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