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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:

Website: https:www.joycemoyerhostetter.com
Blog: http://www.joycemoyerhostetter.blogspot.com
Book Trailers: http://www.joycemoyerhostetter.blogspot.com/p/book-trailers.htm
Common Core curriculum guide for Blue: http://www.keepandshare.com/doc2/40494/blue-common-core-curriculum-guide-pdf-1-3-meg
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joycemoyerhostetter

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.

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