I’m so excited to get to share this interview with you all after it got lost in my email inbox for a few weeks. But here we are and we’re here today with Renee Dahlia talking the ever important HEAs, goats, and summers spent outside.
Renee Dahlia is a romance author known for titles such as Her Lady’s Honor, Merindah Park, and Out of Her League. Renee has a deep love for reading, writing, horses, and cricket. They live in Sydney, Australia.
Speed Dating Round
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Book you’re reading right now? Enemies to Lovers Anthology by Violet Gaze Press
Book you’re looking forward to reading? Alyssa Cole’s How To Find a Princess
Favorite color? Purple or Black
Favorite movie? I don’t really have one
Favorite actress? Lesley-Ann Brandt
A joke? This one isn’t really a joke but an observation from one of my kids when he was a toddler. “Flies are so annoying, but butterflies are not.”
Last thing you ate/drank? Coffee
Favorite thing to cook? I love cooking with fire, and beef ribs done in a dutch oven on an open fire is amazing.
Word you can never spell right? Convenience
Favorite season? Summer
A bucket list travel destination? Italy. We had saved up for a couple of years to go there in March 2020, but the pandemic forced us to cancel. One day, when the world is vaccinated, we might get there!
Would you rather be cold or hot? Hot
TV show you’re bingeing right now? Our household is eagerly awaiting the new F1 Drive to Survive season
One feature you want in your dream house? Swimming pool
Favorite beverage? Bourbon and coke
One random thing about you? My favourite scientist is Richard Feynman. QED!
The one app you always end up opening? On purpose – social media. By accident – google maps when I want the weather app because they are next to each other on my phone and a similar colour.
A nostalgic TV show? None, I grew up without TV
Best decade? Having written a 1919/1920 series, I have a soft spot for them, but I think every decade has something exciting about it.
Favorite romance trope? How can you pick? I love them all, except secret baby and miscommunication.
Playstation, Xbox, Switch, or PC? None
PC or Mac? PC
Horoscope? Virgo with Taurus rising
Your favorite pairing? FF, but I read and write across all pairings.
The Tea and Biscuits Round
Let’s settle in with a cup of tea (coffee, whatever you like to drink), pull up a comfy sofa and talk about books and writing.
Tell me about your favorite place to write?
I don’t really have a favourite place, although I do like sitting in a camping chair under a tree in the park in summer, writing while my kids play sport.
What is your writing software and hardware of choice for each phase of writing (Planning, writing, editing, formatting, etc). PC? Laptop? Phone? Mac? Windows? Scrivener? Word? Google Docs? And why do you love it?
Word. I have a template set up with story beats that I make a copy of for each new book. I make notes under each beat for vague plotting and then I just write. I don’t need anything fancy.
When you start a new project, what’s the very first thing you do?
Write the blurb. It gives me a sense of character and the hook of the story. The first draft blurb never ends up being the final blurb because it’s often a bit of an info dump.
How do you get to know your characters?
Through dialogue. They talk and stuff happens.
Do you prefer to plot or see where things take you?
Both. I use story beats (from Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes) to give a basic outline, then add a few notes to each beat for some plot ideas. After that, the characters talk to each other and it all works out somehow.
Do you like listening to music when you write? If so, do you have a playlist you’d like to share (include a link), or an artist you’d like to mention?
Yes. I always have the local station Triple J on in the background.
What’s your number one piece of writing advice?
Read a lot in the genre you want to write. If you are targeting a publisher, or agent, read all of their recent releases to get a sense of what they like.
What was your writing process start to end for your most recent release?
After more than 20 books, the process is mostly the same. I sit down and write for an hour at the start of the day, then try and fit in two other writing sprints during the day between doing my day job and driving kids to sports. The first half of the book always comes easily, then there is a frustrating section where I hate it and wonder why on earth I thought I could possibly write a book and I’m an imposter, and eventually with sheer stubbornness, I get through that bit and the story suddenly holds itself together into a cohesive thing which is a bit magical. Then I write a half-arsed ending and put the book aside to rest. I come back to it after a few weeks and re-write the ending properly, then rest it again before reading the whole thing and giving it a solid edit. After that it goes to a beta reader and more edits, until it’s ready for submission to a publisher or line edits for indie publishing.
What do you love about the genre you write in?
The HEA. An author can take me on an emotional journey and because I know that it’s going to end happily, I can relax and enjoy the story. There’s a trust in getting a satisfying ending. Before I read romance, I used to read mystery novels, and those also have a satisfying ending with the mystery being resolved.
If you’ve got any Writing Interns (AKA pets) you’d like to share with us, tell us all about them here:
No pets, although my children are keen to get a goat.
Social Media Links
Romance.com.au – https://romance.com.au/author/101464/renee-dahlia/