Naomi here, introducing a special guest today, Dina Sleiman, author of Dance of the Dandelion. Dina writes lyrical stories that dance with light. 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. She was the Overall Winner in the 2009 Touched by Love contest for unpublished authors. Her debut novel, Dance of the Dandelion with Whitefire Publishing, is now available at amazon and other online and ebook distributors. Dina is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. She has recently become an acquisitions editor for WhiteFire as well and enjoys blogging at Inkwell Inspirations. Join her as she discovers the unforced rhythms of grace.
Thanks for that introduction Dina. Dina will be giving away a coupon for an ebook copy of Dance of the Dandelion with no limitations. In fact, if you already own Dandelion, you can use it for another one of our WhiteFire novels.
Can you start by telling me about your family? How many children do you have, and if they still live at home, how old are they?
I have a daughter, Christiana age 17, and two sons, Jonathan age 14 and Adam age 9.
I grew up in a family of three siblings as well. It was often entertaining. :) Why did you choose to work from home rather than find a job elsewhere?
I am not supermom. I can’t even imagine coming home after a long day of work and still needing to take care of my home and my children. Previously, I have worked part time outside of the home teaching English, dance, etc… More than about 10 hours a week really drained me. Writing from home fits my schedule and my lifestyle well. And besides that, writing is what I’ve always desired to do. I think at the end of the day, if you love what you do, you’ll thrive. Teaching drained me. Office work or physical labor would be much worse. But writing fuels me.
That sounds so inspiring. I'm glad you're able to do what you love. What is the most challenging aspect of working from home while raising children?
My children are school aged. So the biggest challenge to me is balancing my time during summer break. It would be easy for me to hide in my room with my computer all day, but I try to do plenty of activities with them.
When they were little, I kept my writing small to match. Poetry and skits for church mostly. I actually started my first novel while homeschooling. At that time I wrote mostly on weekends or when I could get away for a few days. Personally, I have a hard time writing with noise and chaos in the background. But I know some young mothers are able to write through anything.
Ah, I'm the same way. I cannot write with chaos in the background. But my kids are still young, so sometimes I have to be rather creative with my ways to sneak writing time. Did you ever get your children involved with your home business? What advice would you give mothers thinking about having their children help with their business?
Hmm. I suppose in a way I do. My daughter critiques all my books. In fact, I can safely say she’s my hardest critic and doesn’t pull any punches. She’s also the cover model for my debut book. And my nine-year-old son is already writing novels. I could imagine co-authoring a young adult book with him at some point in the future for publication. I have some funny little snippets of stories he wrote at age six in a nonfiction book that might be releasing next year.
The only advice I have on this issue is that when children see their mothers pursuing their goals with passion, they will naturally do the same. So whether or not your children help with your business, just watching you work toward your dreams will encourage them that they can attain theirs.
I love what you said about teaching your children to pursue their goals with passion. It sounds as though your children have a wonderful role model in you! What challenges did working from home present to your marriage, and how did you compensate?
Early in our marriage, my husband did not support my writing. He felt like if I worked, it should be for guaranteed cash. But we’ve come a long way in understanding each other. Once his career became stable, he didn’t mind me writing for my own enjoyment. And he’s seen how writing makes me a happier person. I think I’m a better wife and mother when writing because I’m more content and fulfilled. One of the lessons I’ve learned is to be sure to communicate what I’m working on and how long it will take so that he knows what to expect. For instance during my book in a month challenge, I told the family not to expect much of me and that I might let the house go for a while, but that I’d be back to normal in December.
I'm glad you got things worked out with your husband. I'm blessed with a husband that, by and large, supports my writing endeavors, even if he doesn't always understand them. If you could start all over again, what would you do differently? What would you do the same?
I might have started working on my novels sooner and stayed more in touch with the writing world. But that’s mostly logic talking. I feel like I followed God’s leading to the best of my understanding every step along the way. During the time I wasn’t writing, I did a lot of living, including church ministry. And I feel like that strengthens my books.
Is it worth it? What keeps you home instead of having an outside career?
Honestly, the idea of an outside career does not appeal to me. When my children are grown, I could imagine myself teaching again, but at this point I need to save all my attention and patience for them. I actually have a very introverted personality, and living with four extroverts takes up all my social energy.
Thanks so much for the encouragement and advice, Dina. It sounds as though you've really found a good balance between your home and your work. Dina will be back with us on Wednesday, sharing a simple recipe. To be entered in Dina's giveaway, be sure to leave a comment below, followed by your email address so I have a way of contacting the winner, whom I will announce on Saturday. And without further ado, here's more on Dina's debut novel, which I read and loved, Dance of the Dandelion.
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?
To find out more about Dina, be sure to visit her website. www.dinasleiman.com