Guys, I’m really excited to have Joyce Moyer Hostetter here with me today. It’s been great getting to know her through our #MGGetsReal campaign in which we spotlight important books for middle grade kids dealing with tough issues in their own lives. Joyce is the author of 3 awesome books, Blue, Comfort, and the forthcoming
book Aim. All three books are tied together in characters, but each with its own touching story. But let’s find out more about her in this quick Five in Five. Ready?
1.What made you decide to become an author and what’s your favorite thing about it?
Midlife. An elementary language arts teacher had predicted I’d be a writer someday. But after high school and college I dabbled in various hobbies and career options. Then, when I was 40ish, my beloved aunt died. I suddenly realized how quickly life can end and that I’d better get on with my dreams. Consequently, I attended a midlife retreat where I rediscovered my writer self. That retreat and my aunt’s death kick-started my writing for publication. I began a story that closely echoed my own childhood and raised some of my questions about life. It was never published but it was great practice.
My favorite thing about being an author? Home. Working from home. Giving my readers a story space that feels like home to them. Knowing that my books put them in touch with their own stories.
2. What book have you read (not your own) that touched you in some unexpected way?
The Green Glass Sea – by Ellen Klages. Oh my goodness. It’s been a few years but I just remember reading this story of a child living in Los Alamos. It was a good story about a girl without a mom whose dad was busy doing something important and secret for the government. Then I come to the end –to the description of what nuclear testing had done to the desert. And the knowledge of what that meant for Hiroshima and Nagasaki—what it meant for the world – oh my! I came undone. It was no longer a good story. It was phenomenal.
3. If you could pick one famous person (author or otherwise) to be college roommates with, who would you select and why?
I’m not much into celebs so it would have to be an author. Someone down to earth – like, you know – Donna Welch Earnhardt. Donna is not really, really famous. But I’d want someone kind and funny and earthy and someone with a voice like Donna’s so I can listen to her sing in the shower! Donna is a wee bit wacky so she would have helped my college-aged self to come out of my shell! By the way, Donna has a marvelous and funny picture book out – Being Frank. And she’s subbing three more! Not to mention a beautifully written verse novel in progress.
If I had to choose someone really famous, I’d go for Katherine Paterson. We could swap manuscript critiques. Imagine that! And we’d discuss faith and how it relates to real world issues and maybe, while we lie in our bunks at night, she would tell me stories about growing up in China.
But I’m still voting for Donna because I don’t know if Katherine can sing and what if she and I just didn’t have the right chemistry?
4. Tell me something random about yourself that readers might like to know.
When I was in high school I drove school bus for two years. (For decades, North Carolina employed student drivers in a remarkably successful program!) Driving bus was a position of responsibility and honor and it came with a monthly paycheck. There were 8 children in our family and each of us drove bus during high school. I share this weird bit of history with Robin Roberts of Good Morning America. She also drove school bus during her high school years in Alabama. (Come to think of it, Robin Roberts would make a great roommate!)
5. If you could tag one other author for this Five in Five, who would it be and what would you want me to ask them?
Right now I am reading an advanced reader copy of Snakes and Stones by Lisa Fowler. This story about the daughter of a “snake oil” salesman, is set to release on November 1. Please ask Lisa if she could teach me a thing or two about characterization and narrative. Oh my goodness! I want to know if this stuff just comes pouring out of her because that is surely how it reads.
Joyce, there’s so much to take in here. This is fantastic stuff and maybe Robin Roberts or one of the others will reply. I’m still kind of in shock that they let kids drive school bus and I sure hope you write a story to include this someday. I’ve never heard this before.
Readers, here are all the places you can find out more about Joyce and her historically beautiful books.