Dare from Deep Within – Character Interview with Fatima
Guest Post by Carol Award-winning Author Dina Sleiman
We're delighted at OWG to welcome Carol Award winner Dina Sleiman, who is interviewing beautiful Fatima from her new novel. Look further down the post for the blurb from this new release! Welcome Ladies!
(Dina) Hello Fatima! Tell us a little bit about your role in Dare from Deep Within, as well as book 1 in this series, Dance from Deep Within.
Fatima: My role in book 1 was small. My best friend in the world, Layla, had just set off on a grand adventure to go to a university. It was a dream we always shared. I know we live in America where such things are normal, but we’re both Muslims. Of course, Layla’s Lebanese family is much more liberal than my Saudi Arabian family, and it only took her a few years to convince them. So while she was off studying and making new friends, I was locked away at home. My parents stopped letting me leave the house, even in my normal full veil that covered everything but my eyes. My father was determined to marry me off and send me to Saudi Arabia, and the more I resisted the meaner he got.
That must have been a dark time for you. But you’re here now, what changed?
Fatima: I don’t like to dwell on that time. I tend to look at the bright side and enjoy life. Fortunately, Layla and two of her American friends kept emailing me during that period. That brings us to book 2. Everything finally came to a head when I overheard my father telling my brothers to purchase drugs to try to force me onto a plane to Saudi Arabia. I grabbed my purse, my veil, and my brother’s wallet and dashed out the door to find Layla and my new friends in Virginia.
Weren’t you afraid they would follow you there?
Fatima: I was hoping I got enough of a head start from Detroit. I took a bus and surprised Layla, and I arrived in my full niqab veil, which I realized afterwards was a mistake. It was just such a habit for me to wear it, and it hid my cuts and bruises, which I was ashamed to show. Oh my, this is definitely getting too sad now. Anyway, I quickly found a new home with Layla’s friend Rain, she’s hysterical, and her boyfriend works in security, so I felt safe there.
What was your new life like?
Fatima: Wonderful! My friends really rallied around me. I felt so loved, and I quickly adjusted to Rain’s boyfriend, James, seeing my face. I watched a lot of television and read a lot of books like I did at home. Then I got braver and visited a church and even helped with a soup kitchen. It felt great to be helping others instead of just being the one who needed helped.
Did your family come after you?
Fatima: I don’t want to spoil the story. Let’s just say things got harder before they got easier.
Okay, and I have to ask, do you still think of yourself as a Muslim? Do you still believe in God?
Fatima: A Muslim? I would have to say no. I’ve seen too much darkness in that religion. So much terror and abuse. I didn’t grow up with the beautiful, peaceful side like Layla did, but even she left Islam and is now a Christian believer. I was hoping for a while that maybe there was no God at all. But when my story reached its lowest point, what happened…well, I could only call it a miracle. I’m thinking that maybe God does exist, that He reached out to me, and that He’s more loving and kind than I ever expected. I still have a lot to figure out, but I can tell you that my story has a happy ending.
Is there anything else you want to tell us about the book?
Just don’t get the wrong impression and think it’s a sad book. It’s full of humor and romance and lots of interesting perspectives and characters, although my story drives the plot forward. And I think you’ll get a fresh perspective on God and life. I know I certainly did!
Dare from Deep Within: Three young women from varying backgrounds risks everything to help a friend escape her abusive family. Still at odds with her own Muslim parents, Layla faces unexpected challenges when her childhood companion shows up at her doorstep. As Fatima risks everything for freedom, her desperate circumstances draw a new circle of friends who will be forever changed by her plight. Layla, the Muslim-background believer, turns to a forbidden boyfriend for the guidance both to protect Fatima and to find her identity apart from her parents and her former culture. Rain, the bi-racial hippie chick, secrets Fatima away from her violent family, but as the experience draws her closer to Christ, Rain's own relationship with her significant other, James, will suffer the consequences. Sarah, an ultra-conservative Christian on the surface, is torn between a desire to help Fatima and a need to conceal her shameful double life and dangerous habits from her older sister, Allie. As they struggled to safely guide this courageous young woman through a maze of intrigue and terorism, all will be forced to ask what they are willing to risk for love, for each other, and for God.
|Author Dina Sleiman|
Dina Sleiman is a Carol Award winner and holds a Masters in Fine Arts. She's a multi-published author with several publishing houses including Bethany, Zondervan, Whitefire and more. In her day job, Dina utilizes her writing talent with Operation Blessing International. She also serves on the Editorial Board at Whitefire Publishing. Most of the time you'll find this Virginia resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and children, preferably at the oceanfront! Visit her at http://www.dinasleiman.com