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A Deep Dive: From Punishment to Peace, with Tom Harrison.

Tom Harrison hails from Memphis, Tennessee, and has never let the influence of his childhood community leave him. In hopes of finding healing, he embarked on one of the most treacherous journeys one can experience—walking the path of self-introspection and spiritual awakening.

After many life obstacles came Tom’s way, he decided to take a long, hard look at himself and ask questions he had been avoiding for many years. But he also asked difficult questions of another family member. Together, they would take a series of life-changing road trips, which became the inspiration for Tom’s debut novel, From Punishment to Peace

His novel not only narrates a personal journey but also opens broader philosophical conversations about life, purpose, and healing. In our conversation, we take a deeper dive into the author's motivations, the impact of shared experiences, and the significance of the "Five Rs" in the pursuit of inner peace.

It’s so great to chat with you, Tom! Can you provide our readers with some background on your novel and the inspiration behind it? 

Certainly. My novel From Punishment to Peace originates from a deeply personal space. It's an exploration of my life's journey--a story that contains all the challenges and transformations that shaped me. The inspiration for my novel arose from pivotal moments throughout my life--the closure of my business, a failed marriage, and the passing of my father. These events triggered me to look deep within myself, leading me to unravel the layers of pain and embark on a quest for healing. Writing this novel was part of that healing.

How did growing up in Memphis influence your perspective and contribute to the narrative?

Growing up in Memphis during the ‘60s, amid the civil rights movement, significantly influenced my perspective. The historical context of the era, combined with personal struggles, provided a unique lens through which I saw the world. 

I also struggled with my relationship with my father. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I was able to look back on that time in my life and see not only my struggles with him, but to recognize his struggles as well. My father never quite accepted me, and that was always painful for me.

What motivated you to reconnect with your uncle and embark on the road trips we read about in your novel? 

The decision to reconnect with my uncle was born out of my desire for deeper understanding and connection. His life, marked by extreme hardship, addiction, and homelessness, held valuable lessons. The road trips, documented in six pivotal sections, became a vehicle for unraveling our shared experiences, pain, and the unexpected beauty that emerged from our journey. You can distill the novel down into this basic format:  two guys getting together and trying to begin to figure out life during six road trips. As you’ll see by the end of the novel, it’s wildly tragic and sad, but also spiritual and transformational. 

Your novel is described as a "philosophical memoir." Can you elaborate on the philosophical themes explored in your book? 

Absolutely. The term "philosophical memoir" encapsulates the deep exploration of life's meaning and purpose, and the pursuit of peace. The narrative delves into the philosophical underpinnings of our lives-- questioning choices, consequences, and our shared pursuit of tranquility. It's an exploration of the existential questions that often define our human experience.

Can you elaborate on the "Five Rs"--Risk, Reveal, Receive, Respond, and Reconcile--and their significance in the path to inner peace that you explore in the book? 

The "Five Rs" represent a roadmap for those seeking inner peace. 

"Risk" encourages individuals to take the bold step of seeking help and exploring avenues for change. "Reveal" emphasizes the importance of sharing one's deepest struggles, and fostering vulnerability. 

"Receive" highlights the need to be open to guidance, understanding, and support. 

"Respond" focuses on the crucial aspect of empathetic engagement--exercising the empathy muscle. 

"Reconcile" underscores the transformative power of forgiveness, both for others and for oneself, as a pivotal step toward inner peace.

How do you see the impact of shared experiences and mutual understanding in your novel's narrative? 

Shared experiences and mutual understanding, viewed through the characters of Tommy and John, serve as the narrative's driving force, fostering personal and collective transformation. The novel narrates not only my own transformative journey but also the profound impact on the other characters. It underscores the themes of forgiveness and reconciliation, with a shift from self-centeredness to a broader, more compassionate worldview.

What is the primary takeaway you hope readers gain after reading your novel?

The foremost takeaway is an encouragement for readers to embark on their journeys of self-discovery and healing. I hope readers are inspired to take risks by sharing their struggles openly and find peace through empathy, forgiveness, and connection. The book serves as a testament to the transformative power of vulnerability and the enduring human spirit. I never thought I would end up where I am today—aware of these new realizations about my past and my inner self. 

Are you currently working on any new projects?

As of now, my focus has been on the release of From Punishment to Peace. While I haven't actively delved into new projects, I'm open to the possibility. Depending on the response and interest in the book, I have some ideas for future endeavors about topics related to the book.

Where can people read more about you and buy your book?

They can visit my website:


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