RB: I’m a recently retired children’s psychotherapist with over forty years in the field of child advocacy. Rarity from the Hollow is my debut novel and follows publication of three short stories in magazines.
I earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work in 1977 and devoted my career to helping needful children. Over these years, I’ve achieved a lot in my home state, West Virginia – impacted social services practices, policy and state statute – and, I’ve continued on with this mission by donating author proceeds from this novel to child abuse prevention.
I now write adult literary science fiction stories. My goal is to produce stories that sensitize readers to important social issues – poverty, child abuse, domestic violence, war, addiction, mental health concerns…as elements of stories that are fun to read.
I’ve wanted to become an author since winning the eighth grade short story contest at school. One of my proudest moments was reading the first of two Gold Medal book reviews awarded to Rarity from the Hollow: “…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… it’s a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” http://awesomeindies.net/ai-approved-review-of-rarity-from-the-holly-by-robert-eggleton/
I love writing and reading – everything, all genres. I’ve been married for forty-four years to the smartest person that I’ve ever met. I collect old L.P.s, especially psychedelic rock, but my listening interests are eclectic like my reading. My son is a computer geek who plays guitar and must have gotten his smarts from his mother. Tell you what, I’m an open book. If any of your readers have questions, there is a link to my personal email on the Lacy Dawn Adventures website: http://www.lacydawnadventures.com Feel free to contact me.
RE: I’ve mentioned how I’d dreamed of becoming an author for decades before pursuing my dream and how life got in the way with work and about my passion to help maltreated children. I’ve also told you about how I recently retired from my job as a children’s psychotherapist so that I could concentrate on writing and promoting my fiction. Now, I’m going to tell you about how a skinny little girl with stringy brown hair inspired me to pursue my dream of becoming an author, and how she was so inspiring that she became the real-life role model for my fictional protagonist, Lacy Dawn.
In 2006, Lacy Dawn was admitted for treatment in the intensive mental health day program where I worked. She had been severely abused and was shy at first. One day, during a group therapy session, she opened up and disclosed not only her abuse by the meanest daddy on Earth, but she spoke of her hopes and dreams for the future – finding a permanent, loving family to protect her. She was inspiring to all, especially after hearing what she had been through.
Something clicked inside me after meeting Lacy Dawn. I started to think about my own dream of writing fiction. However, I was torn between passions. It felt like I would be turning my back on needy kids if I gave up my psychotherapist job, and then it came to me that although Lacy Dawn wanted a new family, she wasn’t giving up on her biological parents. She wanted her father to get well, and for her mother to become stronger – for the world to stop being so angry and mean. That concept became Rarity from the Hollow – the most unlikely savior of the universe, an eleven year old human taking on the evil without hating it.
I wrote feverishly after work and on weekends, but it wasn’t until after I committed to donate author proceeds to child abuse prevention that I found full inspiration. Especially now that I’m in the self-promotions phase of the novel, all I have to do is to imagine the face of Lacy Dawn, and the millions of other kids in such situations, and I can defeat discouragement. Lacy Dawn was my inspiration for writing fiction and to raise money for a great cause.
BBB: Tell us about your main character.
RE: As I mentioned, Lacy Dawn is the protagonist of Rarity from the Hollow. My wife named her after I asked Rita to help write the novel. Rita said that since the mother in the story, Jenny, couldn’t afford to buy Lacy Dawn pretty things, she was at least going to give her a very pretty name at birth.
Although she occupies the body of a skinny eleven year old in the beginning of Rarity from the Hollow, Lacy Dawn is actually hundreds of thousands of years old. Lacy carries a gene that was implanted and has been monitored by Universal Management for savior attributes through many generations. This version of Lacy lives in an impoverished hollow, show strength in handling her victimization by circumstances including a mentally disabled father, and care about her family and friends. Through training via direct downloads into her brain, a port that had been installed in her upper spine, this little girl becomes the most powerful person in the universe.
Lacy Dawn is strong and powerful but never resorts to violence. She hurts but never loses control of her emotions, except once when she missed school for the first time ever. She exemplifies a driving force that motivates with patience. She falls in love, but never loses sight of her goals, and never pushes her android boyfriend, for when she’s old enough to have one, to hurry up and grow up. And, best of all, Lacy Dawn knows her limitations and how to rely on others without feeling weak. Yep, you guessed it, Lacy Dawn is my hero, scratches on her knees and stringy hair and sometimes a potty mouth and all.
Although there is some adult content in this novel, no sex scene or anything like that, Lacy Dawn is kind of old-fashioned, as well. In the story, she decides not to have sex for the first time until after she is married and not to try marijuana until after she has graduated from college. That doesn’t mean that Lacy ignores how to manipulate males – she learned how from her mother and grandmother and uses it on the android. Even after the android begins to go through human development, she never lets him get farther than to kiss her on the cheek, once. Now, that’s power!
BBB: What do you think readers will find most appealing about your book?
RE: Several people have said wonderful things about Rarity from the Hollow in their book reviews, but they all seem to emphasize different elements, and not everybody will get this story. I guess that no book is for everybody.
Some people have been impressed with the realism, while others have commented about the magical fantasy. People have noted both tragedy and comedy. The interspersing of third and first person has been a comment subject of critique and praise. The most common attribute of the novel made has been that it is unique and that’s it’s not a cookie-cutter story like so many other titles. I don’t think that anybody has gotten all of the puns.
If a reader doesn’t get pulled in too deep into the psychological distress of the first few chapters, I believe that readers will find the use of satire and farce most appealing. I’ve mentioned that the Awesome Indies book reviewer found the use of humor without trivializing serious issues. Another book reviewer, an Affiliate of Fantasy Fan Federation, an international organization that has been around since the 1940s and holds an annual fantasy fiction contest, posted on Amazon: "The author has created a new narrative format, something I've never seen before, with a standard third-person narration, interspersed, lightly, with first-person asides. This makes me think of Eugene O'Neill's 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…."
You know what I like best about the above review? It’s the sharp contrast between the almost “high brow” tone of the review against the colloquial, down-to-Earth voice in the story. The novel itself is so full of contrasts: victimization leads to empowerment, realism becomes outrageous and even silly fantasy, tragedy amplifies comedy…contrasts that I hope people will appreciate and enjoy.
Before I go, please let me tell you about something that I hope somebody will get in the story. Nobody has mentioned it so far, so maybe I didn’t do a good enough job writing it in. There is political satire, similar to that used by Orwell in Animal Farm, once the reader understands the economic structure of the off-world planet – the economic center of the universe, and it could be considered in relation to today’s presidential primaries. That’s a big hint, folks. If somebody sees the political satire in the story, please contact me and let me know what you think.
BBB: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
RE: I’m easy to reach by email. A link to my personal address is linked on the Lacy Dawn Adventures website: http://www.lacydawnadventures.com . I post updates about the project on the Lacy Dawn Adventures Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Lacy-Dawn-Adventures-573354432693864/?ref=hl , but only the most recent show up. I tweet from https://twitter.com/roberteggleton1 and would love to have your readers as followers. I can be messaged there, as well, and frequently retweet interesting comments, and about projects that I support.
Of course, if your readers would be so kind to write a book review on Amazon, I pay close attention to those, and on Goodreads, as well. Just follow the links on this page. Your input, either directly or indirectly through book reviews, is very important to me as I put the finishing touches on my next novel, Ivy. It is adult literary science fiction that asks the question, “how far will a child go to save a parent from addiction.” West Virginia has the highest overdose death rate in the nation, so we have a lot of kids who want to save their parents, and I’ve met a bunch of them through my work.