Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Meet author Elle Hill

Posted by Susan B James on 12:30:00 AM with 2 comments
I am delighted to welcome Elle Hill to the blog. Elle, please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a college professor by day and a writing fiend by night. I’ve been writing novels since the seventh grade, when I shunned that “social life” thingy in favor of scribbling furiously in my college-ruled notebooks. In college, I considered majoring in English but ended up minoring in it and getting my degree in Social Sciences. That fits pretty well with my drive for social and political justice.

Several years, degrees, and novels later, I’ve settled down in South Dakota with my fiancé and our many cats and Chihuahua mix.

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when you found you’d made your first sale.

My first publisher was The Wild Rose Press. I'd been trying to find a home for my second novel, Hunted Past, after my first failed to land me a publisher. I'd approached several publishers, and TWRP finally emailed me saying they were interested. I was over the moon. Now I could call myself a writer. Now I could cross an item off my bucket list. Now my mother and sisters could brag about me to their friends, coworkers, beaus, and bank tellers. With that in mind, I immediately called my oldest sister, also a published author, and thanked her for bullying me into pursuing my dream of being a published author

If it isn’t too nosy . . . How about the first time you kissed your true love?
It was in an airport, of all places. We’d met at a conference a year ago and had become good friends. As the months went on, we realized our personal chats and Skype sessions had fostered a romance. A couple months after realizing best friends really can become true loves, I visited my new love in Florida. Our first kiss happened smack dab in the middle of Orlando International.
That was two years ago. We’re now living in South Dakota and plan on marrying in summer 2016.
All I can wish for you is that you will be as happy as my son, Jim Corbin and his wife, Mary Adams Corbin. They met on a Star Wars Message board and after several months of messages and web cam chats, they too, met in an airport. In Detroit. And after marrying in Disney World, they are in the process of living Happily ever after.

Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers) in your genre?
I’m a big fan of urban fantasy. As such, Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, and Charlaine Harris have a special place in my heart. Strong women characters who navigate romance while kicking booty? Yes, please!

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career?
I feel I should say something about holding my first novel in my hands, but that would be stretching the truth. Publishing my poetry in an anthology was probably my most thrilling literary accomplishment.

What is your favorite pastime, other than writing?
Like most writers, it’s reading. I used to be an indiscriminate book junkie, but in my advancing years, though, I find I’m becoming pickier and pickier about the types and quality of the books I read.

What’s your snack of choice while writing?
Coffee! I may grab a yogurt to fulfill those caloric needs, but coffee is what sustains me as a writer.

Got a recipe you want to share?
Does microwave popcorn count? 

What genre or genres do you write? 
Paranormal romance. My first three novels were more urban fantasy, while The Tithe, my latest novel, is more science fiction.

Tell us about your latest release. I love the cover.

The Tithe 
“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 learning what it means to know friendship, community, and love.
How funny that she had to be sacrificed to find reasons to live.

Excerpts, The Tithe
Excerpt 1 

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.”

Excerpt 2 

“I don’t want to die.” The words surprised her, spinning so artlessly from her lips. 

“I don’t want you to die,” Blue agreed. 

“What about you?” Josh whispered. 

He didn’t respond for a long moment. “It doesn’t much matter, I guess.”

“Of course it matters!”

“If you say so,” he said.

“Blue,” she began, and then stopped. “Blue, why? Aren’t you scared?”

His blue eyes remained completely empty. Had his mouth not moved, she might think him a statue. “No.”


“Because I don’t matter. I’ve spent my life existing. Sometimes I think the best thing humanity does is provide sustenance for bacteria and other symbiotes. And then there was here. And you, Joshua Barstow.”

“I’m not special,” she insisted.

“You exist so grandly, so loudly, I can feel you. The air trembles around you. You walk through a room and atoms collide. Everyone here can feel the greatness of your being. They may love you or despise you or want you to lead them, but everyone notices you.”

She exhaled a startled breath. Blue, her friend, her bodyguard, her socially-backward philosopher. Her hand moved to his hair, smoothing through its knots. When her voice returned, she told him, “You matter, Blue.”

“I don’t,” he said gently, as if imparting an uncomfortable truth to a child.

“You matter a lot to me,” she carefully enunciated, unsnarling a particularly knotted tangle.

“Well, then.”

Excerpt 3
Josh sighed.

“I guess if I only have a month at most left, I should use my actions and words to, you know, shape the world the right way, the way that brings the most good.”

“You do that every day.”

“You’re biased,” she said, smiling. “But the changes I’ve seen since I’ve been here, not just in me but in everyone, they’re scary sometimes. Sometimes I feel like . . . as if the world is so vast, so full of people, and I’ll burst if I love them all. But I don’t ever burst.

“I loved a lot of people before I came here, but always in the abstract. Here . . .” She breathed, in and out, for a while. “It’s not abstract. I don’t love them because we share humanity. I love them for their beauty, their pettiness, their fears and their compassion.

“You said my pain makes me the person I am. How bizarre is it that my pain, my incapacity, and my imminent death have brought me all this? It’s the greatest, most horrible gift I’ve ever received. You know?”
“And I’d like to say I’m strong enough that I’d do this all over again—become an unworkable and a Tithe—if given the choice, but I don’t know if that’s true. I’m scared.”
He held her tightly against him.

What’s your current WIP? 
It’s another paranormal romance. Surprise! I’m only 10K words into it, but so far, it’s a tale that combines several of my passions: alternate spiritual beliefs, musings about what it means to be human, and a mad respect and love for animals. Animals play parts in most of my novels, but in this one, they’re actually key to the plot.
And finally, where can we find you?
Any of these places:
Email: elle@ellehill.com
Website: www.ellehill.com
Blog: ellehillauthor.blogspot.com/
Book buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Tithe-Elle-Hill-ebook/dp/B00MVCPJFG

Elle is offering a copy of The Tithe to one lucky commenter.
Thank you for being here, Elle and I wish you many more sales. 


  1. Hi Elle, Excellent interview...love reading about "firsts"! And The Tithe sounds delicious. I'm putting it on my TBR list. Joanne :)

    1. Thank you, Joanne. I'm honored. I'd also love to know what you think after you read it: elle (at) ellehill.com. :)


I love reading comments! Please do.