None of Our Hands Are Clean
by Ralph Thompson Jr. Genre: Christian Romance
Juan Smith is a young man looking for love, in a world where the concept of romance has lost much of its luster. Darlene Brown is a young lady trying to understand God’s purpose for her future. Surrounded by a world that sees romance as old-fashioned, can these two make “it” work? How do people address the question “who’s the right one for you?” The wreckage of failed relationships is everywhere. Darlene and Juan face near-impossible odds. How do they get to know each other, and how will they learn whether or not they should be a couple?
Darlene got up bright and early, took a few deep breaths, pulled her long tresses back in a ponytail, stretched a bit, then reached for the Bible on her nightstand. Her mom had taught her when she was a young child to start her day off with some God-time. After a few moments in Psalms, she started to pray for God to guide her steps throughout the day and to guide her tongue to say what He would have her say to whomever she encountered. Devotion being done, she felt refreshed and ready to face the day. As she got dressed, she felt determined to keep this calm period in her life going strong. It had been years since any kind of turmoil or nonsense had crossed her path. No relatives or close friends had died or had life-threatening illnesses. Nobody she cared about had lost a job, a home, or anything of importance. Nobody she knew had committed an especially heinous crime (though that one cousin in Hawaii who got caught shoplifting was in a lot of trouble with her parents). Darlene knew enough about life that this was all just a narrow viewpoint. Somewhere, someone was hurting. Someone was broken-hearted or even consumed with evil thoughts or plans. She was determined not to let the foolishness of the world stop her from getting closer to God and realizing His direction for her life in the purest manner she could.
Ralph Thompson, Jr. was born and reared in Memphis, Tennessee. During his childhood, he saw up close the impact of the civil rights movement. These world-changing events permanently informed his perspective and his writing.
He accepted Christ as a teenager, and like many has seen ups and downs in the years since.
Later, a search for further meaning in his life led to his joining the U.S. Air Force, where he served 26 years. He’s a veteran of operations like Just Cause, DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM, Southern Watch, and Enduring Freedom.
Thompson has a daughter/son-in-law, a son, and a granddaughter who all live out west. He serves in his church, the Memphis community, and with his fraternity (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.).
What I do
I write Christian fiction. Like most people, I’ve had in this life highs and lows. As a personal view, I believe God puts us through various circumstances to prepare us for upcoming challenges. Because of that personal view, I wonder if others see their lives in a similar way. I put this stuff on paper as a means to reach out to those folks who may be interested. If in some way I can get them to consider deeply their circumstances or be encouraged about the future, I am overjoyed about that.
How I do it
I have a year-old laptop that I use to craft manuscripts. I also have a 4’ by 2’ desk in my dining space. (I rarely entertain, so I used my dining space as an office of sorts). I’m more of a morning writer – if I can get words on paper before the business of the day commences, I feel good about the daily progress of writing. The dining space faces the television in the living room. I envisioned a writing space like this for years, and I’m thankful to have it.
What I’m passionate about today
I’m concerned about the state of the world, this country, my hometown. I endeavor to mentor young males, serve with voter education groups, and am a part-time member of the security team at church. I truly believe in my heart that we can live in some semblance of harmony on this planet. We have so much more in common than we have as differences. One of my goals as a novelist is to point out what we have in common, that we may collaborate on the state of this world.
Do you prefer to write in silence, or with noise? Why?
I prefer noise, to some measured amount. I enjoy classic film, as well as music from the ‘50s through the ‘70s. Usually, those are the types of background sound I can tolerate and still work. Furthermore, I am a big baseball fan. If I’m writing during baseball season, the rhythm of a game is steady but not distracting. I’m easily distracted, so I need surroundings that don’t take me away from putting the right words on paper.
My writing style
My first two novels, I didn’t use an outline. The basic starting ideas were variations of “Why?” I envision my characters as real people, and I take glee in putting challenges in front of them. I seek to challenge their worldviews and decision-making process. I put myself as one following the characters from a distance, watching but not intruding.
As a character’s decision brings different consequences, I want that character to learn from the experience, as well as seeing in a different light God’s intent for his/her life. Given that, I rarely plan to write “endings” in a classic sense. As we do in real life, my characters try to recover from those challenges and go on with their lives. The ceasing of one scenario can be the lead-in to another.
I write for the person who believes in God, but that person’s faith has been shaken. That character still has questions, still misinterprets God’s instruction. That person has scars, but wants to go on.
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