Interview with Joyce Moyer Hostetter, Award-Winning Historical Fiction Writer

“Interview with Joyce Moyer Hostetter, Award-Winning Historical Fiction Writer” by Joan Y. Edwards

Hello, Joyce. Great to see you as a guest on my blog.
Thank you Joan, for hosting me.  I’m honored to be included in your interview series!
You’re very welcome. Everyone’s waiting to find out all about you, so let’s begin.

1.  How did you do in English as a kid?
I think it’s safe to say I did good well in English.  I couldn’t get enough of diagramming sentences.  (I wonder if I can still do that.)

2.  When did you decide to become an author?
I’ve been around long enough to have a mid-life crisis (No, I didn’t get my gray hair out of a bottle) in which I realized that life could be winding down. So around 1990, I wrote a thinly disguised memoir and called it a novel.  It never sold.  But that’s okay.  I got a lot of practice out of that story.  It helped me through my mid-life crisis, too.

3.  What’s your favorite book? Why?
I’m sorry.  I don’t think I can choose a favorite book.  I can give you a list of books I love – The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank, My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok, Sudie by Sara Flanigan, Hatchett by Gary Paulsen, and any book by Katherine Paterson. I could go on and on, etc. etc. etc.

4.  Are your characters based on real people?
I watch real people for mannerisms, figures of speech, and personality traits.  But no, I don’t base characters solely on real people.  Unless, of course I’m including historical figures in my fiction. Sometimes I do that. But, true confession – I sometimes have to fight the urge to put real people in my stories. It can be tempting…

5.  Did you outline and plan your books before you wrote them or did these stories flow on their own?
I do a lot of research and come up with a general plot. Then I start writing and the story mostly flows on its own. Sometimes it stops flowing and I feel stuck. Thankfully, more research often helps.  Lately, I’m experimenting with a plot formula. We’ll see how that goes!

6.  Joyce, you have outstanding research skills. You also have an intriguing way of weaving your research into the characters, setting, and action of your stories. What helped you in doing your research that others could benefit by your experience?
Thanks, Joan – Wow! This is such a huge question. I love to follow the trail of resources provided by reading bibliographies.  I go to the location of my story, walk the streets, imagine them the way they were and pick up on local flavor.  I make friends with people there or people who lived there back in the day. I use as many primary resources (first hand materials) as possible, including documents, diaries, artifacts, and vintage films with historical footage.

7.  Are there three main things to consider when weaving the facts you discovered in research into a manuscript?
Hmmmm – how about just one? Big one for me is not to try to weave too much in. I tend to love every little historical detail I find.  So the trick I’m learning (I hope) is to tell a great story without getting hung up on all the facts I could include.

 8. Did you cry while writing one of your books?
Hey, it’s no good unless it makes me cry, right? And laugh too, of course. (I’m still working on the humor.) The books I’ve always loved are stories fraught with human dilemma. In order for me to convey the struggle to the reader I have to feel it first, if you know what I mean. Of the books I’ve written, BLUE made me cry the most.

Amazon: Blue
Trailer of Blue :

9.  Do you have trouble saying goodbye to your characters when the book is finished?
Seriously? By the time I’m finished writing and rewriting multiple times I can’t wait to kick my characters out the door.  (I still love them, but I need some space.)  And I’m eager to get on with something new – the next story and brand new characters. Having said that, I missed Ann Fay Honeycutt quite a lot after I had a break from BLUE.  So when she came knocking, I opened the door and wrote a sequel, COMFORT.

Amazon: Comfort
Trailer of Comfort

10.  What’s your favorite book you’ve written?
This is right up there in difficulty with the question about favorite books I’ve read. But BLUE, COMFORT, and HEALING WATER come to mind.

Amazon:  Healing Water
Trailer for Healing Water

11.  What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you related to your writing or book tours?
Hmmm. I tripped once going onstage at a PTA meeting where I was speaking.  I don’t know how funny it was.  The audience gasped and didn’t really relax until I made spontaneous jokes about it during my presentation.  Thankfully, I didn’t fall flat on my face – I just looked kind of klutzy!  If it ever happens again, I’ll tell them I planned it!

12.  Did you ever consider giving up?
Giving up?  No never thought of that. There’s always another story to be told. Being a writer is the happiest job I’ve ever had.  I don’t have regular income, but I love my life!

13.  What is your favorite genre? Why?
Is there anything besides history?   I don’t know exactly why I love history so much. I think it’s the amazement I feel when I discover a little known real life event with the people who survived and even thrived through hard times. History gives me courage. Historical novels makes me care.

14.  How do you know when your manuscript is ready for submission?
I don’t. Honestly. I usually think it’s ready before it is. I’m learning to submit it first to multiple readers who will be brutally honest with me. Then, after making suggested changes, I run it by them or someone else again. (several times). I haven’t submitted anything for a long time so I might be getting more insecure in this area. I know this is really helpful, right?

15.  What are you writing now?
War and Peace (okay not exactly)  It’s a WWI story about a small mountain town that unexpectedly hosts more than 2,000 German enemy aliens. I’m having so much fun with my boy character and the unexpected adventure and friendships he encounters.

Short Bio
Joyce Moyer Hostetter worked with children in public school, camp, church, and homeschool settings for years.  However, in 1990 she could no longer resist the urge to write! Combining love of story with her fondness for young people; she now writes juvenile novels. Her multi-award winning novel, BLUE retells the story of North Carolina’s 1944 polio epidemic. The sequel, COMFORT explores the after-effects of polio and war. HEALING WATER is the story of a 13 year-old boy banished to Hawaii’s leprosy settlement in 1869.
Joyce often visits schools to talk about writing, researching, and getting published.  She co-publishes TALKING STORY, a newsletter about reading and writing for teachers, librarians and parents who homeschool their children. When she’s not writing or speaking she’s usually researching or learning to use the web as a marketing tool! Joyce lives with her husband near Hickory, NC where they enjoy their two adult children and eight grandchildren.

Other interviews with Joyce:

Book Trailers:
Common Core curriculum guide for Blue:

Thank you, Joyce for being a guest on my blog. It is a gift the way you turn history into inspiration for us.

I announced the winner for the contest below on February 13, 2014:

Thank you for reading all about Joyce Moyer Hostetter.

Subscribe to Joan’s blog for new articles of inspiration, information, and humor. Receive free gifts. Join over 100 other subscribers and over 700,000 visitors. You’ll be sent an email to confirm your subscription. Thank you.


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Joan Y. Edwards, Author
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46 thoughts on “Interview with Joyce Moyer Hostetter, Award-Winning Historical Fiction Writer”

  1. Thank you Joan for another exciting interview! Joyce is a truly gifted author and researcher. I have enjoyed getting to know her and her fascinating historical characters through Comfort. I cannot wait to read Healing Waters!

  2. Joan and Joyce,
    Thanks for linking to the guest blog that Joyce wrote for “A Writer’s Playground.” I was so happy to have her as a guest and so were my blog readers. Leprosy is a topic Joyce researched well for her book, Healing Waters. I’d love to have my name included in the drawing for a copy of this book. Thanks!

    1. Hey Linda,
      I have such a great memory of celebrating World Leprosy Day on your blog. Wow! I believe that as about a year ago which means I probably missed it again. Will have to check. Thanks for participating in the giveaway. Joyce

  3. Great interview … loved “always another story.” So true. I’ve had the good fortune to attend Joyce’s workshops on writing historicals. She’s so lovely and gracious and talented!!!
    I was going to ask you not to enter me in the giveaway as I already have some of her books on my bookshelf, but I changed my mind. Please put my name in the hat. I have some young friends who would love a copy of their own. Thank you for having a giveaway.

    1. Dear Vijaya,
      Thanks for writing. I’m glad you liked the interview. You are right. Joyce is lovely, gracious, and talented. I’m glad you were able to attend Joyce’s workshops on writing historicals. I’ve entered your name in the drawing for a free copy of Healing Water.
      For another chance to win, visit Joyce’s blog:
      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up

    1. Dear Carol,
      Thank you for writing. As you wish, I won’t include you for the drawing.
      Joyce, your mentor and friend, has taught all of us great writing tips and introduced us to characters who deserve compassion like the real people who lived during those times.
      Celebrate you

  4. All time favorites? Blue, Comfort, and Healing Water come to my mind as well! I could not ever see Joyce giving up on anything – ever! Can’t wait for “War and Peace.” Thank you for the interview. Steph

    1. Dear Steph,
      Thanks for writing. You’re welcome for the interview. I’m glad that you like Joyce’s books. They are filled with people we can relate to, aren’t they? I’m very glad she didn’t give up on them.
      Celebrate you and your love of reading great books
      Never Give Up

  5. I always learn from your blogs, Joan. Thanks for interviewing Joyce
    And Joyce, thanks for sharing your love of history and writing with us all.

    1. Dear Sandra,
      Thanks for writing. You’re welcome for my interviewing Joyce. I’m honored that you always learn something from my blogs. I bow humbly.
      Celebrate you and your love of learning,
      It will keep you young
      Never Give Up

      1. Dear Joyce,
        Thank you for the compliment. It is fun to write and design a blog post. I am honored that you agreed to be a guest on my blog. You are delightful.
        Celebrate you
        Never Give Up

  6. Joyce, I enjoyed reading your interview. I love reading novels that weave history into them. I am inspired by you finding that which you love to do (writing) and will endeavor to continue searching for that for myself.

    1. Dear Luann,
      Thank you for writing. I’m glad you stopped by. I wish you good luck in finding what you love to do! Look for things that give you life. Things that make you feel wonderful when you do them and you feel awful if you don’t. Sample a little of this and a little of that. I believe you are on the right path by reading good books.
      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up

  7. I loved this interview with Joyce. She is such a sharing writer, very generous with her time and information. Thanks for publishing this. Please let someone else win. I have Healing Waters and hope someone who hasn’t read it gets the chance. It’s a wonderful book.

    1. Dear Rosi,
      Thank you for writing. You’re welcome for the interview. I’m glad you liked it. You are right. Joyce is a sharing writer who is very generous with her time and information. I won’t count you in for winning Healing Water. I hope you’ll come back and read about other authors and leave a comment to have a chance to win one of their books or a free critique.
      Celebrate you and your love of great books,
      Never Give Up

  8. Lovely interview–thank you! Joyce, I loved diagramming sentences, too. A couple years ago, I decided to see if I still remembered–it turned out a bit of a mess, but I figured it out eventually! 🙂
    I’d love to win a copy of the book!

    1. Dear Faith,
      Thank you for writing. I’m glad you enjoyed the interview with Joyce. I’ve put your name in the hat to have a chance to win a copy of Healing Water.
      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up

    2. Hey Faith – that’s too funny. I sort of remembering trying and realizing how much I’d forgotten. But I should study up a little and just do it. Perhaps it would be good for the gray matter! Thanks for participating.
      With aloha! Joyce

  9. Thanks, Joan, for featuring a favorite author and friend. I loved knowing you have weathered the mid-life crisis, Joyce, and what abundance of great writing came out of it! I will love to be entered in the give-away.

    1. Dear Linda Phillips,
      Thank you for writing. You’re welcome for the interview with Joyce. She is a great example of an author to admire. I’ve put your name in the hat for a chance to win a copy of Healing Water.
      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up

  10. Joan, let me first congratulate you on your constant and informative posts. I have admired Joyce’s work for years. I was originally drawn to her work because my brother had polio. But the quality of her work has kept me hooked. Thank you for featuring her on your blog so that more people may enjoy her gifts.

    1. Dear Bonnie,
      Thanks for writing. I’m glad you believe my blogs are informative. Thank you for the compliment. You’re very welcome for my having Joyce for a guest interview.
      You’re right. We are drawn to Joyce’s work because it connects with us on a personal level. She gets to the core of the sad situation and shows us the hurts, flaws, and hope of the people. I’m sorry your brother had polio. It was devastating to many people who had it. I’m so glad that they now have the vaccines that keep people from getting it.
      Celebrate you and your love of good books,
      Never Give Up

  11. What a great interview! Joyce is a talented writer and always willing to help her fellow online Goal Buddies. I loved Ann Fay’s story, as did my entire Book Club. But I’ve never read “Healing Waters.”

    1. Dear Elizabeth, Thank you for writing. I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. You are right. Joyce is very talented and is always willing to help her fellow ooline Goal Buddies. It’s great that your entire Book Club enjoyed Blue. Perhaps you’ll get the chance to read Healing Water, too.
      How does your book club choose the next book for you to read?
      Celebrate you and your love of reading
      Never Give Up
      Celebrate you

  12. I loved the humor in this interview and am determined to read this author’s books! Thank you for introducing me to her work.

    1. Dear Francis,
      Thank you for writing. I’m glad you enjoyed Joyce’s humor in this interview. I know that you’re going to enjoy reading her books.
      Celebrate you and your love of reading,
      Never Give Up

  13. Joan, thank you for hosting Joyce. Her book BLUE, inspired me to write my manuscript, THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM in first person. I lover her writing style and she was so helpful to me when I did my first rough rough draft years ago.

    1. Dear Kathy Burkinshaw,
      Thanks for writing. You’re welcome for the interview with Joyce Hostetter. I am glad you shared with us that Joyce’s book BLUE inspired you to write your manuscript THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM in first person. Joyce continues to amaze us with her books and her helpful ways.
      Celebrate you,
      Never Give Up

  14. Thank you to Joyce Moyer Hostetter for being a guest on my blog. Thank you to all the people who shared wonderful praises in the comment area for Joyce and her books. It is indeed wonderful that she was willing to give a free copy of Healing Waters to one of the lucky people who left a comment. Below are the names of all the people who left a comment between January 29, 2014 and midnight February 7, 2014.

    1. Ann Eisenstein
    2. Linda Martin Andersen
    3. Vijaya
    4. Stephanie Caceres
    5. Sandra Warren
    6. Luann Martin
    7. Rosi
    8. Faith Hough
    9. Linda Vigen Phillips
    10. Bonnie J. Doerr
    11. Elizabeth Vollstadt
    12. Francis Can Mom
    13. Kathy Burkiinshaw

    Carol Federlin Baldwin also left a comment, but did not wish to be in the drawing. chose #1. Therefore, Ann Eisenstein you won a free copy of Healing Waters. Congratulations! Please send your snail mail address to me at the contact address from the left-hand column.
    I will post a separate post to announce this. You can respond there.
    Jump over to Joyce’s blog to discover who won a copy of Healing Waters there:
    HEALING WATER: We have a winner!
    Never Give Up

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