Monday, October 3, 2011

Interview with Jody Hedlund - Home

I'm excited to have Jody Hedlund her with us on Making Home Work.

Jody Hedlund is an award-winning historical romance novelist and author of the best-selling book, The Preacher's Bride. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Michigan with her husband and five busy children.

I'm pleased to have you here on Making Home Work, Jody. Tell me a bit about your family.

I’ve been married for twenty years to my college sweetheart. My husband has been one of my biggest cheerleaders over the years, doing his best to understand and support my writing even in the days when publication was only the whisper of a dream.

I also have five children ranging from 14 down to 5, with a set of twin daughters mixed in to make things more lively. I homeschool my crew, and so my days are spent giving math lessons, spelling lists, and grading tests. In teaching my children, not only have they learned a lot, so have I! One of my favorite subjects to teach is world history, which has helped me a great deal in my writing.

I'm excited to start homeschooling mine, one reason I'm looking forward to it is precisely because I want to learn too! But having them home with you must cut into business time. What advice would you give mothers thinking about having their children help with the business?

While my children don’t help me in my writing, they do help around the house quite a bit. As moms, we tend to think we need to do the majority of household upkeep. But because I have two full time jobs, as a teacher and writer, I’ve had to let go of being able to do everything. The demands of my work have essentially forced me to delegate work to other members of my family. As it turns out, that’s been a really good thing for my children. They’re learning responsibility, how to work hard, and preparing for adulthood. From cooking simple meals, to folding and putting away laundry, they’re pitching in which helps free me to do other work.

I cannot agree with you more on children needing to have household responsibilities. I've heard employers want people who grew up on farms because they have the best work ethics. Work Ethics was what drew me to my husband, despite how unromantic that sounds. After all the chores are done, how do you entertain your children while working at home?

After I’m done with a day of teaching, I start my writing work. However, that’s when my children are most active and ready to run around after sitting all day doing school. So, it’s a challenge to find quiet uninterrupted time to write.

One of the most helpful things I done is train my children to play creatively. Over the years, I’ve allowed them the space and the time for developing their imaginations. So once my children have finished their chores and instrument practice, they’re usually very eager to get back to whatever is the creative play idea of the week. Sometimes they play restaurant complete with menus, other times they’re vets with all the stuffed animals in the house. When they play well, I’m able to work well.

When my children were younger, I often gave one of my older children the responsibility to “babysit” their younger siblings during my work time. I would pay them a small amount for the work. They liked to earn the money, and I appreciated having less interruptions.

Everyone says, “Remember that your family is more important than any job,” but when work demands hit, how do you live it? 

I usually have a few times a year when work seems to be a little more demanding, particularly during the times when I’m editing a book for my publisher. During those times, I need to be more focused. I make sure I tell everyone my plans, let them know my deadline, and that the busyness is short term. When we keep the communication open and they know they end is in sight, they’re able to put up with those busier times.

During regular work weeks, however, I make sure to plan family time. For example, my daughters and I have tea time every Sunday afternoon. We read a book together and talk about girly things. Sometimes we’ll use that time to work on a craft and other times we’ll go shopping. No matter how busy life might get, we can count on those weekly family times together.

Can you share your favorite easy recipe?

Baked Macaroni

16 oz. box elbow noodles

12 oz. can of evaporated milk

½ cup margarine (1 stick)

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz. bag)

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (8 oz. bag)

1 cup shredded Colby cheese (half of an 8 oz. bag)

Cook noodles. Drain. Add margarine and stir until melted. Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir together. Pour into 9 x 13 pan. Bake uncovered 30-45 minutes at 375° (until top turns golden brown).

Tomorrow, Jody will be back to talk about the business side of staying home and her new book. But for a teaser, I'm going to let you all see the new book's beautiful trailer:

Intrigued? Come back tomorrow and post too, because then you'll be entered into a drawing for The Doctor's Lady please comment on tomorrow's post by midnight October 7th. I'll announce the winner on October 8th. Please comment today to make Jody feel welcome and ask questions, she's intending to drop by both today and tomorrow.


  1. Hey Jody, thanks for being with us today! I'm looking at homeschooling my kids in another year or so, and I must admit, the idea terrifies me. So glad you've found a schedule that works well for your family and your writing.

  2. Hi Naomi! Thanks to you and Melissa (and the other contributors)for having me here today! The questions were very challenging to answer, because it's definitely not easy to balance homeschooling, mothering, and writing. But I have learned over the years a few tricks for making it all work. (And honestly, there are days when it doesn't work--at least not as smoothly as I'd like!) Hope it goes well for you as you work through whether to take the homeschooling plunge or not!

  3. Hi Jody! I have been popping up a lot on the blogs you are visiting. I like that I find out more information each time. I completely agree with you that the kids need to share in the responsibility. I AM one of those moms who tries to do it all herself and it has been really nice incorporating the kids into responsibilities like chores. Our 6 range between 2 and 14. Home schooling is not always roses, but the end result and pros vs cons make it all worth it. You just have to be willing to stick it our for the long haul and be willing to be flexible. Plans don't always work out and adjustments need to be made.

    I love the book! Loved it even more than The Preacher's Bride and that one blew me away! I can't wait for whatever you have coming up! And thanks for the recipe! Pasta and cheese - you can't go wrong! I will definitely be tucking that little gem into my recipe box. :)


  4. I think my daughter would love tea time--just if it was better tasting than the tea I made myself today out of bloodwort, bleck! And if I hadn't boiled the water dry thrice! Obviously I'm not a tea kind of girl, but I bet my daughter would love it if we searched out a special fancy tea cups and played dress up--ought to go check for grandma's tea cup collection, I think I have it packed somewhere in storage.

    Kendra--I can't decide which book I liked better-everyone should just read both. :)

  5. Great interview :) It's always inspiring to hear about writers who homeschool their children :) I'm a homeschooled teen and I have now clue what I would do with mself if I was in school!

    crazi.swans at gmail dot com

  6. Glad you're learning new things, Kendra! Thanks for following the blog tour!! And Faye, I'm pleased to meet you!

    Melissa, when my daughters were younger, I went through a book with them called "Mommy and Me Having Tea." It was such a special book. I highly recommend it. It has themed tea parties that you can have with your daughter, but more than that it has some great discussion questions.

  7. My daughter loves "Honey Tea." I brew about 12 ounces of a robust tea (I like English Breakfast) and put in about 2 tbsp of honey (store brand in the bear bottle). Then I put it in her little plastic toy teapot and we drink it out of the matching cups. Erika loves to pour.

    She also loves to fold washcloths. She's recently moved up to shirts also. And thanks to a post on this blog, she loves to scrub the toilet. Oh! and feed the cat. She's very good about her chores, at 4 years old. Hope she stays that way.

    Jody~ I heard great things about The Doctor's Lady from Melissa. I'll definitely be back to enter the drawing.

  8. I homeschooled my daughter for the last part of 3rd grade after a move. Homeschooling parents have my admiration, especially when they have multiple children to teach. I'm glad you have found a good balance between family obligations and writing time.
    Thanks for the interview.

  9. Nice trailer! Well done, made me want to read the book!