Friday, August 30, 2013

Fabulous Friday Feature - Jody Hedlund

Today I welcome 
Jody Hedlund,
whose characters nagged her until she wrote their story.

Enter to win Jody's September 2013 release,
Rebellious Heart
Scroll to the end of the post to see how to enter.

I keep a close eye on books about to be published. When I saw Jody's book would be released in September I just had to invite her to visit with us. I am so deeply honored she said "Yes." I asked Jody to share with us the journey God has led her on for her writing career. Here is what she said:

I Knew I Was Getting Close!

Like many writers I was born with a pen in my hand. I filled notebooks with stories when I was growing up.

My passion for writing followed me into adulthood. I wanted to be an author. But like most aspiring writers, I struggled to know how I could use my gifts and abilities in a career. When my college years came, I knew I would need a career that could pay the bills while I worked on my novels. So I went to Taylor University in Indiana and then eventually to the University of Wisconsin in Madison where I got my Masters in Social Work.

I kept writing and learning about writing during the years when I worked as a social worker. And it was during those post-college years, when I was working and before I had kids, that I really studied the craft of writing. I read every how-to book about fiction techniques I could get my hands on.
During that pre-child time, I also wrote five books. The last of those five books garnered attention from an editor at a publishing house but was eventually rejected. So I knew I was getting close to being ready for publication.

While the rejection was discouraging, I also knew that most writers have to write numerous books before they’re finally good enough for publication. I never looked at those early books as wasted attempts. Instead I viewed them as preparation and training for growing into a skillful author.

But as life (and God) would have it, I ended up taking a long writing hiatus. Shortly after the birth of my twins, I set aside my writing completely for about seven years. As I now look back over those years, I can see how much the hiatus helped me grow personally, spiritually, and deepened my life experiences.

The first book I wrote after my seven year break was
The Preacher’s Bride. At the time I wrote the book, my youngest two children were still very little, so I had to sneak in writing during nap time and in the evenings after their bedtime. In all, the book took me about a year to complete, writing only about 500 words a day.

After my long break, I didn't know how I compared with other authors. And quite frankly, I wasn't sure if my writing skills were up to par. I hemmed and hawed and finally decided it wouldn’t hurt to send my manuscript out to publishers and see what happened. So I turned on my handy internet and began researching publishers.

Times had changed drastically since I’d queried and submitted years before. I quickly learned that most publishers didn’t accept unsolicited manuscripts, that I would likely need to get an agent if I had any hope of getting into a bigger traditional publisher. And so, I began to compile a list of agents who represented inspirational fiction and sent out the queries.

Slowly the rejections trickled back in. The Preacher’s Bride was rejected by every agent I sent it to . . .

Except one.

Only one agent showed an interest, a fairly new agent, who at that time was still building her client list. She told me she liked my query and asked me to send her the entire manuscript. So I did. But I was still very naïve and checked my email several times a day, excited and yet nervous all at the same time.

One week passed in to two. And then three. And then four. Months passed. And I didn’t hear one word from the agent.

In the meantime, I decided I would keep writing. So that year, as The Preacher’s Bride continued to languish in the agent’s slush pile, I put my heart and soul into writing another book.

So how did I finally get my big break?

I entered the
Genesis contest through ACFW in 2009. And The Preacher’s Bride and the other manuscript I had just completed finaled. Once I received the exciting phone call about my final, I contacted the agent that had The Preacher’s Bride in her slush pile and updated her on the status.

Fortunately the final perked her attention and she pulled my manuscript, read it, and three days later called and offered me representation. Three months later I signed a contract with Bethany House publishers. And they offered me a three book deal.

Now in 2013, after finishing two contracts, I've signed a third book contract with Bethany House Publishers.

Moral of the story?

Good things come in threes? *grin*

No seriously, the real moral is that my trip to publication didn't happen overnight. I had pit stops along the way, detours, and a long uphill climb. But through it all, I never gave up my passion for writing. And no matter what the future may bring, I know I'll always love writing.

I love hearing from readers! Make sure you stop by one of these places and say hello.

I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund
I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund
My home base is at my website:
Or you're welcome to email me at:

Jody Hedlund is an award-winning historical romance novelist and author of the best-selling books, The Preacher's Bride, Unending Devotion, and A Noble Groom. 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. 

To enter the contest for an autographed copy of 
Jody Hedlund's book: "Rebellious Heart":
leave a comment (and email address)
and become a follower of this site if you aren't already.

Winner announced on my facebook page.

Thank you, Jody, for Joining us This Weekend!

Friend, what a fun spirit Jody conveys in her description of her writing journey led by God. Let's see here are a few she mentioned: 
She read every how to book about the topic
She took the rejection letter as a sign she was getting close to publication
She also viewed rejection as training
She made her children a priority, but used her free time to write
She entered a contest to get her break 

Choose one and add your comment.


squiresj said...

This book looks very interesting. Good morning since I am first to comment. God Bless your writing and use you for his glory.
jrs362 at Hotmail dot com

Janice said...

Contests are great! A number of years ago I entered a contest with Quality Paperback Book Club for their anthology of short short stories. My tiny story was a winner and was included in their book, The Shortest Stories of All Time. It gave me the thought that perhaps I could write a longer story at some time in the future.

I am so glad to read the journeys of all the writers you interview, Mary. Each is so unique and glorifies God in showing the variety of good plans He has for people. Jody's books sound really good. It would be great to win it.

Blessings, Janice

Patty said...

Thanks for featuring Jody on your blog! I've really enjoyed all of her books, especially her most recent A Noble Groom. So glad that so never gave up on her writing/getting published journey!


Mary Vee Writer said...

Good morning, Jane, I'm glad to see you here.
I thought the same about this new release from Jody and look forward to buying my copy.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Fantastic, a previous reader of Jody's books. You are a great asset to our chat today. What was your favorite part of Noble Groom?

Mary Vee Writer said...

Hi Janice!

Well, your name is definitely in the drawing. And--I didn't know you won a contest! Congratulations! Maybe that book is waiting for you to write it?

Unknown said...

I like that she made her family a priority and wrote in her free time!! God honors us when we put first things first!

Linda Ortiz said...

Love the interview!! It is wonderful that you had a persistence to continue to write and not give up! I look forward to reading your new book! :)

Linda Ortiz

Susan Johnson said...

I read The Preacher's Bride. Loved it. I liked reading how it finally got published. It shows how God works in His time.

Anonymous said...

Jody's books are a pleasure to read. With engaging characters and storylines they are must reads.


Mary Vee Writer said...

Too true, Pam. And now look at her reward! God loves when we prioritize in a way that honors Him most. Have you gone to Jody's website? Stop by. She has a pick of those cute kids there.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Hi, Linda!
I so agree. Persistence is key to all our life success. Even if physically handicapped, there are so many ways we can have persistence to do as God has directed.
Great thought. Thanks for joining us, today.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Isn't if fun to know "the rest of the story?" I assume you enjoyed the Preacher's Bride. What did you like the most about it?

I'm so glad to see you here today. Be sure to grab some virtual sweet tea (I have some real tea in my hand right now. :)

Anonymous said...

I find all of the Jody Hedlund books I've read thus far an inspiration, thank you!
-Kelsey P.

Mary Vee Writer said...

I do believe you have paid Jody one of the highest compliments. Which of her books is your favorite?

Thanks so much for joining our chat today, I hope to see you again. :)

Rebecca said...

Thanks for sharing your journey to publication. I have 3 stories rolling around in my mind, but have yet to put any words on paper. I enjoy reading how new authors got their start and the steps they go through to create not only their story but the characters.

Gretchen E.K. Engel said...

She also viewed rejection as training

I've entered several contests. I've yet to final or semi-final but I've received enough high scores to know that I'm "getting there". I've also received some great feedback.

I loved A Noble Groom.
It's about a physicist and the little girl is named Gretchen. What's not to love?
Favorite part. Not so much a scene but many scenes. The way Carl plays with Gretchen. So cute!

Mary Vee Writer said...

An inspiration! That sounds like these books have ministered to your heart. What a blessing. Especially since Jody has followed the calling God has given her. Thanks so much for your encouragement to her ministry, Kelsey.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Me too, Rebecca.

Reading their stories have been such an encouragement. It shows that following God's will isn't necessarily easy, but it will always be good.

I hope you have the opportunity to get to know the characters dancing in your mind :) It is such a fun adventure.

Mary Vee Writer said...

You've sold me. I need to get a copy of A Noble Groom. :)

As for entering several contests, it sounds like you have gained the most important ingredient: great feedback. Keep going, girl. Don't give up. Some day....some day. We'll walk together. I am waiting for my some day, too.

Unknown said...

Cannot wait to read this. I love Jody's writing ability and LOVE her characters. One of my favorite authors!

Alisa said...

I can't wait until this book comes out!!

Anonymous said...

Marguerite Beal: So interested in reading your new book. Thanks for the info

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this interview and hosting the giveaway.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Welcome Patti.
Yes, sometimes the release date is far away when we know an exciting book is about to reach the shelf.
Thanks so much for joining us today.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Thanks for joining our conversation, today, Alisa. Hope to see you back again.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Marguerite, thank you for joining our chat today. So glad you spent time with us.

Mary Vee Writer said...

You are very welcome. Hope you are able to come back and visit with us again.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Did you want to leave an email address so we can contact you?

Jody Hedlund said...

Hi Everyone!

Thank you so much for stopping by Mary's blog today and reading about my journey to publication! I hope that you'll all have the chance to read my new release at some point! Make sure you check out my website for LOTS more chances to win a signed copy!

Have a wonderful weekend! Blessings!

Wendy Newcomb said...

I am anxious to get this book, thank you for the chance to win it. I love Jody's books and this cover is beautiful!

I follow your blog by GFC (wfnren) and by email:


Mary Vee Writer said...

Thanks for becoming a follower and best wishes in the drawing!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Thank you so much for becoming a follower and best wishes in the drawing!

Patty said...

I loved the whole 'fish out of water' aspect of A Noble Groom. Carl - a nobleman was so out of place on a farm in Michigan. But he was a smart guy and was willing to work hard.
I'm sure you would enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

She read every how-to book she could to get more information on the topic. I love that she has twins! I am a twin too!! I look forward to reading this book. Donna Brookmyer

Pam K. said...

I've read a couple of Jody's books and really enjoyed them. Her other books are on my want-to-read list. I'm glad she persevered in her writing when publication didn't come quickly.
Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Rebellious Heart.


Mary Vee Writer said...

Great to see you. Come on in.
I think the cover to Jody's latest release is very inviting, too. Which of Jody's book do you like the best?

Best wishes in the drawing.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Hi Donna
Welcome to Let's talk. It sounds like you might have some inside information about her how to book readings. Of course, how to books are a great way to perfect any career.

You are a twin! I have to ask, do you and your twin still dress alike?

Thanks so much for visiting with us today. I look forward to your next visit.

Mary Vee Writer said...

I'm so glad you could come today. I was saving a chair for you. It is quite a compliment for Jody that you have read a couple of her books and want to read more. Best wishes on the book drawing.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Patti, Thank you for becoming a follower! I look forward to future visits. We have guests every Friday and chat about "stuff" M/W.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good book. I'll be looking for it.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Thanks for visiting today! Would you like to enter the drawing?
Hope to see you again.

Unknown said...

I love Jody's books. Jody's perseverance, courage and faith kept her going and growing in her writing. I'm so thankful she didn't give up. Thank you for sharing with us. Please enter my name in the giveaway. Thank you!
Barbara Thompson

Also, I'm a follower of this site!

Marissa said...

Priority is huge for me! I always need to remember to keep God first in my life.


Heidi Reads... said...

Viewing rejection as training is very courageous! It's not easy to do.
Thanks for the giveaway!


Mary Vee Writer said...

Hey Barbara, Nice to see you here today.
Jody is a good example of perseverance, courage, and faith, one who is a Christ like example for many.

Blessing on the drawing, Barb:)

Mary Vee Writer said...

Priority can get us. There are so many other tempting things. You are wise to set God first in your life as a priority. Way to go Marissa.

I'm so glad you stopped by to visit with all of us.

Blessings on the drawing, Marissa. :)

Mary Vee Writer said...

Hi Heidi,
I'm so glad you joined our conversation today and became a follower.

The only time I do well with viewing rejection as a training is about ten days after I see it. Those female emotions can be a killer. But thanks be to God, He pulls me back on target.

Looking forward to seeing you again, Heidi.

bonton said...

Hi, Jody!

Really enjoyed reading about your journey to becoming a published writer! I'm a reader, & as I've said before - knowing the process involved & the struggles endured - by writers - helps us appreciate & enjoy the books even more.

"She viewed rejection as training" - this is true of so many things in life. It is through the struggles (the training) that we learn the most, & the patience & reward gained by the wait makes us aware of the God's wonderful timing.

Would love to read Rebellious Heart!


Mary Vee Writer said...

Hey Bonnie,
I'm so glad you came.
What a wonderful comment you left. There is nothing left to add. :)

Have a super day and blessings on the book drawing.

Sylvia Ney said...

I love her books and I'm really excited about this one. Also glad I've found and connected with some of her other readers as well. I'm hosting a giveaway of Rebellious Heart on Sept. 2 at:

Carla Gade said...

It's a great interview and a wonderful story of Jody's perseverance. Blessings!

J.Grace said...

Thank you for the post and for sharing your writing journey-loved The Preacher’s Bride! I am also a follower of this blog.

Thanks for the giveaway



Unknown said...

Get post! Thank you for hosting a giveaway as well. I am a follower of your blog!

Have a blessed Labor Day!


Mary Vee Writer said...

Thanks Sylvia, I'll put it on my calendar to hop over there on the 2nd.
Thank you also for becoming a follower!.
It was so fun meeting you today, looking forward to seeing you again.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Welcome Carla!
I see you, too, are published. That is fantastic!
Looking forward to seeing you again.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Yes, I saw you have become a follower. Thank you so much. I am looking forward to future visits. We have a great group of people who frequent here.

Blessings on the drawing.

Mary Vee Writer said...

So nice to see you, and yes, thank you for being a follower. I enjoy doing the book giveaways. The authors are so gracious sharing their stories both testimonial and their book. We are truly blessed here. Hope to see you again!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mary for having Jody here for an review. An interesting one too. I think her taking her rejection as a sign that she was closer to being published, showed that she had a good strong outlook. Also, that she took the rejections as a learning time. Sounds like a pretty smart lady. I wish her continued success. Please put my name in the drawing. I've really been wanting to win this book. Thanks to you both for this give-away. I am a follower of this blog. MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

Mary Vee Writer said...

I almost didn't think you would come. I'm so glad I waited for you.

You definitely are in the drawing :)

KayM said...

Mary, I am new to your blog. I signed up to be a follower. If the contest is still open, I'd love to be added.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Just in time, Kay.
I was very busy today and am just now getting to the drawing. So glad you stopped by:)
And thank you for becoming a follower.

Unknown said...

O' I hope I made it on time to enter this contest/giveaway...would love to win...Rebellious Heart...but if not I'll add it to my wish list.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Sorry, Juanita. The contest ended Sunday evening. BUT I see you have found us, joined the gang, and have entered Laura Frantz's book drawing. I'm so glad you came.

Unknown said...

I was looking for Laura Frantz book site today and I found Jody Hedlund story! I found Jody's story of how hard it was to get her wonderful books published, it's a huge sign to me that God wanted her to continue to write for to send a .message from God, I have all four of her books I love them all,! Jody's story really inspired me to work harder at my God's journey to continue being a Chaplain!I am now disabled and was told I couldn't continue to voulteer Being a Chaplain at the hospital as I have to wear oxygen as i have COPD and I have to wear oxygen! Which really surprised me because most of the patients are wearing oxygen,! So after reading Jody's story of hard it was getting published, I will try harder now too, ! As I said I just caught Jody's bio on here and thrilled to have read it! I found waiting seven years to be a new parent to her twins was. My favorite part of her bio! She gave up on being published for 7 years but continued to write! So she knows God's number one Thing for her to do first! I am also a twin, yes, I saw another reader is a twin also! Iove Jody's books and I think she is a great author,, I can't wait for her new book to come out, my favorite book is all of them but if I had to pick one it would be the "the Noble Groom because he cared so much for children and especially the cover of the book! It is even embossed! Reades please don't miss out on Jody's books as she is an awesome writer! You will be spending all night reading her books! You can't put them down! Please put Me on the list of this site and also Jody's site ! As I feel it an Honer to read Jody's books especially after reading her bio, see hard work pays off and you can still keep your passion going , and Keep God as your number person to please and honor,!
Love your sister in Christ,
Darleneu Lindstrom