I am a big fan of Joyce Moyer Hostetter. Her wonderful novels take you on a journey of time and place. I am so pleased that she agreed to be interviewed.
When and why did you start writing for children?
I started writing for publication in 1990-91. I’d worked with children in various teaching roles, so curriculum writing was a natural. But truthfully, I didn’t pursue curricula. It came to me, and as it turned out, I got an excellent writing education in the process.
Since I actually wanted to write fiction, I began to explore it at the same time. My very first protagonist was an adolescent. However, I don’t remember making a conscious choice to write for children as opposed to writing for adults. I believe they are simply my natural audience. Maybe I’m writing for the young’un in me.
What is the most valuable advice you can give to a newly published writer?
Well, the newly published writer feels like me. Could someone please give me some advice!? Tell me how to juggle all this – how to balance marketing, writing, researching and relationships. In the last year, I think I’ve understood, for the first time, how easy it is to become so engrossed in my work that I neglect my family.
So, I’d probably say something about prioritizing. Figure out what parts of your life are most valuable to you. Protect them. Consider hiring out certain tasks or swapping services so that your energies go to things that nurture you. For example, bookkeeping makes me want to weep; but I have to pay taxes, so I have a trusty family member keeping track of my finances. Now, if I could only pay someone to look after my dust bunnies!
What is one of your favorite children’s books that you'd like to recommend?
I know you didn’t ask me to pick just one!
I have a thing for Eastern European and/or World War II era literature. A 2006 title I loved is The Night of the Burning: Devorah’s Story by Linda Press Wulf. It takes place in post World War I Poland as well as South Africa. A great story based on a real event – the migration and adoption of 200 Eastern European war and disease orphans by Jewish families in South Africa.
And I just read Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages. I did not expect to love a book related to the making of the atomic bomb but it totally took me apart. You can bet I’ll be recommending that one!
What are you working on now?
A sequel to BLUE. If all goes well, it will be released in the Spring of ‘09. The working title is COMFORT. It picks up where Blue left off and deals with the after effects of polio and war.
What is your favorite dessert and why?
Hmmmm – cheesecake is good – chocolate cheesecake is excellent. Anything moist and chocolate could sabotage my diet plan. And a glass of milk at the same time? Perfection!
Joyce Moyer Hostetter was born in Quakertown, PA, but then she heard about “The South” and hurried on down! Her parents raised her and her seven siblings in the Hickory, NC area, which is also the setting for her novel, BLUE.
She received her BA in Early Childhood Education at Lenoir Rhyne College in Hickory. Since then she has taught special education, pre-school, homeschool support groups, and camp drama classes. Along with her husband, Chuck, she has raised two children and is now enjoying 4 grandchildren with more on the way!
Joyce began writing for publication in 1991. At first she did freelance writing for children’s magazines, a newspaper, and various curricula while she practiced writing novels. Her first book, Best Friends Forever was published in 1995. Blue followed in 2006 and Healing Water, a novel about Hawaii’s leprosy settlement was published in Spring 2008. A sequel to Blue is scheduled for release in 2009.
After raising their children in Ocean City, MD and Lancaster County, PA, Joyce and Chuck are again living in North Carolina. Joyce has a penchant for old things – books, furniture, houses and history. She enjoys gardening, scrabble, jigsaw puzzles, and grandchildren. And, reading & writing – of course!