I've mentioned in my past posts that, thanks to your book The Preacher's Bride, I am now a fan of Historical Fiction. What draws you to write Historical Romance? Are you a history buff, or do you just drown yourself in research for the books?
I’ve always loved reading historical romances and losing myself in past eras. And yes, I'm a big history buff, but I also have to immerse myself into the research specific to each book. I usually take a couple of months to read biographies, books on the time period, and everything that pertains to the story. Before I start writing the first draft, I have to feel like I could walk into the setting of my book and be mostly comfortable with that time period.
I sent the rest of the questions to Jody, and here are those questions, with her responses.
Where do you get the ideas for your books?
I usually get the ideas for my books from researching and reading. Whether I'm reading biographies or time-period related books, I usually keep a running list of ideas that interest me or that I could use in a story. Then when it comes time to start writing the first draft, I narrow down my brainstormed list and pick the most original, interesting, or provocative ideas to use in the story.
Do people in real life inspire you to write about them as historical characters?
Generally, I base most of my main characters on people that I've read about in biographies. But I do draw character traits from real life people. Usually I don't imitate one particular person, but pick unusual or stand-out traits to attempt to replicate in my characters.
When I'm at my desk, I have to have iced tea and most of the time a small bag of peanut M & M's. What are your must haves when you are writing?
My must-have is a hot beverage. In the mornings, I drink coffee. And then in the afternoon I usually switch to hot herbal tea. There's just something about having a hot mug in my hands that is inspiring and comforting!
From what I've gathered, it can be very difficult to have your first novel published. How did you go about seeking the publication of The Preacher's Bride?
Like most aspiring writers, once I was ready for publication, I began to query agents. The Preacher's Bride was rejected by every agent that I sent it to, except for one. Only one agent requested to see a full manuscript. With great excitement, I sent the manuscript to this agent. But then I didn't hear back from her for months!
In the meantime, I wrote another book and entered a national fiction writers contest for unpublished writers. I was fortunate to have both of my books final in that contest. After that I contacted the agent who still had my manuscript to let her know about the contest final. Three days later she offered me representation. Three months later she was able to sell my books!
What makes this "Christian" fiction? That's definitely not a section of bookstores here in Spain and I'm curious!
Unending Devotion, like all of my books, has a spiritual message woven throughout the story. In the characters' struggles to grow, they have to work through faith issues. For example, in Unending Devotion, the hero, Connell must learn that he's been complacent about the social ills that run rampant around him. Throughout the book, he changes from a man who turns his back on evil, to being a man willing to stand up for what's right.Your first three books are set in three very different time periods. If you were an era, which one would you be?
Oh that would be really tough! I personally prefer the comfort of my modern conveniences! :-) But if I could go back in a time machine just to visit, I'd love to go back to the 1600's since it would be the most different from our time. I'd love the chance to experience the sounds, scents, foods, homes, and everything first hand.
How many more novels do you have in the works?
I have two more completed novels that will be releasing next year in 2013. A Noble Groom releases in April (and is already available for preorder!). And then I'll have another book releasing in September of 2013. We're just now deciding on the name for it and starting to develop the cover. I'm currently writing the book that will release in 2014.
Are you staying with historical fiction or will you be doing any contemporary fiction in the future?
I'm definitely a historical fiction girl! I can't see myself branching into contemporary fiction anytime soon. If anything, I'd love to go back even further in time and try a story set in the Middle Ages 1400's or 1500's during the time of castles and knights.
Did you come up with the title "Unending Devotion"? If not, what was the title you had in mind while writing the novel?
I can't remember exactly who came up with the title. Usually for each title, I come up with a list of possibilities that I give my publisher. And they put together a list as well. Then they narrow down their top choices and run them by me. In the end, they have the final choice, but I do get quite a bit of input in the process.
In what era is your next book set?
A Noble Groom is set in the 1880's in Michigan very similar to Unending Devotion.
Thank you again, Jody, for taking the time to answer our questions. I know I enjoyed getting a glance into your writing habits and life. And thank you, readers, for participating in this interview with Jody. I loved the questions you thought up! Of course, most of you only left those questions because it gave you an extra entry into my give-away for Jody's newest release Unending Devotion. (I don't blame you. It's a really good book!)
I promised you that today I would reveal the winner of the signed copy of Unending Devotion.
the moment you've all been waiting for...
Congratulations, WINNER! I will be contacting you for your mailing address, and you're signed copy of Unending Devotion will be on it's way to you. I know you will enjoy this book!
More on the winner next post...