Monday, November 10, 2014

Interview & Giveaway - The Tithe by Elle Hill

The Tithe

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. 


“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.”

Let's learn a little about author Elle Hill!

What is your writing environment?

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.

Who is your perfect hero and why?
I think my shero in The Tithe, Joshua Barstow, is my new favorite literary character. Yeah, it’s a little arrogant, since I wrote her and all, but I love that she is a strong, compassionate woman whose disability – she has Charcot Marie Tooth Syndrome and lives in constant pain – has helped shape her into the powerhouse she is.

What authors have caught your interest lately and why?
I have to admit, I haven’t been venturing into new literary waters lately. A couple of family members have recently experienced pretty dramatic health issues. Because I tend to go roly-poly when scary things happen, I’ve been reading my old favorites lately: Dean Koontz, Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, and Jim Butcher.

What type of book have you always wanted to write?
A book that makes people think as much as they feel. I was always told to leave politics out of my writings, but once I disregarded that advice and wrote a novel that explores the political and personal reality of utopias, I found I more seamlessly interwove all aspects of myself into my work. This novel is The Tithe, which features romance, theology, sociology, and politics.

Top 3 things on your bucket list?
I must be the most boring person on the planet, because I don’t have a bucket list. I used to have one – get my PhD, publish novels and poetry, and find my true love – but I slowly checked them off. Now, I guess my bucket list is live happily in the life I designed.

How did you get the idea for this particular novel?
I am so embarrassed to admit this, but the germ originated from my reaction to – get ready for it – Katy Perry’s “E.T.” song. Yeah, seriously. Listening to it, I started thinking, “What would it be like to experience something that could be an angel or a devil, something that is familiar but fundamentally terrifying?”

What is your favorite scene in your new release?
The very last one. I can’t give it away, because in it, everything changes; the entire novel pivots just a little bit into something different, more scientific and spiritual all at once. But I cried while writing it and cry every single time I read it.

What are you working on now and when can we expect it to be available?
I’m writing a slightly less intellectual novel about a couple taking a road trip from Florida to South Dakota. Of course, the shero is more than she appears; I mean, I’m still a paranormal romance author! But it’s not as rigorously sociological and theological as The Tithe. I’m only 10,000 words into it, so it’ll be more than a year before it’s available. Keep an eye out, though!

What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I’m a sociology instructor at a local college. I say every day it’s the best job in the world. When I’m not working with students or writing my novels or poetry, I’m usually reading while cuddling my partner’s and my cats or dog. And my partner, of course.

What would you consider a perfect date?
Okay, now I know without a doubt I am the single most boring person alive. My ideal date has zero creativity in it. Since it’s important to me to connect with someone both emotionally and intellectually, I would best like a date at a coffee shop where we could sip our lattes and discuss everything from politics to the best Star Trek captain (Picard, of course).  

That’s the abstract. In reality, my perfect date is one that has my partner in it.

What is one interesting fact about you that readers don’t know?
I find nerds super hot.


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 

Elle welcomes visitors to her website at She also urges everyone to become a superhero and adopt their next non-human companion from a local animal shelter.


Buy Link:   Amazon
Elle will be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.  Follow the tour HERE 


  1. Huge thanks for having me here today, Sue. I hope your day is a sparkly one.

  2. Great excerpt and interview - I really enjoyed them!

    1. I'm so happy to hear that, Victoria. :)

  3. I too return to old favorites when the stuff hits the fan...hope things get better for you Elle! And in the mean time enjoy your comfort reads!

    1. Thank you, Andra. That is so kind! Things are getting back to normal. Some pretty serious health problems struck members of my household, and we were all flailing for a bit. Things have settled down, though. I appreciate the sympathy. :)

  4. i enjoyed the blurb and excerpt.and i like the cover

    1. Huge thanks, Angela! I wish I could claim I had much say in the cover, but all I do is nod and wisely approve the suggestion. :)