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?
Hamid looked down at his plate then back up at Dilara. “You know writers don’t make any money. Not for years, if ever.”
“That’s not the point.”
“It doesn’t matter if it’s not the point, it’s reality. I know you want to write and you know I think you’re a great writer, but that doesn’t change the fact that we need your paycheck.”
Dilara closed her eyes and took several deep breaths.
Hamid wasn’t sure if he should take that as a good sign or a bad one.
“We can make changes. Sacrifices. It would be worth it,” she said
Hamid raised his eyebrows. “Worth it? Who knows when it would be worth it. Even if we did move, the gas I’d spend getting to work would cancel out any savings. It’d take you months to write a book, years to get it published, and even then you might not make enough money for it to matter.”
“Sometimes I wonder if you even know me at all.” She picked up her fork and went back to eating.
Hamid stared at her, his own food forgotten. “Of course, I know you.”
Dilara slammed her fork down again. “No. I don’t think you do. You think money is what matters to me? That I want to write so I can make money?”
“No, I don’t think that.” He shook his head. “But that’s what I have to think about, our finances, our family.”
“What about doing something with my life? What about my dreams? Do you think about that?”
Hamid put both hands on his head and looked at the ceiling. “Yes, I think about that. But we have dreams, too. Dreams we’ve been working toward since college. You really want to throw all of that away?”
Dilara looked away and got quiet.
He’d gotten through. Good.
“Maybe those aren’t my dreams anymore.”
What inspired you to write this book?
Quite simply, the rampant violence and misunderstanding in the world. It really started with wanting to help Christians and Muslims understand each other better but it’s just as applicable to the race motivated violence that’s running wild in our country lately.
I wanted to give people a chance to see the world from the other side of the conflict, to humanize their enemies. I’ve found that it’s much easier to hate an idea than it is to hate a person. When you put a face on the thing you hate, you suddenly realize that it’s not as different from you as you thought it was.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
That would have to be the final scene with Hamid and Ethan. That scene is the reason the whole book was written. Since it comes at the end, I can’t tell you much about it. You’ll just have to read it!
I can tell you that it’s a very long sequence. It actually stretches across several chapters, with breaks to go see what’s happening with other characters, and multiple perspective switches. It was very challenging to write, but I’m thrilled with the way it came out and the ending has been one of the things readers have said tons of great things about.
Tell us about the cover and the inspiration for it.
That’s a funny story! The book had a different cover at first release — one that I designed myself. While there are authors out there with graphic design skills, I am not one of them. So it wasn’t very good. Fortunately, I did have a professional graphic designer working on a better one. Tyler basically took some vague ramblings from me about the general themes of story, a contrast between hope and darkness, and came out with the cover you can find now. I couldn’t be happier with it.
What are your future ambitions?
My current writing ambitions are to develop two universes that I’ve been working in. The first is the world of The Other Side of Hope. For a while I thought I was done with that world but enough people have been asking for more that I’m diving in. There are endless possibilities to work with and I’m excited to see what’s going to come of it.
The second is a fantasy world called Samokei. There’s one story, Everyday, available in that universe on my website now. I’m working on the first collection of stories and sending them out to my email subscribers as they’re written.
What exciting story are you working on next?
Three in all, with a fourth on the back burner for now.
The Other Side of Unity is a prequel to The Other Side of Hope that goes all the way back to the point of divergence, the thing that was changed in history to create the alternate world of the story.
The Samokei Chronicles: Line of Bunitheor is a collection of fantasy stories exploring the mystery surrounding the ancient magic that some believe is attached to the original dynasty of Samokei.
Those two stories are both being sent out to email subscribers completely free, so sign up now to get them!
The third doesn’t have a title yet, but it’s also set in Samokei. It will be a series of books (most likely novellas) featuring an order of peacekeepers with unusual powers called the Zhugo.
What is your favorite TV show?
That’s a tough one… I don’t get cable or satellite so all of my TV watching is done through Netflix. That means I’m about a season behind on all the major shows (more on others, I’m only on season 4 of The Walking Dead) but my current favorite is probably The Arrow. I’m loving that whole universe but The Arrow is the most enjoyable to me. Probably because Oliver Queen is basically Bruce Wayne with a bow and arrow in this version and I’ve always been a big Batman fan.
Anything else you might want to add?
I’ve mentioned my email list a couple of time, but I’d like to draw attention to it one more time. Signing up is without a doubt the best way to connect with me and keep up with what I’m doing. So if any of this sounds interesting to you, I highly recommend you join. I’ll send you lots of free stuff, including The Other Side of Unity and The Samokei Chronicles: Line of Bunitheor. Those will both be released as paid books eventually but this is your chance to get them completely free as they’re being written! I hope to see you there!
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.
R.F. Dunham will be awarding $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.