Q & A's with Jody Hedlund

Here are the Q&A's with Jody Hedlund that I promised. I was really excited to post this. I hope you all will enjoy reading this as much as I did. A big thanks to Jody Hedlund for taking the time to send this! For all of you readers out there, I highly recommend checking out her website at jodyhedlund.com. And now finally...

Question & Answer's with Jody Hedlund 

What was the very first story you ever wrote? Was it ever published?
The first story I wrote was probably in first grade in a spiral notebook, a book about princesses, princes, and happily-ever-afters. And of course, it’s long gone in the trash! But as far as my adulthood writing career, I wrote five novels that are collecting dust in a closet. They were my practice books, the books that helped me grow and become the writer I am today.

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.
What essential ingredients do you strive for in your novels to ensure an authentic love story emerges?
I always try to incorporate the elements that I like to see in the romances I read. That includes deep emotions that are birthed out of a character's past. I also like to have a relationship that evolves organically throughout the book. I try not to have my characters being antagonistic to one another the whole book and then finally falling in love in the last chapter at the last minute. I want the couple to move from friendship to falling in love gradually and to have a growing attraction (with the sparks flying!) throughout the book. At the same time, however, I don't like to have the love relationship resolve too early in the book. Readers don't want the "happily-ever-after" moment to come until the end. So while the relationship is developing, it's important to find ways to keep the couple from being fully together until the end.
What has made you grow the most as a writer?
If I had to narrow down one specific thing that has helped the most in my quest for publication, I’d have to say this: My careful, ongoing, and thorough study and practice of writing techniques has been the single most beneficial aspect of my writing career. In other words, I read writing craft books, studied fiction-writing basics, and then put what I learned into practice. All the studying has been the number one thing to help me in my writing career.
Do you have any writing quirks?
I don't have too many quirks, other than needing a cup of coffee on hand while I'm writing (especially in the morning!). One of the things I like to do to help me keep on track with my writing is give myself half hour word count challenges–a specific goal of how many words I can get written in a thirty minute time span. Doing these mini-challenges keeps me from getting too distracted by other things while I'm in a writing mode.
What is your dream vacation spot?
I’d love to take a research trip to England or Germany and visit castles. Castles totally fascinate me and I'd love to visit as many as I possibly could!
What are your hobbies?
My main hobbies when I'm not writing or reading? Drinking coffee and eating chocolate—of course! No seriously. At this stage in my life because I’m busy being a mom, I don't have much time for hobbies. However, I do make a point of running and keeping my body fit. And I also try to carve out fun family time each week. I love taking family bike rides, playing games, and having family movie nights.

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