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Odessa mom authors second book about troll with ‘heart of gold’

When Rosie Talley was a little girl, she had a collection of tiny trolls with fuzzy hair and mini belly buttons. Growing up, she also had a dream to write children’s books someday.

Today, Talley is mom to a three-year-old daughter and has realized her dream by authoring two children’s books centered on her character, Linus the troll. While her first self-published book, “Linus the Troll,” came out in Feb. 19, 2021, her newest one, “Linus the Troll: The Isle of Huggles,” is tentatively set for publication Feb. 8 this year and is geared towards the nine and under set.

Talley, whose birthday is the same day as her second book’s release date, joked that it is “like a birthday present to myself.”

While Talley has always had a penchant for trolls, the inspiration for Linus arose not from her own childhood obsession, but rather from reading the Norwegian fairy tale, “Three Billy Goats Gruff,” to her daughter. Readers will recall that things don’t turn out so well for the troll in the fairy tale, and that didn’t sit well with Talley.

“I found myself feeling sorry for the troll,” said Talley, who added that she was thinking he was just misunderstood or maybe just judged by his appearance.

It was this experience of reading to her daughter and sympathizing with the troll that made Talley decide to make her dream of becoming an author a reality. Thus, Linus the troll was born, brought alive in illustration by Romanian-based artist Anna Benczédi.

But if you think Linus is like any scary old troll, think again. Talley said he may look scary—with long, sharp nails and warts on his feet—but “he doesn’t mean any harm to anybody.” The author continued that her troll is very kind, even though people’s initial reaction to him might be a little bit off-putting; you just need to get to know him. Adding to Linus’ soft interior is his friendship with a pet bunny named Hops.

Talley, an Odessa resident of 17 years, said Linus the Troll: The Isle of Huggles is a standalone book. While her first book was an introduction to Linus and offers the comparison between his kind heart and his outward appearance, the second book involves an adventure to the Isle of Huggles with his bunny bestie Hops. There, they meet creatures called puggles, and all sorts of fun ensues.

The author said that writing her Linus series has “definitely been a dream come true” for her and has far exceeded her expectations. As a new writer, she said she didn’t expect to sell many books at first, but that the public’s excellent reception to it has been mind blowing. “My heart is just so full.”

So, does the Odessa author have any advice for budding writers? Talley advised aspiring writers to practice writing everyday—even if it’s just five minutes in a journal—and to read a lot to become exposed to different writing styles and to find your own voice. In terms of publishing your work, she said that most people don’t realize how much marketing is involved in getting your work out there, so she suggests that a public speaking or marketing class would be helpful.

Follow Rosie Talley on Facebook or Instagram and find her Linus the Troll books online, such as on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other sellers.

Find this story in audio for blind and low-vision adults 2 pm daily on The Recording Library of West Texas radio station www.recordinglibrary.org live stream.