27 June 2011

Interview with Dina Sleiman

Interview by Carrie Fancett Pagels

I met Dina through my local ACFW group. Dina is the chairman of the Tidewater Area Christian Writers group that meets in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I will forever be grateful for her friendship and encouragement.  Dina agreed to support me when I took on the original position as leader of the Tidewater group a few years back but she did more than that, encouraging me during a difficult time in my life, too, when my RA was out of control and my mother was dying. Dina is a teacher and an encourager as well as a prayer warrior. She connected me with the HisWriters group, which is an online group for writers with historical European settings. Dina also set up a critique group last winter and assisted a half dozen of us as we got our manuscripts in order.  Three of us now have proposals out!  Thanks, Dina, for all you do!


Dina Sleiman is the author of Dance of the Dandelion. 

Dina, welcome to Overcoming Through Time.  Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your character’s has had to get past?

Hmm…can I play it safe and stick with my character J Dandelion’s main issue in life is that her earliest memories are of a famine. These memories and her panicked responses to them push her to always long for more. To always strive to overcome her circumstances. Sometimes this is good, but other times it drives her to terrible choices. Especially concerning men. I can relate to her a bit in that area I suppose.

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
It’s from the message version of Matthew 11. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.” The words “the unforced rhythms of grace” really speak to me as a dancer. I’m sure they would speak to Dandelion as well. We both long for that feeling of living “freely and lightly.” But Dandelion won’t be able to do that until she comes to Christ and is able to put her haunting past behind her.

Disability friendliness: My novel is available in ebook, including kindle which has large print and text to speech capabilities.

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
The main thing I want my readers to get from my books in general is how to experience intimacy with Christ. That’s really what my tagline, “Dance with Passion,” is all about. I tend to think that an intimate relationship with Christ can pretty much cure whatever ails you. In that way, God can speak into your life whatever you need, despite your past, beliefs, or the obstacles you face.
Dance of the Dandelion specifically deals with the true meaning of love, contrasting various romantic fallacies with God’s definition of love. In the book, different men represent different types of love. However, it is not until Dandelion discovers true intimacy with Christ and is healed of her old wounds that she is free to love as God would have her love.

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
The most excited thing that I discovered by accident (or God coincidence) was that worship dance existed in the Catholic church in the Middle Ages, which is when Dance of the Dandelion is set. I’ve been involved with worship dance for almost twenty years and it is a primary way I relate with God, but I didn’t think I could include it in any historical novels, other than maybe Biblical, and still be accurate. One day I was wandering through the dance section of the public library and saw a very academic book called Dance as Religious Studies. It chronicled the place of dance in major world religions throughout history. I had already begun working on Dandelion at the time, and she loved to dance, but I didn’t realize I could actually have her experience legitimate worship dance until I found that book.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
Dandelion experiences what we today would call panic attacks when she is triggered about a traumatic event in her past during a famine. I actually use aspects of a prayer counseling technique called “theophostic,” which means “God’s light.” Through God’s guidance in prayer, Dandelion ends up reliving the traumatic situation in her mind, and when God brings his light and truth to the situation, she is finally set free.

Through the demonstration of this inner-healing prayer technique, which is really just another variation of my theme on intimacy with Christ, I think this book could minister to people who need to overcome any sort of wounds from their past, not just panic attacks or starvation.

Thank you Dina for agreeing to answer these questions.  Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!

Giveaway: Leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win either a Kindle version, available now or the paperback edition, available in October!  

Kindle purchase link:  http://www.amazon.com/Dance-of-the-Dandelion-ebook/dp/B00547KPI6/ref=kinw_dp_ke?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2


  1. Hi, Dina and Carrie! This was such a wonderful interview! It's so awesome to me the way God supernaturally puts people in our lives when we need them the most. I'm so thankful, Nina, you were there for Carrie during that difficult time in her life, and continue to be there for her and others.

    I will buy this book when it comes out (or perhaps I will win it;-), because something touched me in my spirit as I looked at the cover and I said, "That will be me someday dancing in freedom." And then the scripture came to mind from Psalm 30:11-Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing, and girded me with gladness! I am having some issues right now, Dina (losing my mom and physical problems,and maybe even some problems Dandelion experiences as a result of my abusive childhood...haven't read the book so am not sure, etc.,) and I believe your book will be an inspiration to me. I'm not even sure why I feel this way right now, but I feel the encouraging presence of the Holy Spirit. People will probably think it strange when they read this, I don't even understand... Pray for me, Dina and Carrie I know you do! His grace is sufficient!

    I feel a little strange revealing some of these things, but this blog is Overcoming Through Time and we all go through those times as Carrie mentioned above when we need the prayers and encouragement of others...it doesn't make us weird...only human! Thank you both...I didn't intend on saying all of this...it just came out.

  2. Wow, Diana. You totally made me cry. I can't tell you how many times I've prayed that this cover would draw people to my book and that God's anointing would shine through it. (By the way, the cover model is my daughter, Christiana, who is a beautiful worship dancer :)

    Anyway, this is such a huge encouragement to me. Due to the unpopular time period, I published this with a small house. In many ways it's great. I've had so much freedom and input. But I have to do almost all the marketing on my own, and I've been very intimidated by this. In fact, all I've really known to do is a lot of intercessory prayer over this book.

    Your comment is such a reassurance that God can do the work and draw people who need this book to it, which is all I've ever cared about.

    And yes, there are some abuse issues dealt with in this book, although it is not a major theme. My hope and prayer is that it will lead many to true freedom in Christ and an intimate relationship with him.

  3. Dina, as soon as I saw the cover I got goosebumps and tears sprang up...that only happens when I feel the Holy Spirit...it was the strangest thing. And it has never happened when I look at a book cover that I can recall. My hubby got me the Willow Tree figure with the girl who has her arms spread out like she is rejoicing and there are doves on her arms (you have probably seeen it) and it says "Free to sing, laugh, dance...so I believe God has good things in store for me. Your cover was a double witness to me. God heard your prayers over your book, honey. Expect to hear some good reports in the future. I thought when I typed that comment you would think I was a little off in the head, but you can ask Carrie since she has met me and is a psychologist; I'm normal. LOL Computer illiterate but normal.:-) And Christiana is lovely. Please tell her I said so!


  4. I'll let her know. You definitely made both of our days.

  5. Oh, it's so neat to get to know Dina better right here on this beloved blog! Every time I see Dina's cover I SMILE:) It just makes me happy when I look at it and I imagine what's between the pages is the same. Please don't enter me in the drawing as I plan on buying a ppbk copy. I didn't know you 3 knew each other but it's a JOY to find out! Bless you all!

  6. Well, now Diana made me cry, too! That is so cool how the Holy Spirit moved you and spoke to Dina through you, Diana! Dina has a gift of discernment, too, and last fall she spoke to me what God revealed to her and it has come to pass, which is so cool! This book will bring healing to people!

  7. Laura, thanks for coming by and getting to know Dina. I am pretty sure you met her at the conference last year. She is such a blessing to all of us here in Tidewater and now with her book she will be touching lives all over. Oh, and she has a really cool book she is working on about the Islamic faith and several young ladies whose paths all intersect. Very moving.

  8. Laura, did you get your advance reader copy? I think Roseanna was going to send you one.

  9. Carrie, if you keep this up I might be nominated for sainthood. Which I suppose would be very medieval of me :)

  10. It's pretty hard to put this book down...ahem, as in my ebook version on my little Ipod. Readers are going to fall in love with Dandelion!

    Isn't it great that the cover model is Dina's beautiful daughter?

  11. I have to chime in a say that I totally LOVED Dance of the Dandelion. I told Dina that I thought this was a Christian novel that would do extremely well in the wider audience. That's what I'm hoping for her.

  12. Hi Christine and Deb! Thanks for stopping by ladies. I hope your predictions are correct :)

  13. I will give you the nomination, Dina, for sainthood! Isn't it great we have kids to keep us humble, though?

  14. Wow! What a great interview! And these posts are so powerful. It's so amazing how our God works.

  15. I agree, Teresa! Before I ever became a contributor, I told Carrie how anointed her blog was and it was amazing to me how people felt comfortable enough to come on here and talk about overcoming the obstacles in their life through Christ. It's a wonderful blog, just like Carrie!

  16. Thanks Teresa and Diana. And thanks, Carrie, for having me visit.

  17. Thanks so much, Teresa. That is really what my writing ministry is all about. Written by someone who today is in a horrible arthritis flare up. But God is good. Diana and I cried together about some stuff God has brought us through. And Dina, well, she is like a rock. A rock that dances. And writes. And mothers her kids. And leads.

    Oh, and the WINNER is TERESA! CONGRATS!! T., we need to know if you want the ebook now or if you want the paper version when it comes out. Thanks everyone for stopping by Overcoming Through Time!

  18. Congrats Teresa!! Dina and Carrie, thank you for the inspiring interview.

  19. Excitement beginning to end sounds like my kind of book!

  20. Since I don't have a Kindle yet (still praying for one though LOL) I'll wait on the book. Carrie I'm going to put you on our praylist for our church. RA runs in our family, my dad had it and now my sister has it and I was diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome a couple of years ago. It not only causes painful joints like RA, it attacks your eyes and mouth and makes them extremely dry, so I can sympathize with you about the flare-ups. But I know that our God is able to heal us no matter what comes our way. As a child I had asthma, and every winter it would flare up terribly and I would be so sick I had to sit up to sleep at night. My dad and mom were mighty prayer warriors so they would pray for me and I would get better. The asthma went away the year I was twelve, but the first year my husband and I were married I suffered a severe attack and I could not seem to get better. After years of going to doctor after doctor and trying every kind of medicine, the Lord chose to heal me. So I know without a doubt He is able to heal you too!


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