When I first encountered Jody Hedlund back in mid-2009, she was a new blogger seeking representation and publication for her writing. She often used examples from PILGRIM’S PROGRESS in her posts, and admitted a passion for John Bunyan. So it was no surprise when her first published novel was a story loosely based on the second marriage of John Bunyan. (THE PREACHER’S BRIDE, Bethany House, 2010)
In that book Jody’s writing transported me right into the story’s mid-1600s setting… something that rarely happens unless an author has done a remarkable amount of research and used the information effectively.
In each of her successive books, Jody’s knowledge of historical times – i.e., 1836 Oregon, 1880s Michigan, and 1763 Massachusetts – evoked the same reaction, and I’ve been drawn into reading a genre that previously had never appealed to me. I eagerly devoured her newest book, REBELLIOUS HEART, when it was released in September by Bethany House.
At the end of this post you can leave a comment and be entered in the draw for a copy of REBELLIOUS HEART.
REBELLIOUS HEART takes us into the lives of two people from vastly different backgrounds. Susanna Smith is a bright young woman of good social status who, despite being denied the education she desires, displays her intelligence and asserts her independence as she works for social justice. When she seeks to aid a runaway indentured slave, she is assisted by the son of a farmer, country lawyer Benjamin Ross, who is also involved in the pre-Revolutionary discontent of the time. Their developing friendship places Susanna and her family in great danger.
Inspired by the unique friendship of US president John Adams and his wife Abigail, the story places richly detailed and believable characters into historically correct settings while playing out a fascinating and fast-paced plot.
I asked Jody which scene in the story she found the most challenging to write…
“Which scene in Rebellious Heart was the most challenging to write? I’d have to say the first scene in the courtroom where Ben is defending Hermit Crab Joe. I always want the first chapter to accomplish many goals. But often that’s hard to do without being wordy (and potentially boring the reader!).
“My original version of the scene was MUCH too long. And once I’d written it, I realized right away that I would need to pare it down quite a bit. But at the same time, I was told I needed to add more period detail to the scene so that readers could understand right away that they were in Colonial Times. So essentially I had to cut AND add at the same time!
“Fortunately, I’m not married to my words and I can usually cut and chop without mortally wounding myself. The hard part was trying to figure out exactly what was necessary for the scene and setting and what was overkill.
“Once I had eliminated as much as I possibly could, then I had a Colonial “expert” give me advice on where I could add a little more period detail to make the chapter/book more authentic.”
That authenticity stands out in all Jody’s writing, but especially in REBELLIOUS HEART. If you enjoy good historical fiction, you’ll want to add this book to your list of must-reads!
If you’d like to have your name included in the draw for a free copy of REBELLIOUS HEART, please leave a comment below and be sure to provide your e-mail addy when prompted. The draw will close at 11:59 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Tuesday, December 24th. I’ll be taking a blogging break during Christmas week, but will post the name of the winner on Friday, December 27th.
You can find out more about Jody and her books on her website: jodyhedlund.com
She is represented by Rachelle Gardener at Books and Such Literary Agency.
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