Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Doctor's Lady--Interview with Author, Jody Hedlund, and a Book Giveaway!

Today it's my honor to host Jody Hedlund on her blog tour for her fabulous new release, The Doctor's Lady. The Doctor's Lady is a beautiful tale about love, tenacity, and selflessness. The main characters, Eli and Priscilla, are people I wish I'd known, and their journey west captivated me.

Here's a brief summary of the book:

Priscilla White bears the painful knowledge that she'll never be able to be a mother. Having felt God's call to missionary work, she determines to remain single, put her pain behind her, and answer God's call.

Dr. Eli Ernest wants to start a medical clinic and mission in unsettled Oregon Country. He's not interested in taking a wife because of the dangers of life in the west and the fact that no white woman has ever attempted the overland crossing.

But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field. Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs.

Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God's leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts.

I always like to share what I learned from each book I read, and in this case, I learned a great deal about scenes. Jody didn't give us unnecessary details about the main characters' adventures along the Oregon Trail. She jumped ahead to the scenes that mattered, and quickly summarized what had taken place before that time. She did this with such style and made it look easy, but we all know it's not.

Before we dive in to Jody's interview, I'd like point out what many of you already know--that her blog is the go-to place for writing advice that's humble, personal, and practical.

And now some Q&A with award-winning author, Jody Hedlund:

Jody, what was the inspiration behind The Doctor's Lady?

This book is inspired by the true life story of Narcissa Whitman, the first white woman to brave the dangers of overland trail and travel west. In 1836, she married Dr. Whitman, and then the next day left her childhood home and would never return for the purpose of starting a mission among the Nez Perce natives.

It was my hope in this story to bring Narcissa Whitman to life. This heroic woman has often been ignored and at times even disparaged. In reality, she exuded incredible courage to attempt a trip many proclaimed foolishly dangerous. It was called an "unheard-of-journey for females." Because of her willingness to brave the unknown, she led the way for the many women who would follow in her footsteps in what would later become known as the Oregon Trail.

What do you like most about writing and being a published author?

As a writer, 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.

As a published author, I love hearing from readers. I'm always thrilled to get emails or hand-written notes from readers telling me how much my story touched them.

What do you like least?

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. My agent did a great job of talking me off the cliff during my fears with The Doctor's Lady. She encouraged and inspired me to keep going no matter what happens.

As a homeschooling mom of five children, how do you manage to find time to write?

It's definitely not easy. I feel like I have two very full time jobs! 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 advice do you have for anyone interested in writing and pursuing publication?

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.

Jody, thanks so much for stopping by my blog and giving us a peek into your creative process!

Friends, one lucky commenter will receive a copy of The Doctor's Lady (US residents only). Please comment by midnight EST on Friday, October 14 for your chance to win this inspirational book.

Update: I've heard that Blogger isn't allowing some people to leave a comment. If this happens to you, and you'd like to be entered in the book giveaway, please email me at julie (at) juliemusil (dot) com and I'll enter you. So sorry!

Do you love historical fiction? What's your favorite historical novel, or your favorite historical figure? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Jody Hedlund is an award-winning historical romance novelist and author of the best-selling book, The Preacher's Bride. 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. Her second book, The Doctor's Lady released in September 2011.


  1. Sure would be nice to win. Sound like it would be an interesting book. Would like to read the whole book
    Crochetsandi@ hotmail.com
    Thany you sn God Bless. Sandi

  2. Am looking forward to reading this book. Either by winning or as soon as my local Library get it in. kajunfoxy@bellsouth.net

  3. The first one was great and I can't wait to read this one. Would be so good to win it.

  4. Jody's book sounds great. Its great to see Jody's second book; she is one writer I have been following since her first book. I feel happy for her and wish her loads of success.

  5. Hooray for Jody and you! Very cool interview, I learned quite a bit.

  6. Jody is an inspiration for writers who don't think they have the time. Seriously, home schooling FIVE!? Kudos.

    (and would love to win the book! ambernwest(at)gmail(dot)com)

  7. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and supporting Jody. The Doctor's Lady is a beautifully told story, and I know the winner will not be disappointed!

  8. Would love to win the book, read her book "The Preacher's Bride" and thought it was great. Have to save up for a new ereader, was babysitting and one of the kids dropped mine and cracked the screen (2nd one now) so I won't be buying any books until I replace my ereader :( This book would be a nice surprise!

  9. Hi Everyone!! Thanks for having me on your blog today, Julie and for your very kind words about my book! And thanks to everyone else for your encouraging words! You all are so sweet! :-)

  10. Wonderful interview. I love Jody's blog. She always gives such practical advice presented in a clear manner. Historical fiction floats my boat. Learning about a time period through a story adds a great dimension to the actual history.

  11. Oh I think I've heard of that book somewhere hmm... hee hee. Julie I've been wracking my brain to describe the book in one word and yesterday it came to me - captivating. So funny you used it too.

  12. Heather, I'm so sorry your ereader is cracked! Yikes. You're down for the giveaway, so fingers crossed :D

    Leslie, I always learn something new when I read Jody's blog. AND, she helps prepare us for our eventual publication!

    Catherine, great minds think alike, right?

    Jody, thanks for stopping by to hang out with us! We love your book <3

  13. Ooooh! Sign me up. I keep checking for this one at my library, and they don't have a copy in the system. I'm totally (secretly) inspired by Jody. I'm going to homeschool my kids, and I'm always worried about how I'll keep up the writing once they give up naps. If she can do it with five kids, then I'm sure I can make it work somehow with my two.

    Thanks for hosting, Julie!

  14. I love that the story is based on a real person. So glad I didn't live back then. :)

  15. I read Jody's blog regularly, and I see why her book is winning such high praise. It sounds great!

  16. I love your advice about having a few manuscripts under your belt before you read about the rules. I think if you start with rules first it might intimidate you and you would never get out of the gate. And some rules are made to be broken anyway :) The interview was great, and I look forward to reading the book.

  17. Oh and PS if the people who can't comment here are wordpress site people, try going to preview first and approving it from there. That's what I did and it let me comment.

  18. Becca, I feel the same way...knowing how much Jody juggles keeps me from complaining when I don't have enough time.

    Laura, I also love it when historical fiction is based on a real person. It makes it more meaningful.

    Michele, Jody's lovely writing style of her blog transfers to her stories. Beautiful.

    Mary Kate, thank you SO much for letting us know a trick around the comment problem. I truly appreciate it!

  19. I love Jody's writing, Julie. I hope she keeps it up year after year. I am looking forward to reading The Doctor's Lady.

    BTW, I found a post about the trouble we have leaving comments on imbedded comment forms, made some changes on my computer, and am having better luck now. :)

  20. Sounds like a good story! And yeah, I really need to work on that 'artful summarising' thing. I have too much info in my current work. I'm getting there though.

  21. I love stories that are based on what really happened! I've seen this in my library and will definitely check it out now! Thanks for sharing, ladies!

  22. I want to read this book. I've heard really good things about it.

    Wandered over for the Pay It Forward Bloghop.

  23. I do follow Jody's blog, and I've heard all good things about her books. They remind me a bit of Janette Oke's books. I like her advice about writing a while and then studying the "how to" stuff. I think that's the best way to go. Learn how YOU do it first... :o) Thanks, Julie! <3

  24. You have a great blog, Jody! Thanks for sharing in this interview, too. : )

  25. P.S. My favorite historical books are by Richard Peck, because they've always got a deep nugget of truth about human nature in them, plus they are hysterically funny.

  26. What a beautiful post with an inspiring writer. I'll be looking forward to reading the Doctors Lady. Your write up was beautiful, and the interview was inspiring.