Eldot, a nom de plume, is a simple cipher: the author’s first initial, followed by a period, spelled phonetically [ L. = Eldot ] Why? Two reasons: in 2011, when his first novel was published, the subject matter was more sensitive and controversial than it is today. The concern was that one or more “conservative” groups might choose to make a fuss about the content. Lest relatives, friends or former colleagues be inconvenienced or victimized, the nom de plume was adopted to serve as a shield. Secondly, the author didn’t want opportunistic individuals in the media to distort what the book was seeking to achieve. In fact, media treatment of the subject was the major motivation to write Julian’s side of story in the first place.
Four years have gone by; the novels have been well received. All five print books have positive critical reviews. It makes sense to pull back the curtain and let the reader get a peek at the culprit. The potential for controversy still exists, but the extremist groups have lost their clout. It’s harder to be a pioneer nowadays: social media and the cell phone have changed the landscape; the Julian novels are not weakened, but made more topical than ever.
Eldot has lived in the Pacific Northwest for most of his life. In order to dodge the draft and avoid the Viet Nam war, he took an occupational deferment to teach high school Drama and English. The interminable nature of the war and the draft lottery kept him in that occupation so long that he stayed there afterward, having been quite successful. Why change a good thing? The refuge had morphed into a career. He became a local and state leader in his profession. After thirty terrific years as an educator, he retired. Now he’s taken up writing. The novels are not autobiographical.
Leland Alan Hall
1960: Emperor Commodus Prompt Book: Use of Masks in Drama
[Honors Thesis, a translation from the Greek, housed at U of O Library]
2011: Little J and Roger [eBook only]
2012: Barr’s Meadow
The Poker Club
The Shooting Gallery
Thunder and Lightning
2013: The Champions
Inside Eldot’s World: a literary gazetteer [eBook only]
2015: You’re in High School Now

Additional information is available at http://www.diphra.com or http://www.littlejandroger.com

Smashwords Interview

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Smashwords book reviews by Eldot

  • The Boy Who Laughed on Feb. 03, 2011

    The novel is important reading. It tells a wonderful love story and leaves the reader feeling grateful to have been included in what seems like a very vivid memory. It does that in an ethnic portrait that is unfamiliar and exotic to an American who is several generations away from the Scots who came to this country. The central story is supported by a range of supporting characters and sub characters. It is a long book, perhaps a tad rough around the edges--yet that quality lends it an air of authenticity one expects in a memoir, as much as anything. Maybe it would not be so engaging if it were highly polished. The opening scene is problematic in that it suggests that the story is of an entirely different sort. The discussion and depiction of physical punishment is visceral and frightening. I nearly put the book down after a few pages. Fortunately, I skipped forward to see if that was really what the book was about. I'm glad I did that; otherwise I would have missed a wonderful experience. The rest of the book provides the context for that seemingly brutal opening event, and it takes on an entirely new significance. It is an ethnic event, not a sexual aberration or fetish. Good to know about, actually. Unfortunately, my download did not include the attractive color cover. I recommend this book without reservation. I will read it a second time, at least. I miss the characters and wish that I had been able to know them. I'm glad to have their experience and life experience in my memory bank. I feel enriched. That's why it is a good read.
  • Cowboys Can Fly on Feb. 25, 2011

    Thank you, Ken Smith for this wonderful book. I usually avoid encounters with pathos. Lucky for me, I didn't dodge this one. The vernacular was new to me, but the context usually provided the needed bridge. Novels in the first person are difficult to pull off so well. I applaud the craft that lies behind the scenes. The stylistic innovations are subtle and effective. Only occasionally was I aware that an adult of considerable experience and skill was pulling the strings. For the most part, the "willing suspension of disbelief" sufficed. This is not a criticism; at times, my eye may be too well trained for its own good. The intensely positive viewpoint throughout is particularly pleasing and rewarding. The final blessing given by Cy reflects back on the author. I shall make it a goal to read all of his work that I can. Five stars for this one. I presume it was written for adults. It ought to be on every high school recommended reading list as well. Eldot
  • Social Skills on April 08, 2013

    Thank you, Sara Alva for writing this book. Anyone who reads it will have a good day—maybe a great day. Your characters are interesting, varied, and familiar. Their story is not new—but the way the characters are artfully guided through the challenges—very real challenges—is engaging and at times gripping. I wanted more—I could have spent much more time with the cast of characters. But wisely, I suspect, you did not waver from your purpose; your “argument,” in the Shakespearean sense, is better for that. I ended with a list of questions, but none that had to be answered. They intrigue but do not distract. The kernel of a series is there; you have created a world with real people and real situations; one expects that a number of stories glimpsed in Social Skills could be spun into a book. I appreciated the texture and the musical references. Congratulations and plaudits for producing a credible happily ever after story. Eldot