Today Dina Sleiman returns to tell us about her novel, Dance of the Dandelion. Her previous blog posting can be read here. Leave a comment and your email address if you would like to enter our draw for Dance of the Dandelion in ebook format.
Dina Sleiman writes lyrical stories that dance with light. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Since finishing her Professional Writing MA in 1994, she has enjoyed many opportunities to teach literature, writing, and the arts. She was the Overall Winner in the 2009 Touched by Love contest for unpublished authors. Her first novel, Dance of the Dandelion, will release with Whitefire Publishing in 2011. Dina is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. She has recently become an acquisitions editor for WhiteFire as well. Join her as she discovers the unforced rhythms of grace. For more info visit her at http://dinasleiman.com/
Welcome back, Dina. Please tell us about your book, Dance of the Dandelion, and what inspired you to write it.
I could write a whole article on my many inspirations for this book, but I think my primary inspiration was to teach young women the true meaning of love, as opposed to the many wrong ideas they get from books and movies.
Where can our readers buy Dance of the Dandelion ?
Right now it’s available for both ebook and print pre-order on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. It is also available for a number of different ebook formats at
How did you go about doing the research for your book? Do you have any anecdotes or interesting experiences related to your research to tell us?
I originally had the idea for this book in 2001. At that point I skimmed through probably 20 books on the medieval time period. Then for the next five years I read as many medieval novels and watched as many medieval movies as I could. By the time I actually sat down to write my book, I had really absorbed the culture. As I wrote I did a lot of detail checks online, though.
During that five years while I was exploring the period, I stumbled across a book at the local library called Dance as Religious Studies. I knew dance would be important to Dandelion, but until I found that book I didn’t think she could dance in a religious or worship manner during that time period. In the book, I discovered that worship dance did exist in the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, coming and going in waves. It was during the Enlightenment period that worship dance disappeared until the 20th century.
How did you weave in a spiritual thread without being preachy?
First, the book is set in a time before a lot of our current preachy Christian vernacular existed. Second, Dandelion is not a true believer for much of the book, so the reader is able to search for God along with her in an honest manner that includes a lot of learning the hard way. When I do present spiritual principles, I try to do it in a manner that is unexpected, real, and sometimes even humorous. Dandelion’s primary spiritual awakening occurs in a mystical Italian convent and reflects the passionate love poems to God written by some of my favorite medieval saints.
Did you have any particular Bible verses running through your mind as you wrote?
The theme verse running through my mind was “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” The book is fairly long, and each of these words guides a portion of Dandelion’s journey of discovery. I also have much of I Corinthians 13 woven into a sermon my comical country priest gives during a wedding.
What do you hope your readers will take away from your book?
The most important thing I hope they take away is the importance of an intimate, loving relationship with Christ. In the book, different men along Dandelion’s journey represent different aspects of love. But it is not until Dandelion discovers God’s true love that she is set free to discover earthly love as well. I also hope readers see the incredible healing power available through Christ and how to be released from the pain of their past.
Do you enjoy reading books with foreign settings? Any favorites?
Yes, I love books with foreign settings. I’ve read tons of books set in Europe, but a specific favorite that comes to mind is A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini about Muslim women in Afghanistan. In Christian fiction some of my favorite international novels are probably Lady of Milkweed Manor, Shadowed in Silk, A Stray Drop of Blood, and Jewel of Persia. Three of these are by my publisher, WhiteFire. WhiteFire is very dedicated to using new and exciting settings and time periods.
If you were given an all expenses paid holiday anywhere in the world to research a novel, where would you choose to go? Why would you choose this location?
My husband is Lebanese and he’s involved in producing Christian programming for the Middle East. So I’ve done a lot of traveling to some interesting, and sometimes dangerous places. In fact, we got caught in Lebanon during a war in 2006 and had to be evacuated on a refugee ship.
For that reason, I would probably like to go somewhere safe and relaxing like Italy. I love old cathedrals, beautiful architecture, and art. I’ve been to England and France, but never to Italy. I use the setting briefly in this book, but plan to use it more in the sequel.
Please tell us about your current book/project.
Well, I am working on book two for this series. It features Dandelion’s daughter Lily who will travel to Italy and the Middle East. She longs to be a nun and escape the shame of her sinful origins, but God has other plans. Big, exciting plans ;)
I’m also working on a contemporary series about a young Muslim woman who meets a Christian ballerina and a bi-racial hippie chick over a group project on diversity. The first book of that series is called Dance from Deep Within. I guess you can tell I like the dance motif. That series will eventually travel to Lebanon, and it features Muslim-Americans from both Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. It’s out to a number of Christian publishing houses right now. I’ll keep you posted on its progress.
Thank you for joining us today. I do hope you have good news for us soon about Dance from Deep Within. Dance of the Dandelion has moved to the top of my TBR pile. I'm intrigued now that I know more about it and want to read it as soon as possible.
Thanks for having me!!!
Dina is giving away a copy of Dance of the Dandelion in ebook format. Please leave a comment for Dina and your email address before Saturday 20th August if you would like to be entered in the draw. The draw is open to blog readers anywhere in the world.
The giveaway is void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.