Interview with Robert Eggleton
Author of Rarity from the Hollow
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How would you describe Rarity from the Hollow to a new reader?
- Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy, and satire -- a children's story for adults. Its blend of social commentary and magical realism is not for the prudish, faint-of-heart, or easily offended. Half of author proceeds are donated to a nonprofit children's program for the prevention of child abuse.
What was the inspiration behind Rarity from the Hollow ?
- I'm a retired children's psychotherapist with over forty years in the field of children's advocacy. My last job was in an intensive day program within a community mental health center. Part of my job was the facilitation of group therapy for severely emotionally disturbed youth, most of whom had been physically or sexually abused. One day in Group, a little girl sat across the table from me. Instead of disclosing the horrors of her abuse as is typical, she spoke of her hopes and dreams for the future, her strengths. This girl was inspiring to me, to everybody around her, and she inspired me to return to writing fiction, a long-lost passion from my own youth. I named her Lacy Dawn and she's my protagonist.
Which authors do you admire? How have they influenced your writing style?
- Douglas Adams and Vonnegut along with lots of others that I admire probably influenced me the most toward nonconventional blending of genres.
Can you tell us a little about the locations in the book?
- The Earth setting is a rural, impoverished Appalachian hollow and the off-world setting is planet Shptiludrp (Shop Until You Drop), the center of universal governance which houses the economic foundation of the universe, a giant shopping mall.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors? How would you advise a new author about traditional publishing versus self publishing?
- The best advice that I can offer an aspiring author is to not give up, but to at the same time, not invest the family farm all at once in marketing. The front doors of traditional publishing have been chained shut for decades and there are many companies out there who want to take advantage of the self-published author.
What's your writing process?
- I write a loose outline -- no plotting detail for beats, as an example, and let it fly in for the first draft. Then, I get help from my son and wife to draft the second attempt at a story that will never be finished.
Which character in Rarity from the Hollow has had the greatest impact on readers?
- Excerpt from a wealthy Swedish book reviewer who had difficulty in connecting to some of the more down-to-earth characters:
"..My favourite character was probably Brownie because A. he’s a super smart dog, B. he’s called brownie, duh (he got his name after he stole a brownie instead of a wiener from Lacy Dawn’s plate during a cook-out) and C. he gets embarrassed about his own farts, something I keep hoping my dog will do as well some day.."
If Rarity from the Hollow were to be adapted for TV or film, who would you see in the lead role? Who did you have in your mind’s eye when you wrote him/her?
- Simone Arianne Biles -- a highly successful Black kid would be a hoot to introduce to some of the redneck characters in the hollow.
How have readers responded to Rarity from the Hollow?
- Yes, the book has received a couple of hundred reviews or so -- some glowing and some not so much. The hardest audience has been new authors who believe in following a method to their successes on Amazon.
Where next? What are you working on now?
- I had a short story published in a magazine last month, which was fun but few rewards. The next Lacy Dawn Adventure has been sitting for a while on my hard drive. Money for marketing is a major barrier now that I'm retired and trying to make it on Social Security. It's called "Ivy" and is about an alien invasion by a very unconventional method. We'll see.
Excerpt from a Book Review by Alibopo:
"I read once that the foundation of Science Fiction was captured in the two words; what if!
I’ve also heard these words used as a therapeutic tool; what if you woke up tomorrow and things had changed, things were better, what would that be like? So, what would that tomorrow be like if you were a very smart 12-year-old girl called Lacy Dawn, and you lived in a rundown farm property in near poverty. In ‘Rarity from the Hollow’, Robert Eggleton has some very surprising answers to that question.
But here’s a few more what ifs to help set the scene; what if Lacy Dawn‘s war traumatised dad spent half his day stoned on weed and regularly beat her and her mother? And what if Lacy Dawn’s best friend Faith had been beaten to death by her abusive father, but was still keeping her company as a spirit that could jump from object to object? And what if, somewhere along the way, Lacy Dawn had learned the magical ability to transport herself telekinetically, skimming across the ground at great speed? And what if Lacy Dawn’s secret friend, DotCom, was a super intelligent shape-shifting alien bio-android who lived in a hidden cave nearby? And what if Dotcom was here on earth for a very specific reason, a reason that probably makes Lacy Dawn the most important person on our planet!
The only way to find out the answer to how things might get better for Lacy Dawn is to read this book. With hints of Heinlein, Kornbluth and Pohl, and the golden age of SF, I found this a gritty, challenging, often too honest, and always entertaining story. No rose-tinted glasses here folks; just great storytelling with challenging adult themes. "