Friday, September 2, 2011

Interview with Jody Hedlund (Plus Giveaway of The Doctor's Lady! And a Contest!)


(Contest details at bottom of post.)

Please give a warm welcome to historical romance author Jody Hedlund!

I first met Jody through her blog (an amazing resource for writers of any type of fiction) just over a year ago, right before the release of her debut novel, The Preacher's Bride. That novel ended up being one my favorite reads of the year! So of course I jumped at the opportunity to help promote Jody's newest release, The Doctor's Lady, another adventurous historical romance.

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.


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 percentage of The Doctor’s Lady is true? And how much did you add?

As with any story of historical fiction, the large majority of what I’ve written was truly from the depths of my imagination, all of my creative meanderings of “what could have happened.”

However, in my research of the Whitmans, I drew from numerous biographies. While I wasn’t able to stick to every historical detail in complete accuracy, most of the story outline is taken directly from Narcissa’s diary.
I tried to follow the trail they took west as closely as possible. While I was unable to include every stop and incident of their travel for the sake of brevity, I did try to capture the essence of their journey. I included their travel first by sleigh, then steamboat, and lastly by wagon and horse.

(Make sure you read the Author’s Note at the end of the book where I explain in more detail which specific incidents came from the pages of her diary and what I made up for the sake of the story.)

What message do you hope readers take away from Priscilla and Eli's story?

I hope readers are inspired to try new things and brave dangerous prospects in the pursuit of their dreams. When we go after the things that matter, we’ll have to take risks and we’ll experience setbacks and obstacles. But if we persevere, we can reach our destination and do great things along the way.

What’s one thing about you that might surprise readers?

I have most of the songs of Sound of Music memorized (due to watching it every year as a child). Now, whenever I watch the movie, I belt out the songs at the top of my lungs, much to the listening pleasure of my children. *Grin*

Me too! This one was always my favorite (I wanted to be Liesl and dance in the rain).

What is the fabulous Jody Hedlund planning for her readers next?

In 2012, my next historical romance releases. I’m really excited about this story because it’s set in my home state of Michigan. It takes place during the 1880’s at a time in history when the lumber era was at its height. Although the story isn’t inspired by a true person the way my first two books have been, I do include several real people, particularly a real villain by the name of James Carr who was notorious in central Michigan for his violence and for introducing white slavery into the state.

The heroine of the story is a young woman, Lily Young, who is looking for her sister who’s caught up into the degradation of lumber camp life. While Lily searches for her missing sister, she fights against the evil that runs rampant around her, and she fights not to lose her heart to the lumber baron who turns a blind eye to the lawlessness of the lumber business.

Sounds amazing, can't wait. Thanks so much for joining us, Jody!

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 on September 1, 2011.


Would you like a free, author-signed copy of The Doctor's Lady?

Just leave a comment to this post by Sunday, September 4 and you will be automatically entered into a drawing (continental US residents only - please specify if your comment is ineligible). Winner will be selected using and will be announced here on the blog on Sunday.

Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for providing a beautiful finished copy to give away, and thanks to Jody for signing it!

But wait there's more...

Enter the Be A Trailblazer Contest!

Click HERE for contest details and entry info.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by today! If you are hosting a slot on Jody's blog tour please let me know in the comments and I'll be sure to visit on your day.

Happy reading!


  1. What a great interview! I love stories that include real life people, even if some of the facts are created. True stories inspire the best fiction!

  2. LOL! Lydia, I secretly wanted to be Liesl too! (And I really wanted to learn to yodel! Sometimes I even still try!) ;-)

    And thanks, Laura!! I love real stories too--they're my passion! But I'm also excited about my third book too. It was fun to try something a little bit different!

  3. Sounds great! Please enter me!

  4. The Doctor's Lady sounds like a winner.

    When my husband deployed to Iraq it was historical romance that got me through! (no exaggeration) I would put my son to bed, and stay up all night reading and waiting for my husbands call.

    Will have to check this one out :o)

  5. Thanks for a great interview, Lydia.

    Like so many of Jody's fans, I lost sleep reading her debut novel, The Preacher's Bride, which is available free on Kindle for a limited time.

    I was privileged to read The Doctor's Lady twice in manuscript form since Jody and I are critique partners. I watched the story go from great to stellar and fully expect to see it go from stellar to best seller. I just finished the print version and am so impressed with the end result. I know firsthand how much work and how much heart she put into the story. Readers are loving it, and it's easy to see why.

    I've read Jody's third story about Lily and her logger and loved it. I think it might even be my favorite. Her hunky hero is awesome, and I enjoyed his interactions with the spunky Lily. I got chapters back to Jody in record time because I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. As is her trademark, this story is another action-packed page-turner.

    Please don't enter me in the drawing. I have an autographed copy of TDL in a place of honor on my writing desk.

  6. I'd love to read this. Thanks for the chance.

  7. Being able to read someone's diary as part of the research stage would be incredible. The more I learn about this book, the more I can't wait to read it!

  8. Hi everyone!! Thanks for joining in the blog tour fun today! Hope you'll all have the chance to read my book at some point!

  9. So do la fa mi do do la ti do re do!

    I want to read this. I've recommended "The Preacher's Bride" to many people :)

  10. Yes! Would love to win this book! Great post - thank you.

  11. Great interview! Add me to the club of Sound of Music fans.

    I've been waiting to read this book! The Preacher's Bride was wonderful. Please enter me in the drawing. srdietze at sbcglobal dot net

  12. This looks like such an awesome book! I haven't read any of Jody's books yet, but they both look amazing! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!


  13. Awesome giveaway! Historical fiction based on real people is always a great read. I'm looking forward to this one!


  14. Rereading "Bride" on my iPod (thanks to free download offered. Thanks also for the surrounding blog and contest helps set the stage for reading The Lady's Doctor.

  15. Ooh, I really want to read this one! Thanks for the giveaway!
    Please enter me in the drawing!

  16. I own the first book and have yet to start it. Can't wait to dig in, they look really good!
    Sign me up!

  17. Thanks for the giveaway! My daughter's a big fan and she can't wait for this book!
    Please enter my name in the drawing.

  18. I loved The Preacher's Bride and can't wait to read The Doctor's Lady! Thanks for the chance to win a copy.


    hspruitt {at} frontier NET net


Thank you for reading and commenting!