Welcome to my little corner of the vast web. Thank you for stopping by and checking out the reviews, interviews, and giveaways. Please take a moment to read a bit about Robert and his new book.
Hi Robert, thank you for being here.
Hi, Thanks for the opportunity to tell you and your readers a little about myself and my debut novel.
You’re welcome. Please start off by telling us a little bit about your latest book, Rarity from the Hollow.
Rarity from the Hollow is an adult literary novel with a social science fiction backdrop that was published by a traditional small press. Sensitizing readers to victimization, early tragedy in the story feeds and amplifies subsequent comedy and satire.
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 is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.
To prepare Lacy for her coming task, she is schooled daily via direct downloads into her brain. She assembles a zany team: her more healthful parents, a pot-smoking neighbor with Bipolar Disorder, the ghost of her best friend, and the family mutt. In the spaceship which has been hidden in a cave up the hollow behind her house in the hills of West Virginia, the team takes of to planet Shptiludrp (Shop Until You Drop) to analyze the menace that threatens to end life as we know it.
My novel was the first, perhaps the only, science fiction adventure to specifically predict the rise of Donald Trump to political power — parody with no political advocacy one side or any other. Readers find out how Lacy Dawn, the protagonist, convinced Mr. Rump (Bernie Sanders) to help talk Mr. Prump (Donald Trump) into saving the universe. The allegory includes pressing issues that are being debated today, including illegal immigration and the refuge crisis, consumerism, domestic spending for social supports; sexual harassment, complicated tax codes…. Mr. Prump in my story was a projection of Donald Trump based on the TV show, The Apprentice. The counterpart, Mr. Rump, was based on my understanding of positions held by Bernie Sanders as I wrote the story. Part of the negotiations in the story occur in the only high rise on planet Shptiludrp , a giant shopping mall and the center of economic governance, easily identifiable as Trump Tower. This book review nailed the political parody in my story: http://amzn.to/2xTqKqP
What inspired you to write Rarity from the Hollow?
I have worked for over forty years in the field of child advocacy. I probably would have put off my dream of becoming an author even longer than I did, maybe forever, if I didn’t feel so strongly that something more needed to be done to help maltreated children.
Do you realize that the United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations in protecting kids – losing on an average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect/ http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/#1
Another embarrassment for the greatest country to have ever existed, twenty-six years ago, 190 members of United Nations passed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but the U.S., along with Somalia, still hasn’t joined by signing it. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2014/11/21/why-wont-the-u-s-ratify-the-u-n-s-child-rights-treaty/ Weird, huh?
Personally, I think that these realities are too embarrassing to tolerate. Now retired, I last worked as children’s psychotherapist for an intensive mental health, day treatment program. Many of the kids in the program had been abused, some sexually. Part of my job was to facilitate group therapy sessions. Here’s why and how I became an author:
One day at work in 2006 during a group therapy session, I was sitting around a table used for written therapeutic exercises, and 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 got me thinking again about my own hopes and dreams of writing fiction, an aspiration that I’d held in since I was twelve years old. 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.
Writing came easy, but finding a publisher and promotions has been difficult. At one point I needed more to sustain my drive. My wife and I talked it over. That’s when the idea of donating author proceeds to the prevention of child abuse became a commitment that has sustained me to this day. Three short Lacy Dawn Adventures were subsequently published in magazines. Rarity from the Hollow is my debut novel.
Going back to the beginning, what is it that got you into writing?
I started writing short stories as a child. I’m the oldest child from an impoverished family. My father was an alcoholic Vet suffering for WWII related PTSD with night terrors and anger outbursts. My mother was downtrodden but very protective of her children. Since there was no money for toys or recreation, not even a television, perhaps to help us all escape this harsh reality, I started writing and sharing short stories to entertain my family, peers, and others in the neighborhood. In the eighth grade, one of my stories won the school’s short story competition. I continued to write until college when I just couldn’t find the time or energy. Then, after I finished graduate school all of my jobs including writing nonfiction related to child welfare: service manuals; policy; investigative reports about systems, institutions, and programs; research and statistical reports…. When I accepted the job as a psychotherapist for our local mental health center in 2002, that was my first professional job that didn’t include the production of written materials – my need to write was unmet and began to gnaw at me. I returned to writing fiction in 2006 to satisfy this need.
Do you always have a full story mapped out from beginning to end before you start writing?
Once I decided to write Rarity from the Hollow, I started out with a general outline that I modified as the story progressed. Since it is my debut novel, I’m not sure if I have an actual formula, but the next novel, Ivy, is almost reading for its first professional edit and somewhere along the way I had misplaced its outline. So……..
Tell us a little bit about your writing process.
As I mentioned before, I wrote Rarity from the Hollow when working full-time at a very draining job. Now that I’m retired, I will sometimes get out of bed at odd hours because a scene or the closure of a scene has come to me and I want to get it recorded. In contrast, I will sometimes just sit down with the intention of writing and that works, as well. I think that I’m still adjusting to retirement.
Do you ever base your characters in your books on real people? If so, when/how have you done this?
In some respects, all my characters are based on real people with accentuated traits. They tend to be people that I’ve met – the homeless, victims, the empowered, persons with mental illnesses or addictions, judges and other professionals…– hundreds of people involved with child welfare systems.
What type of books do you like to read yourself?
I like to read anything with a literary element – not necessarily something high brow or fancy – but I’m not into pure escapist stories. I love science fiction, such as David Brin, but I’ll read a romance novel that delves into the depths of human relationships. I prefer to read books by unknown authors thinking that I might discover a hidden masterpiece, and I usually will give a book fifty pages to hit a literary them even when it has been promoted as genre fiction. I don’t read much nonfiction anymore, perhaps because I’ve read so much of it for work, and I’m not impressed by autobiographies because I feel that art, personal achievement, courage…is more than that which comes from an individual.
If you had to pick three books that were the only ones you could ever read again, what would you pick?
The Grapes of Wrath, The Color Purple, and 1984.
Do you have any advice for those budding writers out there?
Yes, I’ve gotten a lot of advice from other writers. Most of it has been conflicting.
Thank you very much for coming to my blog! Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for inviting me to tell you and your readers a little about myself and my debut novel, Rarity from the Hollow. The only thing that I want to add is that even if you don’t think that my novel would be your cup of tea, please consider the huge social problem of child welfare and how you could help needful kids. After the 2017 Christmas sales are tallied, the publisher is going to make the next deposit of author proceeds from the Rarity from the Hollow project into the nonprofit agency’s account for the prevention of child maltreatment. Millions of American children spent this holiday in temporary shelters. A lot more world-wide likely spent their respective “holidays” in worse conditions. Having once been the director of emergency children’s shelters in West Virginia, it is still heartbreaking to think about children not having a “real” family during Christmas. I remember the faces, the smiles and thank yous for the presents from staff, but…. There are a lot of ways that you can help if you sensitize yourself to the cause.
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 is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.
Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire.
“A fun, sometimes cleverly-gonzo, and even inspiring tale about an undaunted girl’s close encounter of the weird kind.” – David Brin, Award Winning SciFi Author
“Amusing at times, shocking at others, a touching and somehow wonderful SFF read.” Amazing Stories Magazine
“Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s Animal Farm. I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list.” –Marcha Fox, Retired NASA Engineer and SciFi Author
“…utterly compelling…a chilling, engaging verisimilitude that deftly feeds on both the utter absurdity of the characters’ motivations and on the progression of the plot…. In the spirit of Vonnegut, Eggleton takes the genre and gives it another quarter turn.” – Electric Review / Midwest Book Review
Excerpts of Two Book Reviews – Gold Medal Awards
“…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.”
“…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.”
Half of author proceeds are donated to Children’s Home Society of West Virginia for the prevention of child maltreatment: http://www.childhswv.org/