I'm ending my week by welcoming a wonderful Aussie writer of romance to the blog to tell me a little about her writing journey so far.
Check it out...
Renée Dahlia is an unabashed romance reader who loves feisty women and strong, clever men. Her books reflect this, with a sidenote of dark humour. Renée has a science degree in physics. When not distracted by the characters fighting for attention in her brain, she works in the horse-racing industry doing data analysis and writing magazine articles. When she isn’t reading or writing, Renée spends her time with her partner and four children, volunteers on the local cricket club committee, and is the Secretary of Romance Writers Australia.
The fourth book in the Merindah Park series will be out in May 2020.
A rural romance series set around an emerging racehorse stud in Victoria, Australia, and the family desperately trying to make their racing dreams come true.
Four siblings own the farm Merindah Park - John, Shannon, and twins Rachel and Serena. Since the death of their gambling addicted father five years ago, the siblings have worked hard to bring the farm back to prosperity. Each book works as a stand-alone, with the farm tying the series together.
Learn about Renee's books here!
Making Her Mark
Two Hearts Healing
Who are you and what do you write?
I’m Renee Dahlia and I write romance, both historical and contemporary, and with a range of romantic pairings, eg not just heterosexual. My latest series is Merindah Park, a high heat Australian rural romance set on a horse farm. In June, I have a lesbian historical releasing with Carina Press called Her Lady’s Honor which will be the first in a new series.
Where and when and how did the writing life begin for you?
I come from a family of story tellers but studied science at university to avoid having to do any writing. While growing up, we didn’t have a television, so I read a lot. Eventually, after a few different jobs, I ended up doing some writing for a magazine; basically taking a question, applying statistics to a data set and writing up the answer in a way that non-mathematically inclined people could understand. I discovered I enjoyed writing, and I ended up working as a freelance writer and data analyst. When I lost a couple of clients in 2016, I had some time open up in my schedule and I thought I’d try and write a book as a personal challenge. I wrote a romance because that’s what I love reading.
How has the journey to this point been? Can you give us a basic rundown?
When I finished writing the book I wrote as a challenge to myself, I figured I should do something with it. I attended a writers conference (RWAus) and pitched it to a few publishers. Escape (Harlequin Australia Digital) loved it, published, and suddenly I had a new career option that I’d never really considered before. That book was published in 2017, and I’ve now written 21 books (11 published, the rest in process). I still do some other freelance work, but as I focus on writing books, my freelance work is winding down. Balancing available time is always an issue.
What's been the hardest part of your writing/publishing experience so far? And the most enjoyable?
The most enjoyable is easy. I’ve been really lucky to have my first ever book published, and to continue to have the support of Escape Publishing. Last year, I submitted a book to Carina Press (Harlequin USA/Canada) and that will be released in June 2020. The hardest thing is marketing – I’d rather just write more books – but the world doesn’t work like that, and I have to step outside my comfort zone and tell people about my books. It’s odd, because I’m a social media addict, yet I struggle to do actual marketing, as opposed to chatting to people.
Would you go back and change anything?
No, because every step in this journey has been part of a learning curve. When I first started writing my first novel, I soaked up information on writing craft from everywhere I could. I did every RWAus course they offered for about two years, and after that first conference where I pitched my book, I came home and completely rewrote it before I submitted it so I could put everything I’d learned into the book. Even the choices that have gone wrong – like the series I wrote for Harlequin Dare that got rejected – have been good in the long run. In the end, all writing is practice, and even rejected books are good practice.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time? And 10? Or, what are your plans for the future?
Five years ago, I hadn’t written a book, so I couldn’t have predicted I’d end up here. Who knows what the future will hold? My current plan is to write more, read more, and keep learning. I’m enjoying this career at the moment, so I’ll keep doing it while I can and while publishers keep saying yes to my books.
What's one piece of advice you'd give to new writers just starting out?
Two things. Write. Read. (Both are excellent practice and help improve your craft).
For writers who are looking at submitting work to publishers, my advice would be to read as many of the books recently published by your choice of publisher as possible. You’ll get a good sense of what that acquiring editor likes and whether you’ll fit.
And most importantly...
Ketchup or Mayo? - Aioli (fancy mayo!)
Night or Day? - Day
Inside or Outside? - Outside
Dogs or Cats? - Horses
Twitter or Facebook? - Twitter for news, FB for family, both for friends
Ebook or Paperback? - Both
Sun or Rain? - Sun
Keyboard or Pencil & Notebook? - Keyboard
Comedy or Drama? - Both
Chips or Chocolate? - Chips
Want to guest blog or be interviewed? Got a cover reveal or book coming out?
Get in touch today!