Literary agent Hosier discusses how writing her memoir, Don’t Let Me Down (Atria, Feb. 2019), helped her work through a stormy relationship with her father.
Was it tough to change hats from agent to writer?
I’ve always done a lot of writing in the agenting process, but I always thought of myself as an advocate for other writers and for other voices, not as a writer myself. It was my agent, mentor and boss Betsy Lerner—who also writes—who told me I needed to tell this story.
Was it always in the back of your mind?
I think it’s been there since I first started watching Mad Men in 2007. I just really identified with the Sally Draper character, the daughter of this con artist who had one public life and a very different private life, and his daughter was the only one who had his number. I really related to that.
Was it hard to write honestly about your family?
The hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s one thing to write and have a few people see it, but then to know that it will be out there, not only for my family but for my father’s family and friends. I hope the message is that everybody has different selves.
The Beatles were the backdrop for your story. Do you still listen to them?
Yes. I have all of my dad’s vinyl, and his Beatles records are all together. I have a turntable, and I tend to listen to albums around the holidays or if I’m having people over.
Why did you choose the title “Don’t Let Me Down”?
I just woke up with it in my head one day. It represents the essential parent-child conundrum. The song has a very universal message of “Please don’t disappoint me, I’m giving myself to you, don’t let me down.”
How does your book fit into the #MeToo era?
I’ve been thinking about that so much because of everything that’s in the news. We’re just surrounded by flawed men. There’s a kind of reckoning where men who might not be monsters but who have done really terrible things are being called out. Part of that involves reckoning with the patriarchal system. My dad was the ruler, the head of the household. But as a girl I wanted that power, and I wanted that voice, and even as a kid I always questioned that system. I think if my dad had lived, I would have called him on his shit, and we would have been able to talk about what’s going on in the news and come to a place of understanding.