Today I have with me Robert Eggleton, author of Rarity from the Hollow, here to tell us about himself and his work.
KK: So, Robert, tell us about yourself.
RE: I would love to tell your readers rags to riches story, Kay, but the best I can do is a rags to almost middle income story. In 1951, I was born into an impoverished family in West Virginia. I started paying into the U. S. Social Security fund at age twelve and dreamed of a brighter future for my family.
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, life got in the way of my dream of becoming a writer. 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.
After earning an MSW in 1977, children’s rights and protection became my cause. I focused on children’s advocacy for the next forty years. In 2002, I started a job as a psychotherapist at the local mental health center, and five months ago, I retired from my job so that I could write and promote fiction. It wasn’t a clean escape though. I had to make a deal with my conscience. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program.
KK: And Rarity from the Hollow? What’s it all about?
RE: Lacy Dawn, the protagonist, is a true daughter of Appalachia. She lives in a hollow with her worn-out mom, her Iraq War disabled dad, and her mutt Brownie, a dog who’s very skilled at laying fiber optic cable. Lacy Dawn’s android boyfriend has come to the hollow with a mission: he must recruit Lacy Dawn to save the Universe.
KK: Who or what inspired you to write it?
RE: I sure wish that I could remember her name. My English teacher in the eighth grade gave me the confidence to write fiction. She would read and comment on my stories, always encouraging. My hat’s off to all teachers who make the extra effort to encourage kids. It’s a noble profession. Once that teacher turned me on to writing, the light bulb has never been turned off.
My inspirations to write come from my own personal and professional experiences as a social worker and psychotherapist. I write what I know, and I’ve known a lot of people because of my work. I will run out of lifetime before I run out of great characters.
KK: What challenges did you face while writing the story?
RE: The third scene in Rarity from the Hollow was a challenge for me. It depicts domestic violence, the only severely harsh scene in the novel. Maybe it brought back subconscious memories, I’m not sure, but every time that I reworked this scene I would tear up. It turned out to be a great scene and I’m glad that I wrote it, but I was also glad to move on.
KK: Will there be a sequel?
RE: The title of the next Lacy Dawn Adventure is Ivy. It asks the question: “How far will a child go to save a parent from addiction?”
KK: What motivates you to write?
RE: I enjoy writing. It is my favorite pastime. I’d rather write fiction than goof off on Facebook, watch TV, or play video games, as examples. Let’s face it, though – sometimes I feel too worn out to write. That’s when I call on Lacy Dawn for a little extra motivation.
Author proceeds from Rarity from the Hollow have been donated to Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. It’s a nonprofit agency that delivers child abuse prevention program and other child welfare services to more than thirteen thousand children and families each year. If I get a little discouraged or tired, all that I have to do is to imagine the look on the face of a kid who has been helped in some meaningful way, even if it was with a new pair of tennis shoes. This image motivates me to work hard.
KK: What is your favorite part of the writing process? Least favorite?
RE: My favorite part is the first draft. My process is like a sheet hanging on the clothes line and blowing in the wind, loosely guided creativity restrained only by the structure of the line – the plot.
My least favorite part is cutting a great scene out of a story because it just doesn’t fit either the character development or the plot. When this occurs, I tell myself that I’ll use the scene in a different story, but in the back of my mind I know that the scene will remain on my hard drive and soon be forgotten. A wonderful scene will not likely find a home. It’s sad, actually.
KK: Do you have any advice for new authors?
RE: My advice to new authors would be to keep your eye on the road and your hands on the wheel. Keep the faith in yourself as a writer, persevere, but don’t give up your day job. That’s my best advice.
KK: Finally, if you could recommend one book, what would it be and why?
RE: I recommend that everybody read Warrior Patient by Temple Williams. It was the first medical-type book that I’ve ever read. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older that I appreciate this book so much. It’s inspirational as one faces medical issues.
Thank you very much, Kay. I’ve enjoyed this opportunity to introduce myself and my debut novel, Rarity from the Hollow.
About the book:
Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother has lost her teeth, and her best friend is killed by her own father. Life in the Hollow isn’t great, but Lacy Dawn has one advantage – she’s been befriended by an android who works with her to cure her parents. He wants something in exchange, though. It’s up to Lacy Dawn to save the universe.
About the author:
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, including models of serving disadvantaged and homeless children in the community instead of in large institutions, research into foster care drift, and statistical reports on the occurrence of child abuse and delinquency.
Today, he is a recently retired children’s psychotherapist. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel and follows publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia.
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