R. F. Dunham explains:
We live in a world that’s torn by conflict of all kinds. Elections, court decisions, police shootings, violent protests, wars, acts of terror; conflict and strife is all around us and seems to be never ending. My writing, including my latest novel, The Other Side of Hope, is all about searching for a way to end that incessant conflict.
You might be shaking your head at my naiveté in thinking a book, a work of fiction, can bring about peace in a world that’s defined by its violence. But take a moment to pause and think about it. What’s the best way, you might say the only way, to stop conflict? Not to simply end physical violence but bring true respect where there was only misunderstanding. I would argue that it’s changing the way people think. We could enforce a cease-fire, as has been done countless times in numerous conflicts just in recent memory. But the violence always flares up. Because nobody’s thinking was changed. To find real peace, it’s people who have to change, not treaties or governments.
That’s where fiction comes in. What better way to invite people to see the world through a new set of lenses than through a story? Fiction is a powerful, subconscious force for changing the way society thinks, one person at a time. And because of that, it’s a powerful tool in shaping a world where peace, rather than conflict rules.
In the case of this novel, I’m focusing on the conflict between violent forms of Islam and Christianity, the war between global east and west. The story sprang from the question, “What if Islam and Christianity could trade places?” My thinking is that if the two sides could see their battle from the perspective of the other, perhaps we can find a path to real peace.
I hope you’ll join me on the journey to transform the world through stories. Come visit me at dunhamwriter.com and sign up for my email newsletter if this grabs your attention. I’ll send you a free eBook to share more of my thoughts about what I call “Inciteful Fiction,” and you can receive free stories delivered chapter by chapter!
About the Novel:
In 732 A.D., the Frankish and Burgundian forces led by Charles Martel defeated an army of the Umayyad Caliphate led by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi and halted the Muslim advance into Christian Europe. At least, that's what happened in the world as you know it.
Step into the world of The Other Side of Hope, where the world as you know it is turned on its head. A world where Charles Martel fell on that field south of Tours, France and was never given his nickname, "The Hammer." A world where Europe came under Muslim rule and Christianity was eventually forced to flee to the shores of a distant land in search of religious freedom. A land where, without support from European colonial powers, they found only conflict and poverty.
In the modern day, this world remains divided. The wealthy Muslim East and the poverty-stricken Christian West are constantly at odds. A single spark is all it takes to ignite fresh conflict and the cycle seems never-ending.
Follow the paths of Ethan Lewis and Hamid Damir as they are put on a collision course with the other side. Will they find hope for a brighter future or be lost in the despair of intractable conflict?
The path to Elisa’s house was one Ethan had walked often. One he took every Sunday afternoon after church and sometimes other days as well. Since it was Sunday, all the shops were closed. Church had only just let out and most of the people in the town of Cayuga would be at home having lunch with their families now.
Most, but not all, Ethan saw.
A large crowd had gathered up ahead and he would have no choice but to elbow his way through once he reached it. The crowd was loud and raucous, enraptured by the words of a single man standing on a low roof above them. The man wore the loose fitting, layered clothing common to all in Lachlond and the closer Ethan got, the more clear the speaker’s voice became.
“The time of our oppression is drawing to a close. Our deliverer is coming soon. He will ride on the clouds with his name marked on his thigh to bring the judgment of God down on our enemies. He is calling. Our deliverer is calling you! Will you answer his call? Will you stand with him and wear his mark? He is calling you to cast off the chains that hold you down, to rise above the fear that holds you back, and strike back at the enemy that defies His name!”
Ethan had to fight the urge to cover his ears against the cheers of approval. He reached the crowd and pushed his way in. He wasn’t a large man, but he’d always been stronger than his average build implied. Still, it was a struggle to shove his way through the thick press.
“He did not come to bring peace, but a sword, and that sword will overcome the power of our enemy and bring freedom!”
The words grated on Ethan’s ears. They were all too familiar. The same words that had drawn his father into battle ten years ago. A battle he had never returned from.
R.F. Dunham writes with one purpose: to take you places you've never been before. That might be a distant fantasy land, the far reaches of space, the future of earth, or simply to an idea you've never encountered. A student of language and culture, Dunham's stories will pull you into complex worlds that challenge your perception of your own surroundings.
After working for over two years as a professional ghostwriter, the time has finally come for him to release his first full-length novel published in his own name, The Other Side of Hope. His short story, “Just a Drop,” was recently published in Nebula Rift Science Fiction magazine and an interactive version of the story is currently in beta testing. When he’s not writing, R.F. can be found playing the trumpet, writing his thesis in Arabic linguistics, or hiking in the mountains of Virginia.
Links: Website * Facebook * Facebook page for TOSOH * Twitter * Amazon
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