Spencer Hyde is an assistant professor of English at Brigham Young University and an award-winning novelist.
While he was a graduate student he decided he wanted to publish a novel and then spent two hours every day after class writing his debut novel, Waiting for Fitz. The idea for it came in an unusual way. Unable to fall asleep one night,
- “My mind started racing at about midnight because this line came to me: ‘it’s not that you need to hear it, just that I need to tell someone,'” Hyde said. “I thought of that line and who would say something like that, and it became the main character, Addie Foster.”
- Hyde said that voice followed him around as what he likes to call “the ugly baby.” He said, “The more I thought about her voice, the more I thought, ‘She has a story, and I need to write it.'” Hyde said he could be out at dinner with his family and look over and see that “ugly baby” sitting in the highchair next to him, telling him he needed to go home and write. “Only by writing it can you make the baby beautiful,” he said.
- Hyde’s novel “Waiting for Fitz” follows a teenage girl named Addie Foster, an inpatient suffering from an obsessive-compulsive disorder — a disorder often referred to as OCD, which Hyde has suffered from himself. Addie befriends a boy named Fitz who is suffering from schizophrenia, Hyde said. He said he had to write from a female perspective to help distance himself from the story. The story begins similar to his own journey in which he was admitted as an inpatient at Johns Hopkins Hospital and started meeting with several different doctors. From there the book takes off with Addie’s own story.
“I wanted to write a book that would say to someone with OCD: 'You can overcome. There is hope.’”
Hyde said that mental health is something that needs to be talked about more openly. “Good stories teach us that there are others out there like us. Good stories connect us,” Hyde said.
Waiting for Fitz, a young adult novel, won gold in the 2019 Foreword Indies Book of the Year awards. He is also working on other young adult novels.
Hyde earned a bachelor’s degree in English. For two years he worked at a therapeutic boarding school and then completed his MFA degree at BYU. He taught high school for one year in Colorado then received his PhD in creative writing from the University of North Texas.
He and his wife, Brittany, are the parents of four children. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.