The Vow & An Uncertain Choice #HedlundChallenge2015 Discussion & Interview

The 2015 Jody Hedlund Challenge is a monthly series featuring the novels of author Jody Hedlund, hosted by Cassie of Bookshelves and Windows and Jamie of Books and Beverages. We invite readers and bloggers to join us in reading and discussing these books together. Every month, we’ll announce the book about four weeks before the discussion post will go live (alternating between Cassie and Jamie’s blogs). The following month, after everyone has read the book, we will discuss and interact with each other about our thoughts on each book with special appearances throughout the year! If you’re on Facebook be sure to join our group!Hedlund Logo

Hello everyone! I’m your host for March’s discussion about The Vow and An Uncertain Choice. Jody’s first venture into the world of YA is a success, don’t you agree? I love this novel and am so glad she is writing inspirational fiction for a younger audience. This month we also have Jody on the blog with a mini-excerpt of the interview I did with her for the article in Family Fiction!

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What did I like about this story? Well, with three suitors trying to win your heart, how can a girl go wrong? Add in a little mystery and a deadline, and you have a great book. Beyond that though, I loved the message Jody has for young girls about relationships. Lady Rosemarie faces a myriad of emotions as she enters this new territory of finding love. Jody has Rosemarie experience different phases of a relationship, ranging from attraction and flirting to infatuation, knowing your feelings, sharing common interests and learning to identify real love. And in doing so, she has given girls an example of how to navigate those new and unknown experiences.

One of the great things about this book is Jody wrote a discussion guide for moms and daughters to go through together that corresponds with the chapters in the book. It’s meant to be a way for readers to take a deeper look at relationship topics that young girls face. So we can go beyond the book and have conversations that matter.

If interested, Jamie and I have already reviewed the book on our blogs. Here’s my original review and here’s Jamie’s.

Time for discussion questions! Some of these are taken from Jody’s discussion guide, so check it out for the full guide. Answer a few of these, all of them, or just share your thoughts in the comments:

1. In An Uncertain Choice, Rosemarie never had a real opportunity to interact with young men due to being sheltered. What are the advantages to being overprotected? What are the disadvantages?
2. What do you think you’d do if the person advising you had some objections to the person you like? Would you be humble enough to take their wisdom into consideration? Would you perhaps gain the advice of someone else to compare?
3. Have you ever considered that falling in love is not only just an emotion, but also a deliberate choice and ongoing action?
4. Do you trust God to bring along the right person at the right time? Or are you trying to take control and rush things?
5. Who was YOUR favorite knight?

Now for the extra fun! I interviewed Jody Hedlund for the article I wrote in Family Fiction Magazine’s March issue. Jody had great answers, and I couldn’t quite fit all her wonderful quotes into the article, so you, my dear readers, get a special ‘extra’ look into Jody’s thoughts, inspiration, and hopes for An Uncertain Choice. All because you’re a part of the #HedlundChallenge2015! (For the original article, click here.)Thanks for the great interview, Jody!

How important is it to you to incorporate your faith and Christian themes into your novels?

I write for God’s glory and to touch lives for Him. That being said, An Uncertain Choice doesn’t contain overt spiritual messages. While there are references to needing God’s direction and to praying, the spiritual discussion and application comes out in the study guide (which has Bible verses to look up and questions to answer). The book itself would be quite safe for young women to pass along to their unchurched friends as a way to “hook” them into Christian fiction.

If you could tell readers one thing about An Uncertain Choice, what would it be?

It’s never too early to begin thinking about and praying for our future spouses. Next to making the decision about where to spend eternity, the choice of whom we marry is second in importance. It’s a decision for good or bad that can impact the rest of our lives, especially since God intends for us to live with our marriage partner for as long as we have breath. So we definitely want to be wise with the crucial choice of a mate.

With three books coming out from three publishers in 2015, you have a full year ahead of you. How have you been able to keep the many books you write distinct in your mind? What is the most exciting aspect of releasing multiple books in the upcoming year?

It’s my hope that readers who’ve enjoyed my previous books will enjoy my new ones too. I think readers will still hear my “voice” and find the same basic writing style (deep characterization, intriguing plots, and lots of historical details).

However, each distinct genre allows for some nuances and differentiation too. In addition to my medieval young adult books, I’ll still be writing historical romances (I’m currently in the middle of a lighthouse series set among real Michigan lighthouses). And finally, as I mentioned, I’ll also be writing historicals, starting with my Luther and Katharina book.

Those who’ve read my past historical romances know that I usually base my books on real people or real events. However, I’ve always changed names and fictionalized the story. Now, however, I’ll be writing those “real life” stories without changing names or facts. Readers won’t have to wait until the Author’s Note to find out who the story is about. They get to know right from the first page!

The most exciting aspect of releasing a number of books this year is that God is at work. I pray that He will move through the stories and change lives as a result.

And I leave you with this fun teaser from Jody: If Rosemarie doesn’t choose YOUR personal favorite knight, don’t despair! The other two knights will get books of their own. And you’ll be able to take a journey with them as they begin their own quests to find their places in the world, overcome shortcomings, and along the way find the woman that God has planned for them.

Let’s discuss! What are your thoughts on The Vow and An Uncertain Choice?

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15 thoughts on “The Vow & An Uncertain Choice #HedlundChallenge2015 Discussion & Interview

  1. This sounds like such a good book! I wish I’d been able to read it in time for the discussion, but I had too much going on this month. Hopefully soon. After looking at the discussion guide, I think this is going to be a book I’ll want to share with my daughter someday. She’s only 3 now, but if the speed the last few years have passed are any indication, I have a feeling “someday” will be here before I know it!

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  2. I finished reading An Uncertain Choice early this morning. I would totally recommend it to the eighth grade girls I teach at church. In fact I think I will have my daughter read it next year while she is studying medieval history. This story was fun to read and full of real and interesting situations. I loved the way sir Derrick was aloof and RoseMarie kept looking for him. The ending was fast paced and full of action! The while story flowed beautifully! Thank you Jody for another great story. I’ll be looking for book 2 & 3!
    Melissa

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    1. Hi Melissa, As I wrote the book, it was truly my prayer that moms and daughters could use the book as a discussion tool to talk about dating and future spouses. There’s a free downloadable discussion guide on my website that goes with book. Some of the youth group leaders in my church have already used the guide with groups of girls and have really loved it! So it’s definitely something you can recommend to your youth leaders! Thanks for reading the book and I’m delighted that you enjoyed it! 🙂

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  3. I had a slow start getting into this book. As I read on, spurred on by this challenge date, I’m glad I did. I found myself thinking about it and looking forward to the story. I liked Rosemarie and found the characters believable. I don’t like the message to young girls that finding man is necessary for happiness so I wasn’t sure how much I would like the YA romance genre. But it is entirely fitting with the time period to find a husband on a time crunch and to dispense with the need for a long courtship. I liked that God’s will was the main consideration and that romantic love was recognized as having a place in God’s will for a person’s life. Felt kind of sorry for the other knights, but I’m glad to know that they will have their chance in books to follow (which I will also read). Also, the tough subjects such as death, poverty and torture were handled with enough detail to feel real; but not so much that it was off-putting to read. I will be sharing these books with some young girls in my life.

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    1. I’m so glad you read along with us, Carole! I, too, was glad to see God’s will as the focal point of Rosemarie’s journey. I think it’s a message young girls need to hear more often and am glad Jody is using her platform to share important messages. 🙂

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    2. Thanks for persevering and taking a chance on the book! I’m glad in the end that you liked it! There’s definitely a fairy tale element to the story, especially with having a vow and having to find true love in a month’s time. That usually doesn’t happen in real life! But it’s my hope that Rosemarie’s process of having to sort out her feelings and discover what qualities she needs in a spouse will help young ladies think through what is truly important in the process of finding a mate. 🙂

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  4. 1. In An Uncertain Choice, Rosemarie never had a real opportunity to interact with young men due to being sheltered. What are the advantages to being overprotected? What are the disadvantages? Being sheltered has its pros and cons. Not knowing what to expect in a man could be hard, but Rosemarie learned to follow her heart. Overprotection can keep you from harm and learning things that are not necessarily good to learn. I think Rosemarie was not sheltered when it came to the tortures that she saw in her people. If she could have been sheltered from them it would have been better for her.

    2. What do you think you’d do if the person advising you had some objections to the person you like? Would you be humble enough to take their wisdom into consideration? Would you perhaps gain the advice of someone else to compare? I think I would personally have a problem with someone telling me who I should, or should not like. I think it was good she had a chaperone, but she should have been able to choose the man she thought was best for her. The Abbott…well we who read it knows how that turned out.

    3. Have you ever considered that falling in love is not only just an emotion, but also a deliberate choice and ongoing action? Love is not just an emotion it is a force of will. Many people fall in and out of love. When you chose to love someone you should choose to love them no matter the circumstances. I have been married for 28 years and love my husband. I might not love all of his actions, but that is a choice I made to love him until death do us part.

    4. Do you trust God to bring along the right person at the right time? Or are you trying to take control and rush things?
    I’m married so not really an option lol. God does bring people into our lives for a reason.

    5. Who was YOUR favorite knight? Each knight had their good and bad points. I would have had a hard time turning away from the rose that she was presented…sounded extravagant and beautiful. But it was not all about things…it was about who she loved and I think she chose the best candidate. He had the same passions and loves Rosemarie did. Derrick was my fav.

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    1. Hi Lisa, Loved reading all of your answers! My husband and I are closing in on 25 years of marriage (next summer). And my teens are now reaching the dating age. So this book really has a special place in my heart as I think about all I’ve learned over the years and what I want to impart to my children as they begin the process of searching for a mate.It’s such an important decision, one that will affect the rest of their lives. So we definitely want to be shepherding them to make wise choices!

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  5. I love that this book does talk about love also being a choice. I think that’s why society has such an unhealthy view of marriage, too many base it on emotions. So loved this book! I need to re-read it!

    Right now I’m Team Derrick, but I can’t wait to read the other Knight’s stories 🙂 🙂

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    1. I hear you, Jamie! Too many people think that love is just a feeling and so when it passes, then it’s time to move on to the next spouse. It’s almost a monthly occurrence now to hear of someone we know who’s split from their partner. It’s so sad. Our young people definitely need to have a different perspective on what love is all about so that they can enter relationships with their heads and hearts! 🙂

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