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Book Spotlight: Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton


Synopsis:
Lacy Dawn is a true daughter of Appalachia, and then some. She lives in a hollow with her worn-out mom, her Iraq War disabled dad, and her mutt Brownie, a dog who's becoming very skilled at laying fiber optic cable. Lacy Dawn's android boyfriend has come to the hollow with a mission. His equipment includes infomercial videos of Earth's earliest proto-humans from millennia ago. He was sent by the Manager of the Mall on planet Shptiludrp (Shop 'till You Drop): he must recruit Lacy Dawn to save the Universe in exchange for the designation of Earth as a planet which is eligible for continued existence within a universal economic structure that exploits underdeveloped planets for their mineral content. Lacy Dawn’s magic enables her to save the universe, Earth, and, most importantly, her own family.

Blurb:
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.

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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, 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 that he met when delivering group therapy services. The overall theme of his stories remains victimization to empowerment.


Author Contacts:



Author Q & A:

1. Were you good at English in school?
Until college, in its entirety, I was not a good student in public schools, including in English. Of course, I now regret having regarded school subjects as irrelevant to my family’s survival. You see, I’m from an impoverished family, the oldest son, and went to work in childhood to help support my family. I started paying into the U.S. Social Security fund at age twelve and food was a much higher priority than an education. 
In the eighth grade, I won the short story competition. This English teacher, her encouragement, was highly influential on my interest in creative writing. The looks on the faces of other students as she read my story to the class remains a fond memory. This occurrence strengthened my interest in English but I continued to be lax on completing homework. Mostly, I felt too busy and exhausted from work to care about school grades.
I went to college at the height of the escalation of the Vietnam War in 1969 and primarily to get a student deferment from being drafted into it. I had gotten in trouble in high school for passing out antiwar literature and had to go to summer school in order to graduate. Grades in college became much more important because they were tied to maintaining the deferment from the draft. While I worked my way through college, like before, something clicked and education became important to me for the first time. 
I made A’s in college English and finished graduate school with perfect grades. It took a lot of work, remedial education, because I’d missed so much during younger years – all that writing of essays, reviews, and a dissertation. Fortunately, I’d met a woman who not only is the smartest person that I’ve ever met and to whom I’ve been married for forty-five years, she also had been an excellent student in school. In this way, I’m still in remedial education, and I live in English class each day with no graduation date in sight. 
I’m now a good student of English.     

2. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
My ambition is to continue to write and to promote literary fiction that prompts reflection by readers on matters that they consider important, often disturbing issues, such as child maltreatment, but to do so in a manner that my stories are fun to read. I’m especially proud of the following book review finding: 
“…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. In fact, the rustic humor and often graphic language employed by Lacy Dawn and her compatriots only serve to highlight their desperate lives, and their essential toughness and resilience... 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/

3. Which writers inspire you? 
I love writers, all writers of every genre. I read and appreciate every genre. Writing always has a purpose, even if it the lowest purpose of simply earning a living for that writer and her supporting cast, such as editors and publishers, or to promote a commercial product. I’m most inspired by writers who perceive higher purposes, such as to prompt reflection on the enjoyment and meaning of life. To name just one of those wonderful writers is tough because there have been and are so many. Charles Dickens was a most inspiring writer to me, and not just because Oliver eventually made it all the way to Broadway. I hold Dickens work so highly because of his believe that fiction should do much more than merely entertain, but entertain his did, very well.   

4. What draws you to this genre?
I selected science fiction as a backdrop for Rarity from the Hollow because it was the best fit by process of elimination. The novel also has elements of horror, fantasy, magical realism, mystery, romance, adventure, self-help, and thriller. It is not a good example of the historical or western genres, although the social issues that we’ve talked about, child abuse, sexism, domestic violence, have been present throughout history, including in the In today’s reality, the systems in place to help maltreated children are woefully inadequate. I felt that the traditional literary, biographical, nonfiction, memoir genres wouldn’t work because the story would have been so depressing that only the most determined would have finished it.
I felt that Rarity from the Hollow 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?
Lacy Dawn 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 would take financial investment by benefactors to significantly improve the welfare of children in the world.
The satire in Rarity from the Hollow was both a natural process of writing and consciously inserted to lighten sections. I’ve always loved to read the puns, the double entendres, and satire in the works of others, such as Piers Anthony and Kurt Vonnegut. 
I’m sure that’s had a big impact on how I write. Some of the satire in this novel evolved as a natural process, while other sections were inserted because I had found the narrative in need of a lighter tone to offset stark aspects. If I found a place during the drafting of the story that I felt was too “heavy” for me to read as its writer, I figured that it would be way too much for the reader. I would look for ways to address the issues honestly, but maintain the novel as a fun read.
Author proceeds from Rarity from the Hollow have been donated to Children’s Home Society of West Virginia for its child abuse prevention programs. This is a nonprofit agency established in 1893 and which now serves over 13,000 children and families living in an impoverished state each year. For more information about the agency, your readers can visit:  http://www.childhswv.org/

For a book review of Rarity from the Hollow that lists specific child welfare services that this project has supported, your readers can visit: http://mountainrhinestones.blogspot.com/2015/06/review-giveaway-rarity-from-hollow-

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