What: “Silent Hope” a book by Marcus D. Thomas
When: Released Jan. 15 by Tate Publishing and Enterprises
Where to buy it: The book can be purchased via Amazon.com or at Thomas’ website at www.authormarcusdthomas.com
Like civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., Patterson resident Marcus Thomas had a dream. But his was a literal vision.
In 2006, he dreamt that he was floating over his body, watching himself typing at a computer. He said he felt compelled to write after he awoke and said words began flowing out of him.
Thomas, now 46, released three books in the following three years. Last week, Oklahoma-based Christian publishing house Tate Publishing and Enterprises coincidentally released his fourth book, “Silent Hope” on Jan. 15, the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s birthday — one of several reasons that Thomas feels something special is happening with his fictional tale.
He has received hits on his website from as far away as Nigeria, Turkey and France, and he was interviewed this week on the Philadelphia-based Dedan Tolbert Blog Talk Radio show. Already, the book has gotten more attention than Thomas’ other works in just its first week on the market, the local author said.
“People are just coming out of nowhere,” Thomas said. “(The book) is still traveling.”
“Silent Hope” tells the story of teenage mom Virginia Stephens, who not only tries to improve her own life but also the other lives of fellow teen moms. The book also details the life of Virginia’s mother, Hope Stephens, who seeks guidance from her deceased mother, Grace, by sharing her family’s struggles while she is at the local cemetery.
The events of the book are fictional, but Thomas drew much inspiration from his own life. He grew up in a single-parent household in inner-city Oakland, and said his neighborhood was surrounded by violence and illegal drug use.
Though he said he never personally abused drugs, his memories of his younger years include seeing one of his friends get shot to death in San Francisco by a gang member as part of an initiation, and he said he narrowly escaped himself. He drew on those environs and the challenges that pervade there for his book.
“This story comes from a deep place,” Thomas said.
The words of this new book particularly seemed to flow compared to the other books, he said, saying that he felt God directed the process.
He said he already has ideas for sequels: “Silent Hope, Too” and “Father Without a Pause,” which will offer a teenage father’s perspective on the matter on single parenthood.
Though the characters in his book are African-American, he said the story should appeal to people of all ethnic backgrounds and to men and women alike.
“This is for people of any race,” he said. “People anywhere of any nationality can relate.”
Janey Hays, an acquisitions editor for Tate Publishing, indicated in notes regarding Thomas’ book that it was both interesting and timely.
“It’s a very well-written manuscript,” she wrote. “Its message will touch the hearts of teenage girls and their parents. … The book contains a message that all girls need to hear.”
Thomas, a freight driver for United Parcel Service, said he gets a lot of his ideas for his stories while on the road, as he makes a trek from California to Chicago each week. He and his wife, Shawna, moved to Patterson with their children three years ago after he had lived in Stockton for close to seven years.
Patterson is a peaceful place to live, he said, and he appreciates that his new home has enough space for a home office where he can write his books.
While Thomas said he only started writing about six years ago, he said his friends have said he always has been known for giving good advice.
“I think this is my purpose — to help others, to inspire others,” he said.
Fellow members at Greater St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Oakland have been supportive, Thomas said. His fans also include his twin sister, Marilyn Thomas, who said her brother’s latest book is his best yet.
“I think it’s going to help a lot of young people,” she said.
She noted that many youths have secrets, such as abuse or living in a single-parent household, and she thought they would be able to relate.
Likewise, Marcus Thomas wants the book to be a bestseller, with the aim of reaching youth who are growing up in challenging places like he did.
“I want to inspire the generation of youth and show them that they can make it out,” he said. “All you have to do is believe.”
• Contact Jonathan Partridge at 892-6187, ext. 26, or firstname.lastname@example.org.