Sunday, February 8, 2015

Straight Chatting from the Library - Elf Hills by S.S.Dudley


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Prizes for the tour are as follows:

• One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card.
• One randomly chosen host will receive a $25 Amazon/ gift card.

What are your future ambitions?

I have plans to write many, many books. With my first two books, I plan to publish at least seven this year, and more to come. My Elf Hills series I have planned to six books. And I have other series I am anxious to get to. I definitely want to grow my list and my distribution. As quickly as possible, I want to establish myself as a legitimate author who puts out fun, interesting stories for all ages. Right now writing is my other job, I want it to be my main occupation. At some point I will write novels for adults (already have several projects in early development) under a separate pen-name and I am thinking about writing a non-fiction novel, drawing on my experiences as a scientist studying tropical diseases.

Over and above writing lots of fun, interesting books, I want to push on the publishing. I am bilingual; my wife and children have Colombian citizenship. As soon as I can, I want to translate everything into Spanish (it is my second language). The Spanish language book market is very under-developed, especially in children’s literature. But it is also an immature book market. Latins don’t have the custom of reading with their children as much as other cultures. This is partly because books are so expensive. Ebooks can and will change this. I want to be part of that transition. And, of course, I want to push into other markets as well.

I know that there is a lot of noise of late about trends toward more multi-media content, merging video, audio, writing, etc. And some even suggest that reading is getting old. But I see trends in the opposite direction, too, as many people grow weary of the flashing lights and shallow writing so accessible on the web. Thus growth in long-form journalism, more interest in books, expansion of digital book markets, etc. There is still so much underdeveloped potential and value in books for the world as a whole and such a necessity to keep renewing the Literature. Not all books persist eternally, and neither should they. Certainly there needs to be innovation to facilitate book discovery and book accessibility. They'll come. I want to be part of all of that.

Are you a romantic?

Mmm... yes, I think so. But nowadays, with two kids, romance is a glass of wine and a movie before going to bed at 9.

What song would you choose for Karaoke?

Twinkle, twinkle, little star. I know the words. Mostly. Or maybe “La Bamba.” I can handle that, too.

Which Star Trek or Star Wars character are you most like?

I want to say Han Solo. But probably more like Luke early on. Awkward and kinda dopey.

Who would you most like to be stranding on a desert island with? Least? Why?

My brother. He is a bit of a McGyver. Least? Hannibal Lector...


Something strange, something magical, is going on in the dusty hills behind the small town of Villaloma. Yet each time Linda Peters puts on her running shoes and sets out to find the enchanted kingdom she imagines—full of dancing elves, unicorns, and more—something stops her. And with school starting soon, she only has a few more chances to really search the hills. While Linda’s frustration and doubt grow, her cousin, Nugu, looks for answers in his books and wonders if maybe, just maybe, Linda’s stories are for real.

The day finally arrives when Linda can run far, the day she is sure she will find her magic city. But when she and Nugu feel their goal must lie just beyond the next hill, they only find more hill. Is it all a figment of an over-active imagination; a wistful fantasy?

Or is there truly something magical in those hills that only the strong of heart—and leg—can discover?


Crack! Like a firecracker, the screen door’s sharp retort pierced the tranquility of the warm
summer afternoon. With it appeared a girl, beautiful as all five-year-olds are: tousled hair, rosy
cheeks, a smattering of freckles, and a flowery dress dancing around healthy legs bruised and
scraped by kicking balls and climbing trees. Her hair was the color of honey, her skin tanned
by long days in the sun. Her bright, green eyes exuded wonder and vibrancy. By all measures,
Linda Peters was a perfectly healthy, perfectly normal girl only days into kindergarten.

The flowered dress danced about her anxious feet as they thumped a rhythm on the wooden
planks of the big porch. Before the old screen door could bounce again off the doorframe, her
bare toes reached the cool, green grass of the lawn. They gently touched the ground as she ran
and giggled. Soon she was in the garden amidst the flowers. She stopped and looked around,
breathing only slightly heavier than normal. A strand of loose hair drifted across her eyes. She
tucked it behind her ear, reflexively. Around her were flowers of every color: reds and pinks and
whites and purples; but she wasn’t so interested in them, rather...

“Linda!” a small voice called. Linda looked to her left and saw an orange and black butterfly
gracefully drift toward her. She held out her hand and the butterfly landed on her finger, its
long proboscis gently probing her skin. Butterfly kisses. Her dad called this kind of butterfly
a "Monarch" and said it was special. Linda knew about butterflies. They were insects: head,
thorax, abdomen; six legs, four wings! And they ate nectar, while the babies, the caterpillars,
gobbled leaves to grow big and fat before becoming beautiful butterflies.
Only this wasn’t an ordinary butterfly. 

S. S. Dudley grew up in Wyoming, USA, an avid reader and lover of the outdoors. He studied at the University of Wyoming and the University of Illinois. He started his first book (an epic fantasy hand-written in with a blue fountain pen...) when he was 13, but never finished it. At some point (as his mother recently reminded him), he decided that he needed to go do something (like get a job) for a while before he could, or should, write. He did, and spent time in Colombia, Panamá, Antarctica and the dark recesses of large science buildings on college campuses. That done, he now writes, lives and runs in Northern California with his wife and two children. He can be found at, and on twitter at @SS_dudley.

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  1. I enjoyed the interview!

    Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com

  2. I loved your comments about printing your books in Spanish ... great idea.. loved he excerpt,

  3. Loved the excerpt, sounds like a really good read. Entering under the name of Virginia

  4. Thank you for posting this, Judith. Elf HIlls is a story I wrote to share with my daughter who likes magic and adventure, but can't sleep at night if it gets too "scary." All the best.

  5. I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.