Renée Dahlia is an unabashed romance reader who loves feisty women and strong, clever men. Her books reflect this, with a side note of awkward 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 longer version of stuff about me
I grew up in a family of story tellers. Surrounded by orators, and books. Even with all that encouragement for books, I had no inclination that I could write, nor that I wanted to write. Instead, I chose to study science, and graduated with a degree in physics and maths. A rational choice of subject matter, although not so sensible when it came to getting a job. I probably should have done engineering. Instead, I faced the awkward task of convincing potential employers that a degree in physics and maths was useful for something. I ended up doing data analysis in a range of industries; road maintenance, natural gas, electricity, and horse racing, eventually ending up as a data-based non-fiction writer.
How the hell did I end up writing romance? I've been a huge romance reader for a really long time, and I blame a book for giving me the idea to write a romance novel.
“I complained one day that I’d read all the books in the house, and there was nothing new at the bookshop, and Matthew challenged me to try writing one of my own.” A Wallflower Christmas. Lisa Kleypas.
Writing fiction has been a surprising and cathartic journey for me. I wrote my first novel in 2016 at a point when my career had suffered a pile of setbacks, and wasn't sure about the next step for me. That novel, To Charm a Bluestocking, was published by Escape (Harlequin Australia's digital first imprint) in 2017. Naturally I wrote a romance because that’s what I loved reading, and after years of writing magazine articles and data-based statistical explanations for various clients, the switch to fiction was a good learning curve for me. I still write for a couple of horse magazines, and one of the most transferable skills from that career to writing novels is that ability to write to a word count and to a deadline.
As a bisexual cis-woman, all my books are heroine focused, regardless of the romantic pairing type. My writing process always begins with the heroine – who is she, what does she want, what is preventing her getting it? All of my books (as at 2019) are either fm or ff pairings. Writing two heroines is perfect for the way my brain works in setting up characters. In terms of writing style, I’m a vague plotter. I start with a blurb for each character that contains too much backstory (yah for edits), and a template document with romance beats. I throw a one or two line plot point against the beats, then just start writing. Once I can figure out how to get more women into an mm book (perhaps through a ffm relationship?), then I might branch out and do write that too, but until then, I’d rather write heroine focused books where women get what they want and are happy. I have more than enough book ideas to keep me writing for the next few decades. I'll always consider myself a reader before I'm a writer, and I hope to spend the next portion of my life reading about glorious fictional women (all women, not limited to cis-women)!
Follow me on social media, or sign up to my newsletter to hear my news, and see what I'm working on next. Or email me at renee at reneedahlia dot com.