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The Dark Side of Grace by Ronald Chapman Blog Tour and Giveaway
Wednesday, May 31, 2023 19:09
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We here at WOW! Women on Writing are excited to launch the blog tour for The Dark Side of Grace by returning author Ronald Chapman. This book is perfect for anyone who enjoys mystery, action, and/or psychological thrillers. Read on to find out the author’s inspiration behind this novel in an intriguing author interview, and enter to win a copy!
A devastating terrorist bomb blast at a spiritual retreat outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, sends journalist Kevin Pitcairn and his beloved Emmy on a quixotic quest to understand the roots of violence. Traveling across the country deep into the bowels of Southern Appalachia, their search takes them through a long-standing rift in the American consciousness to confrontations with remarkable and anomalous characters, some of them deeply spiritual, others well-grounded in research and psychology.
In this sequel to the much-acclaimed A Killer’s Grace, Pitcairn and Emmy return to the exploration of innocence while adding to it a deepening understanding of injury and ordeal―and its amazing corollary of Post-Traumatic Growth. As the quest and its dangers rip their lives apart, doors open that lure them back and forth across the country in search of tendrils tying together the events and anguish, as well as bringing the protagonists more deeply together.
Ronald Chapman is an author, speaker, and facilitator of approaches that increase well-being-ness and produce breakthroughs when practiced deeply and in a sustained fashion. He is the creator of Seeing True™ and Progressive Recovery, resources dedicated to exploring concepts of engaging, releasing, and transcending blockages in our lives. At the heart of Seeing True and all of his work is the Greek notion of “metanoia,” which could translate as a profound change of heart. Ronald maintains two core businesses as well. Leading Public Health provides facilitation, strategy and consultation to public health clientele, while Magnetic North delivers similar services to a broader array of clients.
Ron spent many years as a national award winning radio commentator on KUNM radio in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is an elite Accredited Speaker through Toastmasters International, and an accomplished leadership facilitator working with clients from all over the world, including the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Ron currently resides in Atlanta, and spends much of his time immersed in art and beauty wherever his travels take him.
WOW: Welcome back, my friend! You are always so busy. I feel like I finish one book and you’re on to the next! You are truly an inspiration; but what is YOUR inspiration? What sparked the idea of The Dark Side of Grace?
Ron: This is such a great question! Somewhere I stumbled across a research paper on post traumatic growth, which is a notion that is central to the book’s plot. It’s also a very cool concept, that the same stuff that breaks people’s lives can be the source for transformation. Turns out everyone from Carl Jung to Viktor Frankl to Admiral James Stockdale had poked at this very same notion, that there is something almost magical about the possibility of inner transformation. It’s even at the heart of Alcoholics Anonymous with the notion of a psychic change.
At any rate, I was at a book event for A Killer’s Grace, the first book in which Pitcairn and Maria Elena get swept up into these psycho-spiritual themes. I was right next to an author, Dr. Pamela Larde, who I asked, “What’s your thing?”
She replied, “Post traumatic growth.”
Gobsmacked, I could only manage to say, “No shit!” We were off to the races.
Pam is a researcher and a brilliant and provocative thinker. Every time we talked I’d find another thread to follow, which led to still more threads. It was like Alice tumbling into Wonderland. Pam became the model for a key character in The Dark Side of Grace, and all those threads created a central part of the plot.
That said, I should probably note that the first nudge for this novel came when the first reviewer of A Killer’s Grace commented that I’d created a new genre, the psycho-spiritual thriller, then observed he could not wait for the sequel. To which I heard myself say, “Damn! There’s a sequel. I didn’t know that.” Now of course, I think the series will be five books by the time all is done with Pitcairn and Maria Elena. Informally I call the whole thing the Chronicles of Grace.
WOW: That’s great insight. I’m so glad I asked. Here’s another one I think you’ll enjoy answering. What does the great Ronald Chapman’s writing space look like? Where will we find you writing?
Ron: Ha! Wherever I can carve out time is my writing space. Much has been done on airplanes while traveling for my professional consultation and facilitation work. I take solo vacations to interesting places so I can have time and space to write. Any coffee shop with a high top and big cup of iced tea is fair game. Sometimes it just feels right to write.
I remember interviewing an author on public radio, David Stuart, who wrote his Guaymas Chronicles in one restaurant, at one particular table, a window seat at The Flying Star in Nob Hill in Albuquerque. I was so envious of the idea of a dedicated space, somehow consecrated by and through the writing. I’ve tried to find that place for me for many years to no avail.
However, I do want to report I may have found it finally in my current hometown, Decatur, Georgia. Sun in My Belly feels really good for early morning writing over a killer breakfast and really good coffee. We’ll see how well that holds up over time.
That said, one of my mentors helped me years ago to frame the life I seem to live, which is filled with wanderlust. Today I often say, “The world is my home, and I have a bed in Decatur, Georgia.” My Jungian analyst loves it. She says I am like Mercury the Roman God who simply does not stay put very well, flying about with wings upon his feet.
WOW: That breakfast has me all distracted and my tummy growling – sounds like perfect inspiration! So, what about influence? Sounds like there have been lots of people who have been a part of your personal growth and development. This may be hard to answer, but who has been most influential in your writing career?
Ron: Cormac McCarthy is an inspiration. He does not seem to flinch at tackling really difficult subjects and themes. While I don’t write with his dedication and precision, I aspire to be able to go wherever a story needs to go, especially into challenging places. Let’s face it, we are in very challenging times in the world, and there are a lot of subjects we need to bring out of the shadows. Everything from substance abuse to family and community violence. One great researcher indicated that the only way we can shift from blame and shame into healing and growth is to get the dark stuff into the light. That certainly mirrors my life.
At any rate, I went on a binge reading with McCarthy’s books at one point. I just love what he can do to illuminate us through story. Then when I read The Road, I was blown away by how a such a bleak and daunting story could bring forth such beauty in the end. As an aside, I also loved the movie. Dark as hell, infused with beauty throughout, and bittersweet in the end.
A friend in recovery once told me he thought bittersweet was the most authentic emotion we could express with the mess that is this life, and the world, and us in the world. “A marvelous entanglement” is what the Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi calls it. Such a wonderful reflection of reality.
WOW: Life sure is messy isn’t it? That leads me to one of my favorite questions of all time and I can’t wait to hear your answer to this one: What would your current self like to say to the teenage Ronald Chapman?
Ron: My favorite phrase today comes from depth psychology: to follow the calling of our soul. That is so true for me.
In retrospect, I was so pained as a young man, it would bring great comfort to know that all those stirrings and callings were valid and trustworthy.
When I got sober, I’m now thirty-seven years in sobriety, I realized all my life I wanted to know I was okay. I never believed that. Even now I can struggle with it though I have so much healing in that area, and so many tools to assist.
It’s not easy marching to one’s own drummer. And yet, I can’t imagine anything that could be more important. To thine own self be true.
WOW: Such sage advice – thank you Ron! If The Dark Side of Grace were a movie, what song would you think goes with it best?
Ron: A very intriguing question with a curious answer. “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen.
Of course, a beautiful and striking song, some might call it transcendent, which of course aligns nicely with this idea of psycho-spiritual transformation. I have long been captivated by the idea of a broken or holy hallelujah, and that it doesn’t matter which one we experience. Somehow it is all sacred ground.
That’s such a profound idea, and once again a theme in the plot of The Dark Side of Grace. If we can see beyond the outer form of things, whether beautiful or ugly, nurturing or painful, we see only sacred ground made sacred by the seeing.
I have a friend who is an evangelical and a prophetic voice. We talk often of the story of Moses and both agree that when God says the ground on which Moses stands is holy, it means all ground is holy if we can come to experience it. Seems like cause for the whole idea of Hallelujah!
WOW: Ron, I always love chatting with you – your answers are such a breath of fresh air! Which character do you feel closest to or which character from The Dark Side of Grace is closest to you?
Ron: Years ago, when I was doing author interviews and book reviews on public radio, I remember an author telling me that everything we write is autobiography. Simply enough, we can only write from our own vantage point, so everything is somehow a reflection of us. No surprise then that Pitcairn is a reflection of me. Not all the outer details, but the inner identity is so much indicative of me. A dear friend who knows me very well told me that she could see my inner workings through all that Pitcairn says and reflects. In some strange way, maybe all of us get to find our way to our own personal and spiritual reconciliation by playing out our stories. Mine just happens to be in books.
One funny thing. When I was a kid growing up in Oklahoma, the bowels of the local library were my safe place. It was holy ground being surrounded by books and the musty smell of them where no one could find me. So too were the stories I read a sacred place.
So even the fact that I have written books is strangely reflective of me and my life.
WOW: I know we could chat all day, but our time is coming to a close. Can you quickly tell the audience what’s next for you? What’s happening for the rest of 2023 and beyond?
Ron: Book #3 of The Chronicles of Grace is in the hands of the publisher. It’s a prequel to The Dark Side of Grace that provides some depth behind key characters. So if the launching point is A Killer’s Grace, then Book #3 is a twin point of entry, which has a working title of One Man’s Life, though that won’t hold up. I suck at titles, and have just learned to trust editors and publishers. Segue aside, both of these feed into The Dark Side of Grace.
Then Book #4, which is totally untiled presently, picks up where Pitcairn and Maria Elena are developmentally. It’s a separate story, but advances their path to transformation. The plot is worked out, and I’m about fifty pages into the manuscript. Then again, like Star Wars which was released all out of order, One Man’s Life might turn out to be published as Book #5 after the rest of the unfolding has taken place. It’s a very different book, and for all I know the publisher will decide to hold it back for a while.
On another front, I’m transitioning my private practices in public health to allow me more time for writing the stories. I’m almost sixty-seven years old, so I’m thinking a lot about what matters most to me. As an aside, I got a great compliment recently when someone told me I’m quite immature for my age. Loved that! And I’m hoping that stays true for some time to come.
WOW: I knew you’d be working on the next book before I even finished this tour – you never seem to amaze me! We will see you again soon I’m sure, and in the meantime I’m sure our readers will delight in this tour! Thanks for choosing WOW! Ron! It’s such a pleasure.
Check out this hashtag to stay up to date with this tour, the book, and it’s author: #darksideofgrace #darksidechapman
—-Blog Tour Dates
June 5th @ The Muffin
What goes better with coffee in the morning than a muffin? Join us at the WOW blog to celebrate the launch of author Ronald Chapman’s The Dark Side of Grace. You can read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.
Today’s guest author at Choices with Madeline Sharples is fellow author Ronald Chapman. Chapman has recently released another thriller, The Dark Side of Grace. Today he’ll be writing an intriguing article titled: “Agnostic but Faithful.” Readers won’t want to miss this one!
Today’s guest author at One Writer’s Journey is fellow author Ronald Chapman. Chapman has recently released another thriller, The Dark Side of Grace. Today he’ll be writing a fascinating article titled: “Getting Over Ourselves.” Readers won’t want to miss this one!
Today’s guest author at Storeybook Reviews is author Ronald Chapman. Chapman has recently released another thriller, The Dark Side of Grace. Today he’ll be writing a captivating article titled: “Finding Emotional Sobriety; Even in Chaos.” Readers won’t want to miss this one!
Today’s guest author at A Wonderful World of Words is author Ronald Chapman. Chapman has recently released another thriller, The Dark Side of Grace. Today he’ll be writing a captivating article titled: “Transformative Ideas: Self-Interest, Positivity and Stillness.” Readers won’t want to miss this one!
Enter to win a copy of The Dark Side of Grace by Ronald Chapman! Fill out the Rafflecopter form by June 18th at 11:59 CT for a chance to win. We will choose a winner randomly the next day and follow up via email. Good luck!