After releasing my lone little book, the new line shut down. I understood this, really I did. I took a risk along with them, and this time around, the risk didn't pay off. But the short version is that my lone little book for the most part fizzled along with the line.
Now here's the part of the story I didn't mention. Love in Three-Quarter Time was my second published novel, but it was actually the THIRD novel I'd written. In between my first historical and this one, God had laid on my heart the story of a contemporary Muslim woman living in America and her interactions with a blond ballerina wounded by church and a bi-racial hippie chick of the New Age persuasion. A story full of humor, drama, and romance, but much more issue-driven than my other novels. My husband is from the Middle East, and he works in ministry to Muslims, so this story was very special to me.
This is the book that caught my current agent's attention, even though she wasn't sure she could sell it. Evidently the publishers felt the same way, because it had a habit of sitting in committee for lengthy periods of time. Meanwhile, a part of me wasn't sure I even wanted it to sell. I didn't want to be branded as a contemporary “women's fiction” writer. Not to mention that my cross-cultural marriage seemed to be perpetually in crisis, and I wasn't sure if it would be a good career move to highlight that area of my life. Most importantly, though, I was concerned that I might draw negative attention from Muslim readers, and I just wasn't sure how safe that would be.
Another thing changed over that year. Suddenly, “New Adult” fiction became the hot thing everyone was talking about. With my twenty something characters searching for meaning and identity, I no longer had to pigeonhole my book as women's fiction just to find a genre that fit.
So back to my publishing story. When spring of 2013 rolled around and I realized that I might not have a 2013 release, I decided to just go for it. I also work as an acquisitions editor for WhiteFire Publishing, so I asked the owners if they'd like to publish my contemporary novel, Dance from Deep Within. Since Roseanna White had been my critique partner on this project and loved it from the beginning, it was a no-brainer.
“This is not my kind of book. So when I say it went deep into my heart, you’ll know it’s a story that will impact you no matter what genre you typically read. This novel will open your eyes. You’ll start seeing the people around you in a vastly different way than you do right now. And you can’t help but be changed by the three young women who Sleiman portrays with authenticity, penetrating insight, and well crafted prose.”
Dance From Deep Within