Interview with S. S. Dudley

What are you working on next?
I am currently rewriting the sequel to Elf Hils, titled Fairy Trees (check out the awesome cover at my web-site), and responding to my editor's comments. Elf Hills is just the beginning of what I have slated for something around 6 books eventually. In Fairy Trees we learn a lot more about the hills and it gets more tense. More dragons, unicorns, and all sorts of fun fantasy elements.
Who are your favorite authors?
Many. For children's literature and those from whom I derive inspiration for my stories I include Roald Dahl, Kathryn Lasky, Kate DiCamillow, L. Frank Baum, J. R. R. Tolkien (The Hobbit), C. S. Lewis, E. B. White, Mary Pope Osborne, and others.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My 20 month old son. He gets cranky.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Tending my two kids (6 and 1.5), reading, running, washing dishes (sigh), working (I consult), and trying to tell the world about me, my mission as a writer, and my books.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I struggle discovering new books, honestly. I tend to go with authors who I know I like because I find myself time-strapped to do my own book discovery. I signed up for BookBub and some other services and have found some books that way, when I open the emails. Somehow recommendations do filter to me, through the web and magazines. But as a reader I think that discovering new fiction is a problem that needs a good solution.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I remember the first book I tried to write. It was a fantasy epic along the lines of R. A. Salvatore and J. R. R. Tolkien. I was big into fantasy at the time and played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons. I was usually Dungeon Master… Anway, the book had lot's of fighting and adventure and all the good bits of the genre. I wrote it by hand with a blue fountain pen. I can still see the pages and feel the pen. I lost it, dropped it and decided to be serious about what I did with my education. It wasn't until after I started reading stories to my daughter that I remembered how much I loved fiction, fantasy, the whole bit. And decided to pick up the pen again.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
For whatever reason I remember reading a version of Moby Dick when in second grade. I was in a special advanced reading group. I felt special reading something with so many pages and remember how much I enjoyed getting lost in the pages. That is a feeling I still relish and seek in books, that moment when the words evaporate and you sink into another world and time.
What do you read for pleasure?
I, personally, am all over the place. I recently discovered Stephen King and love his work. I don't get much out of genre writing and find that genre publishing is annoying. I want to read well written books, period. I do love reading middle-grade and YA for myself. It is a bonus that I can read more of these during story time with my kids, too.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Elf Hills is a children's fantasy adventure, written for middle-graders (5th-7th or so) and adults who, like me, enjoy children's fantasy. I wanted a story I could share with my daughter, who scares easily, but that had suspense and action and magic and was fun. I had a hard time finding such a story, so I started writing.

I love running and when I was first thinking of a book I was thinking about books on running I had read (Born to Run) and fantasies I had enjoyed and so forth. Then one day at pre-school my daughter announced that if she had a super-power, she would run super-duper fast. I liked that and thought of a character, a girl, with a special talent for running. I wanted to develop her. But I didn't quite have the story. That piece came while I was on a run on a trail near my home. What if there was a magical place out there, nearby, but you had to 1, believe in fairies and magic to see it and 2, be able to run far enough to even find it. This wouldn't happen then, unless. And from there the adventures began to come together.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I was reading a lot of books with my children and getting frustrated with them. They weren't resonating. I suspected that a big reason for that was the publisher. Publishers are cost sensitive and try to publish what sells based on what has sold before. Not a lot of room for innovation. And I knew I had the skills and resources to put together a professional package on my own. I also wanted control of the whole creative process.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Yet to be seen. But certainly it helps by making my work more broadly available.
Published 2015-01-20.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.