About Robert Eggleton:
In 1950, Robert Eggleton was born into an impoverished family in West Virginia. His alcoholic and occasionally abusive father suffered from PTSD — captured by the Nazis during WWII. His mother did the best she could, but Robert began working as a child to feed his family. He started paying into Social Security at age 12, dreamed of a brighter future, but has continued work for the last 52 years.
In the 8th grade, Robert won the school’s short story contest. The award made his dreams concrete — a writer. As it often does, Life got in the way — the Vietnam war motivated him to go to college to avoid the draft. As covered by the press, he organized students to end mandatory ROTC. Except for a poem published in the state’s competition for publication in an student anthology and another poem published in a local alternative newspaper, his creative juices were spent writing handouts for antiwar activities and on class assignments. He graduated in 1973 with a degree in social work with no student loan debt.
Robert worked in the field of substance abuse treatment as he attended graduate school at WVU. Creative writing had been put on hold. After earning an MSW in 1977, he focused on children’s advocacy. He helped establish a shelter for runaways, a community-based residential program for high risk youth, and a state-wide network of emergency children’s shelters. His heartfelt need to write was dissipated somewhat by the publication of nationally distributed social service models, grants, and in 1983 he was invited to present his research on foster care drift to a national audience.
Robert’s dream of becoming a creative writer continued to take a back seat to nonfiction when he accepted a job as a juvenile investigator for the West Virginia Supreme Court. He worked in this role from 1984 until mid 1997. During this period he was the primary author of dozens or investigative reports on children’s institutions, and statistical reports on child abuse and delinquency published by the Court, and now archived by the state’s Division of Culture and History.
After running a small nonprofit agency that served folks with development disabilities, Robert went back home to direct services. He accepted a position as a Therapist in an intensive outpatient children’s mental health program. Most of the kids, like Robert, had been traumatized, some having experienced extreme sexual abuse. One day at work in 2006 it all clicked together and the Lacy Dawn Adventures project was born — an empowered female protagonist beating up the evil forces that victimize and exploit others to get anything and everything that they want.
But, Robert soon found out that it takes much more than good creative writing to become an author. It wasn’t like in the 8th grade when his hand-printed story had won the school’s contest. He was naive about the protocols within the marketplace. Technology was in a period of rapid advancement with Publisher presenting a mixture of electronic and traditional submission guidelines and publication formats. Robert was lost. A day after he registered for his first ever science fiction forum experience, he was banned for life due to what the moderator said was self-promotion.
The day after that happened, Robert assessed his creative writing situation during a group therapy session at work. He looked into the kids’ faces as they disclosed the horrors that they had experienced. It fueled his determination to make the Lacy Dawn Adventures project work, and he dedicated half of any author proceeds to a child abuse prevention program. He had boxed himself in.
Subsequently, three short Lacy Dawn Adventures were published. All three magazines went defunct. Print magazines were dying faster than seals in an oil spill. Robert found a publisher for his first novel, a small traditional press located in Leeds. Since the publisher was willing to bear all upfront costs, Robert signed the contract and Rarity from the Hollow was released in 2012 as a paperback and eBook by Dog Horn Publishing.
Robert then learned that release of his novel was the beginning of a long journey called marketing. His novel received glowing reviews, most notably by long-time book critic Barry Hunter and by the Missouri Review, award winning authors Darrell Bain, and Piers Anthony, and other authors and editors. A few months ago, Robert’s writing was compared to Vonnegut by the editor of the Electric Review, A Universe on the Edge. At this time, a new review is being written by the editor of Talisman and should be out shortly.
Today, Robert is holding off on the sequel to Rarity from the Hollow until he achieves greater name recognition. He is contemplating early retirement despite still being poor so that he can have more time to make his dream come true — a creative writer. And that’s why he’s on this site right now, March 5, 2015 at midnight, writing this biography for you to read.
What inspires you to write?
Physical and emotional survival instinct forced me to write. In childhood, I concluded that all experiences, good or bad, were equivalent as content for a story. This belief helped me work sweeping lots of old-time gas stations long past what should have been my bedtime to earn money for my family. It cause me to give up every Saturday to clean behind a grocery store which paid me in dented and unlabeled canned goods and crushed boxes of dry food to take home. This belief took a while to materialize and participate in the actual world of creative writing — the trigger was exposure to the tragedies of child victims that I served as a mental health therapist. Man, I have a lot of content bursting to get out!
Tell us about your writing process.
My mind often races with concepts to fit into a story. I should take notes because sometimes when I sit down on keyboard some of the ideas have dissipated. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend my process to anybody. It is too painful — cathartic. If a scene doesn’t make me cry, I figure that it won’t make you cry so I rework it until I feel real tears. If I don’t get a chuckle, I use the same process, etc.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
No, my characters talk to me, give me instructions almost as if they were alive. And, no, I don’t have auditory hallucinations, but I do listen closely to them and sometimes I wish that I could actually hear what they were telling me to do.
What advice would you give other writers?
Watch out for predators. In one’s zeal, there are so many that want to take advantage of you. They will offer you things that you later might regret spending money on. To me, it seems like the Big publishing houses have been closed to traffic for a couple of decades, but that’s no reason to spend money on a dream instead of food for your baby.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I went with a small traditional publisher for two reasons: 1. I was broke and couldn’t afford to self-publish; 2. and, I wanted to avoid the appearance of vanity at all costs. The more I learn about indie the more I like the concept, but I think that I’m too old to learn all the ins and outs of that business. I’d rather spend time writing, although with a small press one doesn’t have much of an advertising budget to work with, so after you’ve written, a much larger percentage of your time on the project will likely be on self-promotion. If I had the money, I would probably pay somebody else to market. However, and personally, I would never pay for a book review, but that’s just me. I won’t impose my values about this on anybody else.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I believe that the tsunami of submissions will continue to grow until publishers will not be able to sort the wheat from the chaff. As the interest in instant gratification increases, stories will likely get shorter to compete with electronic entertainments.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: soft SF, F, satire (not a genre), everyday horrors, self-help, graphic realism, contemporary fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.