Congratulations to Danielle Hammelef who won THE SUMMER OF THE TREE ARMY from last week's blog.
Some people read a book which they really like and rush through it to get to the end. Not me. When I find a book that I love, I stretch it out. I don't want the story to end.
That was doubly true for Joyce Moyer Hostetter's last book in the Bakers Mountain Stories series-- EQUAL (Calkins Creek: 2021). How is it possible that there won't be another story about the Honeycutt family? I'm sorry to say to all her fans--there won't be. 😞 I even knew how the book would turn out AND I still cried at the beautifully crafted ending. But, I'm getting ahead of myself...
ON A PERSONAL NOTE
I've had the privilege of being Joyce's beta reader and read several drafts. You will read the completed story of how Jackie recognizes his racism and deals with it. But I saw how Joyce built the book. She knew Jackie was someone who talked first and regretted his words later. She knew he was a 4-H kid who loved his cow, Lucy, and would learn big lessons when he showed her at the county fair. She knew that fears of bombs from Russia, Communism, and integration would be part of the setting. She had the characters of course--she's been creating stories about the Honeycutts ever since Ann Fay's father left for WWII in BLUE.
But Joyce didn't know Jackie's backstory and why Thomas didn't trust him. I was on the sidelines and watched her figure out that BIG piece of the puzzle and then weave it into the book.
I tell you all this because some of you reading this are writers, like myself, who realize the enormity of pulling together all of the many threads that go into a novel--and I want to encourage you that even a master writer like Joyce works HARD to accomplish this. Others of you are readers. I want you to know that a story as magnificent as Joyce's doesn't just happen. There are hours and hours of drafting, writing, reorganizing, deleting, revising, and tweaking that go on behind the scenes.