Author Chat with Spencer Hyde (What The Other Three Don't Know), Plus Guest Post!
Today we're excited to chat with Spencer Hyde author of
What The Other Three Don't Know.
Read on for more about Spencer and his book, plus an guest post.
Meet Spencer Hyde!
Spencer Hyde spent three years during high school at Johns Hopkins for severe OCD. He feels particularly suited to write this novel because he’s lived through his protagonists’ obsessions. Spencer worked at a therapeutic boarding school before earning his MFA and his PhD specializing in fiction, short humor pieces, and essays. He wrote Waiting for Fitz while working as a Teaching Fellow in Denton, Texas. Spencer and his wife, Brittany, are the parents of four children.
Meet What The Other Three Don't Know!
Will I still be loved if I show people who I really am?
Four high school seniors. Four secrets about to be told.
If Indie had it her way, she would never choose to river raft with three other high school seniors, mostly strangers to each other, from her journalism class.
A loner, a jock, an outsider, an Instagram influencer. At first they can’t see anything that they have in common. As the trip unfolds, the unpredictable river forces them to rely on each other. Social masks start to fall as, one-by-one, each teen reveals a deep secret the other three don’t know.
One is harboring immense grief and unwilling to forgive after the death of a loved one. One is dealing with a new disability and an uncertain future. One is fearful of the repercussions of coming out. One is hiding behind a carefully curated “perfect” image on Instagram.
Before they get to the end of Hells Canyon, they’ll know the truth about each other and, more importantly, learn something new about themselves.
What the Other Three Don’t Know is a poignant and gripping YA novel about the unlikely friends who accept you for who you really are and the power of self-acceptance.
~ Author Chat ~
- Who is your favorite character in the book?
- I think Wyatt is my favorite character in the book, and probably because he surprised me at every turn. I wanted somebody with a prepper mentality, but I soon found Wyatt was interested in things far beyond survival. In fact, he wants survival, but only in a place that values art and the ways we love. And all from a boy who grew up breaking horses and mending fences.
- Which came first, the title or the novel?
- Definitely the novel. In fact, I had quite a difficult time with the title. Titles are tricky because you want something that will catch the ear (and eye), but you have to consider character, theme, arc, location—you get it. The works! I initially titled this novel Let It Run, a term used by fly-fishing enthusiasts: When you hook a fish and the fish pulls back, let it run, or give it some line and let it feel it is in control all while you slowly draw it in. Now, this fit with the themes in the book, but it didn’t have much pop. My friend and publishing director, Chris Schoebinger is responsible for the title What the Other Three Don’t Know, and I couldn’t be happier with the way it stands as the book’s entry point.
- What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
- I don’t know if I’d rank any one scene over another, but I did have the most fun writing the scene in the tent right before the start of (spoiler alert!) the flash flood. While drafting the novel, I knew I wanted the characters forced together—a pressure cooker, of sorts, and without any access to social media or regular friends or family. No rescue, but from those at your side. So, what do you do? You spoon to stay warm!
- Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
- Ease up on your expectations and get the story down. Then, and only then, do you really know what the book’s about. Allow yourself to exist in a place without answers, and let your characters map it out. You may find yourself in a foreign place, but you’ll pick up the language pretty fast. Just stick with it, and don’t hold too tightly to any ideas you had before drafting.
- What do you like most about the cover of the book?
- I love the way the shadows fall across the water, yet we are still able to see the legs of the characters on the shore. The live they lead bleeds into the life they must face on the water. Wonderful artwork, and well conceived.
- What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2020?
- I’m going to cheat and mention a book that released at the end of 2019 because it’s on my bedside table and I’m thrilled to dive in: Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson. I’ve read his other books, so I know to expect not just a unique and mind-bending plot (and humorous to boot), but a voice that is nothing short of stellar.
- What was your favorite book in 2019?
- Lanny by Max Porter. Truly original, and formally fascinating.
- What’s up next for you?
- I’m always looking for the next thing, and I find it in the oddest places. My next one may very well grow out of some interesting history I found in a National Geographic article. I stumbled upon this article online and I can’t rightly remember how it appeared in my feed. But the more I read, the more I wanted to know. I’m still researching for the next one and might be for some time before I draft anything.
- Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
- Definitely drafting. It’s something special to go to bed thinking of what might happen in the next chapter. What will your character learn about themselves or others or the world that will change their life forever? What will they face, and how will that teach them more about what it means to be a human? And what will that journey teach somebody else? Anthony Doerr said writing is a kind of prayer or practice. Practicing how to live, how to empathize, how to be human. We write (and read) to live other lives, right? Drafting, for me, is practice.
- What would you say is your superpower?
- Sharing my work. If you are a writer, and you are brave enough to share those hidden corners of your soul, thank you for your bravery. It’s not an easy thing, so I consider such an undertaking a superpower.
~ Guest Post ~
Top 5 List of Book Recs:
- The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
- I haven’t encountered a book in quite a while that made me laugh this hard. I was swept up in the eccentric characters (abolitionist John Brown and Little Onion) and their quest to Harpers Ferry. Such a unique, original voice. I mean, you can’t beat this opening: “I was born a colored man and don’t you forget it. But I lived as a colored woman for seventeen years.”
- ANYTHING by Ali Smith
- This is Scotland’s Nobel Prize winner. She hasn’t received the award yet, but she will. I have read everything she has published, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next novel (soon to be released)—part of her seasonal quartet. She has a style that will lift you off your feet and you won’t feel the ground beneath you for weeks.
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
- It’s quite difficult to capture the mind of a young person, let alone the mind of a young person in training to be a ghost—Nobody Owens is learning to dreamwalk, fade, and haunt all while facing bullies and the live wires of curiosity. Quite the adventure, no matter your age.
- Bury What We Cannot Take by Kirstin Chen
- Chen builds a vivid world here, with characters who work their way into your heart and set up shop. This novel will shake you, no matter your current emotional state. This is a journey told from various POVs, and you’ll discover they all must eventually meet, both physically and emotionally. Worth the ride.
- And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman
- This book will tear your heart, but the perspective of a young mind here will stitch it back up before you finish. It’s short, but it’s a walk you want to take. Trust me.
What The Other Three Don't Know
By: Spencer Hyde
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Release Date: March 3rd, 2020