Sunday, 19 May 2013

Spotlight & Review: The Plateau: Voices of the Earth by Maureen Dudley


Grace Wright
‘The Plateau: Voices of the Earth’is First Installment of Trilogy fromMaureen Dudley

DENVER, COLORADO – Just in time for Earth Day, Maureen Dudley has penned “The Plateau: Voices of the Earth” (Hawk’s Cry Publications, an imprint of Word Keepers, Inc., April 22). The first fictional but fact-based novel in her stimulating three-part series showcases the need to protect and preserve natural environments for this generation and others to come.

In “The Plateau,” Dudley tells the story of an environmental engineer named Catherine and what happens when she meets an enigmatic archivist who has “time traveled” 200 years from the future to discover the pattern of decisions that led to how their world evolved.

Enlightening Radio host Christine Andrew calls the novel “timely and thought-provoking.” And ForeWord Magazine writes, “The book keeps a page-turning pace that will engage those who enjoy fantasy, general fiction, and stories about the environment.”

Having spent more than 20 years working as environmental engineer herself, Dudley draws on her vast knowledge of relatively obscure and underreported issues and events to bring attention to the breadth of the world’s environmental problems. Her dramatic storytelling blends elements of science fiction and environmental advocacy, inspiring readers to reflect on the planet’s vulnerability and how every step we take – for better or worse – impacts the earth.

And while Dudley attempts to create awareness about certain issues facing the planet today, she encourages people to investigate and reach their own conclusions.

“You may agree with me, or your conclusion may differ significantly from mine,” said the Denver based author. “I can only tell you that I strongly believe, and hope you agree, that we need to strive to take care of our environment so that future generations are left with air they can breathe; water they can drink; land, streams and seas they can cherish.”

Visit for more information on the book and author.


An environmental engineer by education and profession, Maureen Dudley writes with passion and poise in her conservation-focused trilogy from Hawk’s Cry Publications, an imprint of Word Keepers, Inc.

She spent eight years researching and writing the first installment, “The Plateau: Voices of the Earth” (April 22, 2013) and hopes her debut novel motivates readers to learn more about what is happening to our environment, become cognizant of our own impacts and strive to make a positive difference.

Dudley lived in Butte, Montana until she was 22 years old. There, sheearned a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental engineering from Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology. She then moved to Colorado where she began a career as an environmental engineer with the state. After more than two decades of working for state and local governments, Dudley decided it was time for a change. With the support of her spouse Dave and her four-legged friends, first Kilty and now Charley (pictured), by her side, Dudley transitioned into her next career as a writer.

Dudley lives in Denver, Colorado, where she enjoys hiking and biking in the great outdoors.


As both a children’s book and scientific illustrator, Erin E. Hunter specializes in entomological and botanical illustrations. She has taught botanical illustration and field sketching at UC Santa Cruz and teaches workshops at local venues. Her portfolio includes print and online design projects for clients ranging from marketing firms to culinary groups to educational organizations—and she’s drawn insects under a microscope for the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History.

Erin lives with her husband on California’s Monterey Peninsula. When she’s not sketching and painting, she tends to flowers, fruit trees, and vegetables in her backyard garden.

“The Plateau: Voices of the Earth”

Paperback $19.95, eBook $9.99
ISBN: 978-097853939-9
Fiction, 350 pages
Hawk’s Cry Publications,
an imprint of Word Keepers Inc.
April 22, 2013

The first of a thought provoking trilogy that dares readers to explore consciousness of the mind and observe how their everyday actions are having an impact on the world around them.

What if you have half a second to stop the extinction of part of the human race? What if that pivotal day to save humanity depends on you saving your own life? Catherine’s life and humanity’s continued existence depend on her ability and willingness to believe in an altered, future timeline with a colony of Earth inhabitants.

It couldn't come at a worse time. Catherine’s father dies unexpectedly. The pressure of her research and advocacy work adds dead weight to her life’s precarious tipping points. Catherine’s losing battles includes sleep deprivation. Sleep eludes her, and when it does come, she finds herself repeatedly dreaming about standing on the same high plateau with her greyhound dog, Addy, and a stranger (Keitha) and her dog (Murphey) surrounded by plants and animals and insects, and then poof! The living landscape transforms into ash.

Catherine does not suspect that she is the lynch pin, but she is the one who must stop the Machiavellians from shifting Earth’s future timeline, that will ultimately result in the colony’s extinction. But, because of her own beliefs in the Hau de no sau nee (Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy) principal that we have to consider the effect decisions have on descendants seven generations into the future. Catherine puts this belief to the ultimate test when she learns that ‘the event’ is her own death. In order to stop it, she must walk directly into its path.

Praise for the Book

“The author uses Keitha and Catherine’s stories to illustrate how important it is to take care of the environment, not just for their sakes but also for that of future generations who must live with the outcome of their ancestor’s actions. The story keeps the reader engaged by revealing just enough of the past’s influence on the future. Despite the revelation of future outcomes to the reader, the author was able to maintain the suspense in the narrative, and this is definitely one reason the novel works well.

‘The Plateau: Voices of the Earth’ is a very interesting and well-written story. The plot is engaging, the characters are likeable, and once the action gets going, the book keeps a page-turning pace that will engage those who enjoy fantasy, general fiction, and stories about the environment.”

- Laura Munion, ForeWordReview Magazine

“Given this particular time in the state of our collective consciousness in our world, I think ‘The Plateau: Voices of the Earth’ is a timely and thought-provoking book.”

-Christine Andrew, Enlightening Radio/CoSozo Radio


This was a very interesting read. Although mostly fantasy, filled with elements of sci-fi ‘time travel’, its hard hitting facts and truths made it thought-provoking and very real.

The story was a little confusing at first, as scenes played out between the present (200 years from now) and the past (our present). It took me a little while to wrap my head around how the colony worked and who they even were, but as the story progressed and details of the Archivists and their role in looking into the past unraveled, I better understood their purpose and importance.

I did find the first half of this book to be a bit slow and quite often my mind wondered to other things. There was too much story-telling going on in this story and even though most of what was being told had some bearing on the rest of the book, it just didn’t capture my imagination. There were also a few moments when past interactions with secondary characters were remembered and this felt like more of a filler.

I did like Keitha. She had a certain fire and spirit that brought the story alive whenever she was around. She’d lived a hard life, filled with many half-truths. Her relationship with her mother, Clara, is strained and they never seem to get along. Things only worsen as the truth unravels and she finally gets to understand why Clara distanced herself all those years before. There is also great pressure for her to succeed in connecting with Catherine. It’s like the literally has the fate of the world on her shoulders.

I really enjoyed the idea of time travel through spiritual form. And even though it may be fictional, I believe there are those who possess the ability to connect with others in this way. Presently, these people are known as psychics etc. but in 200 years they may just been known as Perceptives, as the book says. We see a struggle between Catherine and Keitha, as the former tries to make sense of what is going on, and the latter tries her best to communicate under somewhat impossible circumstances. Keitha’s frustration and annoyance only makes things worse and pushes Catherine away. But I believe they were both able to learn a lesson from Murphy and Addy, their two beautiful animals, who have so much patience and trust for each other. If only humans were more willing to open themselves to the possibilities that are out there. And only if the world we lived in allowed us to trust so easily.

The thing that really stood out to me was the message of, what we do now will reflect in the future. We are all aware of global warming, species on the brink of extinction and the plight of many natural resources. The question we have to ask ourselves is what are we doing to help? Because even though this book is fiction and tells of a bleak future for many generations to come, how many of us have actually sat back and thought about how our actions can affect the future of our world. This book in every essence is a huge possibility if we do not act now. We have to be more vigilant and think about how one tiny thing we do today, will shape the future around us.

Another thing I took away from this book, if the Machevilans are anything to go by, is that greed and power can lead to our ultimate demise. We only have one future, and it is ours to protect for the generations to come.

It gets...

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Q&A with “The Plateau: Voices of the Earth” 
author Maureen Dudley

After more than 20 years in the environmental engineering field, what inspired you to embark on a career as a writer?

After I resigned from local government, I worked on a few contract projects. But then I ultimately decided to try and write a book that would entertain while still informing people about some of the environmental issues we are facing. And perhaps even create enough interest so that people would look into the issues even more.

You use real examples of little known environmental events to breathe life into your novel. Tell us about some of those events and why you chose to include them in your fictional book.

Certainly some are less well known than others, the Khian Sea incident, and the Yablokov Report which I used early in the book to show what can lead to what. Others I think are very well known like the Kyoto Protocol, the Endangered Species Act, and the plight of the honey bees. I just tried to highlight what might be some lesser-known aspects of each. I’d rather not try and summarize any of these because they are complex issues and what is in the book is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

The story told in “The Plateau: Voices of the Earth” includes time travel – but not the kind often portrayed in literature and movies. What kind of time travel do your characters do, and how did you come up with the idea?

The type of “time travel” involved in the book is mental not physical. The two main characters never physically leave their own environments. Eventually, because they have some shared genetics, they are both able to reach out and connect with the other across space and time with their minds, meeting on the neutral plateau.

I’ve had the seed of the idea for a while, just pondering the concept of time travel and how it might work. You hear stories all of the time about “out-of-body” experiences, and so I thought if the mind can reach out spatially why not temporally. But not randomly, that was where the genetics came in. The nitty-gritty part came together as I wrote and explored the ideas.

What can readers expect in the next installment of this trilogy?

One of the first things that will be definitively answered is the identity of who the Machiavellians from the future are communicating with in Catherine’s time. Also, the second book is titled “The Plateau – Voices of the Future,” and there will be a focus on the future colony and how they live. At the same time, Catherine will continue working on the environmental issues that we face in today’s society; the link between what is happening now and what the colony in the future is contending with will become even clearer. Who are the Machiavellians and what do they ultimately want?  

What do you think is the biggest issue facing our environment today?

Not recognizing that everything is interconnected. Something that happens thousands of miles away from where you live can eventually impact you. What we do, or don’t do, today will have an impact, whether it is tomorrow or 200 years from now. There are acute crises like Chernobyl, Bhopal, and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which have lasting impacts, while many other issues we are facing are chronic. They have developed over a long period of time because of constant pressure. The issues are complex and many of them require large coordinated efforts. It can seem overwhelming and can lead people to wonder what they can do that will actually matter. However, if we are cognizant of our own impacts in our everyday lives, and strive to make a difference, no matter how small those differences may seem, we will make a positive impact. We may never see the big payoff that our efforts eventually bring but, all of us working together, doing those everyday things—like hand weeding our yards instead of applying herbicide, or going to the car wash so soap doesn’t run down the street into the storm sewers that lead to our waterways, or picking up after our dogs—means we become a coordinated effort; a force. And one day those that come after us will look back and be grateful that all of the people from our time pitched in to do the right thing.

You are passionate but careful not to force people into your own beliefs about issues like this. Why is that?

I don’t think it’s being careful so much as the fact that I think people should investigate issues and reach their own conclusions. You may agree with me, or your conclusion may differ significantly from mine, for whatever reason. I can only tell you that I strongly believe, and hope you agree, that we need to strive to take care of our environment so that future generations are left with air they can breathe; water they can drink; land, streams and seas that haven’t been damaged beyond the hope of repair. And that the creatures which share this earth with us deserve the same. The wild creatures are our sentinels, they warn us of changes, because they live their lives in the air, in the water and on the land.

Visit for more information on The Plateau: Voices of the Earth and information on some of the issues facing the environment today.

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