Elle will be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Thanks, Danita, for welcoming me to your blog. I’m excited and grateful.
1. Woohoo! You are a published author. Describe a strong character trait you possess, good or bad, and how it helped you become a published author.
Stubbornness? Greed? Persistence? Whatever you’d call it, I refused to stop pursuing my bucket list, which included publishing my poetry and novels. I’m not an aggressive person; I think of myself like water: smooth, flowing, and pliable, but after a while, it erodes away even the hardest granites.
2. Sometimes an author begins writing a story before they are aware of its genre. Did you choose your genre, or did it choose you?
I went into paranormal romance with eyes happily open. Science fiction, fantasy, horror, and romance are the genres I read, and my ideas for new books plop quite naturally into their waiting arms. That said, this is my first science fiction romance novel.
- The plot thickens, or does it? Which one are you, a pantser or a plotter?I guess I’m more a plotter, although I kind of do both. I think of my approach as a backbone. Yeah, stick with me. I think of each vertebra as a set of scenes. I will plot out four or five scenes, write them, see where I’m at, and plot out four or five more. In this way, the story remains flexible but not boneless.
- Fear 101: As writers it is our duty to make our characters face their fears. Have you ever included one of your own fears in a storyline?
Oh, yes. In my latest book, The Tithe, the two main characters have never before experienced friendship, let alone intimate touch. The main character, Josh, craves intimacy while simultaneously remaining terrified of it. As she says when praying to Elovah, her god, “This friendship thing, it hurts. I almost don’t like it. But I also do. I guess this is something only You can understand.” As a deeply introverted person who nonetheless craves human contact, I can relate.
5. Fear 102: Yes, deadlines are terrifying. Have you conquered the juggling act between writing and the rest of your life? What do you do when it feels like the balls are dropping all around you?
I’m at peace with dropped balls. I write for pleasure and work as a sociology instructor for pleasure and pay. Since it pays the bills, I privilege my teaching above my writing, which means if it takes two years to complete a novel, then two years it has to be. I love both my jobs, though, and wouldn’t trade them for anything. Okay, maybe I’d accept a bit more pay for both, but other than that…
6. Switch positions with one of your main characters in a scene. What is the outcome, disaster or divine intervention?
Throughout the book, Josh faces her sexual desire for Blue, her romantic interest. Several times they kiss, and she always stops it before it goes anywhere, even though it’s painful. Josh is profoundly religious, though, and her religion forbids “unmarital” sex.
I’ll be honest: I’m an Atheist, and I have zero problems with sex before, after, without, or during marriage. Unlike Josh, I wouldn’t have resisted the allure.
7. Where is your favorite place to write? Add that one comfort food that you can’t do without.
I bought my first house a few months ago, and for the first time in my life, I have an office. I’m tickled fuchsia! I packed the room with my desk, a bookcase, my work materials, and various cat toys (in a vain attempt to get the cats not to lie on my keyboard while I type). Take that, add coffee, and I, per Virginia Woolf, now have a room of my own.
- Writing inspirations?
Anything, really. I hatched the idea for The Tithe while pondering the public furor over the end of the world in 2012. As for the angel component of my book, I’m the teeniest bit embarrassed to admit it, but I can thank Katy Perry’s E.T. Don’t judge me.
- You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?
It’s me. Okay, not really. As much as I wish otherwise, given his politics, my favorite author is Dean Koontz. I might ask him how he comes up with the most beautiful, haunting analogies in his books. Does he keep a list? Is that just how his brain functions? I want to know!
10. I’ve gone mad – why don’t you come with me? Some people just don’t understand us writers. Name a quirky, writer-thing you do that friends wish you didn’t.
I’m sure this is true of every writer, but my friends tease me for being so persnickety about grammar and punctuation. I just… can’t… stop proofreading others’ emails, tweets, signs, and posts. In my defense, I almost never do it out loud. That counts, right?
by Elle Hill
Every seven years, the towns sacrifice their sick and disabled. No one has ever survived the angels’ harvest. Until now.
“Every seven years, seven persons from each of the ten towns must go into the desert, where they will enter into the realm of Elovah, their God.”
No one knows exactly what happens to these seventy Tithes, but everyone knows who: the “unworkables,” those with differing physical and mental capacities. Joshua Barstow, raised for twenty years among her town’s holy women, is one of these seventy Tithes. She is joined by the effervescent Lynna, the scholarly Avery, and the amoral Blue, a man who has spent most of his life in total solitude.
Each night, an angel swoops down to take one of their numbers. Each night, that is, except the first, when the angel touches Josh… and leaves her. What is so special about Josh? She doesn’t feel special; she feels like a woman trying to survive while finally learning the meanings of friendship, community, and love.
How funny that she had to be sacrificed to find reasons to live.
Josh shook her head. “It sounds so sad.”
“It wasn’t. You can’t have sadness unless you know happiness. I knew neither.”
They sat in silence for a few minutes.
Finally, in a voice mere decibels from a whisper, Josh asked, “What about now?” Shameless, she knew, but maybe voicing the question would exorcise it.
“Why are you asking a question you already know the answer to?” he asked in his inflectionless voice.
“I don’t,” she insisted.
“Everything changed when you touched me,” he said.
After a confused moment, and with many darting glances, she asked in a low tone, “In bed?”
“In the hallway. You touched me, and my life cleaved into a before and a now. Before, I existed, and it was fine. I was content. And then, you. Everything cracked open, and I felt as if I’d just reminded my senses to function. Now, everything feels so raw. Sometimes just the passing of time abrades my skin. Being with you is exquisite and real. And painful.”
Very carefully, Josh put her hands on her knees and leaned forward. She stared at the wall opposite them, against which Taro no longer pressed himself. In she breathed, and out. In and out.
Josh straightened her posture and rubbed her calf with her other foot. “What can I do to make it hurt less?” she asked him.
Blue’s lips thinned into a smile. “I don’t want it to hurt less. Every second that scrapes my skin is another one I spend with you.”
Born in Idaho during the height of disco, Elle Hill now chicken-pecks at the keyboard while rocking out to Donna Summer and KC and the Sunshine Band. She worked in Idaho for several years as a secretary and journalist before moving to California and selling her soul to academia. After receiving her PhD in Sociology, Elle Hill became a not-so-mild-mannered college instructor by night and a community activist during the remainder of her waking hours. Always a journalist and writer at heart, one of her favorite pastimes includes publishing commentary on the political and social state of the world; some of her thoughts are posted on her blog at ellehillauthor.blogspot.com.
Elle welcomes visitors to her website at www.ellehill.com. She also urges everyone to become a superhero and adopt their next non-human companion from a local animal shelter.
Purchasing the book: http://www.amazon.com/Tithe-Elle-Hill-ebook/dp/B00MVCPJFG