This week, I have the pleasure of featuring Author Robert Eggleton on this edition of A Perfect 10.
Please enjoy this week’s installment of A Perfect 10
If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:
A.C. Flory, Steve Boseley, Kayla Matt, Mae Clair, Jill Sammut, Deanna Kahler, Dawn Reno Langley, John Howell, Elaine Cougler, Jan Sikes, Nancy Bell, Nick Davis, Kathleen Lopez, Susan Thatcher, Charles Yallowitz, Armand Rosamilia, Tracey Pagana, Anna Dobritt, Karen Oberlaender, Deby Fredericks, Teri Polen, Darlene Foster, Robert Rayner, C.C. Naughton, Sherry Rentshler, Linda Bradley, Luna St. Clair, Joan Hall, Staci Troilo, Allan Hudson
Also, if you are an author and you want to be part of this feature, I still have a few slots open for 2017. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
The act of writing energizes me. To apply mental health terminology, I sometimes feel hyper, manic, or obsessive / compulsive about finishing a scene before exhaustion sets in and the quality of my work declines. Afterward, I recoup and do it all again.
Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?
No, I’ve never considered writing under a pseudonym. I’m a retired children’s psychotherapist and half of author proceeds are donated to the prevention of child maltreatment. My background adds to the credibility of my fiction. When I decide to write in a different genre, such as romance, I may use a pseudonym.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?
The marketplace is so schizophrenic, encouraging of entry and involvement but with so few real success outcomes to sustain, a strong ego is probably essential to maintaining a role as a writer. Of course, if one’s ego gets so big that criticism is rejected by the writer without consideration, such would hurt the product, and ultimately deflate the ego.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
With the exception of postage for mailing a paper manuscript a decade ago, I’ve never spent a penny on writing. Rarity from the Hollow was published by a traditional small press that incurred all upfront costs, for everything. I don’t enter writing competitions that charge an entry fee. I’ve never paid for promotions. The status of my involvement with writing is not a brag nor a recommendation to other writers. Just like any other business, I’m not opposed to investing in one’s work. The fact of the matter is that after paying into the U.S. Social Security fund for fifty-two years, forty of which involved working for small community-based agency which paid low salaries, I’m broke. My wife and I live on a low-fixed-income. We’ve cut expenses to accommodate and now very rarely do anything close to extravagant, such as going to a movie or eating out. If I had more resources, I would gladly pay for marketing so that I could concentrate on creative writing during whatever time that I have left on this planet.
What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?
By a couple of measures, I have achieved writing success. First, my debut novel was published by a traditional press, a lifelong dream. Secondly, a couple of prominent book reviewers have found that my novel could outlive me, my biggest measure of success. “…I would even say it could be read in a college setting both for the craft itself and its unique brand of storytelling….” http://tabbyafae.com/rarity-hollow-robert-eggleton/ “…Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm.’ I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list.” https://marcha2014.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/5-stars-for-rarity-from-the-hollowby-robert-eggleton/
I also feel a measure of success from sticking with my writing style, as opposed to caving in to mainstream. “…The author has created a new narrative format, something I’ve never seen before, with a standard third-person narration, interspersed, lightly, with first-person asides. This makes me think of Eugene O’Neill’s play Strange Interlude where internal and external dialogue are blended…partaking a little of the whimsical and nonsensical humor of Roger Zelazny or even Ron Goulart….” Jefferson Swycaffer, Affiliate, Fantasy Fan Federation. https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1QI8J7NME5GE/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B017REIA44
On the other hand, this project has not been successful in the sales department. With respect to art appreciation, I believe that the most beautiful painting that was never hung, and the most meaningful poem that was never read, are not Art. I suspect that, absent a miracle affecting sales, and one could happen that I don’t want to prematurely mention – an interest by a major player in the field of science fiction, one of the best selling authors of all time – I will continue to feel a mere measure of success.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?
Nowadays, I use Google searches, probably like most people who now use search engines to research all kinds of interests. Since my writing is not technical, it doesn’t require that type of intensive research. I did an exhaustive search of similar titles for my next project, but this was to make sure that a similar story line didn’t already exist. Influences can be subliminal and I strive to produce unique content. I’ve written dozens of articles and guest posts that were published on blogs, and on various topics. Each has required research. For example, for one article about genres in confusion, I needed to research at what age children experience their first romantic crush, and at what age people first fall in love. http://literogo.com/2016/10/01/young-adult-new-adult-and-adult-entertainment-genres-in-confusion-by-robert-eggleton/ An upcoming article to be published next month, “Subliminal Seductions in Fiction,” required research on the success rates of different advertising strategies in America.
How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?
I like to select simple names for characters, even if they are popular or common names. One of my pet peeves about fantasy literature has been the use of unusual names for characters that I had a hard time identifying with, sometimes getting them confused as I read the stories. Of course, similar to The Color Purple, I love to write home-spun, colloquial voices. One of my characters is named, Faith. The name was selected as a metaphor of the concept, “Faith is not Dead.” You’d have to read Rarity from the Hollow to see why. Anyway, I once regretted picking that name. After superficially checking out her book blog, I submitted a review request and, on approval, the ARC of my novel to this reviewer. Faith is a sexually abused child who plays an annoying and comical ghost most of my story. It turned out that this book reviewer had a younger sister named, Faith. The reviewer subsequently disclosed to me that she was a survivor of childhood victimization and that my character’s name was just too much for her to handle. I later apologized as the sister’s name had been mentioned in the profile section on her blog all along.
What is the hardest type of scene to write?
For me, a scene that is intended to convey satire is the hardest to write. While I appreciate subtlety, sometimes it can fly over the heads of readers. Finding the balance can be difficult for me. The Advance Review Copy of Rarity form the Hollow received considerable attention, including twenty-six five star reviews and forty-three four star reviews published on Amazon by independent book bloggers. Only one of them caught a piece of my intended political satire, and this one stated in her review that she was half-way through the story before the idiosyncratic spell on the name of the planet, Shptiludrp, dawned on her: Shop Until You Drop. This little known book reviewer wrote a compelling review about the impact of my story on her thinking concerning our consumer obsessed society. As I was writing the story, I thought that this was obvious.
Once Donald Trump became a household name, the political allegory in Rarity from the Hollow became obvious. There is no political advocacy in this novel, one side or any other. With respect to allegory, this novel was the first if not the only science fiction adventure to predict the rise of Donald Trump to political power. You may be interested in this press release: http://www.pr4us.com/pr-2618-trump-presidency-predicted-in.html, but you would have to read the novel to find out how Lacy Dawn, the protagonist, convinced Mr. Rump (Bernie Sanders) to help talk Mr. Prump (Donald Trump) into saving the universe. The allegory includes pressing issues that are being debated today, including illegal immigration and the refuge crisis, an issue that several European commentators have compared to cockroach infestation (a part of the plot that some reviewers of the ARC found to be “silly”); extreme capitalism / consumerism vs. domestic spending for social supports; sexual harassment…. Mr. Prump in my story was a projection of Donald Trump based on the TV show, The Apprentice. The counterpart, Mr. Rump, was based on my understanding of positions held by Bernie Sanders as I wrote the story. Part of the negotiations in the story occur in the only high rise on planet Shptiludrp, a giant shopping mall and the center of economic governance, now more easily identifiable as Trump Tower. The allegory was not addressed by ARC reviewers of the novel because so few worldwide considered Donald Trump to be a serious political contender until the primary elections in the U.S. A similar press release: http://www.pr.com/press-release/695122.
If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?
Apologies, but I’m going to answer this question on a personal level rather than picking famous authors, philosophers, religious leaders…. The four people that I would pick to ask questions while having dinner would be:
My deceased father: “Why did you never tell us what happened to you during World War II and what actually happened?”
My deceased grandmother: “Where did you find the inspiration to write to your incarcerated son every single day for nine years?”
My deceased / murdered foster daughter: “After getting off the streets for almost a year, what compelled you to turn another trick that night?”
My deceased aunt: “After your son was abducted and tortured with lit cigarettes, was the perpetrator ever caught? Why would you never talk about it and why did you pretend that it had never happened? Did you try to get David some help, such as counseling?”
What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?
The first quarterly sales report for the final edition comes out late next month. Preliminary data based on sales of the ARC has been disappointing, so I’m not sure that any platform has been very successful in marketing my debut novel, Rarity from the Hollow. Except for paid promotions which I can’t afford, I’ve tried and am trying every pro bono option that I have and will identify. I’m skeptical that posting in Facebook book groups has had any impact, although I’ll continue. It’s free and easy. There’s too much competition by people more skilled in marketing than me, some with software programs that automates their posts. My best hope is that articles and interviews, such as this one, will reach people who will share and retweet my updates. Frankly, my posts have received tons of “Likes” but I’m skeptical that such translates into actual shares. I’m confident that I’ve driven a lot of folks to book blogs, however, because I’ve received feedback.
Half of author proceeds are donated to Children’s Home Society of West Virginia for the prevention of child maltreatment. A very touching audio about this nonprofit agency is available: http://www.childhswv.org/ A listing of specific services supported was included as part of this early review of the Advance Review Copy: http://mountainrhinestones.blogspot.com/2015/06/review-giveaway-rarity-from-hollow-by.html.
About Rober’s Book:
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 is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.
Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. A Children’s Story. For Adults.
“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.”
—Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest
“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.”
- Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review
. “…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” — Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)
“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” —Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)
“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” —Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author
“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” — The Baryon Review
“…Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm.’ I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list.” — Marcha’s Two-Cents Worth