Monday, January 26, 2015

Elf Hills Character Interview (+$50 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Elf Hills
Author: S.S. Dudley 
Series: N/A
Pages:  1207
Date Published: October 2nd, 2014
Publisher: Stoddard Books
Format: Kindle
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours

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?

~Interview with Sofia/Samantha!~
My book Butterfly Wish is about a girl, Selara Leda, and her fairy godmother, Burt Buttles. Yes, Burt. He’s a he. With a beard. He’s a substitute and doesn’t know a thing about being a godmother fairy.

I’m a grown up. Either I don’t have a fairy godmother any more or I am too old to see her (him?). So my daughter, Sofia, did the research for this one. She cornered her own fairy godmother, Samantha, one day and asked her a bunch of questions. You can read the transcript below. For the record, this is how I do a lot of my research. That is, I make Sofia do it. She’s the brains of the operation, after all. I mostly write the words. 

Here’s the transcript:

Sofia: Are you my fairy godmother?

Samantha, in a whisper: I shouldn’t be talking to you! It’s against the rules.

Sofia: Why?

Samantha: I don’t know. I didn’t make them.

Sofia: Oh. So you are my fairy godmother?

Samantha: Yes.

Sofia: Can you do magic?

Samantha: Of course!

Sofia: Really! That’s so amazing. Can you turn my brother into a kitten?
Samantha: Ha! No, that’s against the rules.

Sofia, pouting: Why?

Samantha: Because. I don’t know. I can only do magic to help you.

Sofia: But I really, really want a kitten.

Samantha: Sorry. I couldn’t do that to your poor little brother! I can’t hurt anyone.

Sofia: Just for a little while? It won’t hurt him.

Samantha crosses her arms.

Sofia: Ohhh-kaaay. A pony?

Samantha: What?

Sofia: Can I have a pony?

Samantha, laughing: I don’t do that kind of work! You need to talk to Santa or your daddy.

Sofia: My daddy says ponies cost lots of money.

Samantha: Well, he just needs to sell lots of books then.

Sofia: Mmm… Maybe I’ll ask Santa. He brought me a dollhouse last year.  Oh, I know! The tooth fairy brings me money. And look, I have a loose tooth. See? It wiggles. And when I blow on it, it rattles, watch…

Samantha: Augh! Gross! I don’t think your tooth fairy can give you enough quarters for a pony…

Sofia: Do you know the tooth fairy?

Samantha: Of course. Your’s is a cousin. Her name is Beth.

Sofia: Oh. What does she do with my teeth?

Samantha: I don’t know. I better go invisible again. I’m going to get into trouble.

Sofia: Are there boy fairies?

Samantha: Yes, yes. I am going now.

Sofia: Wait!

Samantha, hovering in mid-air: What?

Sofia: Um, what do you do?

Samantha: What do you mean? I keep you safe!

Sofia: Mmm…

Samantha: Remember that day you were trying to climb the tree in your front-yard and you fell and landed right in the pile of leaves?

Sofia: Yeah…

Samantha: That was all me! You could have broken something. I made sure you fell in the leaves.

Sofia: No.

Samantha: Yes.

Sofia: No. I jumped into the leaves.

Samantha: Oh, come on. What about that time you chased a ball into the street and a car came? I so saved you.

Sofia: No. My dad stopped me.

Samantha: Whatever. I’m leaving now.

Sofia: OK. Can you tell Santa I want a pony?

Samantha: Ugh.

So there you have it. We aren’t sure, still, if fairy godmothers can really do magic or not. At least, interesting, useful magic. Sofia still wants a kitten (and a pony! Apparently Santa didn’t get the memo—thankfully. Seriously, where would we put a pony?). But fairy godmothers do exist. And there are boy fairies too.

Samantha refused a follow up interview. Sofia thinks she is hiding, sulking, in her dollhouse. It rattles sometimes. Anyway, I made do with the information we had and made up the rest for Butterfly Wish. When I read it aloud to Sofia I heard an annoying humming sound that Sofia said was Samantha. Apparently I “got it all wrong!” I told Sofia to tell her that we need another interview to “get it right.” We’re still waiting for Samantha to respond. We’ll update you when we do. Until then, check out Butterfly Wish to see what we got wrong.  
Try an Excerpt!~
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.
~Meet S.S. Dudley!~ 
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.
The author will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I like how I've now got a new blog to follow, as I'd never been here before. (Thanks to Brenda Whiteside for the referral!)

  2. I enjoyed the excerpt, thank you.

  3. Thanks for posting this, Andra. I released both Elf Hills (for middle-graders/YA) and Butterfly Wish (lower grades) at the same time. The latter was conceived while working in Peru and thinking of my 6-year-old daughter. I wanted a way to share a slice of the Amazon with her. Elf Hills was written with my daughter in mind too, but anticipating her turning 10 eventually… More at my site,
    Cheers, S

    1. Very cool! :) What do you think is the hardest part about writing for younger audiences?

    2. Hmm… it should get easier, but for me now finding the right balance of voice, content, tone, and complexity for a young audience is challenging. One gets used to thinking like an adult. That said, I think kids like reading up in age and complexity (I always did). Time will tell how effective I was, or whether I need to go back to school… :)

  4. Loved the interview and excerpt.

  5. I love the excerpt. Sounds like a great book

  6. Cute excerpt. Shows well how a child's view of magic and the world are often rather singularly focused and not necessarily the same as adults and "magic creatures."

  7. Cute excerpt! This looks like a good book for my niece. Thanks!

  8. The meeting of a new writer. Thank You

  9. I am glad folks like the excerpt. Thanks again, Andra.

  10. I enjoyed the excerpt. I will recommend it to my young daughter. I bet she'll enjoy it. She is into fairies and fantasy right now.

  11. Enjoyed reading the excerpt, thank you!

  12. I enjoyed the excerpt and the excerpt was great :)

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

  14. Loved it all, especially the excerpt.Thank you for sharing.

  15. I liked the information about the author. He spent time in Colombia, Panamá and Antarctica which sounds fascinating to me.

  16. I enjoyed reading the excerpt the most.

  17. Sounds, like a great read. Good luck with your latest book.

  18. Good luck...a million dollars read

  19. Sounds, like a great read. Good luck with your latest book.

  20. Now all we have to do is buy the book. Now I'll know which book to read next.

  21. You featured an interview and provided an excerpt! That is awesome!