Jody Hedlund experienced three career highlights in 2009. She double-finaled in the 2009 Genesis contest sponsored by American Christian Fiction Writers. Awesome agent Rachelle Gardner read partials of the two books and offered Jody representation in May. In August, Rachelle sold one of those stories to Bethany House in a three-book deal, launching Jody’s career as a published romance novelist.
Jody married her college sweetheart, a Christian counselor. They have five children: a twelve-year-old son, nine-year-old twin daughters, a five-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter. In addition to the seven family members, the Hedlund house is also home to a dog, two cats and two hamsters.
When Jody isn’t busy loving and serving her large family or crafting her award-winning stories, she likes to READ, READ, READ!
Join me as we learn more about Jody and her writing journey.
(Look for multiple chances to win prizes at the bottom of the post.)
•Wow, Jody! What great news. When you were here as my guest on July 29th did you expect to be back so soon as a debut author with your first contract? Would you give us a quick summary of what took place in the weeks following the interview and leading up to that life changing phone call?
Thanks for having me back, Keli! And no, I absolutely did not expect to be back so soon! But thanks to the hard work of my agent Rachelle Gardner, my dream of becoming a published author is on its way to coming true!
This summer Rachelle gave my book proposal to Bethany House Publishers (BHP) for an exclusive look. My proposal went through various committees (which I outlined in my blog). Finally it made it to the Publishing Committee, the final destination! Even though I knew my proposal was headed to that committee, at first I didn’t know when they would have the chance to meet due to busy vacation schedules.
I was in limbo for several weeks until they were able to set a date for their meeting. That was an extremely hard wait and a time of self-doubt. I kept telling myself, if Bethany House decided not to accept my proposal, we still had plenty of other publishers to target.
•And then you got The Call! Since I read your blog and follow you on Twitter, I knew you had exciting news you had to keep to yourself. After agonizing weeks of waiting, you’re finally able to share freely. I love to hear Call stories. For those who haven’t read the account on your blog, please share a condensed version here.
The day of the Publication Committee meeting, I alternated between chewing up my nails and shredding tissues. I tried unsuccessfully not to think about the fact that a group of important people were making a life-altering decision about me.
When my agent finally called, half of me wanted to hang up on her and the other half was dying to hear the news. Thankfully I stayed on the line long enough to hear her say, “They’re offering you a contract.”
At the time of Rachelle’s call, we didn’t know any of the details. She had received a one-line email from the senior editor of Bethany House on his way out the door for the evening. So, the next day, after Rachelle had the chance to talk with the editor, she called me back and filled me in on all of the details. That’s when I learned that they were offering me a three book contract!
•You got The Call, and life as you knew it changed. I’ve gathered your plate suddenly became very full as you embarked on your new career as a published author. Would you please share with us what’s going on now, what you’ve been learning and how you’re adjusting to living with deadlines?
Since my first book is completed, my editors are currently reading through it again and putting together a list of rewrites that I’ll need to start working on. Once I receive their feedback, I’ll have a couple of months to make the necessary changes. You can bet I’ll be blogging about the entire painful process!
In the meantime, I’ve been researching for Book 2. I’ve put together a number of different ideas that the editorial team will look over. Then they’ll give me their feedback on the idea they would most like to work on next. I’m anxious to get writing again, but I’m sure I’ll need to learn to balance writing Book 2 while I’m editing Book 1.
•Since you’ve just experienced the euphoria of your first contract offer and the resulting return to reality that follows, what advice would you offer others who have yet to receive The Call about preparing for life as a published author?
We can never stop growing in our skill and passion as writers. It might be tempting for some writers to think after landing a book deal, “I’ve made it. I’m there.” But getting a contract has elicited the opposite feelings for me. Instead I tell myself, “Keep improving, work those writing muscles, and strive to be even better.”
I want to produce top-quality stories that please my editors and agent. And of course I want my stories to deeply satisfy my readers. But most of all, I want to continue to challenge myself to grow and develop in my writing ability because I firmly believe that when God gives us a gift we should use it as best we can for his glory.
•Please tell us about the completed book you sold as well as what’s planned for the next two contracted titles.
My completed book is tentatively titled The Preacher’s Bride and is scheduled for release next October. This book is a historical romance set in England in the 1600’s. And although Bethany House is taking a chance on this setting and time period, they’ve encouraged me to write my next book with an American setting in the 1800’s. So, while I’ll need to make a mental jump ahead in time, I know I’ll still find something I’m completely passionate about and will love writing.
•Jody, it’s been wonderful to have you back at Romance Writers on the Journey to share your wonderful news with us.
I invite your guests to ask you any questions they have about your sale, your debut novel and what life is like after receiving that long-awaited contract offer. And, of course, feel free to squee with Jody all you’d like.
Learn More About Jody
Visit her blog, On the Path ~ http://jodyhedlund.blogspot.com
Friend her on Facebook ~ Jody Hedlund
Follow her on Twitter ~ JodyHedlund
Leave a Comment for Two Chances to Win
To leave a comment, click on “Comments” below the date in the title at the top of the post.
My Regular Drawing
My next drawing will take place October 10th. We took my daughter to college recently. She packed relatively few books, but one that went was an unabridged copy of Little Women, which is a classic tale she and I love. We’ve watched the movie version of the story with Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon many times. Since I’m missing my daughter and feeling nostalgic, I’m giving away a new copy of this DVD, one you can share with a loved one.
To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on any blog post by October 10th and enter your email address when prompted. (I don’t share your information or add it to any mailing lists.) On October 11th, I’ll post the winner’s name in the Welcome post at the top of the blog.
You could also win a First Sale Scrapbook
If you’d like to have a chance at winning a First Sale Scrapbook created by me, your blog hostess Keli Gwyn, leave a comment on any post between now and September 30th. Be sure to include your name and email address when prompted if you want to be entered in the drawing. (Your information will not be shared.) Click red link above to see samples of covers and pages.
On October 1st, I will choose one person who will have her/his choice of covers on an 8×8 inch, twenty-page scrapbook in which s/he can document that long-awaited first sale. The pages will cover various milestones including The Call, signing the contract, receiving the first advance payment and holding your debut novel in your hands.
(No scrapbooking skills required. You just add your photos and journaling.)