01 October 2017

Author Interview: Robert Eggleton (Rarity from the Hollow)

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you all have had an amazing weekend. I know I finally got the chance to sit down and really get some things accomplished after a really hectic and tough month. Today I'm back with an author interview! I always get excited when I receive the opportunity to discuss certain things with authors. This weeks interview was with Robert Eggleton, the author of Rarity from the Hollow. Keep reading to find out interesting things about his book as well as some of his answers to my questions!



The Q & A (Interview)

1. What kind of research did you for this book? How long did you spend researching before beginning this book?

I’m a retired children’s psychotherapist with over forty years in the field of children’s advocacy, so, I guess forty years would be a correct answer to your question. On some of the more technical details, such as the use of emerging technology to diagnose and treat mental health concerns like PTSD, depression, schizophrenia…I now use Google. However, most of what I write is more real than not and the ideas are based on everyday observations, especially during my work with needful kids and dysfunctional families. Even the aspects of Rarity from the Hollow that several reviewers have described as zany actually came from watching Donald Trump on television, The Apprentice. For example, the long-standing feud between extreme capitalism and democratic socialism parodied in the story is actually little more than a civics lesson from junior high triggered by that show. The harsh realism, tragedy found in early chapters of the story – I lived those experiences in my personal life and through my work as a children’s advocate.

2. How did you select the names of the characters?

Although I love fantasy novels, one of my pet peeves over the years has been the multi-syllable unusual names of characters in the stories, especially when a complicated lineage is presented. Frankly, this practice was not only a turn-off for me as a reader, it felt like writers were competing to come up with names for characters instead of applying their creative skills to the stories themselves. I picked more common names for the characters in Rarity from the Hollow, names that I hoped wouldn’t be distracting to readers.

The protagonist is named, Lacy Dawn. She starts out the story as an eleven year old victim of maltreatment who achieves empowerment with the help of a special friend – an android sent to Earth to recruit and train her to save the universe. The back story about her name is that Denise, her mother, knew that she would be able to buy Lacy pretty things during life, so she gave Lacy a beautiful name at birth. It is common in Appalachia for people to be referred to by their first and middle names.

Lacy Dawn’s best friend is named, Faith. While there is nothing “on-screen” or graphic, Faith is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth after the second scene – flashback reference only. She plays an annoying and comical ghost the rest of the story. I know people named Faith in real life, but with respect to Rarity from the Hollow, the name of this character is a metaphor for “Faith is Not Dead.” This signifies the importance of faith to survival, but is not necessarily particularly religious although open to interpretation.

On planet Shptiludrp (Shop Until You Drop), Lacy Dawn and her team meet Mr. Prump. His name and the character is a parody of Donald Trump and based on me having watched The Apprentice on television as I was writing the story. The team also meets Mr. Rump, a character which is a parody of Senator Bernie Sanders who also ran for President this past election. Otherwise, the names of characters are ones of people that you might meet in Appalachia.
    
3. What inspired you to write this book?

In 2002, I accepted a job as a children’s psychotherapist for our local mental health center. It was an intensive day program that served kids with mental health problems, many of them having been abused, some sexually. Part of my job was to facilitate group therapy sessions. One day in 2006 during a session that I was facilitating, around a table used for written therapeutic exercises, a little girl with stringy, brown hair sat a few feet away. Instead of just disclosing the horrors of her abuse at the hands of the meanest daddy on Earth, she also spoke of her hopes and dreams for the future: finding a loving family who would protect her.

This girl was inspiring. She exemplified resilience. She got me thinking again about my own childhood hopes and dreams of writing fiction. My protagonist was born that day – an empowered victim who takes on the evils of the universe: Lacy Dawn. I began to write fiction in the evenings and sometimes went to work the next day without enough sleep. Every time that I would feel discouraged, when I felt like giving up, I would imagine Lacy Dawn speaking honestly about the barriers that she faced in pursuit of her dream of finding a permanent and loving home. This girl inspired the creation of Rarity from the Hollow.

4. What is your favorite childhood book? 

Tom Sawyer

5. What book has most influenced your life?

It seems that each time I read another great book it influences my life, or at least my perception of influence. I mostly enjoy books that aspire to significance, as opposed to pure escapism, which I often find boring. For today, given the political posts on Facebook that I read and sometimes comment on, 1984 by George Orwell seems to have influenced my thinking and beliefs about human kind the most, but, of course, this answer is subject to change as change is the only constant in life.

6. Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer or is writing your sole job/career for the moment? 

I’m a retired children’s psychotherapist with a very long work history -- fifty-two years of contributing into the U.S. Social Security fund. Since my monthly income is now so low, I sometimes pick up work on the side to make ends meet. But, I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. Since my retirement a couple of years ago, I’ve worked longer hours than before, mostly on the computer self-promoting Rarity from the Hollow from the time that I get up until I go to bed. I’m looking forward to the point when I can return to finishing my next novel, Ivy. It’s set in an almost forgotten town and the headquarters of an almost forgotten alien invasion of Earth. I’ve learned so much from the reception of my debut novel that I want to begin editing Ivy from its beginning before I submit the manuscript to the publisher: Dog Horn Publishing in the U.K., a long way from my home in West Virginia.

7. What is your favorite part of this book?

I very much appreciate the scene during which Lacy Dawn stands up to her abusive father for the very first time. 

10. Where can readers purchase a copy of Rarity from the Hollow?

You can buy Rarity from the Hollow at any on-line bookstore and order it at your local Books-A-Million. Here’s a few of the more popular stores:

https://www.amazon.com/Rarity-Hollow-Robert-Eggleton/dp/190713395X/
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rarity-from-the-hollow-robert-eggleton/1118420669#productInfoTabs


I don't know about you guys but this book sounds really interesting! Keep reading for more information about the author, excerpts of reviews, and a excerpt from the book!


Publication: November 3rd, 2016 
# of Pages: 284 

Awesome Indies:
“…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, only instead of the earth being destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass, Lacy Dawn must…The author has managed to do what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse, and written about them with tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…Eggleton sucks you into the Hollow, dunks you in the creek, rolls you in the mud, and splays you in the sun to dry off. 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 sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.


Readers’ Favorite:

“…Full of cranky characters and crazy situations, Rarity From the Hollow sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved… Robert Eggleton is a brilliant writer whose work is better read on several levels. I appreciated this story on all of them.”
https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/rarity-from-the-hollow


Lacy Dawn's father relives the Gulf War, her mother's teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in The Hollow isn't great. But Lacy has one advantage -- she's been befriended by a semi-organic, semi-robot who works with her to cure her parents. He wants something in exchange, though. It's up to her to save the Universe.

Will Lacy Dawn's predisposition, education, and magic be enough for her to save the Universe, Earth, and, most importantly, protect her own family?

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. It is a children's story for adults, not for the prudish, faint of heart, or easily offended.
 



Robert Eggleton has served as a children's advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. Locally, he is best known for his nonfiction about children’s programs and issues, much of which was published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from1982 through 1997. Today, he is a retired children's psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome maltreatment and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel. Its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines. Author proceeds support the prevention of child maltreatment. 




Excerpt from Chapter 10, “One Moment, Please”

Scene Prologue: In this scene, Lacy Dawn stands up to her abusive father for the first time. Dwayne is a disabled Gulf War Vet who suffers from PTSD, night terrors and anger outbursts. Her mother, Jenny, is downtrodden and weak-willed. Lacy Dawn has just returned home from the android’s spaceship. At this point, her powers were evident but not fully matured. She had been negotiating extraterrestrial assistance to cure her parents of their mental disorders, but rushed home after sensing an emergency there…:

…Three minutes later, Lacy Dawn stood on the back porch. She was keen to hear a whisper. The yells could be heard half-way Roundabend. She peeked through the kitchen window. Her mother was on the floor with her back propped against the gasoline can that hid her GED study guide. Jenny’s nose bled.
“WHAT THE HELL ………GIVES YOU THE RIGHT ………………TO THINK ……….…………….that you can THROW AWAY …something that is MINE?” her father screamed.

Jenny adjusted her position. So did Lacy Dawn to get a better view through the window.

“Where’s my SWITCH?” Dwayne left the kitchen.

Lacy Dawn felt for her knife.

I hope Mommy runs for it.

Jenny moved the gasoline can to cover a corner of her study guide that stuck up. Dwayne had put the can in the kitchen two winters ago after he cut firewood. At the time, snow on the path to the shed had been deep. Jenny didn’t complain about the can in the kitchen because it turned into her best place to hide her GED book. It was convenient and the mice stayed away because of the smell. When her GED book was hid behind the refrigerator, it lost a corner to the nibbles. She repositioned her bra so that everything was contained.

If it’s okay with him, I’ll take it right here with my arms over my face. God, I wish I’d worn long pants today. If he finds that book he might kill me. Maybe that’d be better. I can’t handle anymore anyway. Welfare would take Lacy Dawn and put her in a group home. She’d have friends and stuff to do and decent clothes. That’s more than she’s got now. Who am I kidding? I’ll never get my GED or learn to drive. I’d be better off dead. She’d be better off. I ain’t no kind of decent mom anyway.

Jenny pulled out her GED study guide. Lacy Dawn burst into the kitchen and, at the same time, Dwayne appeared in the opposite doorway from the living room. Lacy Dawn and Dwayne stood face to face.

“She didn’t throw away those magazines, Dwayne. I burnt them all!” Lacy Dawn looked him in the eyes.

I’ve never called him Dwayne before.    

“Well, here’s my switch, little girl, and you can kiss your white ass goodbye because it’s gonna be red in a minute.”

“I told Grandma that you had pictures of naked little girls my age kissing old men like you.”

“Well, your grandma’s dead and gone now and it don’t make no difference.”

Dwayne grinned at Jenny and resumed eye contact with Lacy Dawn. Jenny did not move. The GED study guide was in the open. Lacy Dawn straightened her posture.

“Not that grandma — the other one — your mom. I tore out a page and showed her. She said the Devil must’ve made you have those pictures with naked girls way too young for you to look at. She told me to burn them to help save your soul before it was too late and you ended up in Hell.”

Dwayne raised the switch to waist level. Lacy Dawn took a step forward.

“I was sick of them being in the trunk under my bed anyway. I did what Grandma told me to and now they’re gone.”

“That was my Playboy collection from high school. I bought them when I used to work at the Amoco station before I joined the Army.”

Dwayne lowered the switch and leaned against the door frame. Jenny sat up straighter and slid her GED study guide back behind the gas can. Lacy Dawn maintained eye contact.

He’s starting to lose it. Where’s my new butcher knife?

Dwayne looked to the side and muttered something that she did not understand. He raised the switch and then lowered it.

“But, Mom knew I had them when I was in high school and never said nothing. Hell, those girls were older than me back then. I bet they’re all wrinkled now — with tits pointing straight to the ground, false teeth, and fat asses.”

Dwayne muttered again. Lacy Dawn maintained eye contact.

I must have hit a nerve. He always mutters when he’s thinking too hard.

“Anyway, you’re both still getting switched even if Mom told you to do it. But, I won’t make it too bad. She wouldn’t like it.”

He paused. The point of the switch lowered to the floor.

Damn. I can’t think of a new name.

“Tammy, bammy, bo mammy…” Dwayne sang. (Dwayne named all of the switched that he used on Lacy Dawn and Jenny to discipline them.)

“If you even touch me or Mommy with that thing, I’ll tell everybody about Tom’s garden. (Tom is a neighbor who grows marijuana.) I’ll tell Grandma, the mailman, my teacher after school starts, and the food stamp woman when she comes next week for our home visit. I’ll tell Tom that I’m gonna tell the men working on the road at the top of the hill. I’ll tell all your friends when they come by after the harvest. And, I’ll call that judge who put you in jail for a day for drunk driving if Grandpa will let me use the phone. I swear I’ll tell everybody.”

“Oh shit,” Dwayne said.

I knew this day would come — ever since she brought me those DARE to Keep Kids off Drugs stickers to cover up the rust holes on my truck….

“Lacy Dawn, drugs are bad. I don’t take drugs and hope you never will either.”

“Cut the crap, Dwayne. This ain’t about drugs. The only thing this is about is if you even think about switching me or Mommy, that garden has had it — period.”

“But smoking pot is not the same as taking drugs,” he let go of the switch. Thirty seconds later, Lacy Dawn picked it up and hung it in its proper place on her parents’ bedroom wall.

“I love you, Daddy,” she said on the way back to the kitchen.

Dwayne went out the back door and walked to his pick-up. The truck door slammed. It started, gravel crushed, and the muffler rumbled. He floored it up the hollow road.

Things will be forever different.

Lacy Dawn sat down on a kitchen chair, did her deep breathing exercise, smelled an underarm and said, “Yuck.”

Things will be forever the same unless DotCom can help me change them. (DotCom is the name of the android, a recurring pun in the story.)

Jenny got off the floor, sat on the other chair, scooted it closer beside her daughter, put an arm around her, and kissed the side of Lacy Dawn’s head.

The muffler rumbled to nonexistence.

“Asshole,” they screamed out the open kitchen window at the exact same time without cue.

“He used to be a good man,” Jenny giggled and hugged…. (This phrase is an intergenerational familial saying that Lacy Dawn turned into a chant and used to magically elevate above the ground, and to travel back and forth between her home and the spaceship without getting her tennis shoes muddy.)


1 comment:

  1. For a limited period, the eBook version of Rarity from the Hollow, an adult literary science fiction adventure, not for the prudish, is on sale for $2.99 and the Paperback is on sale for $16.94. https://www.amazoncom/Rarity-Hollow-Robert-Eggleton/dp/190713395X/ (104 Book Reviews on Amazon). Author proceeds contribute to the prevention of child maltreatment: http://www.childhswv.org/ Project Updates: https://www.facebook.com/Lacy-Dawn-Adventures-573354432693864/

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