ABOUT AUTHOR: Jody Hedlund is an award-winning and bestselling author of inspirational historical romances for both adults and teens.

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.

How did you come up with the idea for Hearts Made Whole?

Jody: One of my goals in writing my Beacons of Hope series is to bring women light keepers to life. As happens with many historical women, they tend to be overshadowed by me and the same is true of women light keepers.

As I researched for writing a lighthouse series, I came across a fantastic book called, Ladies of the Lights: Michigan Women in the U.S. Lighthouse Service. The book is a tribute to the approximately 50 or so women who served either as primary or assistant keepers in Michigan Lighthouses.

I based the heroine in Hearts Made Whole off of one of those women light keepers. It's my hope to bring her and the other keepers out of the historical shadows and into the spotlight.

Nora: I found the story engaging and loved learning about the lighthouse and all it took to keep it running.

What do you hope readers take away from Hearts Made Whole?

Jody: Readers familiar with my books will know that I'm not afraid to tackle really tough issues. And the same is true in Hearts Made Whole. Since the hero is coming home as a Civil War veteran, he's facing some post-traumatic stress as well as debilitating war wounds that leave him addicted to his pain medicine.

At the same time the heroine is struggling to act as both father and mother to her four siblings while holding down a job as light keeper. She has the overwhelming job of trying to take care of everyone and everything while always remaining strong.

Both characters come to a point where they recognize they can't face all of their overwhelming troubles on their own and cry out to God their desperate need for Him. I hope that readers will take away a desire to turn to God in their most desperate needs too and know that He is there waiting to comfort and help them.

Nora: I liked that aspect of the story too. It was great to see how God moved in the lives of strangers working together growing in faith and trying for the common good!

What was your favorite scene in Hearts Made Whole? Which was the most fun to write? Which was the hardest? Why?

Jody: My favorite scene to write was the shaving scene, where Ryan is attempting to shave himself one-handed (due to his war injury) and doing a terrible job! Caroline offers to help him which ensues in a very romantic scene of her lathering him up and having to spend plenty of time in close proximity.

Eagle Harbor
Jody: The hardest part of the book to write was the scene where Caroline's sister Tessa makes a BIG mistake (I can't mention it otherwise I will spoil the story). But it was a heart-wrenching scene (and difficult to write tastefully and required lots of editing to get it just right).

Nora: Both of these scenes were powerful! You had me there!

What fascinated you about lighthouses? What made you make the setting of your book in and near one?

Jody: I'm fascinated with lighthouses for a number of reasons. First, my state of Michigan is home to the greatest concentration of lights in the United States. In fact, Michigan is noted as the state where the most lighthouses were erected. And now today, more than 120 remain compared to 500 total for the rest of the nation.

Big Sable Point

I've had the wonderful privilege of visiting a number of lighthouses throughout Michigan. There are so many beautiful lights, but here are three I visited last summer: Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, Big Sable Point Lighthouse and North Breakwater Lighthouse. 

Nora: Thanks for providing these pictures and sharing about your research. I love lighthouses and found this interesting.

North Breakwater Lighthouse

In your research for this book you mentioned in your Author Notes about the current condition of the Windmill Point Lighthouse on Lake St. Clair. Anything fascinating that you uncovered in your research that didn’t make it in the book?

Jody: Windmill Point Lighthouse once existed on Lake St. Clair near Detroit. It was a strategic beacon that helped ships cross from Lake Huron over into Lake Erie as those ships transported raw goods from the Northwest states to eastern states and seaports.

The lighthouse is named after the old ruins of a windmill where early frontiersmen brought their grain for grinding. Also, legends attribute the area to being an old battle field of a savage encounter between the early French settlers and Indians. As many as 1000 Foxe Indians were slaughtered on the banks of Lake St. Clair. Later settlers to the area uncovered bones, arrowheads, tomahawks, and other gruesome mementos of the battle.

Today, all traces of the original windmill, lighthouse, and burial grounds are long gone. If you visit Grosse Pointe in the Detroit area, all that remains is a small conical structure with a white flashing light. 

(photo credit for both of these pictures is:

Nora: Fascinating!

You talked about Caroline Litogot Antaya in the author notes to readers. What surprised you in your research about her? What did you most admire about her? How much of her is in this book?

Jody: The heroine of Hearts Made Whole is named Caroline after the real life woman light keeper, Caroline Antaya. It was my hope to bring to life this brave woman who faced discrimination due to her gender.
Part of what really impressed me about Caroline Antaya's situation was that she had been doing a fantastic job as a light keeper. But the district lighthouse inspector trumped up charges against her saying that she was in ill-health and incompetent. He took away her position simply because she was a woman and gave it to a man instead. Fortunately, her community rose to her defense and enlisted the help of a Michigan Senator to help her get her position back and she went on to serve as a light keeper for another three years.

I admired Caroline's will to stand up for herself and to pave the way for women coming after her to use their God-given talents and abilities in roles and jobs that had previously been closed to women.

Nora: I LOVED that aspect of Caroline too! I like reading about women like her!

How did you learn about operating a lighthouse? What training is required to run a lighthouse? Now? Then? Did they have log books and rules that had to be followed? If so, what did they have to document? What kind of rules did they have? Any of them make you laugh?

Jody: In my research, it was interesting to find that the training required of light keepers (especially in the early days of the era) was not very rigorous. I learned that Civil War veterans were often given positions even if they'd had very little previous experience.
Once in a position, the rules and regulations for keepers were often very strict. Keepers were expected to maintain spotlessly clean homes and towers, had to be ready for surprise inspections at any time, and had to maintain rigorous log books with accurate records that documented everything from ship wrecks to oil usage to weather conditions.

One rule that I found especially funny was that women were prohibited from painting the lighthouse tower. Obviously their skirts put them at a disadvantage over men, especially for painting jobs that required them to sit high above the ground. Nevertheless, it was one more area where women were not allowed the same privileges as men. 

Nora: I instantly connected with your characters and their situation. I loved learning about the lighthouse and society at that time too!

What two jobs have you had that would surprise people? Do tell!

Jody: When I was in high school I worked at Dairy Queen and I loved getting to taste the "mistakes." It was a nice job perk!

In college I worked as a nurses aid in a nursing home with Alzheimer and dementia patients. It was an incredibly challenging job that makes me appreciate anyone who works in a nursing home. 

Nora: I'm surprised!

Out of all the sounds in the world which are your favorite?

Jody: My children's laughter and the percolating coffee pot.

We all live busy lives and all of us are in different seasons of life; what as a given what part of your day requires the most patience from you to get through? Causes you to pray the most?
My Children
Jody: Training my five children in godly character requires the most diligence and hard work at this season of my life. As my children mature and reach high school and college age, I'm in constant prayer that God would help them make wise choices in a world that strives to undermine their faith and godliness.

Nora: You have a lovely family!

Have you seen any movies and/or read any books lately that captured your attention and grabbed your heart?

Jody: I've been re-reading Lynn Austin's Refiner's Fire series set during the Civil War. Of course, I love all of Lynn's books, but I'm always moved when I read "firsthand" accounts of the Civil War and am reminded what a devastating war it was on so many levels.

Nora: Thanks for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your books. I’m thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity at TBCN starting the 20th of JUNE at . and ends June 30th.

Looking forward to it to reading the participation between you and readers! It’s always so much fun! Everyone has to be a member of TBCN in order to participate. It’s Free and easy. Participate as your schedule allows.

I’m thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity at TBCN started the 20th of JUNE at .

Looking forward to it to reading the participation between you and readers! It’s always so much fun! Everyone has to be a member of TBCN in order to participate. It’s Free and easy. Participate as your schedule allows.


Nora :o)

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins 
The Book Club Network Blog  
Book Fun Magazine  

Interview Sponsored by: Bethany House Publishers


  1. Jody, I love lighthouses too! My favorite place is the Apostle Islands in Superior.

    1. It was fascinating to read about what it takes to run a lighthouse. I'll have to check this one out Lyn! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I really enjoyed the lighthouse pictures. I have only seen a couple of the Lake Michigan lighthouses. Quite oddly, it was about 1993 when I first started getting interested in them and had studied very little about them. I saw the Chicago Harbor Light and didn't even realize it was an actual lighthouse. The other one was just north of Chicago. Last spring my wife and I visited four lighthouses on the Outer Banks and I climbed three of them. I think your books would be very interesting!

    1. Wow, sounds like a great tour. I hope you both stop by TBCN and ENTER the Drawing for 10 copies of Jody's book there. CLICK on the link ABOVE the Book Cover. Must be a member to enter the drawing. But Membership is Free and Easy!

  3. Here is a picture of my hometown lighthouse in Mukilteo, WA. It's my favorite. I enjoyed Heart's Made Whole. Thank you Nora and Jody for the interesting post.

    1. Beautiful picture of the lighthouse. THANKS for sharing Bethany! I appreciate you stopping by and sharing!

  4. I enjoy reading fiction about lighthouses and learning the history behind them. I would love to read this book. Thanks so much for the chance to win!

    1. Hi, Vickie; This contest ended the last day of June. The winners are listed on the front page of The Book Club Network While you are at TBCN you can check out the contest we have for this month. You'll be in time to join those contests!

    2. Hi, Vickie; This contest ended the last day of June. The winners are listed on the front page of The Book Club Network While you are at TBCN you can check out the contest we have for this month. You'll be in time to join those contests!