Renee Dahlia is an emerging romance writer whose first two books were published in 2017. To Charm a Bluestocking was released in March 2017, and In Pursuit of a Bluestocking came out in October 2017. Both were published by Escape Publishing, the digital first arm of Harlequin Australia.
Website link: www.reneedahlia.com
Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/reneedahliawriter/
What is the current creative project you’re working on and what is the inspiration behind it? Out of her League is the first in a contemporary romance series set in Sydney. The heroine, Zixian Tart, is a fictional great-great-grand-daughter of Quong Tart, whose statue is in Hercules Street, Ashfield. I wanted to write a series that celebrates the diversity of Ashfield, and the inclusiveness I feel as part of this community.
What drives your creativity? Much of novel writing is determination, a continuous dedication to a story with a few words each day over a large number of days. The creative part of writing a novel often comes in a lightning bolt of inspiration at the beginning of a series. A fresh way of looking at an old trope, or a combination of two ideas into a new one. After that, the hard work and persistence takes an author towards the full utilisation of that idea.
What creative artists have most inspired or influenced you - and why? There are so many. The Romance Writers of Australia community, including authors like Anne Gracie, Rachel Bailey, Claire Connelly, and Amy Andrews, have been incredibly welcoming and happy to share advice on the foibles of the publishing industry. There are many others, such as the 17 Scribes and the Word Count Warriors, who help move writing from a solitary task to one of community. I’m often inspired by people who persist in the face of adversity, who show personal strength of character when times get tough. If I had to pick one phrase as inspiration, it would be this;
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Stephen King.
What are you aiming to communicate through your work? Romance is a genre that is largely written by women, for women. The history of romance writing is often subversive, with the genre being a safe place for female writers to explore ideas such as pleasure, domestic roles, and power, within the pages. The breadth of different types of romance is astounding, as the only criteria is a happily ever after (HEA). Other genres have their own conventions such as crime novels, where readers want the mystery to be solved.
For me personally, I like my characters to discuss consent and power balances, while still enjoying their journey towards HEA. In my Bluestocking series (set 1887), the three main female characters are among the first female medical graduates in Europe. The theme across these novels are the challenges faced by those early pioneers, and which of these challenges are still being faced by women now.
What do you hope will be the outcome of it? How will you judge its success? I hope that Out of her League will firstly be a good story that readers will enjoy. Beyond that, I want to pull readers into the inclusive community of Ashfield that I live in.
What is your next project? The contemporary series will keep me busy for much of 2018 with several books planned, while there are two novels in the Bluestocking series begging to be written.
What are your future goals? To build a body of work that grows a readership interested in my ideas. I would love to write books that are fun, a happy escape from real life, while also allowing a safe place to discuss broader ideas that affect society.
What is your favourite place in the inner west to work or wind down? Community is important to me. Not much beats a picnic in the park with friends, or yum cha at one of the many amazing eateries in Ashfield, or simply enjoying the summer sun filtered through gum trees while watching my kids play cricket.