thanks so much for coming by, Jody, and for sharing your insights with us. If you readers have any questions for Jody, leave them in the comments box. You can also stop by Jody’s blog, On The Path: One Pilgrim’s Progress To Publication, for more of an in-depth look at Jody’s journey.
The first Wednesday of November, Peace Garden Mama will highlight Lisa Moser, proud author of a new children’s book (her fourth), Kisses on the Wind. Stop by again then, if not before!