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Author spotlight: Renee Dahlia

1 March 2019

We’re featuring a wide range of Australian authors participating in ARR2019 in venues across Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. 

Today we’re having Elevenses with Renee Dahlia, author of four romances in the genres of contemporary and historical romance. She will be attending ARR2019 in Sydney.

When did you first realise you wanted to be an author?

I came at being an author backwards, so to speak, and didn’t realise I was an author until it was already too late. I studied science and maths at university, selecting courses that had no writing in them, then later in my work career, I ended up writing magazine articles that were based in statistics. Eventually I realised that writing wasn’t this big scary thing, but rather, it was just story telling. Having grown up in a family who are marvellous oral story tellers, it’s ironic that it took me so long to figure out that being an author is my calling.

Why romance and not a different genre?

Most of the books I read are romance—the rest are other genres such as mysteries, and non-fiction.

What was the first romance you read and why did you love it?

It was so long ago, I can’t remember the specific title! My parents are quite academic and frowned upon romance (all genre fiction, really), so it wasn’t something I grew up with. I did read some Mills & Boons when I found them at other people’s houses, but it wasn’t until I got pregnant with kid 1 that I really found romance as a genre. Suffice to say, that I went a little crazy and read so many wonderful stories in those nine months that my partner wondered why I’d gone into hiding!

What is the single most important characteristic for an aspiring author wanting to be a published writer?

Grit. Publishing is a marathon, and you have to be willing to keep writing and keep going. There are going to be more rejections than approvals, and it takes so long for anything to happen. Publishing is a ‘hurry up and wait’ game. I was fortunate enough that Escape Publishing wanted my first manuscript, and I wasn’t rejected until my fourth book, which went back and forth with a publisher on Revise and Resubmit for over a year until they finally decided no. I’ll indie publish it early next year. Rejection happens to all writers—even if your first book is published. You just have to keep plugging away.

What is your favourite part of creating a story?


What is your best tip for fighting writer’s block/writer’s fear?

Because I spent a decade as a job writer working on magazines before writing a novel, I already had the habit of sitting down and writing to a deadline. I don’t believe in a muse or in writer’s block—just in boring old hard work. Some days the words are hard to get out, other days they flow.

Pick a favourite (bold your preference)

  • series or stand-alone?
  • ebook, paperback or hardcover?
  • first person or third?

Who has been an inspiration to you, in life or your writing career?

In July last year, I took over as Secretary of RWA, and I’m loving working as a volunteer alongside a committee who care so deeply about mentoring new romance writers and nurturing the careers of the emerging and established writers. I’ve been able to see the hard work that goes into keeping RWA afloat, and I’m sure there are similarly committed people behind ARRA. I’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who volunteers at places like ARRA and RWA. Every volunteer is an inspiration to me.

Tell us about your latest release, Betrayed, Farrellton Foster Family series 1, in 100 words or less 

This is a friends-to-lovers story with a secret baby twist. Esther tricked her best friend Jordan into sex when they were teenagers to escape a forced marriage. Thrown onto the streets by her parents, she has no way of finding Jordan. He never knew she fell pregnant and thought she didn’t want to see him. A foster mum saves Esther and eight years later, she has a decent life with her daughter Ashia. When she and Jordan meet again, can they forgive each other and create a family together?

What else will you be working on in 2019?

I’m currently writing a Christmas story, featuring an oyster farmer and an accountant for an Escape Publishing anthology. Then I leap back to 1919 to write a historical series featuring the daughters of my Bluestocking series.

Please recommend an Aussie romance you read recently

I really enjoyed Clare Connolly’s pair of Bound by Their Christmas Baby and A Season to Sin.

If you haven’t booked your ticket for ARR2019 yet, you can buy one here.


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