Jody Hedlund ~ Author Interview

Jan 29, 2016 by

Welcome back to Rachel’s Back Talk! Another Friday interview!

While you may have remembered me interviewing Jody Hedlund before, this week, I am celebrating the release of her newest book Undaunted Hope, the third book in her “Beacons of Hope” series.

So without further ado, on to Rachel’s Back Talk – Special Edition!


RR: Welcome to back to Rachel’s Back Talk, Jody! To start off today’s interview, tell us, how did you come up with the idea for Undaunted Hope?

JH: For this third book in my Michigan lighthouse series, I wanted to pick a location that was different than the other books. The first two books, Love Unexpected and Hearts Made Whole, are set in the “Mitten” of Michigan. So to add variety to the series, I decided to place Undaunted Hope in the Upper Peninsula on Lake Superior.

In doing my research of Michigan lighthouses, I learned that there are lighthouses dotted all over the coast of Lake Superior since it was such a treacherous lake to traverse and an important place for steamers due to the rich natural resources that were available. As I studied the various lighthouses, I finally landed upon Eagle Harbor Lighthouse in the Keweenau Peninsula because not only was the area rich in resources, but it was rich in history and the makings of a really great story!

RR: The heroines in the first two books actually live in lighthouses. In Undaunted Hope, the heroine is a school teacher. Why did you decide for her to be a school teacher instead of a light keeper?

JH: As I researched the area and the Keweenau Peninsula, I came across the diary of a real school teacher, Henry Hobart, who lived and taught in Clifton which was just a few miles down the road from Eagle Harbor. He wrote a detailed account of his life as a school teacher to the mining children.

I loved reading his diary and learning about all he experienced, especially those unique things that came with being in such a remote area of Michigan and living among the mining community.

I used many of Hobart’s experiences in Undaunted Hope. For example, he boarded with a Cornish family, the Rawlings, and Mr. Rawlings was a prominent mine engineer and mechanic. So I had Tessa board with this particular family. Hobart faced many hardships like bedbugs, lice, scarlet fever, the harsh winter, and much more. So again, I had Tessa experience many of those same things.

Eagle Harbor itself has an old one-room school house now known as the Rathbone School House. While it’s no longer in use and serves as a museum, during my research trip I was able to visit it. I used it as the inspiration for the school house in this book.

RR: I really enjoyed the different perspective of Tessa being a schoolteacher. In your other lighthouse books, the heroines are inspired by real women keepers. Did you use a real light keeper as part of the inspiration for the heroine in Undaunted Hope?

JH: Most of us gravitate toward the stories that glamorize lighthouse life and honor the women who served in them. That’s only natural. And I hope in my other two books in this series, I give those women the laud due to them.

However, I didn’t want to neglect the women who served in lighthouses whose experiences weren’t quite as glamorous, who served even though they disliked the duty. One woman in particular inspired this book. Her name was Cecelia Carlson McLean who was married to keeper Alexander McLean who served at various lighthouses around Lake Superior. When she was interviewed later in her life, Cecelia was very forthright in stating that she hated lighthouses, that they were lonely places, and that she’d had to sacrifice a great deal to live in them. She claimed that if she had to do it over, she wouldn’t choose life in a lighthouse.

Of course her story made me think about the many hardships that light keeping entailed, especially for women–the extreme isolation, the lack of luxury, and the constant threat of danger. So out of Cecelia’s hardships, I created Tessa and tried to imagine the underlying motivations for what might cause someone to hate lighthouses. Although I had Tessa work through some of her fears and dislike of lighthouses, I’m sure most women like Cecelia took their resentment of lighthouses with them to the grave.

RR: You have a fourth lighthouse book releasing in June of 2016. Can you tell us a little bit more about this story? Is it connected to your first three lighthouse books?


JH: The fourth book is titled Forever Safe. Like the others, it can completely stand alone. There’s no need to read the others first to enjoy the story.

However, the main character in Forever Safe does make an appearance at the end of the third lighthouse book, Undaunted Hope. I won’t say who it is, so that I don’t spoil the surprise for those who haven’t read Undaunted Hope. But I hope that readers will be excited about this particular character getting a story in Forever Safe.

RR: That is so exciting! I am SO GLAD there is a fourth. And since I’ve read it, I will say that I love the character it will be about! As we close here today, what do you hope readers take away from Undaunted Hope?

JH: I pray that this story will encourage readers with renewed hope. Just like Tessa, I hope that readers will find the strength to face their fears. We all have things that frighten us, and many times we find it easier to run away from those things that scare us. Sometimes, however, God calls us to walk directly into that thing we fear most. He wants us to know that during those times, he’s there walking right beside us and that he’ll help us come out on the other side stronger as a result.

RR: What a great lesson we can learn from Tessa’s story! Thank you so much for joining us here.

 undaunted hope meme

ALSO – Jody is giving away ONE COPY of UNDAUNTED HOPE! To be entered to win, leave a comment here with your name and email. Winners will be drawn Friday, Feb 5!


No-15Jody Hedlund is a best-selling and award-winning author who loves history 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.

I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund

I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund

My home base is at my website:

Find me on Instagram:

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  1. Winnie Thomas

    Great interview! This book looks and sounds so intriguing. I’d love to win a copy and would be glad to leave a review for it.

  2. I love lighthouses, and the covers of these books are gorgeous. Thanks for the iinterview and giveaway!

  3. Sylvia M.

    I love reading Jody Hedlund’s books. This has been a great series so far and I’m looking forward to reading this addition.


  4. Donna Czerepinski

    Would love to read this book

  5. Karen

    I’m so excited to read this and all the Beacons of Hope series! Thanks for sharing with us! mylittlebirdie (at) yahoo Dot com

  6. Lientjie Human

    I have read 2 of her other Beacons of Hope series, and would love to add this to my collection!

  7. Donna B

    Thanks for the interview and giveaway. I would love to read all of these books that Jody has written.

  8. Mel

    I love Jody’s books!fingers crossed!

  9. Linda May

    Jody, this was a great interview, I sure would love a chance to win this book, my birthday if Feb. 8th & what a great present that would be. I love anything to do with Lighthouses, Thanks for this chance.

  10. Cindy G

    This book is on my to read list! I’m looking forward to reading it! Thank you for this opportunity to win a copy!

  11. Have read the others in the Lighthouse series and would love to read this one, too. Thanks for the chance to win!

  12. Carol Alscheff

    I would love to read your new book. Thanks for the chance to win it.

  13. Marissa

    I’ve always loved Jodie’s books! I especially love ones with lighthouses 🙂

  14. Thanks for the chance! The quotes I’ve seen from Undaunted Hope are great. I’m always drawn to stories that eludes a sense of hope for readers, and I’m glad that’s what Jody hope to achieve from their book. Thank you.

  15. I love Jody’s books! How have I still not read this one?! Great interview :))

  16. I am always interested in finding new authors to read, as well as good books worth reading. Thank you for sharing of yourself and your books!

  17. carylkane

    I LOVE Jody Hedlund’s books. Fantastic interview! JODY, thank you for writing stellar stories that bring HOPE to those in dark places…..

    psalm103and138 at gmail dot com

  18. Lovely interview!! I adore Hedlund’s novels, so I know I’ll love this one as well. 🙂 So inspirational! 🙂

  19. Rachel

    Congratulations, Janice Moore! You are the winner of “Undaunted Hope”! I will send your email over to Jody. 🙂 Enjoy reading!

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