Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Real Scoop from Roseanna White

By Lisa Karon Richardson

Finally! I've been anticipating the Week of Dina for a long time. I'm so excited that it's finally here and that we get to celebrate this beautiful woman and her beautiful story. In the spirit of best trying to honor her, I went behind her back to get the story straight from the horse's mouth. I.e. I went and talked to Dina's editor, Roseanna White. (And for the record, she doesn't resemble a horse at all. See-->)

Raw and unvarnished here are the answers to the questions we all wanted to ask, but hesitated.

Why did you decide to take a risk on Dance of the Dandelion?

Well, before I ever read any of DotD, I just wanted to work with Dina. Why? Because she was enthusiastic and loved the idea of WhiteFire. Because she came up to me and said, “Dandelion belongs with WhiteFire. I know it.” There’s something about such confidence that really grabbed me, given that we were a start-up at the time. Then when I read Dandy, I fell in love, in turn, with the vision Dina had for showcasing love in both its true and partial forms.

What do you love most about DotD?

Overall, I love the journey Dandelion takes. But if we’re talking specifics, my favorite part is when she’s in the convent in Italy. Having heard from Dina about how she stumbled upon the research that lent this part its authenticity, I read it with a smile, knowing God had delivered this section into her hands. I absolutely loved seeing the passionate faith of these sisters in Christ, the artistic expression and selfless giving that brought them—and Dandelion—closer to the Lord.

How do you find a market for a book that doesn't fit neatly into a genre niche?

Well, we’re lucky in that there’s a straight “historical” category, LOL. It doesn’t fit the romance genre, to be sure, but many historicals don’t. So we can slide it into the broader genre without problem.

Of course, medievals aren’t exactly the “it” genre right now, but we felt confident that a little detail like that wouldn’t hinder this book, because it isn’t really your “typical” medieval. It isn’t dealing with the issues many medievals do, but rather with the essence of love and true faith—timeless subjects.

What is your vision for Whitefire?

Well, our motto is “Where Spirit Meets the Page,” and our vision is to bring life to the books that best embody that—books that may get turned down by big publishers, not because of craft or writing style, but because of subject or setting. We want to find authors who have those “books of the heart” that really bring eras or characters to life in fresh, bold ways. We want books that are filled with the fire of the Spirit, whether subtly, through an analogue, or, like Dina’s, overtly.

Life is an amazing gift. God is an amazing giver. We want to find stories that portray that in ways people might not have seen before. And we want to work with the authors who read our titles and say, “Wow, I want to be a part of WhiteFire. They get it.”

What role do you see small presses playing in the changing world of publishing?

As advances shrink and ebooks take over more of the market, in many ways the playing field is starting to level. The big presses still have the readership, which is great—but readers are also willing to spend a few bucks on an ebook from an unknown, which is allowing the small presses to gain a foothold which, once achieved, will pave the way for their other titles and print editions. More, with finances tight, some publishers become less and less willing to take a risk on what isn’t a sure thing. Which means more and more great authors are finding themselves with fabulous ideas that can’t find a traditional home. And in an article I read a few months ago by a major publication, more and more authors are also craving the personal touch. In a small press, they might be the big fish. At a big press, they might be virtually ignored, and that doesn’t cut it in today’s market. Publisher and author really have to work together to make a mark.

Which is why at WhiteFire, we believe in being a family. =)

Dina Sleiman and WhiteFire editor/owner
Roseanna White at 2011 ACFW St Louis
Finally, spill the beans. Dina was a diva wasn't she? She totally threw artistic temper tantrums and demanded lattes at odd hours, didn't she?

Oh, a total Diva. Demanding fruit baskets and limo service and . . . LOL. In truth, Dina has been a real blessing to us. When we first read Dandy, we asked for some changes. Not only did she deliver, she surpassed my expectations. And after she was contracted, she then came on board as an editor too, which just goes to show you how much we love and trust her vision of our vision. ;-) Dina has a great eye for story development and true understanding of what WhiteFire likes and wants. Having her as a member of both our author and editorial team has enriched us in ways beyond measure.

There you have it folks.

You can get a copy of Dance of the Dandelion for yourself here. And if you'd like to find out more about Whitefire and their other great books you can go here.

Influenced by books like The Secret Garden and The Little Princess, Lisa Karon Richardson’s early books were heavy on boarding schools and creepy houses. Now that she’s (mostly) all grown-up she still loves a healthy dash of adventure and excitement in any story she creates, even her real-life story. She’s been a missionary to the Seychelles and Gabon and now that she and her husband are back in America, they are tackling a brand new adventure, starting a daughter-work church in a new city. Her first novella, Impressed by Love, part of the Colonial Courtships collection, is coming in May, 2012.


  1. Congratulations WhiteFire for releasing another book. Excellent choice.

  2. What a nice surprise! Lisa kept this one under wraps, but how fun to see Roseanna here today.

    Everyone certainly needs to check out all of our WhiteFire books, all for under $4 on ebook. So buy all four for the price of one normal book :) "Shadowed in Silk," "Jewel of Persia," and "A Stray Drop of Blood," and of course mine.

    In addition to being my editor, Roseanna is one of my favorite authors and my critique partner. She's just amazing. I love reading everyone of her books. And when I actually find something to fix (which isn't often) I'm so thrilled to get to be a part of her process.

    And, another fun part of the story is that Christine Lindasy, author of Shadowed in Silk, is also my crit partner, although Roseanna and Christine aren't crit partners for each other. So I kind of feel like the link in this initial little sisterhood.

    Can't wait for Sandi Rog to join us soon. She's amazing too. Just wait and see what we have in store for you all in 2012!

  3. Did I mention she's also a great proof reader. Roseanna, do you want to jump in there and correct my usage of "everyone" on the last comment. LOL.

  4. I did notice it, LOL. ;-) What can I say, I'm a grammar nerd.

    It was fun to be on here today! And way to plug the family, Dina!! We do indeed have a fabulous lineup. =)

  5. Roseanna, thanks for joining us today. I loved reading the details of Dina's journey with Whitefire, but I also loved reading about your passion and vision for spirit-filled books.

    Lisa, this is a fabulous interview. Great questions!

  6. Thanks, Lisa. I always wondered how Dance of the Dandelion was chosen for the WhiteFire line-up.

    I'm really enjoying getting to know the Dina this week. ;)

  7. Oh no, there it is again. This might go to my head. LOL. Then Roseanna really will have a diva on her hands.

  8. Ha! I never thought about it until I saw all the comments and emails and now it's stuck in my head. :D

    By the way, with Lisa's blessing I just added the photo I took of you two (Dina and Roseanna) while we were in St Louis.

    That sure was a special time. :)

  9. Oh, I always love behind the scenes stories!

    Thanks for sharing this and hurray for WhiteFire!

  10. Whitefire is going to make a name for themselves with the quality of their books, that's for sure!

    Love the details and the photo!

    Back to work. Today I'm boiling up the laundry and hanging it up. I'll get back to my baking duties soon.

  11. Fantastic interview. So interesting to see how White Fire and Dandelion came together.

    And great start. I've only read Dance of the Dandelion, but if its any indication of the other titles, White Fire is a rising star.

  12. Thanks Deb, DeAnna, and Barb for all your kind comments.

    Deb, you can stick to baking. Really--no need to overdo it :)

  13. Loved the interview, and I'm so glad Roseanna could visit today!

    Week of The Dina is loads of fun! :)

  14. I know I'm having fun. Glad you ladies are enjoying it too.

  15. Looks like you girls are having fun without me. So glad, because I was stuck traveling and "meeting" for the day job.

    I'm in agreement with one and all that WhiteFire is definitely going to be a contender in the publishing world!


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