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Monday, 9 May 2016

ℚ The Other Side of Hope - R.F. Dunham

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about The Other Side of Hope (, R F Dunham, 280 pages), an Alternate History Fiction Novel.

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Trailer | Teaser | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops


A very warm welcome to R.F. Dunham; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

What was the inspiration for The Other Side of Hope?

"The Other Side of Hope started as a question in my head: What if Christians and Muslims could switch places?
I believe so much of conflict is driven by misunderstanding and I’ve always thought that if the two sides of this “War on Terror,” as it’s sometimes still called, could back up and look at the whole thing from a fresh perspective, we could make some big steps toward resolving it.  So this book is my attempt at re-framing things and giving us all the chance to step into another set of shoes."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"I’d say there’s a good bit of me reflected in the book.  Not in an obvious way, such as a character who’s based on me, but my philosophies and beliefs are there.

One small, but perhaps interesting, thing I did pull very intentionally from my own experience is the difficulty Ethan and Elisa have with obtaining permission to get married.  My wife and I faced similar roadblocks from family and, though the details are very different, that experience gives me insight into the emotions those characters face."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for The Other Side of Hope - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"The cover has been a very long process—one that didn’t actually end until about a week after the book was published.

I launched with a cover of my design and I’m not a graphic designer, or even a very visually oriented person.  So it’s kind of a “good enough” thing.  You can see that one on review copies, I believe. The one available now is much, much better.

It was designed by a friend of mine named Tyler Hucthison, and I was blown away when I first saw his concept.  He took some vague ramblings from me about a contrast between light and dark, with the characters separated from hope, and the idea of a history dominated by Islam rather than Christianity, and came up with a striking cover that captures the book’s key themes and sets up the story beautifully."
Why should we read The Other Side of Hope and what sets it apart from the rest? 
"I think that the most unique thing about The Other Side of Hope is that it’s a such timely story. It speaks very directly to the conflict we have raging in our world right now and points toward a solution.

I know that many people don’t how to handle it, how to respond to the threat of violent Islamists.  The easiest way is just to label all Muslims as “enemy” and stay away from them.  But then, that’s not as simple as it sounds.

The Other Side of Hope addresses these challenges head on and, without providing answers, prompts you to search for a better way."
Can you tell us something quirky about The Other Side of Hope, its story and characters?
"The locations and settings in the alternate version of America are all taken from real names of geographical features of the region.

Lachlond, the country in which most of the story takes place, is the area just south and east of the Great Lakes—basically northwest Pennsylvania and southwest New York.

Map of Lachlond


All of the towns and provinces (Cayuga, Tioga, Susquehanna, and others) are named for rivers and lakes in the area.  I chose those names because they are Native American names and likely to still be used even in this alternate timeline."
Who would you recommend The Other Side of Hope to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"The obvious readers would be fans of alternate history.  If you like alternate history and want something other than WWII or Civil War scenarios, The Other Side of Hope is definitely for you.

Also, readers who enjoy action novels with a pretty fast pace that still have engaging, deep characters.

The only warning would be that there are Christian terrorists in the story and, just like the Muslim terrorists in our world, they distort their religion and holy text to support their beliefs and actions.  So some people could be offended at seeing the Bible misused in that way."
If you could / wished to turn The Other Side of Hope into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"This is honestly something I have not given any thought to.  Just for fun though, I love J.J. Abrams (I’m a huge fan of Lost, Fringe, and, of course, The Force Awakens) so he’d have to be the director.  I’d even be perfectly happy letting him write the screenplay.

Actors… I could maybe see Chris Hemsworth playing Ethan and Elisa looks a bit like Amanda Seyfried in my head, I guess.  Beyond that, all I’ve got is a big shrug."
J.J. Abrams Chris Hemsworth Amanda Seyfried
What do you like to write and read about?  Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"I like to write any type of speculative fiction.  I’ve written science fiction, fantasy, dystopian, and, of course, alternate history.  Anything that involves another world.

Everyday - Free on Amazon for a limited time! Just a Drop (interactive version) - Free on Amazon for a limited time! Nebula Rift Magazine
When it comes to reading, I like those same genres and sub-genres, but I’ve also always love spy thriller novels like Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum.  I’ve never written anything close to that but I’ve toyed with the idea of a fantasy spy novel."
And at the moment, for a limited time, both Everyday and the interactive version of Just a Drop can be downloaded for FREE on Amazon.

What is your writing process?

"The short answer is that I’m a hardcore planner.  The idea of “pantsing” a novel is so foreign to me, I can hardly even wrap my head around the fact that people actually do that.

The long answer is this: I tend to start with an idea, concept, scene, or maybe even character, then build the story around that.

I do as much world building as necessary then start making character profiles. As more characters take shape, they tend to dictate how the story needs to progress and the basic sketch of the plot emerges from the character profiles.  Then I piece it all together in a detailed synopsis and create a scene-by-scene outline from that.

At that point, I write the first draft, making some changes along the way as required by the characters.  I like to do a basic revision before showing it to anyone else, then I start getting a few beta readers.  Then I’ll do a more complete revision based on their feedback and after I’ve had time to step back a bit.  In the case of The Other Side of Hope, I added a couple of new chapters at this stage.

After that, I send it to my editor for a final check, implement the needed corrections, and it’s done."
Hajji Ghalib, the governor of Achin District in the province of Nangarhar in eastern Afghanistan, was once imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Credit Andrew Quilty for The New York Times What is in store next?
"At this point, I’m not planning to add anything else to the world of The Other Side of Hope.  I feel that it’s a self-contained, complete story that doesn’t need a sequel.  And don’t we all have enough unnecessary sequels in our lives already?  But I am rolling on my next novel.

I’ve just finished the world building stage and only have some rough character sketches and very vague plot ideas at this point so there’s not much to share.  The initial point of inspiration is actually the Afghan man featured in this New York Times article.  His story is fascinating and I decided I had to tell it.  But I write spec fic, so instead of a biography or even historical fiction, I’m turning it into sci-fi."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"I have a few pets, actually.  Two cats and a dog.  I’d love to give you a picture of me with all three of them but, even though they all get along, they’re not big on posing together.  In fact, the cats aren't big on posing at all!

I did get a picture of me with my dog, though.  She’s a brown Newfoundland, named Troublanche.  At about 85 pounds, she’s actually pretty small for her breed!"
Thank you for sharing a picture of you and Troublanche - look at that face!    What a beautiful girl! (more pics of her coming shortly as well ;-) )
Yes, I did notice from your Facebook and Twitter pages about the other furry ones - I have added some pics of them below (I can see that they are as helpful as our cats ;-) )  I particularly like the baby pictures of Arktos (the black cat) and Troublanche.  Kudos to Shep for being the technician of the household ;-)

Shep and Arktos Baby Arktos Arktos reading his newly delivered copy of The Other Side of Hope Shep inspecting the newly delivered copies of The Other Side of Hope (I assume Trublanche is the office manager)
Trublanche as a baby with her favourite treat :-) Trublanche and her friend Trublanche in the snow

The Other Side of Hope
Available NOW! ONLY .99!

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8 comments:

  1. Thanks for having me! If anyone has any extra questions, please feel free to ask them on the comments. I'll be stopping by throughout the day to answer!

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  2. What a fascinating idea for a story. I really enjoyed your comments.

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  3. Really great post! Thanks for sharing :)

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  4. Excellent interview! Looking forward to checking out this book!

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  5. What is the name of your favorite restaurant?

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  6. Hope you are having a fantastic weekend! Looking forward to reading this book!

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