It’s time for another YAA! Chat (Review:YA = Young Adult, A = Adult, ! = Excitement, Chat = Interviews, getting behind-the-scenes with other writers) and GIVEAWAY! **TO WIN YOUR OWN COPY OF AN UNCERTAIN CHOICE, COMMENT BELOW and answer this: What is your idea of the “perfect” date?
⇐ This is Jody Hedlund: 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.
And, this is her first YA novel, AN UNCERTAIN CHOICE⇒
Don’t you just LOVE this cover? So pretty! It’s what drew my attention, and then I flipped it over . . .
One Month . . . One Decision . . .
WHAT??? Why did Lady Rosemarie only have one month? And what decision did she have to make? Finding the answers to those questions quickly sent AN UNCERTAIN CHOICE to my TBR pile! Well, it was there, but now it’s off. What a delightfully-fun, fast-paced read with a whole lot of heart . . . and the cream-of-the-Knight-crop to swoon over! Jody does a wonderful (and “clean”) job portraying a teenager struggling to find this “crazy little thing called love.”
While I’m not going to tell you WHO or WHAT Rosemarie chooses in the end, (you should definitely read it for yourself to answer those) I will be nice and answer the “month & decision” questions.
ONE MONTH . . . ONE DECISION . . . MY REVIEW . . .
Lady Rosemarie was all set to join the convent on her 18th birthday. I mean, what choice did she have, her parents made the vow before she was born. But then her father’s oldest friend arrives and tells her of a recently discovered condition to the vow.
“If you find true love and are married before midnight on your eighteenth birthday, you will be released from the vow.” (p.29)
One month to find true love? Was that even possible? And how would she know if she was really in love? If she chose the convent, would she still be able to rule her people as she was now? Would choosing marriage displease God or hinder her service to Him? (Sounds like more than one decision to me!) These questions tumble through Rosemarie’s mind as she considers an option she never expected to have. (And Lord Thomas, the one she thought she’d marry before she knew about the vow, had recently married . . . bummer . . .) But have no fear! The Duke brought along 3 of the noblest, bravest knights for her to consider! So, after prayer and seeking wise counsel, Rosemarie agrees to the “race for true love.”
*cue theme music*
Hosts (and chaperones):
PRO-MARRIAGE: The Noblest Knight, the Duke of Rivenshire
PRO-CONVENT: Abbot Francis Michael
Example & Guidelines as given by TRUDY, Rosemarie’s nursemaid: (Trudy says she knows nothing of true love, but she saw it in Rosemarie’s parents!)
“They were indeed in love, my lady. The thing I remember most about them was that they truly enjoyed spending time together . . . Riding, taking long walks, and reading together in front of the fire . . . Always talking, discussing history or other important matters. And whenever your mother talked, your father listened and respected her opinions . . . They were there for each other during difficult times, too. I’ve seen difficulties rip other families apart. But not them. Somehow they each had inner strength the other lacked. They could provide what the other needed.”
THE CONTESTANTS (who happen to be best friends) In order of introduction:
Knight #1 Collin
Fair-haired, tanned skin, alluring green eyes, animated face, lightheartedness, endearing smile. Fun, energetic, likes to give lavish gifts, and lavish praise
First words to Rosemarie: “My lady, I look forward to winning your heart.
First gift to Rosemarie: exquisite diamond pin—in the shape of a spiraling rose
First Date: Romantic dinner for 2 in the rose garden
Knight #2 Sir Bennet
Tallest of the three, features chiseled to perfection (like a master artist had crafted him after an ancient Greek god). Wavy raven-black hair, dark looks, and midnight eyes that twinkle. He’s confident, artsy, suave
First words to Rosemarie: “I look forward to getting to know you, my lady.”
First gift to Rosemarie: A bouquet of wildflowers
First Date: Arranged an Art fair outside the castle ground
Knight #3 Sir Derrick
Dark, blond hair–tested, tried, and weathered by battles and elements. Smoky eyes, the gray color of burnished steel. Strong, clear voice. Lean but muscular body, strong shoulders. Muscles in his face are as taut and well defined as the rest of his body. The only imperfections on his face was a scar alongside one of his eyes. He’s observant, standoffish, confident, bold, dogs love him. A doer, not a talker–puts the needs of others before his own. Honest. His whole family was murdered, he alone survived. Because of this, he doesn’t think he’s worthy to win her heart. (no lands, no title . . .)
First words to Rosemarie: “For one as fair and kind as you, my lady, whatever you wish shall always be my command.”
First gift to Rosemarie: a cool drink of ale (mug)
First Date: delivering supplies, getting caught in the rain
Well, you can probably tell which knight I paid the most attention to . . . My vote was for Sir Derrick before I even knew anything about him. He reminds me of my husband. Even Lady Rosemarie’s first “sighting” of Derrick, had me thinking back to my first “sighting” of my hubby.
He surprised me by bowing his head and paying homage. Then he lifted the long halberd at his side, dug his spurs into his horse, and charged forward toward the center green. At the heavy thudding of his steed and the sight of his weapon, those in his path fell back to make room for him. He thrust forward like a knight at a jousting tournament.
My muscles tightened. What did he intend to do? I wanted to call out, to question him, to demand he explain his presence in my town. But has he made a direct path to the cauldron of bubbling water, I found myself praying he’d succeed where I failed to bring an end to the torture. (p.11-12)
OK…So, there wasn’t a horse involved in our first “sighting”, but there was a car, some charging toward water, and me wanting to demand and explanation! The first time I really noticed my husband was at a graduation party for a friend. We were all standing around chatting and eating, when all of a sudden, a car comes barreling out of the woods and drives straight into the pond. The driver got out and came to shore while everyone cheered . . . I remember thinking “what an idiot!” But, then I got to know him, and fell in love with his character and heart. We’ve been married 13 years.
My 2 Cents to Children of God: “Marriage isn’t to make you happy, it’s to make you more holy.” Find someone that helps you grow closer to God. Someone that will enhance your “ability” to serve and will serve alongside you. Someone who will push you, bringing out the best in you. And ALWAYS, ALWAYS keep God at the center of every relationship. Don’t lose sight of Him or hinge your life or identity on a guy.
A FEW QUESTIONS WITH JODY BEFORE I SAY GOODBYE
After writing for the adult market, why did you decide to transition to young adult books? I have five children and three of them are now teens. That means that over the past few years I’ve ended up reading a lot of books in the Young Adult genre not only to stay abreast of what my kids are reading, but also to have discussions about the topics and world views within the books. All that to say, I’ve fallen in love with reading YA books! Naturally, as I’ve fallen in love with reading them, I had to consider the possibility of writing them. And while I have a lot of other things going on my publishing career, I decided I wanted to make this move into YA now while I still had teens at home to read my books (and give me feedback!).
Which person most influenced your writing?My mom was the most influential person in my writing career. When I was young, she helped facilitate my love of writing by reading aloud to me, giving me good books to read, and providing the kind of environment that fostered my creativity (in fact we didn’t have a TV for a number of years). She always believed in me, encouraged me to pursue my dreams, and rode alongside me cheering me on.
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.
Do you have any writing quirks? I don’t have too many quirks, other than needing a cup of coffee on hand while I’m writing (especially in the morning!). One of the things I like to do to help me keep on track with my writing is give myself half hour word count challenges–a specific goal of how many words I can get written in a thirty minute time span. Doing these mini-challenges keeps me from getting too distracted by other things while I’m in a writing mode.
What is your dream vacation spot? I’d love to take a research trip to England or Germany and visit castles. Castles totally fascinate me and I’d love to visit as many as I possibly could!
What are your hobbies? My main hobbies when I’m not writing or reading? Drinking coffee and eating chocolate—of course! No seriously. At this stage in my life because I’m busy being a mom, I don’t have much time for hobbies. However, I do make a point of running and keeping my body fit. And I also try to carve out fun family time each week. I love taking family bike rides, playing games, and having family movie night
Are you working on the next book in the series? Yes! I’m excited about the second book in the series. It’s already written and I’m in the process of getting ready to turn it in to my editor in order to get her expertise feedback. As I mentioned it will involve another one of the three knights. But of course, I won’t give away which of the knights until closer to the release of the book! (How’s that for a tease!)
Website: jodyhedlund.com *
*For a deeper look: There’s a link to a readers question/talking point guide–great for YA girls
Facebook: Author Jody Hedlund
She welcomes Emails at: firstname.lastname@example.org