NC Literary Hall of Fame












Degotoga by Hugh J. Willard

Dark Alley Publishing
$9.95, paperback / $1.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0990846802
February, 2015
Fiction: YA Fantasy
Available at

Degotoga is a fantasy novel about Degu, an oversized misfit with borderline selective mutism. He is acutely self-conscious about his alopecia, and suffers from obnoxious, self-absorbed parents and a broken family heritage.

Degu had just turned eighteen when El-li-si, his Cherokee grandmother, was brought to live with his family due to her increasingly bizarre behaviors. She recently had taken to flopping around on the ground in a ritualistic dance and then urinating on herself. El-li-si hadn't spoken in thirteen years when she turned to Degu with an urgent plea that his brother was in trouble. “Degotoga, you got to listen to me good,” she said raising her stare and holding motionless. “You got to come with me. Your brother is in trouble and we got to help him. We got to find him afore more bad stuff happens.”

"El-li-si, what are you talking about? I, I, I don’t have a brother. I’m an only child.”

Degu would soon embark on his first vision quest, entering a parallel world, one in perilous imbalance, to search for his long lost brother, Wohali. Along the way, he will accompany his new friend, Ebony, as she seeks to bring peace to the restless Cherokee souls that died along the infamous Trail of Tears. He will also come face to face with the Raven Mocker, the omnipresent malevolent life force that is seeking to maintain dominion over him.

Degotoga takes Young Adult readers through a maze of shifting realities to a poignant and triumphant conclusion.

Hugh J. Willard is an author and psychotherapist living and working in Holly Springs, NC. His previous books include Alphatorts: with X-tra Yummy Zucchinis (children's) and the critically acclaimed The Goodwill Vultures Club chapter book series (middle grades). Degotoga is Hugh's first YA novel.

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