BookView Interview with Author Bryce R. Hostetler

Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.

Recently, we talked with Bryce R. Hostetler about his writing and his recently released memoir, Slip-Resistant Socks: My Journey with Bipolar Disorder (read the review here)

The fourth of seven children, Bryce values his alone time. Perhaps too much actually because he is a mild recluse. A graduate from Vanderbilt University, Bryce has tried his hand at financing, retail, and recently writing, but he can’t quite seem to find a fit. These days, Bryce lives in Arkansas near his family.

Do you find writing therapeutic?

Absolutely. It allows me to get my emotions off my chest and to help organize my thoughts and process my feelings. Furthermore, it’s easier to say things through writing than in person.

What was the most challenging part of publishing your book?

It was definitely facing my Facebook audience. I was like the boy who cried wolf, just declaring my book was almost published instead. Repeatedly, I claimed to be 99% done across the two-and-a-half years I worked on my book (I thought I was), and in 2019, I shared a rough draft of my book I had bound. Everyone was super excited about it and congratulated me. Then I realized they thought I was done and published. My heart sank.

One year later, I actually finished my book and published it on Amazon. I was terrified I was going to get a cold reception because of what happened. Just like the villagers stopped believing the boy who cried wolf and he got ate, my Facebook audience turned their back to me.

I felt such humiliation over it, I had to remember that the super majority of my readers AREN’T my Facebook friends. I also understood I had burned them out, so I can’t blame them for withdrawing.

How many hours a day do you write?

It really depended upon where I was in my book. Towards the beginning, I’d write around 6 hours a day during the workweek and about 12-14 on the weekends. At that stage it was a lot of regurgitation. All the events in my book had already happened, and I just needed to put them down on paper. Once I did that, I had plenty to improve upon. I had never written before, so I had a seemingly never-ending stream of thoughts on how to improve my writing style, add important material, and subtract unnecessary content. As I continued to work on my memoir, the improvements became harder to write and required more thinking.

By the end of my book, I’d be lucky to put in 2 hours of writing during the work week or 4-6 on the weekends—if I wrote at all. I went from writing every day, to writing on some and being too exhausted on others.

Does your family support your career as a writer?

Kind of. My parents aren’t well educated, and they don’t see a problem with it because I’m already working full-time in a blue-collar job. My uncle is a little better attuned to the risk involve. He’s seen others try and fail, and he feels I’m throwing my money away.

How do you come up with names for your characters?

I had a lot of fun with character names. Medical professionals are named after famous psychiatrists and nurses. Major characters are given biblical names that reflect something about them. Everyone else has typical American names.

Which scene, character or plotline changed the most from first draft to published book?

One plotline that got erased entirely was the victim plotline. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I cannot control my disorder, but in my early drafts, I understood myself entirely under the control of my disorder. Specifically, I attributed all of my faults onto my disorder. I said it wasn’t me; it was my disorder.

As I continued to work on my story, I realized that I had a part to play in some of my actions. My disorder did this, but I did that. It was a tough lesson to learn that I was a part of why my life is so miserable.

What do you hope readers will take away from this story?

Empathy. I hope the reader has empathy for those who struggle or for themselves if they’ve been harboring hate against the way they are.

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