Jody Hedlund is a best-selling and award-winning author who loves fairy-tales and happily-ever afters. She makes her home in Midland, MI with her husband and five children. When she's not writing another of her page-turning stories, you can usually find her sipping coffee, eating chocolate, and reading.
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You’ve based A Daring Sacrifice a little bit on the Robin Hood story. What drew you to this medieval tale?
I've always loved tales about underdogs rising up against injustice. The story of Robin Hood encompasses such an element, where the poor are unfairly cast from their homes, forced into hiding, and must rely upon their fearless leader to fight for their rights. Instead of a nobleman leading and fighting for the needs of the underdogs, I decided to add a twist and have my heroine, a displaced noblewoman, be the leader of a band of poor outcasts. As a skilled archer, she's gained a reputation as the "Cloaked Bandit" doing her best to protect and provide for the people she's grown to love.
The hero and heroine aren’t together very long before “falling in love.” Do you believe love at first sight is possible?
Of course working within the parameters of 200 pages is as constricting as the two hour movie romance development. It’s not ideal and couples often get together more quickly than in real life. I actually don’t advocate the idea of falling in love at first sight. I think there are some dangers that come with that kind of thinking:
-We don't have time to test character. When we rush into a relationship, we may not take the time to really get to know the person, especially their inner qualities. It's easy for anyone to put up a facade for a short while, but it's only after time and trials that a person's true colors shine through. If we don't take the time to test another's character, we may get into difficult or even dangerous situations.
-We get caught up in feelings. Everyone enjoys the physical rush of a new relationship. And it's all too easy to get caught up in those tingling wonderful emotions and let them dictate our actions instead of operating with sound logic and thinking. That magical quality of love, while nice, can lead to rash and sometimes foolish decisions.
-We neglect a solid foundation of friendship. When a couple jumps into a relationship based on feelings and physical attraction, that often comes at the detriment of forming a friendship first. Without a friendship to glue a relationship together, we're left with a shallow relationship when the feelings and physical attraction fades.
The concept of sacrifice is a big part of the book. Why did you choose to focus on that?
Most of the time, we’re conditioned by the world around us through advertisements, commercials, magazines, movies, TV, and even social media to focus on ourselves. We’re bombarded with messages that draw our attention to what we should buy next, what we should wear, how we should feel, where we should go, etc. It’s all about making sure we get our needs met. First. And foremost. The world tells us our personal satisfaction is the most important thing and that we should do whatever it takes to be happy. Unfortunately, that kind of mindset follows us into our dating relationships. All too often we want to have a boyfriend to make us happy. We want someone to make us feel good, look popular, or keep us company. Even more unfortunately, when that type of self-centered mindset follows a couple into marriage, wedded bliss soon turns into a wedded battle as each person vies to get his or her needs met through the other person. A Daring Sacrifice is my attempt to re-introduce this long-forgotten and little-used idea of self sacrifice back into dating relationships.
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.
You have five children, so you must have plenty of interruptions when you’re writing. How do you handle the interruptions?
Yes, I DO have MANY interruptions each time I sit down to write. If I waited for perfect conditions, however, I’d never write. I’ve simply made up my mind to work under the circumstances I’ve been given, even if they’re less than ideal at times. One thing that helps is that I give myself daily word count goals. I block in work time as best I can every day, and then I stick to it. I also let my family know my schedule. And while I try to minimize the interruptions, I’ve learned that I just need to attend to whatever the need is (whether it’s a child needing a snack or the dog getting into the garbage, etc.) and then get back to my writing as soon as possible. In other words, I don’t let the interruptions paralyze me.
I love author interviews! Thanks Jody for sharing these behind the scenes looks!