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!
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!
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.
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.