I'm Thrilled to Have Dina Sleiman Here This Week
How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just loved writing all your life?
I would say by high school I knew I wanted to write novels, but at the time I figured writing was something I would do on the side. In college I discovered there were actual graduate programs in writing. I think that’s when I realize no other career path would cut if for me. As for a clear call, in 2006 after twelve years of primarily staying home and raising my kids, I did feel like God said it was time to get busy writing.
What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?
My first novel is historical romantic women’s fiction set in the medieval period. But, I also have a series of contemporary romantic women’s fiction. And I’ve even written a work of narrative nonfiction. So I guess I write in all sorts of genres. But there are elements that are consistent throughout my writing. All my writing is geared towards women and focuses on intimacy with Christ and inner healing, and all of it has lyrical sort of voice. My tagline is “Dina Sleiman – Dance with Passion.” I think that embodies all I write.
How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?
I’m a loosy goosey sort of writer. I write in big spurts when the spirit hits, and then I might not write anything new for a few months. The most extreme example was when I wrote my narrative nonfiction book in six days. Not much eating, sleeping, or even showering occurred that week. However, I do take my writing seriously. During the school year I try to spend at least two or three hours each day either writing, editing, critiquing, blogging, or working on publicity. There’s a lot more that goes into being a writer than just writing. As to how long it takes me to write a novel, I would say in general about six months. But I prefer to have time to put it aside and let it brew so I can really turn it into something special instead of just cranking out words.
You recently had a book published. Would you take this time to describe it to us? How and where can readers buy your books?
Dance of the Dandelion:
Love's quest leads her the world over.
Dandelion Dering was born a peasant in the English village of Arun, but her soul yearned for another life, another world. One filled with color and music, with adventure and passion . . . with more. Haunted by childhood memories, Dandelion determines to find a better existence than the life every peasant in the village contents themselves with. Even if her sweetheart William’s predictions prove true, and her journey leads straight to heartache.
From her sleepy hamlet to the intrigue of castle life, from the heart of London to the adventurous seas, Dandelion flees from the mistakes of her past, always seeking that something, that someone who will satisfy her longings.
Will Dandelion ever find the rhythm to her life's dance . . . or did she leave her chance for true love at home in Arun village?
You can purchase the book at online distributors like amazon and Barnes and Noble. It’s also available for a variety of ereaders through direct download or at this link https://www.ebookit.com/books/0000000691/Dance-of-the-Dandelion.html
What is the spiritual message in your book? What can readers expect to get from reading it?
The primary theme of the book is finding the true meaning of love through intimacy with Christ. I hope that readers, both Christian and non-Christian, will all be drawn closer to God through Dandelion’s experiences. The book also deals with the freedom and healing available only through that deep relationship with Christ.
Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through?
I have moments of frustration and doubt, but at the end of the day I do have peace that this is where God wants me. I think the hardest period was when I was querying agents but wasn’t involved in any writer’s groups yet. Dealing with that rejection without a support system just about did me in. I really had to get on my face before God and search out his will. Did he really want me to be a published writer, or did I just write a book for my own growth and development. I felt that God confirmed both through speaking to me and through my husband that I was to keep going, and also that I desperately needed to connect with other writers. Since then I’ve had a the sense of peace I mentioned, even if the timing doesn’t always meet my expectations.
Who inspires you the most?
Well, from a writing perspective I’m most inspired by truly artistic writers. Lisa Samson is probably my favorite. When I read her books, I feel like, “Wow, I would have never thought of that.” But it makes me want to try even harder with my own writing. My critique partners, Christine Lindsay and Roseanna White, inspire me as well, and I’ve learned so much from them. They are actually two of my favorite authors.
Would you explain how you “chose” (or were chosen by) a publisher? Do you just go “inny, minny, miny, moe?” Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?
Well, my agent sent Dance of the Dandelion to all the big Christian publishing houses, and we received some very favorable feedback. But at the time the book was still being considered by these bigger houses, I heard about WhiteFire Publishing. I loved the vision of the company and really wanted to be involved. I had a strong feeling at that point that my book would eventually end up with WhiteFire, so I wasn’t disappointed when all the bigger publishers turned it down for marketing reasons. But in general, you don’t pick a publisher. You find an agent, your agent sends to everyone who might possibly be a pick, and then they pick you. You only get a choice if more than one offers a contract, which is unheard of for a first time author.
I don’t really feel like I can sit back and relax now, although I’m not stressed or pressured either. I have three completed books and several partials finished. So I can kind of take a breath and enjoy this moment, but I also need to keep my career moving. My contemporary series is being considered by several companies now, and there is also some talk of future books with WhiteFire. It’s important that this book has good sales and reviews to set a strong base for both my career and for WhiteFire Publishing to continue growing.
Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could?
I love the outdoors, especially the beach. I do a lot of biking and hiking. For the past 17 years I’ve been very involved in worship dance and drama, and I’ve led ministries at several churches. I’m also a published poet.
My husband is an international producer, and he’s originally from Lebanon, so I’ve already done a lot of traveling. I’d still like to make it to Italy, though, and maybe another trip to England, which I last visited 20 years ago.
Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?
My website is http://dinasleiman.com/
You can also friend me on facebook or goodreads.
And I should mention that the ebook version of my book is a great deal, under $4 in any format.