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Monday, 27 June 2016

NBTM & #GIVEAWAY - The Other Side of Hope by R.F. Dunham


Alternate History



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?

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When Ethan saw Elisa turn the corner, his eyes lingered on her face for only an instant. The familiar details of her delicate features filled his mind at once and he wondered how they could have ever become blurred. He would have focused on those features longer, much longer. Would have memorized every inch of her face, from the curve of her cheeks, to her soft nose, to the gentle slope of her chin, to her soft red lips, and shining blue eyes.

He would have stared for hours and maybe he would have never left again. But his eyes were immediately drawn away from her face and to her belly, which was large and round.

Ethan stared at her pregnant stomach for a heartbeat that stretched on endlessly. He blinked once and then hot anger, augmented by the sharp pain of betrayal, flared. He’d been gone for months and she’d gotten pregnant with another man’s child while he was fighting for their future.

He took a step toward her and she must have seen the rage in his eyes because she rested a hand on her stomach and backed away. Seeing her fear broke through Ethan’s anger and he stopped.

“Is it…?” he asked softly, almost breathless.

Elisa nodded once, just a small dip of her chin and Ethan knew it was true.

It was his child she was carrying. He was suddenly ashamed that he could have ever thought anything different. Elisa would never betray him.

Even though the revelation of her pregnancy was a shock, Ethan had to admit that it was possible. He hadn’t truly even considered the possibility that it would happen, that she would become pregnant before they were married. Or maybe he had just assumed that it wouldn’t matter if she did, that they would be married either way and no one would ever know the difference.

Yet here they stood.

Ethan stood just inside the doorway, wrestling with feelings of desperation and duty. Elisa at the end of the hallway, eyes wide with a potent mixture of fear and hope.

Ethan held those eyes with his own for a moment longer, then came to his decision. “I’m going to Turkey. Today.”

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What do you do when you’re not writing?
Think about writing! That’s a joke, but it is partially true. If I’m doing something that doesn’t require much mental focus (washing dishes, mowing the lawn) I’m probably thinking about a story.

But my other big focus is music. I play trumpet and keyboard, mostly jazz, though I’m currently starting a band that does more ambient, soft instrumental music. With a touch of jazziness, of course.

How did you choose the genre you write in?
Is it weird to say it chose me? Because that’s kind of what it felt like. I never considered myself an alternate history fan but The Other Side of Hope just had to be in that genre. The basic idea was a world where Christianity and Islam occupied opposite roles. When I started thinking about how to do that, alternate history was just a natural choice.

Where do you get your ideas?
I like to get ideas from other stories, whether they’re books, movies, TV shows, or something else. Not that I steal from other writers, I just pay attention to what I like and then try to emulate that in my own work. I also tend to get a lot of idea from reading news articles. I’ll come across some fascinating person with a mind-blowing story and then use certain elements of that in what I’m doing.

Are you a planner or a pantser?
Hardcore planner to the end. I write pages of background information, backstory, and history. And that’s before I even start an outline or character profile. Once I do start outlining, I don’t plan out every detail, though. Basically, I write out a summary of the plot that’s several pages long (I believe it was 4 for The Other Side of Hope) then break that up into scenes and group those scenes into chapters. All the detail comes in during the writing of the first draft. That way I’m free to be more creative because I’m not worried about tying up loose ends in the plot or things like that.

I am doing a small experiment in a more spontaneous approach now, though. I’m starting two new stories where I’m publishing one chapter per month. And both of them are set in a much larger world so that there will be many, many more stories connected to them. For these, I’ve got a general idea of where I’m going, but then I’m just planning the chapters one or two at a time. So I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen from one chapter to the next. It’s a new experience for me, so we’ll see how it goes. Click that link to subscribe and see for yourself (it’s free!).

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
My automatic answer to that question is always Ted Dekker. I picked up one of his books when I was in high school because the cover looked cool. I didn’t know at the time that it was the third book in a loosely connected trilogy but I quickly read everything else of his I could find. His unique style of intense, speculative thriller can pull anybody in but I really love about his writing is the way he communicates such incredible messages through it. You’ll get caught up in the story and just be enjoying the experience and suddenly this mind-blowing truth or idea blows up in your face. It’s not preachy at all, the message comes through the story, not a heavy-handed character spiel, but it’s impossible to miss. Though we write in slightly different (though certainly related) genres, he is my number one role model in that regard.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Well, I’m an independent author so getting it published wasn’t that difficult. The hardest part of that was probably formatting the book for print because I did it all myself. But really, publishing is easier than it’s ever been. The real challenge lies in getting the word out. I’ve found that I didn’t have a good plan for building a platform before the book launched and I’m working on going back and fixing that now that it’s out. Which brings me here! If you’re enjoying this interview and/or are intrigued by The Other Side of Hope, I hope you’ll consider signing up to get more stories from me. I’ll send free stories straight to your inbox! You can even subscribe to get chapters of a story that goes all the way back to the point of divergence for The Other Side of Hope and see how that world came to be.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
Like I said, I didn’t do a good job of building an author platform before I launched the book. I wish now that I been building up a stronger following of readers by sending out free content like I’m doing now. Fortunately for me, there’s still time for me to correct that mistake!

What has been the best compliment?
The best compliment I’ve received so far came from this review where the reviewer says that the ending, “led to a chat with my flatmate.” The best thing I can hear from a reader is that she stirred up by my story enough to want to talk about with someone else. That’s what I want to do; provoke people to thought.

Do you have any name choosing resources you would recommend?
Yes! I use Scrivener’s name generator for names sometimes but I’ve found a website that has become absolutely invaluable for naming characters. I have it bookmarked and use it whenever I need new names. It’s and it actually has a lot more than just name generators. You can make maps, family trees, generate descriptions of weapons, armor, people, settings, and more. My favorite part is the endless categories of names to choose from. There hasn’t been a single time that I couldn’t find a category to suit my naming needs.

Do you read your reviews?
I do read my reviews. I’ve been fortunate so far not to receive any scathing ones. Even the less-than-positive ones still liked the book and had constructive, fair things to say. So at this point, I have no reason not to read them! I did get one nasty comment on Twitter but that was from someone who didn’t even read the book, so I won’t count that one. Overall though, I do like to know what people are saying about my work. So I read the reviews and hope to find ways to grow from all of them.

Light or dark chocolate?
            Dark. Absolutely dark! The other stuff is just milk and sugar, not chocolate.
Tea or coffee?
            Tea all the way
Chocolate or vanilla?
            I have to choose???? That’s not nice…
Introvert or extrovert?
PC or Mac?
Jazz or classical?
Wine or beer?
            Usually beer. If it’s good beer.
Skiing or snowboarding?
Bond or Bourne?
Star Wars or Star Trek?
            Star Wars. No contest.
Laptop or desktop?
Shower in the morning or shower in the evening?
            In the morning
Black leather or brown leather?
            Brown leather

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found HERE

R.F. Dunham will be awarding $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

Tour Organised by: 

Goddess Fish Promotions


  1. What is your ideal way to spend your summer and do you base your stories on real life holidays?

  2. Very nice interview and thanks for the chance to win :)

  3. I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. Thanks for taking the time to share this giveaway.

  5. Great post - I enjoyed reading the interview :)

  6. Thank you for sharing the blurb and your interview answers with us! Sounds like an amazing read!

  7. Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!

  8. Happy 4th of July! Hope you have a fantastic day! Looking forward to checking out this book!

  9. Happy 4th of July to all in America celebrating Independence Day and thank you for this giveaway

  10. I have added this book to my TBR list and look forward to reading this book!