An interview with Robert Eggleton

Let’s start with you telling us about your book.

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. Lacy Dawn is the protagonist. She occupies the body of an eleven year old, and sounds like one in her colloquial voice, but she has evolved for hundreds of thousands of years under the supervision of Universal Management. If you think of her as a little girl, you may be shocked.

The story is one of victimization to empowerment. Lacy’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.

Science fiction is used as a backdrop. It is not hard science fiction and includes elements of magical realism, fantasy, everyday horror, a ghost — so it’s a little paranormal, true-love type romance, mystery, and adventure. The content addresses social issues: poverty, domestic violence, child maltreatment, local and intergalactic economics, mental health concerns – including PTSD experienced by Veterans and the medicinal use of marijuana for treatment of Bipolar Disorder, Capitalism, and touches on the role of Jesus: “Jesus is everybody’s friend, not just humans.”

“…The grim details of their existence are delivered with such flat understatement that at times they almost become comic.  And just when you think enough is enough, this world is too plain ugly, Lacy Dawn’s father (who is being “fixed” with DotCom’s help [the android with a name that is a recurring pun]) gets a job and Lacy Dawn, her mother and her dog take off for a trip to the mall “out of state” with Lacy Dawn’s android friend, now her “fiancé” (though as Lacy Dawn’s mother points out, he doesn’t have any private parts, not even “a bump.”)  In the space of a few lines we go from gritty realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy.  It’s quite a trip….” — The Missouri Review http://www.missourireview.com/tmr-blog/?s=rarity+from+the+hollow

Before your readers get too serious, Rarity from the Hollow is not a memoir. The tragedy in early scenes amplifies subsequent satire and comedy: “…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.http://awesomeindies.net/ai-approved-review-of-rarity-from-the-holly-by-robert-eggleton/

Why do you believe that Rarity from the Hollow is a story for adults who are not easily offended?

I write adult fiction, not because of its sexual or violent content, although there may be a little here or there, less than in many YA novels, but because the themes, especially the satire, comedy, and social commentary, are for grown-ups. Many kids may be more interested in reading stories with more action or teenage angst. For example, unless one is paying attention to today’s presidential primaries, the conflict between extreme capitalism / consumerism vs. socialism in the story would likely be missed: http://www.thebookcarousel.co.uk/2016/04/guest-post-mr-prump-is-not-donald-trump.html?spref=tw

There is nothing preachy in the novel – I don’t take sides on issues and this leaves it up to readers to contemplate about their own views and feelings. It is written in colloquial adolescent voice comparable to The Color Purple or the well-known film, Precious, that Oprah Winfrey backed into fame, and based upon the 1996 novel, Push by Sapphire (Ramona Lofton), but unlike these works, I do not force artificial emotional closures and the story paints complexity instead of using dark lines between good vs. evil. As a retired psychotherapist, I believe that my picture of victimization is more true-to-life: http://drchazan.blogspot.co.il/2016/05/guest-blog-post-rarity-from-hollow.html Especially during youth, some readers seem to want simplistic “good guy / bad guy” stories, so I believe that Rarity from the Hollow would be a better fit to adult audiences.

Some adults could be offended by my story. An early voice in the first chapter speaks about things that no child should know. It is that of a traumatized child – a voice most of us never listen to, or want to hear, but in real life is screaming. This passage is mild in comparison to some of the stuff that kids have said during actual group therapy sessions that I have facilitated over the years. By child developmental stage, it is similar to the infamous early adolescent insult in E.T.: “penis breath.” It is tame in comparison to the content of the popular television series, South Park, which was devoured by millions of teens. Rarity from the Hollow does include marijuana smoking, a lot, but that subject has been frequently broadcast in the news when legislation is introduced or debates emerge.

Some teens may be more open-minded than some adults about some of the content of my story. My backyard adjoins an elementary school playground. I couldn’t count the number of times that I’ve overheard kids insult each other by calling a peer “dildo.” No, nobody gets called a dildo in Rarity from the Hollow, but the precociousness of childhood may be more than some parents want to admit.

Except for a scene involving domestic violence in the third chapter, there is no violence or horror in the story — no blood, guts, gore, vampires, werewolves, but there is one comical and annoying ghost. There are no graphic sex scenes in the novel. The renewed romance between the protagonist’s parents does include off-scene sexual reference, but nothing that is beyond real-life typical teen exposure. The android coming of age during his pursuit of humanity is reality based. Any boy above thirteen years old would attest: http://www.kidzworld.com/article/833-male-puberty

However, Lacy never lets the android get farther than to kiss her on the cheek, once. The android expresses no interest in sex. He falls in love, all consuming love by the middle of the story. In this way, Rarity from the Hollow promotes conservative traditional family values – waiting until after marriage to have sex for the first time.

The “F word” is used twice, but there is no other profanity except for mild colloquialisms that fit the subculture. There are two mild sex scenes past the middle of the story that could disturb some folks with conservative values on the subject, but one of the scenes is comedic and the other involves the habitation of a maple tree by the ghost that I mentioned, so Rarity from the Hollow is not erotic. There is a little toilet humor that could be objectionable to a few readers. However, it fits the nature of the adolescent characters (don’t you remember laughing at …?). Further, a major character in the story is the family mutt, and virtually every dog owner would agree that the mechanics of pooping is of utmost concern. lol

I believe that a couple of book reviewers were offended by the content of Rarity from the Hollow despite the description that the story was not for the prudish, faint of heart, or easily offended. One reviewer rated the novel with two stars and labeled it both erotic and young adult, what I would have thought were mutually exclusive labels. Who knows?

The other reviewer rated it four stars but made a statement in her book review that she felt that the story was irreverent to Christianity. I think that her opinion was because in the story Lacy had told a neighbor who was experiencing a crisis during a Bipolar Disorder episode that there was a picture of Jesus on the office wall of the Supreme Being in the universe. The picture turned out to be that of Leon Sullivan, a social activist and proponent of youth employment training in America during the ‘60s. Oh, well. I would have thought that since the story states that “Jesus is everybody’s friend, not just humans,” that it would elevate Christianity beyond Earth-bound faith.

What draws you to this genre?

I selected the literary science fiction backdrop for Rarity from the Hollow because it was the best fit by process of elimination. The novel also has elements of horror, mystery, romance, self-help, and thriller. It is not a good example of the historical or western genres, although the social issues that we talked about before have been present throughout history, including in the Wild West.

In today’s reality the systems in place to help maltreated children are woefully inadequate. I felt that the literary, biographical, nonfiction genres wouldn’t work because the story would have been so depressing that only the most determined would have finished it.

I felt that the story had to be hopeful. I wanted it to inspire survivors of child maltreatment toward competitiveness within our existing economic structures, instead of folks using past victimization as an excuse for inactivity. I didn’t think that anybody would bite on the theme of a knight on a white stallion galloping off a hillside to swoop victims into safety, like in the traditional romance genre.  That almost never actually happens in real life, so that genre was too unrealistic as the primary. There was already enough horror in the story, so that genre was out too. What could be more horrific than child abuse?

The protagonist and her traumatized teammates needed fantastical elements to achieve empowerment. But, as in life, one cannot overcome barriers to the pursuit of happiness by simply imagining them away. That’s where the science fiction came into play. It provided a power source. I tied the science fiction to Capitalism because in today’s reality it will take significant financial investment by benefactors to significantly improve the welfare of children in the world. Our governments are unlikely to do so in the near future because of the politics.

You mentioned that the name of the protagonist in Rarity from the Hollow is Lacy Dawn. What makes her so special?

Lacy Dawn is a most unlikely savior of the universe. She appears to be an eleven year old victim of poverty and maltreatment, but merely occupies that body, having been genetically manipulated by Universal Management for millennia. She has a special way of analyzing and resolving problems without the use of violence.

“…When Eggleton requested a review of Rarity from the Hollow, 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. It is not every day that I find a kindred spirit in a book, but I found one in Lacy Dawn! I admired her courage, her imagination, and her intelligence; I could go on for days about the excellent job that Eggleton did in developing Lacy Dawn’s character, but I won’t. What I will say is that even if you do not fully understand her perspective, you will admire her spunk… It is one of those books that if it does not make you think, you are not really reading it.” — http://www.onmykindle.net/2015/11/rarity-from-hollow.html

Is there anything else you would like to add?

First, thanks again for the opportunity to tell your readers a little about myself and my debut novel, Rarity from the Hollow. Over half of author proceeds from this project have been donated to child abuse prevention. Children’s Home Society is a nonprofit agency that was establishing in 1893 and now serves over 13,000 children and families in an impoverished state. For a complete listing of child welfare services and to find out a little more about the novel, your readers can visit: http://mountainrhinestones.blogspot.com/2015/06/review-giveaway-rarity-from-hollow-by.html

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

 I love personal email, and there is a link to mine on http://www.lacydawnadventures.com. I’ve always replied, but it is getting somewhat time consuming. I can also be reached at:

https://www.facebook.com/robert.eggleton2

https://www.facebook.com/Lacy-Dawn-Adventures-573354432693864/

https://twitter.com/roberteggleton1

The Amazon link is: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017REIA44/ref=tsm_1_fb_lk.

Or, to support a traditional small press that is trying to survive in a competitive marketplace, the novel can be ordered directly from the publisher: http://www.doghornpublishing.com/wordpress/books/rarity-from-the-hollow

Views All Time
Views All Time
653
Views Today
Views Today
3