Monday, February 29, 2016

Where Are They Now? Joyce Hostetter's Cover Reveal!

Congratulations to Joan Edwards who won JUBA! off last week's blog.
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I am pleased to announce a new series of posts following up on my You Heard it Here First series. In these Where Are They Now? posts I'll share follow-up publication news from authors and illustrators I have featured on my blog. 

My first success story comes from North Carolina author Joyce Hostetter, who happens to be my extremely talented writing buddy and co-publisher of Talking Story. I'm honored that she's chosen my blog as her cover reveal for her next book, AIM, scheduled to be published by Boyds Mills Press fall, 2016. Since tomorrow, March 1, marks the 10th anniversary of BLUE's publication, this is a very special occasion for Joyce.

I know some of you won't be able to stand the suspense and will scroll down to see AIM's beautiful cover (caught ya!). Just make sure to come back and read the amazing backstory of how this book was conceived and written in under a year.

Take it away, Joyce! 


CAROL: I know Boyds Mills Press (or was it Carolyn Yoder?) approached you about writing a prequel to Blue and Comfort. Can you tell us a little about that process? What did they ask for?

JOYCE: My editor, Carolyn Yoder, suggested the prequel but the idea was generated in committee—a prequel to begin with the letter A - so we’d have an ABC set. I thought that was the oddest idea ever!! (to start with a letter of the alphabet for a title before I had a story concept) I joked with my hubby that I’d call it Annoyed! Or Aggravated!

Carolyn explained. It was a marketing thing and would look good on bookshelves! Oh. Okay. Who was I to argue with people who know marketing? Or to pass up a chance at a book contract?

I was just getting into the story when Carolyn gave me a specific date to submit the proposal. So, I stopped writing chapters and spent two weeks on an outline.  Thanks to you, Carol for being part of my brainstorming process. Did you actually suggest that Junior Bledsoe could steal a car? I guess it was an okay idea. The committee liked my proposal and offered a contract.  

CAROL: How hard was it to come up with an idea for the prequel? How about the title? Did that come to you early on in the process?

JOYCE: I’d had an idea to write about a protagonist whose father was dead and at his funeral everyone made him out to be a saint. (I’ve been to such funerals!) But my story would reveal the father’s true character.

So I took a seed from Blue in which Ann Fay says that Junior Bledsoe’s father’s heart gave out a few years ago. I decided to explore Junior’s relationship with his dysfunctional father.  As it turned out, his father wasn’t actually a scoundrel.  Few people ever are.  Mostly, they/we are just broken. In AIM, I explored that brokenness and Junior’s response. 

For the title, I started collecting A words. Alligator was out. Allspice was too. I made a list of words that had potential for preceding Blue and Comfort—one that suited Junior Bledsoe. I considered Aspire but it sounded more like a word his school teacher would use. AIM became the obvious choice.

CAROL: What were the challenges of writing a prequel? 

Being consistent from one book to the next—in characters, speech, and small details. If I’d known there would be a prequel I’d have set it up in Blue and Comfort. Ann Fay was fairly self-absorbed in those books. But she did have opinions about Junior Bledsoe.  He knew everything and everybody and when it came to helping people he didn’t know how to say no.  It was a fun challenge for me to portray him at fourteen as opposed to how she saw him at seventeen.

CAROL: What was the most thrilling/exciting/fun part about writing this book?

JOYCE: The publisher asked me for a book.  What’s not to love about that?  For them to offer a contract based on my proposal was a tremendous emotional boost when I especially needed it. Having just spent seven years researching and writing on two “failed” speculative projects, I was grateful for the focus that AIM gave me.

CAROL: I know you had a stiff deadline for AIM. How was this different than Blue or Comfort?

JOYCE: I wrote Blue and Comfort on spec.  My editor put me through multiple revisions before offering contracts. I had lots of time for research.

With AIM, I wrote the first draft in six weeks, revised it (multiple times with beta reader feedback) in another six. I submitted and AIM went into intensive care with my editor probing for depth, clarity and history. I used my beach vacation and every spare minute to revise. The book, from idea to Advanced Reader Copy evolved in ten months. 

I don’t recommend writing a book that quickly. I like more time to research, live with ideas and think about many possibilities. Time enriches a story. But my chapter-by-chapter outline enabled me to write fast.  Somehow, with help from Heaven and my insightful and patient editor, I pulled it off and we now have a great story waiting to make friends with readers.

CAROL: Any thought about a “D” book? 

JOYCE: I’m always Dreaming…  And I do have an idea.  I’m working on a WWI story right now, however. So the potential “D book” is on hold for the moment.

CAROL: And last, but not at all least, can you give my readers a brief summary of the book? 

JOYCE: Junior Bledsoe’s father dies, leaving him and Momma to piece together some respect for the family name. Overwhelmed with extra responsibilities and questions about his family’s dysfunction, Junior makes some unfortunate choices. His mistakes get him into trouble but also enable him to discover new aims for his life.

AND NOW....the moment Joyce Hostetter fans have all been waiting for (drum roll please...) Here is your first look at AIM!



Since I read one of the early drafts, I can authoritatively say that you will love this book! I can't offer a giveaway since I don't have the ARC in my hot little hands yet. But be assured, that after reading and reviewing it, I'll give it away here. (After my husband's uncle reads it. He was first introduced to middle grade historical fiction when he read BLUE and has been a fan ever since.) 

I'm going to start my giveaway list now. If you want a chance to win my ARC later this spring, leave me a comment with your contact information if I don't have it. After I post my review you can leave a second comment and I'll enter your name twice. Your chances to win will increase if you share either post on social media or become a new follower of my blog. 

AND--it always helps an author to pre-order her book, so here's the Amazon link. Let's show Joyce our A-B-C support by pre-ordering!

45 comments:

Connie said...

Hi Carol, I would love to have an ARC of this book.
Connie
cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

Connie said...

I have shared on Twitter.
Connie
cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

Lisa Fowler said...

Thanks for the great interview Carol, and Joyce. I love your quote "Time enriches a story." That's something we "newbies" have difficulty learning. Blue and Comfort were so rich and I can't wait to read Aim. Congratulations on the book, Joyce.

Gretchen Griffith said...

YES!!! Sign me up! Thank you for offering the chance. Glad to share on facebook and twitter.

Bonnie J. Doerr said...

This is exciting beyond words! What a wonderful cover. Carol, your blog continues to bring amazing info, and this is just the best news ever. Thank you for sharing this and please tell Joyce she continues to be inspirational.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks friends, for sharing Joyce's celebration and commenting. Bonnie, Gretchen, Connie, & Lisa-- you're all in!

Connie said...

I have shared on Twitter.
Connie
cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

Sherill Darrel Hostetter said...

Am excitedly waiting for AIM to be released. Thanks for sharing this. Sherill Hostetter, sister-in-law of Joyce Hostetter

Carol Baldwin said...

YOu're in twice, Connie. Thanks!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Sherrill. Adding your name to the list.

Sandra Warren said...

Another great review, Carol!

Congratulations Joyce! I love the cover and look forward to reading the book.

Linda Vigen Phillips said...

Proud to call you both good friends and great writers! Can't wait for this one, Joyce, and I love the cover. Congratulations, especially on the speed-writing turnaround you accomplished on demand. Impressive to say the very least!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Linda and Sandra. You're both in!

karenpelletier said...

I can't wait! I loved Blue and Comfort.... the books even spurred a family trip to Warm Springs, GA!

Carol Baldwin said...

YOu're in, Karen. Please make sure you leave me your contact info in case you win!

Anna E. G. said...

Very excited to get to read Blue's prequel! The cover is beautiful and goes perfectly with the others. I think the marketing technique was interesting of wanting the books to have "ABC" titles. I've never thought about that having an impact on potential buyers before.
Congratulation again Joyce, and a wonderful interview Carol. :)

Carol Baldwin said...

Anna-- how fun to hear your voice here! I didn't know you were still following my blog. Added your name to the list!

Anna E. G. said...

Hi Carol, yes I do follow I just don't usually comment. I look forward to reading it at the beginning of each week. :)

Carol Baldwin said...

Anna--that makes my day--that you like reading it at the beginning of your week. But you need to start entering more contests. I can't believe you haven't wanted one of the other books I've offered! :)

sheri levy said...

Joyce, How exciting! I love the blue truck in the cover. Knowing it comes before the story, Blue, seems perfect!! Can't wait to read it.

Carol Baldwin said...

I hadn't even thought of that, Sheri. Glad you entered for this ARC giveaway!

Joy said...

I cannot wait to read this book! Blue and Comfort are outstanding historical fiction books that I look forward to sharing with my own children soon! I love the cover, too!

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Carol and Joyce,
What an exciting adventure you've been on, Joyce. I love the A story. I loved your B and C stories. You have a great way of putting your readers inside the heart and world of your characters. Thanks for sharing this with Carol.

Carol, thanks for letting us know all about Joyce's new book.

Hurray for the both of you.

Never Give Up
Joan

Young Authors Program said...

This is so exciting, Joyce! I love good news like this. Looking forward to getting this book, too!

espicey said...

I thought the same thing about the truck! Espicey@yahoo.com

espicey said...

Also shared on FB:)

Carol Baldwin said...

Thank you, Espicey, you're in twice!

Carol Baldwin said...

thanks Joy, Joan, and Dorothy for leaving comments. It's nice to be part of the Hostetter fan club, isn't it?

Rosi said...

Aggravated or Annoyed...Hahahaha! Yeah, I can see why you would think the way, Joyce. I love this post. It is a real feel good post. Thanks for that. I can't wait to read this one. No need to put me in the drawing. I think I have a copy lined up.

Barbara Younger said...

What a wonderful story, and I love the title and the cover!

Linda A. said...

Carol, I was happy to post this on Facebook. Good luck, Joyce!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Rosi, LInda, and Barbara. And LInda, you are in twice!

Clara Gillow Clark said...

Congratulation to Joyce! Great interview! Love the cover art!

Carol, Don't put me in for an ARC. Joyce will be doing a guest spot on my blog, so I think I'm tagged for a copy already!

Carol Baldwin said...

I won't enter your name, Clara, aren't we the fortunate ones to get to read this first?

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Thanks for telling me I won JUBA. I am looking forward to reading it!

Celebrate you
Never Give Up
Joan

Deborah Allmand said...

Please consider me also. I was away visiting my dad and I am just catching up. Great interview with Joyce!

Carol Baldwin said...

Absolutely, Deborah. This giveaway is staying open until after I read and review AIM, so you're in!

Kit Grady said...

Wonderful Carol. i would love to have a copy. Thanks, Kit@kitgrady.com

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Kit. You're in!

darlene said...

I enjoyed reading this inspirational story. And I'm looking forward to reading the book. Thank you. darlenemarieanne@gmail.com

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Darlene. You'll enjoy it!

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

Thank you so much folks for all the love! You make me feel so hopeful about AIM's prospects! Thank you Carol for hosting me and spreading the word!

Carol Baldwin said...

t was my great pleasure, Joyce!

kathleenburkinshaw said...

Carol, what a great interview. I loved hearing about Joyce's process-I'm so happy for her. I'm a big fan of BLUE(it was actually the book that made me realize I could write mine in first person), and COMFORT--I can't wait for AIM! The cover is fantastic!!

Carol Baldwin said...

Yes, Joyce has been a big influence to me too. Thanks for catching up with your blog reading on my blog, Kathleen!