By Dina Sleiman
WhiteFire Publishing, 2011
Price $14.99 for a print copy, under $4 for an electronic edition
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?
Interview with Dina Sleiman
1. This is your first novel – how did you find the writing process?
I first studied creative writing in college and graduate school, but then life swept me in the direction of teaching, dancing, parenting, and even homeschooling for a while. When I finally got back into writing in 2006, the literary elements came easily to me. And since this book had been brewing in my mind for many years, the story came without much difficulty as well. Anytime I could find a few free hours to sit down to write, the words would practically burst out of me. However, I still had soooo much to learn about the craft of writing a novel for today’s market. I spent the next few years working with an editor, attending writing conferences, and learning the ropes of the industry. Finally everything came together, and I really hope you’ll enjoy the result.
2. Why did you want to set your novel in the Middle Ages?
First, I loved Chaucer, which I imagine must be true of many medieval authors. I remember in high school dreaming of finishing the missing Canterbury Tales. Glad I didn’t try to tackle that project. LOL. When I thought about the topic for my first novel, I wasn’t sure if I would want to aim toward an inspirational or a secular market. And because of that, the idea of placing it in a time long before our current religious schisms and vocabulary really appealed to me. I thought it would be a great opportunity to look at faith through fresh eyes. My favorite poets are the medieval mystics like St. Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, and Catherine of Sienna. I longed to delve deep into the type of intimate relationships with Christ that these saints experienced.
As I studied this time period I became entranced with it. My book is the story of a young peasant girl who survived the famine of 1315. She is so desperate to escape poverty that she turns her back on love to find a better life and begins a looping journey. Because of this, the story takes a broad look at many aspects of medieval culture including peasants, nobility, city life, clergy, sea travel, and even spends some time in an Italian convent. I think it will provide a different glimpse into this time than the typical tale of knights and ladies, while still providing much of that excitement.