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
Published: March 11, 2012
Genres: Speculative Fiction / Science Fiction Cross Genre
‘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
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robert 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.
You can also check out Robert’s short story, Stainless Steel, by clicking here.