In the Spotlight feature kicked off in April 2015 and is an opportunity for authors, editors and publishers (basically anyone in the book industry (yes, even bloggers!)) to connect with fans. There is an option to do an interview, guest post, feature a book sale or book release or a cover reveal. Best of all, it’s free! All you need to do is click on the image to reserve your spot!
Now on with the show!
In the Spotlight with Robert Eggleton
Welcome to Second Run Reviews, Robert! Thank you for being In the Spotlight. I appreciate you stopping by and answering a few questions. So let’s get things started.
In a tweet (140 characters or less), tell us a bit about yourself.
Retired children’s psychotherapist turned fiction writer to raise funds for the prevention of child maltreatment.
Please tell a bit about your journey to becoming a published author. What’s been the best things about it and the worst?
Rarity from the Hollow is my debut novel and follows publication of three short stories in magazines. Writing to publish has been a long, rewarding, and, at times, frustrating journey. The best aspects have been related to the psychological benefits of creating art that has been praised by others. The worst aspects are the challenges and barriers to an unknown author attempting to market in a highly competitive world of books.
Tell us a bit about your latest release. What inspired you to write it? Why should fans of Second Run Reviews consider reading it.
Rarity from the Hollow is an adult literary novel with a science fiction backdrop, filled with tragedy, comedy, and satire, including political allegory and parody. It was the first, perhaps the only science fiction adventure to specifically predict the rise of Donald Trump to political power. There is no political advocacy in the story. The social commentary, including concerning child maltreatment and poverty, is not preachy. The early tragedy in the story leads to and amplifies subsequent comedy — it’s a fun read.
The protagonist, Lacy Dawn, begins the story as an eleven year old victim of child maltreatment, a most unlikely savior of the universe. She lives in an Appalachian hollow with her war-damaged father and worn-out mother. Lacy is also a genetic spawn that has been monitored by Universal Governance for millennia. The universe faces an imminent threat. An android was sent to Earth to recruit and train Lacy to fulfill her destiny, but she wants something in exchange. She doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.
The political allegory that ensues during a wild adventure to planet Shptiludrp (Shop Until You Drop) addresses many of the issues that America is facing today: immigration, sexual harassment, the refugee crisis…. It is written in colloquial Appalachian voice and has been found by book reviewers (103 reviews on Amazon, thirty-four five star reviews and forty-eight four star reviews by independent book review bloggers) to be a story that is not for the prudish, faint-of-heart, or easily offended. Half of author proceeds are donated to the prevention of child maltreatment.
What types of books do you enjoy reading the most? What three books to you find yourself recommending to your fans over and over?
I most enjoy reading books with a literary element, that have food for thought to last long after having read the story, but which are also fun to read, such as Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Color Purple, and The Bat Poet, a children’s book.
What is your current obsession? Any secret obsessions you would like to share?
Given my concern about the impact of proposed budget cuts in domestic spending for child welfare programs, such as Medicaid, my current obsession is to raise a little money through sales of my novel to help out needful kids.
What is one question you wish I would have asked, that I haven’t?
I wish that you had asked what the future holds for Lacy Dawn Adventures. The answer depends on the success of Rarity from the Hollow and the continued viability of the traditional small press that published it. The next adventure is “Ivy” — set in an almost forgotten Appalachian town and the base for an alien invasion of Earth, a long forgotten mission of Universal Governance to exploit our planet for mineral content by getting the population addicted to a drug that causes extreme egocentrism. The story is basically ready for final editing. However, now that I’m retired and living on a small, set Social Security income, I don’t have the money to invest in self-publishing, so the fate of the next novel depends on several factors.
Any last thoughts or wise words you want to pass along?
If you have something for yourself, you have something to share.
Those are indeed wise words, Robert. Thank you for sharing your author journey and the story of how your debut novel took shape. I hope you will return soon and bring us up to date on your next writing endeavor. Good luck!
Synopsis: 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.
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.
An Excerpt from Rarity from the Hollow
Chapter 13, Mom I’d Like to Introduce You to My Fiancé
Jenny (the mother) walked up the hill to Roundabend. She called Lacy Dawn’s name every few yards. Her muddy tennis shoes slipped and slid.
I hear her voice. Why won’t she answer me?
“Sounds like she’s talking to someone,” Jenny said to the Woods.
Nobody responded. The trees weren’t supposed to since Jenny was no longer a child. Her former best friends had made no long-term commitment beyond childhood victimization. They had not agreed to help her deal with domestic violence in adulthood. She hugged the closest tree.
I will always love you guys.
Jenny quickened her pace, stopped, and listened for human voices. A few yards later, she stopped again.
Now it sounds like she’s behind me instead of in front.
Jenny looked to the left of the path.
There ain’t no cave Roundabend, but there it is.
She walked toward the entrance. The voices grew louder and she looked inside. Lacy Dawn sat on a bright orange recliner. Tears streamed down her face. Jenny ran to her daughter through a cave that didn’t exit and into a blue light that did.
“All right, you mother f**ker!”
“Mom!” Lacy Dawn yelled. “You didn’t say, ‘It’s me’ like you’re supposed to (a traditional announcement mentioned earlier in the story).”
DotCom (the android) sat naked in a lotus position on the floor in front of the recliner. Jenny covered Lacy Dawn with her body and glared at him.
“Grrrrr,” emanated from Jenny. It was a sound similar to the one that Brownie (Lacy Dawn’s dog) made the entire time the food stamp woman was at their house. It was a sound that filled the atmosphere with hate. No one moved. The spaceship’s door slid shut.
“Mommmmmy, I can’t breathe. Get up.”
“You make one move you sonofabitch and I’ll tear your heart out,” Jenny repositioned to take her weight off Lacy Dawn.
Stay between them.
“Mommy, he’s my friend. More than my friend, we’re going to get married when I’m old enough — like when I turn fourteen. He’s my boyfriend — what you call it — my fiancé.”
“You been messin’ with my little girl you pervert!” Jenny readied to pounce.
“MOM! Take a chill pill! He ain’t been messing with me. He’s a good person, or whatever. Anyway, he’s not a pervert. You need to just calm down and get off me.”
Jenny stood up. DotCom stood up. Jenny’s jaw dropped.
He ain’t got no private parts, not even a little bump.
“DotCom, I’d like to introduce you to my mommy, Mrs. Jenny Hickman. Mommy, I’d like to introduce you to my fiancé, DotCom.”
Jenny sat down on the recliner. Her face was less than a foot from DotCom’s crotch and she stared straight at it. It was smooth, hairless, and odor free.
“Mrs. Hickman, I apologize for any inconvenience that this misunderstanding has caused. It is very nice to meet you after having heard so much. You arrived earlier than expected. I did not have time to properly prepare and receive. Again, I apologize.”
I will need much more training if I’m ever assigned to a more formal setting than a cave, such as to the United Nations.
“Come on, Mommy. Give him a hug or something.”
Jenny’s left eye twitched.
DotCom put on clothing that Lacy Dawn had bought him at Goodwill. It hung a little loose until he modified his body. Lacy Dawn hugged her mother…
…(scene of Dwayne, the father, overheard by those in the spaceship while talking to himself)…
“Besides, the transmitter was part of Daddy’s treatment. There’re a lot of other things that he did to help fix Daddy. DotCom is like a doctor. You can see that Daddy has gotten better every day. And no, there ain’t no transmitter in you. DotCom figured you out like a good doctor and the only things wrong are a lack of opportunity and rotten teeth that poison your body. You don’t need no transmitter. He just gave you a few shots of ego boost. I don’t know what medicine that is, but I trust him. You ain’t complained since the shots started — not even with an upset stomach.”
“He’s a doctor?” Jenny asked.
“What’s your problem anyway?” Lacy Dawn asked. “I know. You’re prejudiced. You told me that people have much more in common than they do that’s different — even if someone is a different color or religion, or from a different state than us. You told me to try to become friends because sometimes that person may need a good friend. Now, here you are acting like a butt hole about my boyfriend. You’re prejudiced because he’s different than us.”
“Honey, he’s not even a person – that’s about as different as a boyfriend can get,” Jenny said.
Mommy’s right. Maybe I need a different argument.
A fast clicking sound, a blur of motion, and a familiar smell assaulted them.
“What’s that?” Jenny asked.
She moved to protect her daughter from whatever threat loomed. Brownie, who had been granted 27 / 7 access to the ship, bounded over the orange recliner, knocked DotCom to the floor, licked DotCom’s face, and rubbed his head on Jenny’s leg. He then jumped onto the recliner and lay down. His tail wagged throughout. Jenny sat down on the recliner beside Brownie and looked at Lacy Dawn.
“But, you were crying when I first came in. That thing was hurting you.” Jenny shook her finger at DotCom to emphasize a different argument against him.
“Mommy, I’m so happy that I couldn’t help but cry. My man just came home from an out-of-state job. I didn’t talk to him for a whole year. Before he left, he told me that he wasn’t even sure if he’d be able to come home. I still don’t know what happened while he was gone. We ain’t had no chance to talk. All I know is that he’s home and I’m sooooo happy.”
“Your man came home from an out-of-state job?” Jenny patted Brownie on his head, some more and some more….
It’s unusual for a man to promise to come back home and ever be seen again. Brownie likes him and that’s a good sign. Maybe she’s right about him helping Dwayne. Something sure did and it wasn’t me. It is a nice living room. They’ve been together for a while and I ain’t seen a mark on her. That’s unusual too. He ain’t got no private parts and that’s another good thing. Hell, if I get in the middle, she’d just run off with him anyway. I’d better play it smart. I don’t want to lose my baby.
“What about his stupid name?” Jenny asked.
“I’ve got a stupid name, too. All the kids at school call me hick because my last name is Hickman.”
“My name was given to me by my manager a very long time ago. It represents a respected tradition — the persistent marketing of that which is not necessarily the most needed. I spam…,” DotCom said.
They both glared at him.
“Dwayne is sure to be home. I don’t want him to worry. Let’s go,” Jenny said.
“I love you, DotCom,” Lacy Dawn stepped out the ship’s door, which had slid open. Brownie and Jenny were right behind her.
“I love you too,” DotCom said.
Lacy Dawn and Jenny held hands and walked down the path toward home. The trees didn’t smile — at least not so Jenny would notice. On the other hand, no living thing obstructed, intruded, or interfered with the rite.
Jenny sang to the Woods, “My little girl’s going to marry a doctor when she grows up, marry a doctor when she grows up, when she grows up. My little girl’s going to marry a doctor when she grows up, marry a doctor when she grows up, when she grows up….”