by Elle Hill~~~~~~~~~~~~~BLURB:
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.
“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.
AUTHOR Bio and Links: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.
- Blog: http://ellehillauthor.blogspot.com/
- Website: http://www.ellehill.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Elle-Hill/155409064486649?ref=hl
- Twitter: @ellehillauthor
- Purchasing the book: http://www.amazon.com/Tithe-Elle-Hill-ebook/dp/B00MVCPJFG
Thanks, Sarit, for the opportunity to share my book and self with you and your readers.
Did you do any kind of research to determine the details of your characters’ lives / lifestyles?
I did! In fact, I find most novels require a lot of research. The Tithe almost exclusively features characters with varying physical, emotional, and cognitive abilities, so the bulk of my research involved investigating the causes, effects, and experiences of various dis/abilities.
My main character, Joshua Barstow, has a condition known as Charcot Marie Tooth Syndrome. I extensively researched this condition, made a page-long cheat sheet, and hung it by my desk throughout the year I wrote this novel. Also, my two main characters live with chronic pain. I researched chronic pain, read forums about how to cope with it, and used my own experiences to round everything out.
The best book/s you ever read?
I consider Little Women the macaroni and cheese of books. As a child, I fiercely loved this novel. As an adult, I reread it whenever I get stressed. It’s literary comfort food.
Who inspires you?
Anything that moves me inspires me. I can just as easily find inspiration in a pop song or in a discussion with my romantic partner as I can reading a really good book. Most recently, the main character of Dean Koontz’s novel, Innocence, inspired the story arch of the novel I’m currently writing.
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised near Boise, Idaho. In fact, I earned my BS in Social Sciences at Boise State University. I moved to California for grad school and spent the next ten years soaking up sunshine and smog.
Did any real-life political incidents or maneuvering make it into the book?
Yes, albeit not necessarily contemporary ones. I teach sociology, and I’ve read a lot about utopias and some people’s attempts to manifest them. It got me thinking about the line between utopian and dystopian societies. Is it so clear-cut? Who pays the price for utopias? In the case of The Tithe, it’s the people with differing physical, cognitive, and emotional abilities.
How did you get into writing?
I was writing stories when I was nine and novels – paranormal romance, if you can believe it – when I was thirteen. I stopped writing creatively during college, when getting five hours of sleep was a luxury, but picked it up again at the, ahem, suggestion of my oldest sister. Thank god she gave me the excellent advice of shutting up and writing.
What do you consider your best accomplishment?
Getting my Ph.D. I remember standing there, waiting for my name, crying, and whispering, “I did it!”
What is your favorite quote?
I have this quote at the bottom of my central email account:
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye. ~Miss Piggy”
What sacrifices have you had to make to be a writer?
Only time, and that was well spent. Writing is nourishment.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Oh, yes. My editor has told me time and again it’s essential. I know as a reader, the aesthetic and politics of a book cover absolutely influence my desire for the book. I wish it weren’t true, but we’re a media-saturated, visually-oriented culture, so how could it be otherwise?
How did you come up with the title? Names?
I’d decided on the name of this book before I’d even ironed out the plot. All I knew was that people with disabilities were going to be sacrificed in order to maintain a utopia. I had Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” in mind when coming up with The Tithe.
I love making up funky names for the characters! Sometimes I spell names backward and phonetically (that wouldn’t work so well for my name) (lol!!!), and sometimes I replace a single letter in a common name or add a letter. So, for example, “Holly” becomes “Hollyn” in The Tithe, and “Lynn” is now “Lynna.”
What was the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I can never again separate my politics from my creative process. I’d always heard novels needed to be as politics-free as possible, and my first three books are pretty apolitical. The Tithe is chock-full of politics and sociological meanderings, and it feels more honest than any of my prior books.
What’s the worst job you’ve had?
I was a telemarketer for a year. It was as bad as you’d think.
Thanks again for this opportunity. Have a beautiful autumn.
Hi Elle it is pleasure to host you too!
THE AUTHOR WILL BE GIVING AWAY:
Elle will be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway