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Author spotlight: Renee Dahlia

19 December 2019

For ARR2020 in March we will be featuring more than 90 romance authors across five cities. If you live in (or near) Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Adelaide, come along and meet local authors, as well as our international guests—Darynda Jones and Susan Donovan.

Today we are spotlighting Renee Dahlia. She will be attending ARR2020 in Sydney.

How old were you when you first started writing romance?

It was 2015, so in my late thirties. I’d written non-fiction for about a decade before starting to write romance and have been an avid romance reader for a long time. When I decided to try writing fiction, it seemed obvious to write what I love reading.

Who was the first romance author to catch your interest?

Nora Roberts. She’s the queen of romance for a reason. I read her Thoroughbred series and from there was hooked on romance.

Have you written genres other than romance (or are you thinking about it)?

I write non-fiction for my other day job—mostly magazine articles, interviews, and advertorials. I adore romance, so I’m not sure I’d want to step into other fiction.

Choose one of your books to turn into a movie—who would you cast in the lead roles?

Two Hearts Healing will be released in January 2020, as the third book in my Merindah Park series. For Lee, I’d cast one of the Hemsworth brothers, Liam or Chris. Both have that cocky blonde thing going on that would suit Lee, who is a grumpy horse trainer. For Serena, I’d cast Jennifer Lawrence. She has the wholesome country girl look with the toughness necessary to survive the bad accident Serena survives.

It’s a next door neighbours trope. Serena is a jockey who nearly dies in a racefall (the horse survives), and Lee is the horse trainer who lives next door. She begs him to help her learn to ride again. And they soon discover they like each other … We all know how that ends (HEA guaranteed), but it’s the journey that matters!

What is the hardest part of creating a story?

Answering questions like this! No, seriously, I tend to find the third quarter the most tricky—making sure I’m going towards the Happy Ever After while still tidying up all the plot points and digging deep into the character’s motivations.

What is your favourite place to write?

Mostly I write at my kitchen table, but I do love writing while sitting in a park in summer under a gum tree. My kids play cricket, so I often get time to write a few words while they aren’t involved, for example when their team is batting but they aren’t in the middle.

Have any of your characters been inspired by real-life people?

Not as one whole person. Little snippets of real life find their way into books. A moment here and there. A funny thing someone does or says. Being observant is a key skill for a writer.

What was the last romance you read and loved (and why did you love it)?

I’m reading Kennedy Ryan’s basketball series at the moment and it’s amazing. Long Shot won the 2019 RITA Contemporary Romance Long, and it’s an amazing story. It does need a trigger warning for domestic violence and abuse. The depth of emotion in this book will grab your heart and not let go. The whole series is brilliant.

Tell us about your latest release in 100 words or less

His Christmas Pearl is part of a set of four books written by four different authors set at the same Christmas party. Christmas is often a difficult time of year for people who have family issues, or even just those who live far from their family. The idea behind the Rainbow Cove Christmas collection was to bring those people together for a party, so they could celebrate the day with friends. All four authors—Nora James, Susanne Bellamy, Shirley Wine, and myself—had to coordinate the party as we wrote to ensure everything matched, but also wasn’t repeated between books. It was such fun to put together that we have extended the group and a second collection, set at the same party, will be released next Christmas with a different group of authors. Readers will get four HEAs this year and another four next year.

What else will you be working on in 2020?

The first book in a new historical series will be released with Carina Press in June 2020. While that’s happening, I’ll be writing the next two books in that series. It’s a lesbian romance set in 1919 with one of the heroines having just returned from WWI where she served as a veterinarian.

I’m also scheduled to write another book for the Rainbow Cove collection for Escape Publishing, due to be released for Christmas 2020, to go alongside the four books they released in Christmas 2019. The 2020 book will feature Kiet’s brother Sam.

If you haven’t booked your ticket for ARR2020 yet, you can buy one HERE.


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