At 24, Davena Hoskins already has a six-year military career behind her with five years in the U.S. Air Force and one year in the Idaho National Guard. She’s also making her name as a writer. She and her older brother Jason, who recently ended his time in the Air Force as a senior airman, have co-written nine books, a mix of military science fiction, fantasy, horror, and romance under the shared pen name, D.J. Hoskins. The siblings are currently working on their tenth book, a collection of short stories.
A junior majoring in creative writing, Hoskins grew up in New Mexico, Virginia, and Oregon, a kid devoted to gymnastics and anime. After high school, she debated between going to college, taking a gap year, and joining the military.
“I wanted to jump out of the nest, be independent, and write freely,” Hoskins said. “I chose the military so I could support myself.”
She enlisted in the Air Force when she was 17. She served on bases in South Carolina, Turkey, and Germany as a supply chain specialist. She came to Idaho because her brother was stationed at the Air Force base in Mountain Home, Idaho.
“A lot of my self-identity and the way that I saw myself in relation to the world stemmed from my military rank,” Hoskins said. “I couldn’t relate to a lot of other students at first. I had to forge a new understanding of myself.”
The Veteran Services Center became a place to vent, to share “sea stories” – the catchall phrase for stories about military service – and a sanctuary for Hoskins. She works at the center as an English tutor and relishes being a student herself. Her writing classes, she said, have exposed her to literary fiction and the “new vocabulary” of literary criticism. In turn, she said, she and her fellow veterans have contributed to classroom discussions by sharing their experiences – so different from those of most students.
Soon, Hoskins will have even more support at Boise State. Her brother Jason has enrolled as a full-time student.