Monday, October 22, 2012

Interview and Book Release Party--Dina Sleiman!

 Welcome to the week of Dina!
Today I have the pleasure of welcoming her good friend
 Roseanna White
 to interview Dina about her October release
 from Zondervan First:
 Love in Three Quarter Time! 

Stay and Mingle! We've got a splendid table of 19th century food 
and a peek at her characters!                
To order visit

Thank you Roseanna for taking up the challenge, and being part of our party!  

Roseanna White: How did you get the idea for Love in Three-Quarter Time?

Dina Sleiman: Well, my agent had basically given me two choices. 1) Write a contemporary romantic suspense. 2) Write a historical romance. I took a class on romantic suspense at ACFW in 2011, and decided forget that option. Totally wasn’t me. So I started really praying about an idea for a historical romance. What I felt God gave me was the title, Love in Three-Quarter Time. Then I was like, “Okay, and…?” I felt like His answer was that I know how to write now, and the title should be enough to get me started. Ha ha! He was right. Before long my brain went to work and a storyline started to unfold. Six weeks later the first draft was written.

RW: I remember when you came up with the idea, and it struck me then as a definite God-thing. Even more so now! So while we’re talking inspiration and writing, what was the most fun bit of history you discovered while researching for the book?

DS: Hmm…I learned so much fun and interesting stuff about Jefferson and Monticello, but I wasn’t able to use most of it in this book. Much of what I learned would actually be considered controversial in conservative Christian circles. Someday I’d love to write about a fictional plantation similar to Monticello. But I did set a few scenes at Monticello. I especially loved the cool little garden pavilion where a pivotal encounter takes place between hero and heroine. I was also fascinated by the history of the “Black Indians.” These were runaway slaves who integrated into Native American culture. And of course, the dance history and the fact that the waltz was considered a “scandalous” dance during its day was tons of fun.

RW: That would be a fun story! I love that lesser-known side of history. And while it’s a shame you couldn’t use much in here, at least you got to integrate a hint. Now—who’s your favorite character in LiTQT and why?

DS: Oh, I think that would have to be Lorimer. Lorimer is an enigmatic circuit preacher. Earthy yet mystical. He’s given his life to serve the “least of these” and dedicates himself to ministering to slaves and Indians, as well as secretly working with the abolitionist cause. In addition to being the spiritual mentor in the book, he’s also part of my love triangle :) He’s known for his buckskin attire, his reddish gold hair, his muscular physique, and his boyish grin. A number of my readers so far have mentioned that he’s their favorite character.
RW: He’s definitely a good one! The hunky moral center—*blissful sigh* ;- ) I happen to know from reading this that the waltz, when it first arrived in America, was a bit different from the waltz we know. Can you explain it to us?

DS: Yes, it looked more like the cotillion of that day. Lots of pas de bourrées and spins. It was closer to the Viennese waltz than the American waltz. The most interesting part, though, was that it included a variety of close holds, several with hands linked overhead, that seemed quite scandalous at the time. I’ve written an entire article on the subject, which will appear on Colonial Quills this Thursday, and CJ will be talking more about it here tomorrow.

RW: When you first describe it in the book, I was pretty surprised by those overhead holds! Not what I thought I knew about the dance, LOL. Okay, time to shift gears. =) You’re being kidnapped, but your kidnappers, wanting to keep you quiet, let you bring your Bible and one other book with you. Which one would you grab?

DS: Ugh! Just one. Maybe Sailing Between the Stars by Steven James. That’s the first book that comes to mind. It’s not a novel, but it’s a book I can read again and again and learn something different each time. Plus, it includes poetry, which always brightens my day.

RW: From all I’ve heard (mostly from you, LOL) that’s a great choice. Now, the really important question: are you going to be arriving at the next writers conference wearing a Regency gown befitting Gingersnap? ;-)

DS: I’ve thought about it. Don’t tempt me.

RW: Oh, come on! I’ll wear my big hat again . . . ;-) Okay, next question. If you had to pick one historical era to live in, when would it be and why?

DS: Oh my. Truthfully, living in any historical era seems pretty rough, unless you’re part of the teeny, tiny upper class. Even then you have wars, diseases, oppression of women, and dangerous fashions. I will say, part of my reason for choosing 1817 for this novel is that the fashions were much more natural and free flowing. I hate uncomfortable clothes, and they seem to be the bane of the upper class throughout most of history. But if I choose a time in history based on what was going on in the world, I would probably choose the late 1800s to early 1900s because it would be so fascinating to see the world changing with new technologies every few years, and the changing role of women as well. So if you combine that with my fashion issues, I guess early 1900s would be the best time for me.

RW: As they moved into the Edwardian era, the clothing did get much more natural again, so I could definitely see you in that. And I’ve thought all the technological and mechanical and social advances would make that a fun era to witness!

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Dina! Love in Three-Quarter Time is a wonderful book, and I’m so excited that Zondervan loved it so much they’re launching this new line with it. Readers, be sure to check it out on Amazon LOVE IN THREE QUARTER TIME  and Inkies, thanks so much for inviting me to be your guest-correspondent on this interview! =)

Thank you Roseanna and Dina!
I hope our guests realize that if they turn around, they'll see we have a great buffet of 18th century foods (and some of our contemporary favorites as well).  Mingling today will be Dina's characters, as she cast them in her novel, as well as a regular or two from our wait staff!

Dina's heroine Constance has her hands full with this love triangle! Robert or Lorimer? 

Seriously, we spared no expense for this party! Renting out an authentic kitchen and crew...
Peanut soup, shepherds pie, dumplings, collops of salmon, pickles, cornbread, grouse, clams, sea bass and striper, huckleberry pie, sweet potatoes, parsnips, coffee and cocoa!
and don't forget those little candies called nut-sweets!

Bless his pea-picking heart, Matthew can never say no to Dina!
More Research?? Gina, Dina and I checked out the quality of colonial era hot cocoa
 in Williamsburg VA, to be sure it was just right for our 1817 party!


  1. I am ready to pass by the coffee this morning for some of that hot cocoa and definitely won't be passing by the biscuits.

    Congratulations, Dina! I think Love in Three Quarter Time is going to be a great success for you and Zondervan!

    Let us know where else you'll be today, so readers can learn more. I have already read your thoughts on the romance novel genre over at the Writer's Alley today

  2. Thanks, Deb. There's also an review of my novel today at

    Starting off slow with some coffee, but I plan to dig into more of those goodies as the day goes on. Glad our colonial chefs could be with us, and glad you thought of that silly picture of Gina and I at Williamsburg. LOL.

  3. Oo, what a fabulous, delicious-looking party! So glad to be invited to this one. =)

    CONGRATULATIONS, Dina!! May this wonderful book be a huge, over-the-top success for you.

  4. Ah! so glad you are here, ladies. Roseanna, what can we entice you with from the buffet?

    Dina is here one minute and gone the next. Ahh, the duties of an author during release week!

    I love the sounds of a busy kitchen and, oh my, the scents coming our way!

    We have some great posts coming up this week to celebrate Dina's new release and we'll try to keep up with the other places she will be visiting.

  5. This is a great party for both Colonial and Regency loving ladies. I think I'm ready for some cornbread. Still warming up for the heavier treats.

  6. Yes, you hit a great period which I suppose I should properly call Federalist! We'll dress in the Regency era and eat what our Colonial chefs create. Makes me wonder what new food was the trend on 1817 tables...

  7. Yes, I believe it's actually late Federalist. I do know that canning started not too long before my book was set. Maybe early federalist. I had to look it up because I wanted an apple pie in the spring. I also know that French cuisine was big at Monticello. Jefferson had some of his slaves trained in Paris. He was very progressive for his time, and many of his slaves were relatives of his wife, so they were trusted members of the family, literally.

  8. I don't consider myself a big celebrity groupie or scandal monger but...

    between you and me...

    I find that whole Jefferson/ Sally story fascinating!

    And oh yes, I agree there had to have been lots of links to Jefferson's love of France.

    why am I hungry again?

  9. Oooh, lovely interview. Lovely party. Congratulations, Dina, on your new book. It sounds wonderful, and the cover is gorgeous!

    I don't know if you got enough waitstaff this time though. ;)

  10. Deb, I love the Sally Hemmings story too. One of my future goals is to set a series in a fictional plantation similar to Monticello.

    Thinking of French food makes me think of my favorite. Pain au chocalat. Do you think Matthew would be a dear and run out and get us some? Since he can't tell me no and all. If he catches a direct flight both ways, he could make it back in time for dinner probably.

  11. Thanks, DeAnna. I'm fine with the waitstaff. We get a little decadent around here sometimes, and I'm not talking food ;)

  12. Oh we had such fun that day at Colonial Williamsburg! Those poor reinactors were thrilled for us to leave the coffeehouse.

    I love Lorimer. Something inherantly sexy about a man having confidence in his identity in Christ and not being bound to what others think of him.

    And I do wish I could write a first draft in 6 weeks.

  13. Ahh...Lorimer. Sigh. He can't wait for his own book.

    Gina, I actually found it easier and much more efficient to just keep writing while I was in the flow. It kept everything really tight and all the pieces fell into place well. I told the family to pretend I was gone last year during November.

  14. Two other things I wanted to add to the conversation. 1) Love in Three-Quarter Time is only $3.99!!! 2) If you haven't checked out Roseanna's writing yet, you need to. She's on my short list of favorite authors.

  15. too bad that Concorde is no longer flying, huh?

    Well, I think our local high end grocery store sells these in their store in the rich section of Rochester.

    Last year I wrote 70k in a month. Okay, so now I'm burning calories whipping each chapter into place but it was so much easier to be in the character's heads to that extent. Going to try for the same thing in November!

    Dina, that sounds like a great idea for a story.

  16. Pass the hot chocolate. I need some desperately this morning.

    A draft in 6 weeks. 70K in a month. You ladies are like cheetahs!

    Great interview, ladies--and a great story! It goes on sale tomorrow on Amazon, I see.

    Congratulations, Dina!

  17. Hurray for Dina! I love your cover. Love the setting you chose and can't wait to download the story tomorrow. $3.99 is a steal! And speaking of stealing... the buffet is calling my name.

  18. Yes, Susie, amazon and just about every ebook provider imaginable. There's been some hold up on the print version. I'll keep everyone posted on that.

  19. Lisa, why wait when you can pre-order today? Okay, I think I'm ready for lunch. I'd like Lorimer to bring me a plate full of everything please, and a hot chocolate.

  20. I think I was even more impressed after the short time it took for Dina to whip that rough draft into shape.

    I know you are all going to love this story!

    3.99 is a steal. DeAnna will be bringing us a bit of info about Zondervan First later this week. Tomorrow... the waltz! This is going to be a great week!

    All these releases are spoiling us. AND THE CALORIES ! yikes!

  21. I love this book, love the cover, love the models for the characters, love that Matthew guy, and love this interview. There's a lot of love going around! Thank you for visiting, Roseanna. Congratulations, Dina.

  22. Okay, now I am here for lunch and I'm going for the peanut soup, and some nice baked fish and sweet potatoes (not baked in the same dish I hope)

    It's also a perfect time for Apple Dumplings. Which I will avoid... darn.
    Of course my will power is pretty low when the server turns on the million watt smile... sigh.

  23. Wow, Suzie, I'm certainly feeling the love.

  24. Congratulations, Dina! I cannot wait to read this book. And thanks for the great interview, Roseanna and Debra. Love the teamwork.

    Next time y'all go to Williamsburg, count me in as it's been a life-long dream destination.

    And now I'll settle down with some Shepherd's Pie...mmm-mmm...

  25. Anita, anytime you can make it to Williamburg I'd be more than happy to meet you there and drink hot chocolate with you with silly looks on our faces. LOL. I think we could rope CJ and Carrie Pagels into meeting us pretty much anytime too.

  26. As I recall, that hot chocolate was very strong. didn't Gina add lots of cream and sugar to it?

    I would love to go again to Williamsburg, too! What a lovely place but hanging out wit Dina, Gina, Carrie Pagels, and CJ for one of the days was way too cool!

    Anita, you need to come out here and do a writer's retreat at my house. Then we can drive to the Historic Triangle!

  27. Um, Deb... How many people can fit in your house? Cuz' I'm inviting myself along for the next Williamsburg trip!

  28. Well, it's a long drive so you'd all have to stay and relax for a few days first. I have five beds and I'll happily take the couch!

    Boston is closer by the way. I'm still hoping to get to Quincy and the John Adams home.

  29. Last I heard, Boston has an airport, so that shouldn't be a problem, eh. Sounds good to me. I love lakes. And trees. :D

  30. Congratulations, Dina!

    I so want that hat. Just think how nice it would look at a Williamsburg tea.

  31. You know, CJ, I might have to content myself with a nice hat. I looked at Regency gowns last night and there's no way I'm spending that much. Even an ugly day dress was over $100. More like $300 for something that was actually nice. I guess I could make a project of it with my Mom and sew one. The patterns were much prettier than the pre-sewn versions. I'm not a very good seamstress, but I can cut and pin a pattern.

  32. i love the book cover. the waltz is one of my favorite dances to dance -unfortunately dear hubby doesn't like to dance - too shy, i think.

    i'm impressed with the quick production of the book. i guess that's what happens when one is God inspired, eh?

    and Anita, if you do travel towards Williamsburg, be sure to let me know. you can always come stay with me in Virginia Beach. or at the very least, i can get to Williamsburg to meet up with you and the other ladies.

    Congrats Dina! the book sounds wonderful! i don't think i could ever write an historical romance but i do so love reading them.

  33. Thanks, Deb. I love dancing the Viennese waltz, but the American waltz feels weird to me for some reason. It never sticks in my head for long.

  34. LOL DebH, I knew you'd commented because I rec'd the email, but kept looking on the wrong post wondering why your comment didn't show up. Finally clicked on the link in the email and found it here. Duh.

    Yes, I'd stay at your place too if I ever had a chance to visit the area. Wouldn't miss it after all our virtual travels. :D

    And yes, I do think you could write a historical if you wanted to. After everything you've accomplished, the only thing stopping you would be your own lack of interest.


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