By Lisa Karon Richardson
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.