About the Author
Jody Hedlund is an award-winning and bestselling author of inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.
As a busy mama-writer, she has the wonderful privilege of teaching her crew of 5 children at home. In between grading math papers and giving spelling tests, she occasionally does a load of laundry and washes dishes. When she's not busy being a mama, you can find her in front of her laptop working on another of her page-turning stories.
She loves reading almost as much as she loves writing, especially when it also involves chocolate and coffee.
Book Related Q&A
1. You’ve based A Daring Sacrifice a little bit on the Robin Hood story. What drew you to this medieval tale?
I've always loved tales about underdogs rising up against injustice. The story of Robin Hood encompasses such an element, where the poor are unfairly cast from their homes, forced into hiding, and must rely upon their fearless leader to fight for their rights.
Instead of a nobleman leading and fighting for the needs of the underdogs, I decided to add a twist and have my heroine, a displaced noblewoman, be the leader of a band of poor outcasts. As a skilled archer, she's gained a reputation as the "Cloaked Bandit" doing her best to protect and provide for the people she's grown to love.
2. Why Middle Ages/Medieval Times? What draws you to that particular era?
I’ve always loved fairy tales, castles, knights, and damsels in distress. I love the chivalry, honor, and courage that are so often displayed during that time. And I really like how stark and different their way of living was. It’s SO different than how we live that it’s fascinating.
Additionally, I love that the Middle Ages was filled with so much danger not only from wars and battles among kings and lords, but also due to the elements, harsh living conditions, and diseases. It was a time for plagues, dungeons, torture, and all the stuff that makes for a good plot!
3. How is writing for a YA audience different than writing for an adult audience? What are the similarities? The Differences: While many of my adult readers have enjoyed my YA books just as much if not more than my adult novels, I do get adult readers now and then who are surprised, maybe even disgruntled, with the fact that my YA books are slightly different than my adult novels. And I try to gently remind them, that they’re supposed to be different. First, my YA books are shorter, crisper, and less historically detailed. In fact, I’d almost go as far as saying that my YA are more fairy-tale world than true historicals. They contain enough detail to give a “flavor” of another place, but not too much to bog down younger readers. Secondly, my YA books are more plot driven than character driven. I’ve included battle scenes as well as some of the seat-of-your pants danger that appeals to the modern teen reader. I plunge my characters into desperate, life-threatening situations which, in the era of books like The Hunger Games, is appealing to modern readers).
A third difference is in how I'm approaching the heroine and the romance. My YA heroines are a bit younger and so they are more of a coming of age story where the heroine must grapple with some "growing up" issues. I’ve also tried to keep the romance very sweet and tender (as opposed to my adult novels that while clean, are more passionate in nature).
The Similarities: Whether my adult novels or YA, I simply want to tell a compelling story. I hope that I’ve been able to entertain and perhaps even inspire in both of my markets.
1. With your busy life, how do you find time to read?
Two words. Audio books. I have an Audible.com membership and I keep them in business. I have the Audible app on my phone so I can listen to a book at the quick touch of a button, rather than having to go to the library and check out CDs only to find that they’re scratched when I get them home into the CD player that only works half the time! Yes, having audio books available for quick and easy download is my comfort food.
2. Why do you write?
I write because I love telling stories. I love the quote by Toni Morrison because it sums up part of why I write: "If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." Essentially I write the stories that I LOVE to read! Of course there are other, deeper reasons I write too. But that's one of the main ones.
3. You have five children, so you must have plenty of interruptions when you’re writing. How do you handle the interruptions?
Yes, I DO have MANY interruptions each time I sit down to write. If I waited for perfect conditions, however, I’d never write. I’ve simply made up my mind to work under the circumstances I’ve been given, even if they’re less than ideal at times.
One thing that helps is that I give myself daily word count goals. I block in work time as best I can every day, and then I stick to it. I also let my family know my schedule. And while I try to minimize the interruptions, I’ve learned that I just need to attend to whatever the need is (whether it’s a child needing a snack or the dog getting into the garbage, etc.) and then get back to my writing as soon as possible. In other words, I don’t let the interruptions paralyze me.
4. What three tips do you have for beginning writers?
1) Write the first book for yourself without worrying about rules or publication. There’s something about that first book (or first few) that helps unleash the creative side of story-telling.
2) Finish a book. There’s nothing like the experience of completing a book from first page to the last to help a writer move out of the wannabe category.
3) Study basic fiction-writing techniques. Check out fiction “how-to” books from a local library. Take lots of notes. Then put it all into practice by writing another book or two.
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