5 Minutes With… Robert Eggleton

5 Minutes With... Robert Eggleton

What is your book about?

I don’t want to spoil anything for its readers. Rarity from the Hollow is full of contrasts: harsh reality amplifies outrageous fantasy, bitterness blends into acceptance and empowerment, tragedy inspires comedy, and a biography of a victim becomes a science fiction story. It does not fit neatly into a genre, such as romance, horror or even speculative fiction. 

The protagonist, Lacy Dawn, is the last person on Earth that one would expect to be charged with saving the universe. The Evil was the original spawn of the human race and now so universally despised that any homemaker would be embarrassed to admit its occupancy. I know that this sounds vague, but it’s difficult to avoid spoilers. 

This novel was written for an adult audience, but does not have graphic sex scenes, a lot of violence or any of the other similar content that one might assume to be attributable to an Adults Only classification. It is sweet but frank and honest with no holds barred. It addresses the complexities of real life, but presents sensitive topics that might trigger emotional distress with comic relief. My intent was for readers to enjoy the experiences that I created with everyday words and colloquialism, but not to gloss over realism in the way that some YA titles accomplish.

In a nutshell, Rarity from the Hollow is about a traumatized little girl who learns to be the Savior of the Universe with the help of her mentally ill family and friends. It’s up to readers to decide which scenes are dissociative as a result of Lacy Dawn’s severe traumas and which scenes are pure fantasy and science fiction. I hope that readers take away the sense that action empowers one to overcome any real or imagined tragedy.

2.      What for the inspiration behind this novel?

I’ve been inspired to write fiction for as long as I can remember, but I supplanted his need by focusing on practicalities, such as supporting my family. I have over forty years of child advocacy work behind me and recently retired from my job as a children’s psychotherapist. During this time, I witnessed horrors that no subgenre writer of gothic, dystopian, or apocalyptic fiction could imagine.  For decades, I had met my need to write by producing nonfiction on various child welfare topics that was locally published.

One day in 2006, during a group psychotherapy session that I was facilitating, a traumatized a little girl sat a few feet away from me, around the table used to complete therapeutic worksheets. When it was her turn to talk, she didn’t stop with mere disclosure of detail about her trauma – acceptance of it was just a stepping stone. She spoke of hope and dreams, a future involving a loving family that would respect her physically and spiritually. Her presentation inspired other victims. It inspired me to pursue my life long dream – to write fiction.  During that therapy session, my protagonist was born. This little girl was my role model of victimization to empowerment. I haven’t stopped writing about her since. Her name is Lacy Dawn, and I recommend that you not “mess with her” or it’s hard to tell what you’ll get. 

3. Which character did you enjoy writing about the most?

Of course, I have a love / hate relationship with all the characters that I’ve ever created, including the ones that are not yet in print. These relationships, just like in real life, such as the relationship between a wife and a husband, are in a constant state of flux. Today, I enjoy Faith, the protagonist’s best friend, the most. She is a metaphor of the role of religion within modern social structures of industrialized nations. She was the star in a short story that I wrote, and is a ghost in most of the scenes of Rarity from the Hollow.  

“Faith Is Not Dead” refers to my belief that energy never dies, but only changes forms under Laws that humans hope and hope not to discover through worship within organized and less organized religious structures. Maybe I enjoy writing about her the most because as I get older I need a little faith in something, especially so that I don’t give up on my dream of having my writing appreciated by others.  

4.      What famous authors inspired you the most?

I’ve always had eclectic tastes in fiction. Mark Twain’s characters inspired me as a child to work hard to support my family. Without that inspiration, I have little doubt that I would have ended up on the “wrong side of the tracks.” Episodes of male incarcerations were an accepted way of life in my family, especially on my mother’s side although my father did his time in prison too. Tom Sawyer gave me an alternative to believe in beyond what seemed like an in and out of jail existence. I probably should have paid a little closer attention, however, because I served some time behind bars too, but it was during the hippie counterculture days so it was cool. 

With respect to writing, I’m not sure that you have enough bandwidth for me to make a complete list of inspirations, so here’s a few. Of course, Heinlein’s determination as an aspiring author after having been rejected so many times inspired my own persistence. Also, the way he progressively treated racial and gender issues in his fiction at a time when science fiction was regarded a pulp for kids inspired me to consider incorporating social commentary into my fiction.

Ferlinghetti, the poet of the Beat Generation, showed me how to enjoy my anger about political and societal issues. Similarly, Vonnegut’s anger in Breakfast of Champions helped me stay strong as a children’s advocate and as a writer, and how to continue to have fun experimenting with my writing style outside of commonly accepted structures and formats.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Harry Potter series reinforced my faith in the potential of adolescent morality and the future of the world, which was comforting. Watership Down by R. Adams was such a sweet adventure that some of this element just is a necessary ingredient of even the scariest or saddest story. I want my writing to be as hopeful regardless of barriers. What the point in bumming people out? 

The versatility in cross-genre and the use of humour by Bradbury – I have enjoyed everything that he’s written. It taught me that people finish what they read because they are experiencing enjoyment. Recreational reading is not like a homework assignment.

Dean Koontz has been masterful and can give me enjoyable nightmares. I’m one of those people who learned how to enjoy having the crap scared out of me.

Nora Roberts knows how to get me in a romantic mood. Yes, older guys can still at least remember romance and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. Males do read romance novels. 

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by D. Adams and Another Roadside Attraction by Robbins pushed me into the wilder side of writing regardless of censorship, as did the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comics. It’s a place that I really like to visit, but would not necessarily want to live there full-time.

Stephen King’s use of everyday horror convinced me that alarming scenes can be created by using almost anything as a prop. At home, we have a game. We name common household objects that could be converted into a dangerously exciting killing machine – the more gross the better.  We are inspired! 

5.      If you could go back and give your 15 year old self some advice, what would it be in five words or less?

Pursue your true dreams.

Robert Eggleton’s book is called Rarity from the Hollow and all the details are below:

Rarity From The Hollow by Robert Eggleton

Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton
Published: March 11, 2012
Genres: Speculative Fiction / Science Fiction Cross Genre

BLURB

‘Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother has lost her teeth, and her best friend is killed by her own father. Life in The Hollow in West Virginia isn’t great. But Lacy Dawn has one advantage—she’s been befriended by a semi-organic semi-robot (DotCom, alias Buddy) who works with her to ‘cure’ her parents. Buddy wants something in exchange, though. It’s up to Lacy Dawn to save the universe.’ —Books for a Buck

‘Imagine Wizard of Oz and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy smashed together and taking place in a hollow in the hills of West Virginia.’ —Adicus Ryan Garton, Editor, AtomJack

PURCHASE

AMAZON | AMAZON UK | PUBLISHER

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author Robert EggletonRobert Eggleton has served as a children’s advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. He is best known for his investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997, and which also included publication of models of serving disadvantaged and homeless children in the community instead of in large institutions, research into foster care drift involving children bouncing from one home to the next — never finding a permanent loving family, and statistical reports on the occurrence and correlates of child abuse and delinquency. Today, he is a recently retired children’s psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome physical and sexual abuse, and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel and its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. http://www.childhswv.org/ Robert continues to write fiction with new adventures based on a protagonist that is a composite character of children he met when delivering group therapy services. The overall theme of his stories remains victimization to empowerment.

AUTHOR LINKS

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

You can also check out Robert’s short story, Stainless Steel, by clicking here.

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About mrszoomby

When I'm not writing, I'm training for the zombie apocalypse.
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4 Responses to 5 Minutes With… Robert Eggleton

  1. Thanks again for the amazing author interview that informs people about Rarity from the Hollow, an adult literary science fiction novel. A lot has happened since the post and I decided to update you and your readers.

    The novel is currently in the process of being republished by Dog Horn Publishing, a traditional small press in Leeds. The 2016 Amazon link is: http://www.amazon.com/Rarity-H

    Following are some of the highlights about the novel since we last communicated:

    As you know, the novel was found by the editor of Atomjack Science Fiction Magazine called it absolutely fantastic and said that the story was laugh-out-loud funny in some scenes. Long-time science fiction book critic, Barry Hunter, closed his review, “…good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” http://thebaryonreview.blogspo……

    A former Editor of Reader’s Digest found that, “Rarity from the Hollow is the most enjoyable science fiction that I’ve read in several years.” http://warriorpatient.com/blog
    Rarity from the Hollow was referred to as a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and awarded a Gold Medal by Awesome Indies: “…Tucked between the folds of humor
    are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate…it’s a funny book that most fans of sci-fi will thoroughly enjoy.” http://awesomeindies.net/ai-ap……

    With respect to the story’s treatment of tough social issues, this reviewer said: “If I could, I would give it all the stars in the universe…I was hesitant to accept. I usually do not read or review books that discuss child abuse or domestic violence; however, I was intrigued by the excerpt and decided to give it a shot. I am glad that I took a risk; otherwise, I would have missed
    out on a fantastic story with a bright, resourceful, and strong protagonist that grabbed my heart and did not let go.” http://www.onmykindle.net/2015

    A prominent book reviewer from Bulgaria named Rarity from the Hollow as one of the best five books that he had read in 2015. http://codices.info/2015/12/to… On January 20, 2016, Rarity from the Hollow was awarded a second Gold Medal by another popular book review site: https://readersfavorite.com/bo….

    An Affiliate of Fantasy Fan Federation, an international
    organization that has been around since the 1940s, posted on Amazon: “The author has created a new narrative format, something Ive never seen before, with a standard third-person narration, interspersed, lightly, with first-person asides. This makes me think of Eugene ONeills play Strange Interlude where internal and external dialogue are blended. Rarity from the Hollow begins with some rough stuff, hard to read, involving child neglect and child abuse. But it soon turns the corner to satire, parody, and farce, partaking a little of the whimsical and nonsensical humor of Roger Zelazny or even Ron Goulart….”

    “…There is much here worthy of high praise. The relationship between Lacy Dawn and DotCom is brilliant. The sense of each learning from the other and them growing up and together is a delight to read. The descriptions of DotCom’s technology and the process of elevating the humans around him again is nicely done. Eggleton reminds me very much of Robert Heinlein at his peak….” http://sfcrowsnest.org.uk/rari……

    Rarity from the Hollow has now appeared on over eighty blogs or magazines worldwide, in nineteen different countries including all over the U.S. and the U.K., Finland, Mexico, Bulgaria, Belgium, South Africa, Croatia, Uruguay, India, Taiwan, Australia, Nigeria, Egypt, Malaysia, Canada, Vietnam, Portugal, and Sweden. The project has grown into a world-wide movement to sensitize people about child maltreatment through a satiric and comical science fiction adventure.

    Thanks again for your beautiful post!

  2. roberteggleton says:

    The new edition of Rarity from the Hollow was released on November 3, 2016: http://www.lulu.com/shop/robert-eggleton/rarity-from-the-hollow/paperback/product-22910478.html. The eBook version was released on December 5, 2016: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017REIA44/ref=tsm_1_fb_lk.

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