Monday, June 13, 2016

NBtM: The Other Side of Hope by R.F. Dunham

The Other Side of Hope
by R.F. Dunham


GENRE: 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?


Excerpt Two:

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.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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.  

Interview with R.F. Durham

As a kid did you write or make up stories?

I made up stories all the time when I was a kid, though I didn’t really think of it that way at the time. Looking back now, I can see that every game I played as a kid was really just about making stories. I didn’t ever like legos or other building toys, I just invented stories for my action figures or ran around in the woods fighting sith lords (trees) with sticks (lightsabers). I did try writing a few stories but I hadn’t learned yet how important planning is for me so those never made it past a few pages!

Where does most of your Character inspiration come from?

Lately, I’ve been getting character inspiration from news stories. There are some interesting stories and fascinating people out there in the real world and I’ve found that they make great starting points for fictional stories. For example, the next story I’m working on started with a character idea I found in a New York Times article about an Afghan man who fought against the Taliban and ended up spending years in Guantanamo anyway.

Do some qualities of your characters come from real people?

Every author I know takes at least something from people they know for their characters and I’m no exception. I’m constantly taking note of little things people do or small anecdotes from their lives. I’ve never based a character fully on a real person, but those little details are great for fleshing characters out and making them feel more real.

What was the inspiration for your book?

The inspiration for The Other Side of Hope was a question: How can Christians and Muslims understand each other better? The solution I came up with was a story in which the two religions have switched places. In a world where everything is backwards, Christians can more easily put themselves in the place of Muslims and Muslims can imagine what it would be like to be in the role of Christians. In many ways, the story is a familiar one, pulled straight from the headlines. But with everything flipped, the details suddenly take on a different light.

What is your favorite spot to write?

Most of writing gets done at my desk. It’s sitting right in front of a window with nothing but my laptop and a few other things. I’ve found that visual distractions like the window aren’t a problem for me, but if I have too many other things on my desk, I’m likely to get pulled off into doing things with them.

What advice would you give budding writers?

My best advice to new writers is to figure out the planning style that works best for you. You might be one of those people who can just sit down and pound out a top-notch, coherent novel with no planning ahead. I’m not one of those people and there’s a good chance you’re not either. So the first thing you should do is figure out what you need to do before you start writing. Maybe you only need a rough plot sketch, maybe you need a chapter outline, maybe you need to plan every conversation. Odds are, you’ll need something if you want to write a complex and interesting story.



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


  1. I am really enjoying following this tour, thank you for all the great blog posts and excerpts!

    1. Hi Nikolina! Glad to hear you're enjoying the tour!

  2. Good Monday morning and start of a great week. Thanks for the chance to win

    1. Good morning James! You're welcome, and good luck in the drawing!

  3. Thanks, Teresa, for having me on your blog today! I'll check in as I'm able to answer any questions your readers might have for me.

  4. Great interview, thanks for sharing :)

  5. thank you for the chance to win :)

  6. What kind of research did you do for this book?

    1. Most of my research was focused around the Battle of Tours in 732 and the general opinion that Martel's victory there halted the Muslim advance into Europe. I also did some on-location research in northwestern Pennsylvania just to see firsthand what the area looks like so I could describe it well.

  7. What a fascinating idea for a story. I loved the excerpt.

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

  9. I enjoyed reading the excerpt. This book sounds like such an interesting and intriguing read. Looking forward to checking out this book.

  10. What, in your mind, distinguishes this book from other books out there in the same genre?

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

  12. Hope you are having a great weekend! Can't wait to read this book!

  13. Excellent interview! Excited to read this book!