Robert Eggleton speaks passionately about child maltreatment, just as he creatively gets the message out in his book, "Rarity from the Hollow." Delve in...
Rarity from the Hollow is an adult literary science fiction novel filled with tragedy, comedy and satire that sensitizes readers to the world-wide social problem of child maltreatment.
“…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….” -- http://awesomeindies.net/ai-approved-review-of-rarity-from-the-holly-by-robert-eggleton/
Child maltreatment is a world-wide phenomenon without clear definition. What one person believes to have been abusive, another may consider as appropriate child discipline, and these views may be influenced by cultures, societal norms, or religions. While prevalence rate is difficult to come up with, approximately one quarter of all adults believe that they were maltreated as children – physically, sexually, psychologically….
Let me illustrate the complexity of this huge social problem by talking about my novel. Most readers of Rarity from the Hollow have found that Lacy Dawn, the protagonist, is an abused child. I think so, as well.
Dwayne, Lacy’s father, is a disabled Veteran suffering from PTSD and who had night terrors and rages during which he switched Lacy and her mother, sometimes leaving scars. Within the story, however, all characters believe that Dwayne is exercising “spare the rod and spoil the child” type of discipline based on Biblical interpretation, and is well within his role as a good father and husband.
When writing Rarity from the Hollow, I didn’t want to oversimplify such a complex issue as child maltreatment into a typical good vs. evil theme. Yes, child maltreatment is evil, one of the most evil things imaginable, a defenseless child, after all, but it is also complex. It is likely significantly under-reported, exists in all communities worldwide, yes, including in your own back yards, we all have a responsibility to ensure child welfare, and that each situation of suspected child maltreatment requires individualized assessment and treatment.
I selected the literary science fiction backdrop for Rarity from the Hollow because it was the best fit by process of elimination. The novel also has elements of horror, mystery, romance, self-help, and thriller. It is not a good example of the historical or western genres, although the child maltreatment has been present throughout history, including in the Wild West.
In today’s reality, the systems in place to help maltreated children are woefully inadequate. I felt that the literary, biographical, nonfiction 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?
I knew that I didn’t want to write a memoir-type story like the emotionally charged Precious which was turned into a box-office hit with the backing of Oprah Winfrey, but which may not have helped prevent the maltreatment of a single kid in real life.
The protagonist in my story 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 will take significant financial investment by benefactors to improve the welfare of children in the world.
“As more people read digitally we want to make it easier and faster for people to access great literature wherever they are, whether on the go or relaxing at home. Inkitt’s iOS app will better enable emerging authors to share their work with test readership groups and give readers globally the opportunity to turn the page on one of the world’s next best sellers.”
Interesting concept. Exciting possibilities.
A new approach to getting to know your customers. Inkitt has released their app and is the world’s first algorithm-based book publisher, introducing an iOS app for iPhone and iPad now available to readers globally.
When they started out, the intention was and still is, connecting readers with authors as well as giving new writers a platform to be heard. Of course, with every new venture, there are hiccups. There have been reviews that aren't so positive of the then Inkitt. I read those reviews and decided maybe a little chat with someone a little more familiar with it would be best. I had a chance to speak with founder of Inkitt, Ali Albazaz.
It was clear from our conversation that he only wanted to created a space for like minded booklovers- whether reader or writer- to interact. I asked Ali about the early backlash and he spoke candidly about it. He said that he made attempts to reach out to those who had negative things to say but got no response. All that aside, he listened to what they had to say. Ali and his team went back to the drawing board to correct things that just didn't work out. The Inkitt co-founder expressed, that he would still like to hear from members of the Inkitt community.
I'd say let's start fresh and check out what this new Inkitt has to offer. For a preview, check out some of the features or simply head over to the app store and get it.
Access to 80,000 stories in every genre: fantasy, sci-fi, romance, thriller, horror,
adventure, action and more:
● Personalized suggestions: hand-picked novels based on reader’s preferences
● App customization according to user preferences (e.g. font size, colors)
● Online/Offline: readers can save novels to their offline library to access them without an internet connection
Beyond being a platform connecting authors and readers, Inkitt has developed an in-house algorithm that analyzes reading behavior to determine if a novel has the potential to become
a bestseller. Using this unique data-driven approach, Inkitt aims to help emerging writers
achieve their dreams of getting published by becoming a point of reference for publishers
looking to uncover the world’s next best sellers.
Back in April, Inkitt announced the signing of the platform’s first algorithm-chosen novel, Bright Star, a Young Adult fantasy novel written by Texan author Erin Swan and signed for publication with Tor Books. Since July, Inkitt has published another 3 novels: Catalyst Moon: Incursion by Lauren L. Garcia (Fantasy), Just Juliet by Charlotte Reagan (YA Romance) and I Was A Bitch by Emily Ruben (YA Romance Mystery). Both Just Juliet and I Was A Bitch became bestellers in their respective categories upon launch.
Since the launce, some have taken notice of this new interesting app.
With this going well, I'm sure they won't forget Android users, so don't worry.
#writeronfleek #thesewords #booklover #editorsfeature
My two books of short stories, “The Old Turk and Other Tales” and “Through the Mirror”, examine that tricky balance between experience and the spiritual world that anyone—and the author—would encounter or like to encounter. There are realms which take us beyond ourselves—and I like to explore them. Short stories should stimulate thinking—they are always potentially true. So many of them lose themselves in the usual earthbound stories about romance and the twists and turns of people in love, but I tried to go beyond those confines to involve spiritual worlds. The short stories I wrote are phantastic in the sense that they treat the unseen as a vital encounter, but engage with it as a possible extension of the Self.
The stories don’t tell you what to do. They are meetings with vibrant beings, ways of seeing. Some are fun, like the story about hats in the Old Turk collection. I also call to mind the ancient goddesses and what they represent—this in Through the Mirror. You can also say this is about memory and about the sea and the land. I have been to these places—but they are transformed and show themselves in a new way.
I explore Europe and ancient places in Ohio, U.S.A., and what they represent, the unusual, the dialogue with them that can create connections, letting go the mundane, the things you are used to. I hope there is pleasure in these extensions of mind’s adventures.
What I liked most are the stories of transformation in “Through the Mirror”. The metamorphosis does not have to be into human lives, but can be a bird such as in “Jenny Wren”. Or it can have a message as in “The Owls of Scarba”. And then there are some places that simply evoke the moon and thinking in different ways of where you are, such as in an eighteenth century tower in Dessau, Germany, or in a long forgotten village in Austria.
“The Shaman Birches of Argyll” and “The Travelling Moon”, my poetry books, on the other hand, are grounded in experience and often on watching the sea while sailing on the West Coast of Scotland. They are an exploration of nature and lochs and birds, indigenous or otherwise, especially the seabirds that visit. These are a closeness with nature that can only be vitally expressed in poetry. I think about the natural world and try to find it again in words. I was born in the land-locked—except for the cross European river Danube—city of Vienna. So this is an encounter with a different and exciting world.
My books of poetry probe the new countryside in the Highlands where water is everywhere—the mysterious sea, the lochs and the burns. The rising moon, the trees and ferns that grow wild on hillsides are also featured. The essence of the poetry is both myth and place. Nature has different dimensions and I want to bring them close to the reader. Poetry gives feelings and vision in versions that other genres cannot.
I do not believe that even adult books should be without images. So I have given all my books illustrations. I hope you like the way words augment pictures!
My books are all available from Amazon as Kindle or print-on-demand editions under the name Joanna Paterson.
It's Jan! She's had an interesting life before she wrote her fabulous book. Here's what Jan told me about herself:
"So – all about me ………I went to live in London when I was 17. Pretty young really, amazing that my parents let me go – after six years at a draughty boarding school in Yorkshire, my knowledge of life was hardly encyclopaedic. Mind you, whose is at 17? Initially, I trained as a radiographer but didn’t like it much and dabbled in other worlds where I couldn’t find anything I really wanted to do. Apart from sit and read a book, of course. Nanny? Nope. Not after attempting to look after two hideous children who only spoke Dutch. Cooking in a restaurant in Cornwall? Not really my thing, especially as my role seemed to consist of doing the washing up. So back to London where I spent many years in Wandsworth, getting married and having three fabulous sons, two of whom are twins. Now I live in Dorset, but am unwilling to give up totally on city life and so I still go back there to work at LSE one day a week. I’m a dyslexia support tutor. I also work at a local girls’ school and because of the lovely, long holidays I’m able to spend a good part of the year with all my boys at our holiday home in Italy. Along with our elderly dog, we relish the time we’re able to spend in la bella Umbria. My husband is the Deputy Mayor of our town here in Dorset which keeps him busy.
I’ve recently published, on line, my first novel with the second one to follow shortly. The third one is still in the process of being written. All of them are stand-alone books. Although I’ve been writing for many years, it never seemed a possible financial option as a career but belatedly I’ve realised that if I don’t pursue my dream right now, that’s all it will ever be. The result is The Lost and Found Life of Rosy Bennett."
The Editor: What was the inspiration behind this book?
Jan Birley: There was no one particular happening, more an unfolding of events. I am always noticing things people say or do – or what they wear and then I have to write them down. (For example - the most ghastly pair of Mary Janes last week. Three grim strips of black patent leather/plastic stretched over the front like tagliatelle, heels that looked like cotton reels and a button which could have been a small jam jar lid. And the legs … I won’t start on those.) This means I have a collection of odd notes all over the place and after a while I see how I could use them, how they could fit into a story. I always have a plan – I always know where my chapters are going. The only trouble is that once I start to write, the characters take over and don’t do what I tell them. Rather like children.
The Editor: What was it like writing this book?
Jan Birley: Fun. On the whole. Lots of ‘what if’s’, with my husband over a bottle of wine. Much worrying about the reader seeing the outcome miles before the denouement. I constantly remind myself to never underestimate the reader’s intelligence.
The Editor: What makes writing so special to you?
Jan Birley: Writing for me is an extension of reading and day dreaming. It is escapism and I can hear my characters talking to each other in my head. I simply write down what they are saying, like dictation. Weird or what?
The Editor: What genres do you like to read?
Jan Birley: I think I was born with my head in a book. I have read avidly all my life and my tastes are pretty catholic. I enjoy thrillers, historical fiction, contemporary romance, anything well written and with a good story line.
The Editor: Other than writing, what do you like to do in your down time?
Jan Birley: I want to say read but I think you’ve gathered that! I push a trolley round our local small hospital which mostly looks after older people. This is great as they are irreverent, totally non-politically correct and treat age as if it were a mere inconvenience. I also take our dog out which I loathe as I hate walking unless it involves shops or the pub. I love going round art exhibitions and re-visiting my favourite paintings just to kind of check in and say hello. In fact when we go to Florence, it is always difficult finding the time to go and see new things because I have to go and see all the things I love first. We go there quite often because although we live in the UK, we are lucky enough to have a house in Umbria, Italy.
The Editor: Besides yourself, who are two of your favourite authors? *we all have many, but just two for now*.
Jan Birley: Nancy Mitford and Penelope Lively.
The Editor: What advice would you give to a young budding writer about a career in writing?
Jan Birley: I think I am probably the one who needs advice! However, I would say keep going – don’t give up. Only write if it’s unthinkable not to – as though without writing an unfillable hole would appear in your life. Don’t do it for the money.
I think this is an extraordinary lady. Thank you for the chat Jan. It was a pleasure.
The Editor: What inspired this story?
When I was growing up I was a big fan of the books of Dennis Wheatley.
I also loved horror movies (I still do!) especially the films that were showing when I was growing up, like The Exorcist and The Omen. I started writing thrillers but I always wanted to try writing horror books and I got the chance when my UK publisher – Hodder and Stoughton - said they would be happy publishing two books a year for me. The inspiration for the character Jack Nightingale was partly the Harry Angel character in the 1987 movie Angel Heart, played by Mickey Rourke. I loved the idea of a regular private eye being pulled slowly into the supernatural world, so he doesn’t realise what is happening to him. New York Night is the seventh book in the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective series. The first five were published by Hodder and Stoughton and were set in the UK. I am now self-publishing the books and have moved the character to the United States. The first self-published book was San Francisco Night and the next one will be Miami Night. Part of the inspiration for the books now comes from the city where they are set! In the latest book, teenagers in New York are being possessed and turning into sadistic murderers. Priests can’t help, nor can psychiatrists. So who is behind the demonic possessions? Jack Nightingale is called in to investigate, and finds his own soul is on the line. I had so much fun writing it!
The Editor: What methodology do you have for writing? Do you lock yourself away and smash out awesomeness or do you do it in stages?
Early on in a book I probably write about a thousand words a day, and I do it haphazardly, writing the scenes that I have in my head no matter where in the book they are! It’s not unusual for me to start writing scenes that eventually appear right at the end of the book! After about a month of doing that I become more methodical and start at the beginning and link in the scenes I have already written. At that point I am probably writing fifteen hundred words a day. As I near the end my word count starts to accelerate and over the last ten days I probably write thirty thousand words! I always think of it as a roller coaster, with a long lead up followed by a dash to the end! I sit in front of the TV with my Mac on a coffee table. I watch TV as I write and always have done. I did most of my homework at school and university with the TV on, and most of my working life was spent in busy newspaper offices so I need a buzz around me as I write. Working with the TV on helps when I need to describe a character’s clothing and the credits are always a good source of names! I drink a cup of coffee pretty much every half hour and my cat Peanut Butter sits on the sofa next to me to keep me company.
The Editor: What kind of books did you like growing up ?
The first books I read as a kid were by Enid Blyton. My mum bought me a second hand copy of Shadow The Sheepdog. I loved it and went on to read loads of her books including The Famous Five and The Secret Seven. By the time I was 12 I had moved on to thrillers and was reading the Saint books by Leslie Charteris and then moved on to Ian Fleming’s Bond books. I think those books inspired my love of thrillers.
The Editor: What would advice would give to children who don't like to read to convince them that reading is good?
I’m not sure that offering advice to children works! Telling them that reading is good for them probably isn’t going to get them reading – the trick is to expose them to books that inspire them and entertain them. That’s what my mum did with Shadow The Sheepdog. She didn’t suggest that I read it because it would be good for me, she started reading it with
me and I realised straight away what fun it was. That’s the key, I think. Parents need to read with their children, but need to choose books that the children can relate to. The schools have their part to play, too. I always remember being six or seven and having a teacher read The Faraway Tree (another Enid Blyton book!) to the class. We were enthralled.
In the world of the Norse gods, I was majorly impressed with S.T. Bende and her merry band. Ull and Kristia had a fate entwined but they had no idea until they met. Kristia was a small town girl from a one light town who felt out of place and in need of an adventure. Ull was God of Winter whose heart was covered in ice but not frozen. With the threat of Ragnarok and everything hanging in the balance, they found love in each other.
Reading this book, I mostly enjoyed the interaction with both characters because they found quiet in the noise of what was happening around them which we need more of in this world. Kristia had a sense of self that was humorous and enlightening at the same time. I found her to be like any other young woman you would meet. One who worries about her future, craving life in its entirety and who appreciates a good looking guy in her class. She left her town in search of an adventure and found the rest of her life. I myself have had that moment where I want to move and find myself stuck. It is when we do out of character things or things that are unexpected we find out what we are made of. We find ourselves.
Things were a bit different and as devastating for Ull. He was born in Asgard and knew who he was and what he was meant to do in a general sense. Yet he seemed to have an emptiness, a hole that was waiting to be filled. He had closed off himself to the world after his father died and his mother remarried Thor. As the God of Winter and a former warrior, Ull's heart froze over with ice yet it was as warm as the summer sun. Kristia, a mere human undid all that and became his world.
Of course, while love is hard at work, so is evil. The 'Elf Man' or 'Elfie' as Kristia would call him, plagued her dreams. Now in some other books break away scenes would give the reader insight on what is going on with the antagonist however, Bende placed those moments flush in the plot. I thought it was integrated well. It was not a case of the reader being the only one knowing what is going on but so did a protagonist. But just to make sure things didn't get flat in the story, the dreams don't give too much insight on the antagonist and vice versa. It was a genius way to write and play with the format of fictional writing that I can definitely appreciate.
The story, gives some light as to what to expect in the rest of the series, which I must say just keeps on giving. I don't want to give too much away. So go ahead and dive into this one. It's fresh and gives the Norse mythology as much credit as the ever popular Greeks.
I give it two thumbs up and 4.5 stars. Go get your copy on Amazon.
We had the pleasure to speak with the brilliant author, S.T. Bende. Check out the interview.
Editor: Why not Greek mythology?
S.T. Bende: My heritage is Scandinavian, and the Norse myths really resonate with me. They're dark and heavy and intense, yet at the same time have an overarching theme of family, and forgiveness, and love. They're truly beautiful. Plus, writing about Norse gods been a way to deepen my bond with my long-suffering Norwegian teacher, Olaug. (Yes, there is a real Olaug!) I'm not the greatest language student, so I'm showing her my appreciation by spreading love of the myths. ;)
Editor: What was your writing process for the series?
S.T.Bende: I never meant to publish The Elsker Saga. It started out as a story I wrote in my journal, just for fun, just for me. This little journal story kept going, and going, and when it was finished I realized I'd reached an absurd page count -- I'd inadvertently written three books! By then I was so in love with the characters that I wondered if anyone else might like them too, and after a kind of crazy journey, Tur, Elsker, Endre and Tro were published. These days my writing process is a lot more organized -- but I'm so grateful I got to have the experience of 'accidentally' writing the Elsker books. It was an incredible ride!
Editor: What more can we look forward to from you?
S.T. Bende: I know readers are gunning for a Gunnar story, but I'm not ready to go there with him just yet. Next up I get to introduce you to Gunnar's brother Henrik Andersson, and Henrik's own Norse crew. Perfekt Control, first book of The Aere Saga, releases this December. These guys are a little more battle worn than the Elsker crew, but they're every bit the family that Ull, Kristia, Gunnar and Inga eventually become. I can't wait for you to meet them!
Editor: Will there be more from the Norse gods?
S.T. Bende: You betcha. :) The Aere Saga will run concurrently with The Elsker Saga, meaning it starts at the same time as Tur, the Elsker Saga prequel. You'll definitely see some character crossovers in the new series -- I'm having all kinds of fun playing with TWO Andersson brothers! And as for Gunnar and Inga, I've got a really fun plan for them . . . as soon as I finish out these Aere books!
Editor: Did you always want to write?
S.T. Bende: I've never thought of myself as a writer. Elsker was only ever meant to be a journal story! I love to create, and I love to make people smile. And while I came into this whole world very much by accident, writing has been an enormous blessing. I'm so very thankful to every single reader who's taken this wild journey with me. Y'all are the reason I get to keep on writing about these crazy Norse gods, and I'm beyond grateful that you're willing to dream across the realms with me. From the bottom of my heart, mange takk. Thank you.
Editor: What advice would you give to a buddy author/ writer?
S.T. Bende: Write what you love, no matter how out there it seems. Your passion for your characters will come through in your words, and you'll be that much more motivated to push through on rough writing days. I never would have imagined anyone but me would want to read a story about college-aged Norse deities (I mean seriously. I know how crazy it sounds even as I write this!). And I am so very, very grateful I am to every single reader who's taken a chance on these stories. Thank you!!
We wish her the best and we will be forever fans.