Interview with Dina Sleiman & GIVEAWAY

Interview with Dina Sleiman & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted Word


Dina Sleiman writes stories of passion and grace. 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. Her debut novel, Dance of the Dandelion with Whitefire Publishing, won an Honorable Mention in the 2012 Selah Awards.

Also look for her novels, Love in Three-Quarter TimeDance from Deep Within, and her Valiant Hearts series coming with Bethany House Publishers in 2015. Dina serves as an acquisitions editor for WhiteFire Publishing as well, and she loves to teach at writers conferences throughout the US. For more info visit her at her primary website


Savanna:  Welcome to The Engrafted Word, Dina.  Congratulations on your recent release, Dauntless. Such an intriguing cover and series. 🙂 What was your favorite thing about creating Lady Merry’s character and Timothy Grey’s as well?

Interview with Dina Sleiman & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordDina:  Wait, you mean I created these people? I thought they just popped fully formed into my head. LOL. Seriously, that’s partly true, although I admit to having played a part in their formation. I loved that Merry was so strong and feisty. Her personality is very different than mine, but there are some overlaps, and I drew from my adrenaline junky teenaged son whenever I was in doubt about what she might do or think. As for Timothy, I tried to imagine what sort of guys end up with tough, athletic, smart girls. On one hand that takes a lot of confidence, but on the other hand, in my experience, they are often sensitive, talkative type guys who develop deep friendships. The whole opposites attract thing.

Savanna: It looks like such a fun story! What do you hope readers will take away most from the Valiant Hearts series?

Dina:  To be strong and courageous. I think this is a staple in feisty heroine young adult fiction, and typical in our culture as a whole. But Christian girls are often sent mixed messages on this issue. You can be whatever you want to be, but you should be…(insert tiny box of your denominations choosing.) I want to empower young women to be all that God has called them to be, and to never think of themselves as second rate in any way, shape, or form.

Interview with Dina Sleiman & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordSavanna:  On your website I read that poetry was the first genre you were published in. What is one of your favorite poems? We’d love to hear it.

Dina:  I wrote this about my daughter when she was still a little girl.

Sweet Draughts of Mommy Love

I watch within the golden rays,
beneath the cloudless, azure sky
a white-gold haloed apparition

reflecting iridescent beams,
flitting tender, carving motion,
spinning between earth and sacred

praise is now become Aurora
expanding. Up bright, petal-soft,
beneath a pale, pink floral sheath

a slim, porcelain body sings
like the sun: her arms and legs now
radiating essence, flowing

in kinesthetic child’s delight.

Savanna: Wow. I could never write poetry! 😉 Thanks for sharing that with us.

I also read that you do a lot of speaking engagements. What has been one of your favorite topics you’ve presented and why?

Interview with Dina Sleiman & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordDina:  Recently I taught a class about how to weave important issues into your fiction without being preachy or heavy handed. That subject sparked so much interesting conversation. I think it’s vitally important to put the story first and let any message in the book come organically from the heart of the writer.

Savanna:  Many readers enjoy picking their favorite quotes from novels. Do YOU have a particular favorite quote from “Dauntless” that you can share with us?

Dina:  There are so many, but here’s a silly little one I really like.

Despite his fear of losing her, or perhaps because of it, anger now flared at Red’s words. “I knew it! She had no right to take the decision from me. When I see that girl I ought to…” He shook his hands before him as if he might choke the stubborn chit.

   “Kiss her? Marry her?” Red supplied with a wiggle of his brows.

   Timothy’s anger ebbed at that, and he snickered. “I had meant to say throttle her, but perhaps you have the right of it.”

Savanna:  Aww, love it!  I’m intrigued even more now. 😉  Thanks so much for being with us today, Dina!

Interview with Dina Sleiman & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordIs there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?

Dina:  Book 2, Chivalrous, will be coming out sometime in the fall. The story will continue to follow one of the main characters from Dauntless. And just wait until you meet Gwendolyn Barnes, the young noble woman who longs to be a knight like her brothers. But her domineering father has just returned home, and he’s determined to see her wed to a tough man who will break her wild spirit. Should be interesting.

Savanna:  Can’t wait! Hope you have a great time celebrating your new releases this year!


Don’t miss this AWESOME Giveaway from Bethany House. Enter to win here

Interview with Dina Sleiman & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted Word

Do YOU have a favorite poem? Or a question for Dina? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below! 🙂

21 comments on “Interview with Dina Sleiman & GIVEAWAY
  1. Caryl Kane says:

    Great interview with Dina. Dina, congrats on the release of DAUNTLESS. How has your relationship with the Lord grown through writing?


    • Dina Sleiman says:

      My relationship with God has grown in many ways through my writing. 1) I sometimes work out my own questions through my writing. 2) I’ve really had to lean on him and rely on him especially through this new time of so many deadlines and pressures. 3) Through the amazing relationships I’ve established with other Christian writers.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Caryl. And great question! We’re glad you enjoyed the interview. Blessings, my reading friend!

  2. Nancy M says:

    Thanks for writing YA fiction that is inspiring and good for our teens to read! I am so glad to see more in this genre coming out! Now to get my teen to read it! 🙂 She loves some of the mainstream books and this sounds like one she might like also! I know her mama will!

  3. Lauren says:

    Hi Dina
    I love reading books with a strong heroine and adventure as well so I am exited to read Dauntless! My fav poem is The Arrow & the Song anonymous writer. Learned the poem by heart in HS and still remember it 🙂 great interview and congrats!

    • Dina Sleiman says:

      Thanks 🙂 I’m not sure if we memorized poetry in high school, but I remember several Shakespeare monologues. Some of my favorite poems are by e.e. cummings and Langston Hughes.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      We appreciate you stopping by, Lauren, and sharing with us. Have a great day! Hope you get to read “Dauntless” soon! 😉

  4. Connie Saunders says:

    As a retired librarian, I am thrilled that the YA market has Christian authors making some wonderful contributions. Thank you!
    cps1950 at gmail dot com

  5. Dina Sleiman says:

    I’m excited about it too! Even just a few years ago people were saying there was no market for Christian YA. But it has really been growing.

  6. Trixi O. says:

    Dina, I just read the excerpt for this book over on your website because I wasn’t sure about it. It sucked me in…right smack in the middle of the forest! I couldn’t stop reading it, literally. It reminds me of the story of Robin Hood (it does mention Robyn of the Hode). This is so far from my “usual” read, I don’t generally like this type of book or YA in general. Thanks for changing my mind on this one! Lady Merry (Maid Marian perhaps?) is my kind of gal…adventuresome, courageous, protective of those she loves, fearless & the such; her I can relate to! Now I must read this, what an adventure! 🙂
    The only question I have for you is this, what does your response to Savanna “to let any message in the book come organically from the heart of the writer” mean for you? I’m curious what that entails. What I love about Christian fiction is how an author weaves scripture or talking about God into their story. For me, nothing is too “preachy” as long as they mention Him somewhere/somehow. Otherwise it’s just a bunch of fluff, nice story without any substance (my opinion only).
    I’ve entered the contest already, what a nice prize package! As for your book, thank you for the chance to win a copy. This is definitely on my to-read. Funny, I wasn’t going to include it…but wow, after just the prologue, I was hooked!
    Savanna, good to have you back! I’ve thought about you since you aren’t so quiet, haha! Come to find out, you’ve been out of State helping your families seed company. Must be such a great & fulfilling role for you. Glad you are able to be a part of that. Have a great rest of your week ladies & many, many blessings on you!

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Trixi, you always make me smile! I’m thrilled you’re going to check out Dina’s book. It looks SO intriguing, doesn’t it? 😉

      It is good to be back. I’m still behind on some things, including my reviews… (If you haven’t noticed) ;)… but I’m working on it. 😉 I am grateful I can also work with my family and their business. Gardening is a big part of our lives too and God has greatly blessed. It’s a busy season, for sure! Hope you have a great rest of the week too!

  7. Melanie Backus says:

    I have heard great things about Dauntless and would love to read it. What great covers these books have! My favorite poem is entitled Old Pal.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      I agree, the covers are awesome! 😉 Thanks for joining us for the chat, Melanie! I hope you’ll get the chance to enter in the fun giveaway too.

  8. Dina Sleiman says:

    Trixie, what a great response 🙂 You made my day. As for the Christian messages, what I mean is it should feel like a natural part of the story. I don’t look at a novel and say, “I want to teach this lesson.” Instead I look at the character and say “I want this girl to be struggling with…” and then I think about what spiritual messages would naturally become a part of her story. Or I approach the book wit a question like, “What is the true Godly meaning of love?” and explore that as the characters live out their lives and struggles. For Dauntless, the plot of living during the reign of an evil king really set up most of the spiritual lessons that would naturally arise.

  9. Dina Sleiman says:

    Melanie, I love the covers too! Bethany did a great job.

  10. Savanna Savanna says:

    Thanks, Dina, for taking the time to chat with us here. It’s been such fun! Many blessings on you, your family, and your books! 🙂

  11. bn100 says:

    nice interview

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