Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Rarity From The Hollow by Robert Eggleton

Release Date: 3rd November 2016 / ebook 5th Dec 2016
Publisher: Dog Horn Publishing
Genres: Science Fiction / Fantasy



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.

To prepare Lacy for her coming task, she is being schooled daily via direct downloads into her brain. Some of these courses tell her how to apply magic to resolve everyday problems much more pressing to her than a universe in big trouble, like those at home and at school. She doesn't mind saving the universe, but her own family and friends come first.

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.

Brook Cottage Books is thrilled to welcome Robert Eggleton to the blog with an author interview.

 Author Interview



Hi J.B. Thanks for the opportunity to let readers know a little bit about me, Rarity from the Hollow, and how an enjoyable science fiction novel helps raise funds for the prevention of child abuse.


Do you write under your real name or is this a pen name you use?


I don’t use a pen name, but I do have an interesting story about my “real” name. I was named “Robert Thomas Eggleton” at birth, but went by “Bobby” until I decided that I should be called by a more “manly” name when I contemplated junior high school.  I changed my name to “Bob” and everybody called me that, except for my immediate family. I remained a “Bob” for almost fifty years. In 2010, I received an email from one of the early Editors of Rarity from the Hollow, my debut novel. She told me that I had to change my name.  

At that point, I’d already contacted several science fiction authors to ask them to check out my soon to be released novel.  I’d hoped for a blurb, or better, a complete review. The Editor later told me that “Bob Eggleton” was the name of an award winning science fiction book cover illustrator, and that to avoid any confusion, it would be best to change my name. In the writing world, I am “Robert Eggleton.”  

Although I’ve read science fiction since I was a kid, I never paid attention to who illustrated the book covers. For one thing, when Pulp, the covers were just plain awful. They were sexist, and the scantily clad woman on the covers never had anything to do with the story. The illustrator, Bob Eggleton, and I have emailed each other occasionally for the last few years about our names and my progress in getting accolades about the novel.  He’s a nice guy and has always given me expressions of support, but I’ll stick with “Robert” even though Bob said that it was not necessary as far as he was concerned.

A down-side to my name being “Robert” for the novel is that I’ve been employed as a children’s advocate for over forty years using the name, “Bob Eggleton.”  Author proceeds from this project have been donated to Children’s Home Society of West Virginia where I worked in the early ‘80s.  I’ve met tons of people during these years. It is possible that some people who have known me by “Bob” will not pay attention to or purchase my novel because of the name change.  Some of these people would likely buy it even if they didn’t read science fiction just because of the good work associated with my name, or because they wanted to contribute to a worthwhile cause.


Where are you from?


I was born into an impoverished family in West Virginia. My alcoholic and occasionally abusive father suffered from PTSD. He had been captured by the Nazis during WWII and suffered from night terrors. My mother did the best she could, but I had to begin working as a child to feed my family. I started paying into the U. S. Social Security fund at age twelve, dreamed of a brighter future for my family, and have continued work for the next fifty-two years.

In the 8th grade, I won the school’s short story contest. “God Sent” was about a semi truck driver so consumed with theological debate that he caused a terrible accident. As it often does, however, life got in the way my dream of becoming a rich and famous author. I worked and went to school, never finishing any more stories that I’d started, mostly because I was just too exhausted. I started college in 1969, and except for a poem published in the state’s student anthology and another poem published in a local alternative newspaper, my creative juices were spent writing handouts for civil rights and anti-war activities, and on class assignments. I graduated in 1973 with a degree in social work. Afterward, I worked in the field of adolescent substance abuse treatment as I attended graduate school. My creative writing was still on hold. After earning an MSW in 1977, I focused on children’s advocacy for the next forty years. My heartfelt need to write fiction was dissipated somewhat by the publication of social service models, grants, research, investigative and statistical reports about children’s programs, child abuse, and delinquency.

I recently retired as a children’s psychotherapist for our local mental health center. It was an intensive day program Most of the kids, like myself, had been traumatized, some having experienced extreme sexual abuse. One day at work in 2006 it all clicked together and the Lacy Dawn Adventures project was born — an empowered female protagonist beating up the evil forces that victimize and exploit others to get anything and everything that they want. While my protagonist is a composite character based on real-life kids that I’d met over the years while working at the mental health center, one little girl was especially inspiring. Her name is Lacy Dawn. Rather than focusing on her victimization, she spoke of dreams – finding a loving family that respected her physically and spiritually. She inspired me to make my own dream come true, to write fiction and I haven’t stopped writing since I first met her that day during a group therapy session. 
 

Did you write as a child?


I didn’t start writing fiction until the eighth grade, and then I wrote nonstop – stories that I shared with anybody who would read them. Since I was working and going to school, I didn’t have time to polish the stories, and they probably weren’t very good despite others saying that they were great.

As I was growing up, the only book in our house was the Bible.  It was sometimes a chore to find a pencil to do homework. There was no money to buy school supplies. I wholeheartedly support programs that work to equip children to succeed in school by giving kids backpacks, notebooks, and supplies. I borrowed paper from peers at school, but some of my early stories were written on paper grocery bags that I’d torn into sheets.  


What was the first thing you ever had published?


The first thing that I wrote that was published was a poem named, “Our Real Warmth.” It was published in the 1974 West Virginia Student Poetry Anthology, a competitive program for college students. Of course, this was before computers, my copy of the book is long gone, and I doubt that even our state’s Division of Archives and History would have a copy, but I might look one day. I’ve retained the name of the poem only, and actually have two others with the same title, one of which is speculative fiction and the other is standard free form. Both very different poems are new pending submissions at this time. I’m working on a third with the same name. Real warmth is a personal matter, so this newest poem will likely represent a very different character perspective.  


Do you have a writing routine?


Since I’ve retired, my daily routine has gotten rather loose. As I mentioned before, for the first time since it was published, I’ve had the time and energy to promote my novel. Dog Horn Publishing is a small press in Leeds. It does great work, including the production of a popular magazine loved by the GLBTQ community in England, but I’m expected to promote. So, as to a writing routine, I typically bounce back and forth between promotion and writing. If actually works better than I would have expected – gives a little time for each to gel.

Soon, however, my routine must change. I have tons of outside chores and its cooling down outside enough to work on an old truck (1966 Dodge, the picture of which was on an old NAPA calendar in Rarity from the Hollow), a garage that needs work, a roof with a small leak…. In summary, this is not a great time to ask about my routine because I have yet to establish a new one, plus it will depend on whether I get a part-time job to pay my bills, so….


Do you have any writing rituals? 


I don’t know if I would call them rituals, but unfortunately for my health, I chain smoke cigarettes and drink way too much soda when I’m writing. I don’t smoke much and rarely drink soda unless I am writing. Also, I can’t sleep if I have an unresolved scene, not that the scene has to be a final draft, but I can’t leave it unresolved or I get insomnia. I’ve gotten out of bed to achieve a semblance of closure in a scene so that I could get some sleep.
 

Do you have a current work in progress?


I always have several works in progress at the same time. Since I’ve recently retired, the difference is that I’ve become productive. Instead of ideas, partially developed and then abandoned because life has always seemed so complicated, I’m reaching closure on a ton of older half-baked stories. A new short story just got rejected by a major science fiction magazine, so I’ve got some work to do on it, especially since I agree that it was prematurely submitted.

Ivy, my next novel, is almost ready for professional editing. I’m holding off, trying to build name recognition before I submit it to the publisher for consideration. My dream with respect to writing fiction is to get to the place where I no longer need to request book reviews, but instead book reviewers ask the publisher for a copy of my work to review. I’m hopeful that I’ll get to that place with Rarity from the Hollow and then have the release of Ivy perfectly timed so that I can concentrate on writing instead of promotions.


Where did the idea for your book come from?


My ideas come from my own personal and professional experiences, supplemented by the experiences of troubled children that I’ve worked with over the decades.  I write what I know, with minimal research to verify technical detail because I write social science fiction for which I am more than qualified, as opposed to hard science fiction that would take a lot of technical research, and probably considerably more technical aptitude than I possess.


Who was the first person you gave the book to read?


My wife, son and daughter-in-law read chapter revision during the drafting stage of Rarity of the Hollow. A friend who is a school teacher and a member of the West Virginia Writer’s Association also played a major role, but also by reviewing and commenting on scenes and chapters. By the time the story was finished, each of them had read and reread it so many times that they almost knew it my heart. The first person the I presented Rarity from the Hollow to in its entirety was a woman that I had recruited because of her expertise in editing and experience with literature, the Acquisitions Editor for the University of Michigan’s Ancient History Library. She was a tough critic and my work benefited from her assistance.


Do you have any advice for budding authors?


Sure, I have advice for budding authors, but that doesn’t mean that my advice is sound, that they will listen, or that my advice will have applicability in this rapidly changing technology and marketplace. If I would have listened to the advice of established and well-meaning authors when I started writing fiction, Rarity from the Hollow would have never been published. My best advice to budding authors, therefore, would be to listen to your heart, impose self discipline with respect to productivity, and pay attention to the changes that are going on before your eyes. What worked in the past for someone else may not be the least bit relevant to whether you achieve your dream to become a successful author.

AUTHOR BIO

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.
 


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13603677-rarity-from-the-hollow?from_search=true&search_version=service
               
PRAISE FOR THE NOVEL - 

The novel was found by the editor of Atomjack Science Fiction Magazine to be 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.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2012-01-01T0... 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/?p=58


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-approved-review-of-rarity-from-the-holl... 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/2015/11/rarity-from-hollow.html



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/top-5-for-2015-ventsi/ On January 20, 2016, Rarity from the Hollow was awarded a second Gold Medal by another popular book review site: https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/rarity-from-the-hollow.



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 I've 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/rarity-from-the-hollow-by-robert-eggleton...






 


5 Responses so far.

  1. Unsolicited Top 100 Amazon Book Reviewer posted a five star review of Rarity from the Hollow today: "...This is one brilliant book and Highly Recommended for all readers – for entertainment and reinforcement of much needed values." 9-18-15

  2. Hi. Rarity from the Hollow just received a Gold Star review: http://awesomeindies.net/ai-approved-review-of-rarity-from-the-holly-by-robert-eggleton/

  3. Thanks again for the amazing post and author interview 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 to be 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 one-hundred blogs or magazines worldwide, in twenty-one 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, The Netherlands, 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!

  4. 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

  5. For a limited time, the eBook version of Rarity from the Hollow, © October 2016, is on sale for $2.99 at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017REIA44/ref=tsm_1_fb_lk A sale on the paperback version began yesterday: https://www.amazon.com/Rarity-Hollow-Robert-Eggleton/dp/190713395X/

    Author proceeds contribute to the prevention of child maltreatment: http://www.childhswv.org/ A listing of services that are supported can be found here: https://chocolatepages.wordpress.com/2015/09/05/book-spotlight-rarity-from-the-hollow-by-robert-eggleton/comment-page-1/#comment-2331

    Project Updates: https://www.facebook.com/Lacy-Dawn-Adventures-573354432693864/ and https://twitter.com/roberteggleton1

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