Renee Dahlia is an Australian romance writer known for her feisty women and dark humour in books including Heart of a Bluestocking and the Merindah Park series. She kindly agreed to be my first interviewee from other authors; here, Renee talks horses, her favourite heroes, and when writing goes terribly wrong...
How did you get started as a writer?
Accidentally! I didn't want to be a writer when I was growing up. I didn't write stories, loving crafted in notebooks or scribbled anxiously on scrap paper. I didn't journal. I must have written at school, when forced to, as an infamous school report of mine said "Renee would be a good writer, if she wrote about something more than horses."
Years later, after doing a science degree so I wouldn't have to write, the horses dragged me into a new career as a writer. A magazine suggested that I write a series of articles looking at the data behind various horse racing myths. I accidentally turned my ability with statistics into a writing career. After ten years of writing non-fiction, including a ghost written biography for someone, I thought I might have a crack at fiction. Oh my gosh, doesn't that sound arrogant in hindsight. Funnily enough, it seems I love telling stories, and fiction is the place I didn't know I belonged.
What has been your proudest moment?
That debut novel, the one I wrote for the intellectual challenge of it, got published by Escape Publishing (an arm of Harlequin Australia). The process wasn't straightforward - it took a year of edits, and a lot of learning on my part to transfer my non-fiction skills to fiction before I pitched it at the 2016 RWA conference. I now have three books out with Escape, and a new series coming out from April this year, as well as an indie published series.
Who is your favourite hero?
Of mine? Always the one I'm writing at the moment! But since I'm currently writing a historical romance featuring two heroines, that doesn't apply here. My favourite hero of my published works would have to be Ravi (The Heart of a Bluestocking), and my current favourite is Shannon (the upcoming fourth book in the Merindah Park series).
Be honest here, Renee: what has been the worst thing you ever wrote??
This one is easy - the first article ever published. It was highly ambitious and ran over six pages in the magazine. The best thing you could say about that article was that my writing style was enthusiastic! Logically it can't have been terrible as the magazine still continues to publish my work, but it certainly highlights how very, very far I've come in the past decade.
Thank you, Renee!