Rachel Rittenhouse

Christian fiction for ladies young and old

Interview with Jody Hedlund!

August 28th, 2014

I am so blessed to be sharing this interview with you all today! I have been email corresponding with Jody since her latest book, “Captured by Love” came out. For those of you who have not yet read it, I would highly recommend it!



Back Cover:

It is 1814 and the British have taken hold of Mackinac Island and its fort…

American residents were forced to swear an oath of loyalty to the British crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a voyageur–a fur trader who left his family home to find freedom and adventure. He’s been gone five years and when he returns, his family’s farm is at the mercy of the British invaders.

Torn between the life he’s grown used to and guilt over leaving his brother and mother, he’s drawn back into the loyalist fight against the British–and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a beautiful local girl who’s been befriended by the daughter of the British commander. As tensions mount and the threat of violence increases, both Angelique and Pierre must decide where their loyalties rest, how far they will go to find freedom, and how much they will risk to find love.


My Review for “Captured by Love”: 

5 stars – I loved it! 

Captured by Love is the first book I have read by Jody Hedlund, and lets just say, I was not disappointed! Jody brought character, life, and suspense to a Christian historical fiction novel. 

This novel is set on Michilimackinac Island during the War of 1812. Each of the main characters (Angelique, Pierre, Jean, Miriam, and Ebenezer) all play crucial roles and play their part well. At no time in the book could I guess how this book would end…it definitely is not predictable! I loved the excitement and it was refreshing to read a book that surprised me at each turn. 

Captured by Love also promoted strong Christian morals, but also showed the struggles a Christian faces.

This is a book which I will be rereading and also recommending to anyone who loves historical fiction! 

This book was given to me by Bethany House in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.


And now…onto the interview!


Writing Questions:

1. When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

Like many writers, I’ve been writing since my childhood days. I always loved telling stories. When I was in junior high, I entered my first writing contest for a Biblical fiction story. And when I won, I realized God had indeed gifted me. I think that was when I became more serious about wanting to be a writer when I grew up.

The passion followed me into adulthood. However, as I began my college years, I quickly realized that creative writing wasn’t a career track that would help pay the bills. For a time, God moved me into social work. I went on to get my masters and was thankful for the experiences and opportunities I had during those years of helping underprivileged people. After many twists and turns along the path, I’ve finally been able to channel my passion for writing into a full time writing career.


2. How would you describe your writing process? Are you more of a planner or freewriter?

I’m a combination of planner and freewriter. I start out with a brainstormed list of plot ideas. I do my best to think of as many twists and turns as I can before I start writing the first draft. And I usually have a pretty good idea of how I want the plot to wrap up.

But inevitably the story develops even more as I get into the meat of writing. I think that’s what makes writing so fun and what gives me such a rush—to see what new aspects unfold and where the story actually leads as I get to know my characters more intimately.


3. When is your best time in the day to write?

My ideal time to write is the first part of the day in the morning hours. I usually try to accomplish my writing first thing when I sit down to work rather than do other miscellaneous things like blogging or social media.

I give myself a daily word count of how much I need to write, and I stick to it as best as I can. Whatever amount I miss one day, I try to make up on another day of that week. Having the daily/weekly goals helps keep me going even when I’m not in the mood. However, if I ever get into a slump, I put in my earbuds and listen to music. The steady rhythm helps me block out distractions, inspires me, and often evokes strong emotions deep inside me.


4. How do you know when you have a great story idea?

I have all kinds of story ideas, probably too many! I think a writer can take any idea (even if it’s already been done) and still make it fresh and unique and interesting. Therefore I don’t rule out any story ideas. I just brainstorm harder and try to dig deeper for fresh spins to give my plots.


5. Out of all your books, which has been your favorite to write?

When I’m writing the first draft of a book, I fall madly in love with each book and the characters so that each book ends up holding a special place in my heart. I think they’re all SO wonderful–until I beginning editing and then I loathe them. Once I finish editing them for the last time, I never read them again.

Nevertheless, if I had to pick one, right now I’d probably pick Captured by Love. I really like Pierre my fun-loving, laid-back hero. I had a lot of fun writing his character. I also enjoyed writing in the era of the War of 1812 which is a time period not often used for historical fiction.


“Captured by Love” Questions:

6. How did you come up with the story idea for “Captured by Love”?

I wanted to write about Mackinac Island, which is a very popular tourist destination in Michigan. People from all over the Midwest (and country) flock to the tiny northern island during the summer to enjoy the mild weather, beautiful rock formations, bicycling, horse-drawn carriage rides, historical sites, and of course, the fudge!

Every time I vacation on Mackinac Island, I visit the old fort built on the bluffs overlooking the quaint town. I’ve always imagined what life would have been like during the dangerous fur-trading days when the island was overrun by soldiers and Indians.

So as I began plotting to write another book set in my home state of Michigan, I decided to write about Mackinac Island during the War of 1812, which was an especially turbulent time for the island residents.


7. Are the characters Angelique, Pierre, Jean, or Miriam based off of anyone you know?

For the most part, all of the characters are fictional. I did shape Miriam a bit after my mother who is a prayer warrior for my family. I also based Angelique off a real woman, Agatha de LaVigne, who lived on Mackinac Island during the fur-trading era.  Not much is known about her early background other than that her father was a French fur-trader and that she was Catholic, illiterate, and had a sister named Theresa.

Later Agatha married an independent fur trader and they raised four children together. Agatha is best remembered for her kindness and care to the poor and disadvantaged. She is known to have fed elderly residents from her kitchen. She died in 1873 and is buried at St. Anne’s Catholic Church on Mackinac Island.

Immediately, Agatha’s story sparked my imagination. Even though I didn’t base my entire story around her, I did make the heroine of Captured by Love a compassionate young woman who helps others. Like Agatha, I made my heroine Catholic, illiterate, with a sister named Therese and a fur-trading father. And of course, it seemed only natural to set the story on Mackinac Island where Agatha had lived.


8. Why do you write historical fiction?

I’ve always loved history. And I’ve always loved reading historical romances. But it wasn’t until I began homeschooling my children and teaching them history that my imagination turned on and I began to see story possibilities in everything we were reading and learning.

During the course of our history lessons, I began to learn a lot about some of the great heroes of the faith. I was particularly fascinated by the wives of these great heroes, especially those who were long forgotten by our modern world, women who had stood by their husband’s sides during dangerous times and had helped shape those men into the heroes they became. I wanted to bring these women to life for our modern generation.


9. How much time was spent researching vs. writing in this book in particular?

Research is an integral part of my writing process. I spent approximately a month on initial research, reading biographies, getting a feel for the time period, and digging into the meat that comprised the plot of my book.

Once I started writing the first draft, I had to stop from time to time to do a little more research, particularly if I switched settings within the story. But usually, if I don’t know something, I’ll highlight it and then do more research during my editing phase. So in all, writing the first draft took me a total of about 3 months.


10. Is there one tip that you could share that has really benefited you in your writing?  

Writing is like any other profession: we can’t succeed unless we achieve mastery of the subject. And how does one achieve writing mastery? We need to learn everything we can about the craft of writing and then put it into practice. In other words, learn, learn, learn. Write, write, write. Repeat ad infinitum.


Author PictureJody Hedlund is an award-winning and bestselling author of inspirational historical romances.

As a busy mama-writer, she has the wonderful privilege of teaching her crew of 5 children at home. In between grading math papers and giving spelling tests, she occasionally does a load of laundry and washes dishes. When she’s not busy being a mama, you can find her in front of her laptop working on another of her page-turning stories.

She loves reading almost as much as she loves writing, especially when it also involves chocolate and coffee.




I hope you have enjoyed getting to know more about Jody as much as I have! Be sure to leave a question for her in the comment box if you have any!


Blog Swap with Alyson Schroll

August 21st, 2014


I am so pleased to have Alyson here today to guest post! Alyson and I met at the writing conference I attended about a month ago. She is such a gifted and talented writer and she loves God! She is writing today about her experience about the writer’s conference and all the wonderfulness that comes with it! 

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Going to a writer’s conference can sometimes sound boring, but I went to the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference in August and had so much fun learning and meeting new friends including the lovely author, Rachel Rittenhouse.


At the conference, I was in my element and fit into to the environment. When agents or editors brought up lingo, I understood. When authors expressed excitement, I could be excited too. Now, mind you there were hardly any writers my age at this conference, and in some instances I felt out of place. But overall, I felt like I was in a place filled with people who understood writing and the reason why I write, to let God use me.


I made friends this year. Because there weren’t many teens, the teens that were there found each other and ate some meals together. Rachel was one of those friends I met. In a previous conference experience, I had met lots of people without making any friends. This experience was different and much more enjoyable.


After sitting in workshop after workshop, I want to come away feeling like I learned something. I took the time to do research on the speakers and sessions. This gave me the ability to choose workshops that I felt could teach me the most. Learning isn’t just about listening, either. Asking questions, taking notes, and occasionally talking with the speaker after the session helped me glean the most information possible.


Lastly, I enjoyed my time at a writer’s conference because I received positive feedback. All my meetings went great. Everyone who read my work was impressed, and I was asked for a nonfiction proposal. But I received more comments about my faith than my writing. Authors, agents, and editors pointed out how grounded I appeared to be. Knowing that my faith was showing in a clear and godly way made all the preparation, traveling, and stress worth it.


You can’t control everything that happens at a writer’s conference, but if you feel comfortable, try to make friends, attempt to learn, and give others a reason to respond positively, you will probably have great time.


Have you gone to a writer’s conference? What did you enjoy? What would you do differently next time?

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You can head over to Alyson’s blog now and read my guest post there talking about what to do when you get conflicting, but helpful advice from different people! 

Research, Research, Research!

August 14th, 2014

First off, I apologize for not having a post last Thursday. As you will soon see, I was in the midst of driving 10+ hours to North Carolina and the wi-fi was limited!

On every vacation my family takes, we always stop at some historic place or national park. Being a writer, this screams research!

10502482_10203618481815097_1845451385977361550_nThis past week, we stopped at Antietam National Battlefield. This battle took place on September 17, 1862 when General Lee of the Confederate Army invaded the North. The Battle of Antietam is said to be the bloodiest one-day battle in the Civil War with around 4000 men being killed.



10568820_10203618479455038_2143931619380293332_nWith the picture on the left, I want you to imagine that cornfield filled with a sea of blue and gray, canons facing each other. What if you are wearing the Union blue. Do you wonder if your cousin or maybe even brother is out there in the Confederate gray waiting to kill you?



20140807_131332 Imagine the inhabitants actually living in the town. Can you imagine the horror they must have faced? Would they leave their homes and fields? Or should they stay and fight alongside their country men? Whatever choice was chosen, everything in sight would have been destroyed.



20140807_130003But despite the terrors of war that surrounded Antietam, five days after the Union victory, President Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. This proclamation transformed “the war for the Union into a war for freedom as well.”



What about you? Do you enjoy stopping at National Parks?



Rachel Rittenhouse

Christian fiction for ladies young and old