Tag Archive | historical romance

Interview with Renee Dahlia

Renee Dahlia is a debut historical romance author in 2017. Her book, To Charm a Bluestocking, came out in March, and is set in Amsterdam in 1887.

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Welcome, Renee! Please tell us a little about yourself.

Q1. Tell us a little about yourself and where you live.

Officially, I am “an unabashed romance reader who loves feisty women and strong, clever men. Her books reflect this, with a side-note of dark humour.” I live in the inner west of Sydney, in a little Federation cottage, with my family. I balance family, my day job in the horse racing industry, writing, and volunteering at the local cricket club. And somewhere in there, I still find time to read a couple of books a week.

Q2. How long have you been writing and when were you first published?

I started writing about a decade ago *squints at a calendar* when a magazine asked me to write some statistically based articles for the horse racing industry. It began a long series of myth-busting articles, and unwittingly put me on a new path away from data analysis and towards writing. Several years ago, I was asked to write a semi-autobiographical book for a bookmaker. Thankfully he paid me for my efforts, as it remains unpublished while he determines if he wants his story cast back into the spotlight. The process of this project allowed me to wonder if perhaps I might be able to write a novel. It took me four months to write a first draft of To Charm a Bluestocking. Over the following nine months, I joined Romance Writers Australia, did all the OWLS, and edited that first draft into a version that I hoped would appeal to a publisher. I pitched the book at the RWA conference in August 2016, and Escape Publishing said yes. They published it in March 2017. In April 2017, To Charm a Bluestocking was ranked second on the Booktopia New Releases in Romance – so this has been a whirlwind ride!

Q3. What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on the edits for the sequel to my debut novel. Escape has requested that I slow down the pacing in the first few chapters, so once again, I’ve been madly learning about new techniques, and applying them to my book. This one, In Pursuit of a Bluestocking, is the story of Marie’s journey towards love and learning to value herself.

I’ve also started to outline the third book in the series, and am about one third into the first (ugly) draft. Tentatively called The Bravest Bluestocking, or maybe, A Bluestocking Takes on the World, this story is about feisty, strong Claire.

Q4. How does your work differ from others in the genre?

Historical romance has grown away from the Regency period in England, and now covers a wider range of history, including some wonderful Australian historical writers. My Bluestockings series is set in the late Victorian era, with plenty of train travel, steam boats, telegrams, and the brand new technology, electricity. I chose this era because it aligned with the real history that inspired this series. The Victorian era was a time of great social and scientific upheaval, and these changes are fascinating. It allows for heroines who can realistically be closer to a contemporary heroine, but with all the fantasy of history (and beautiful gowns).

Q5. What inspired you to write your latest novel?

The Bluestocking series is about three women who graduate from medical school in Amsterdam. The series is inspired by my great-grandmother, Dr Caroline d’Ancona, who is a real life heroine that graduated as a doctor in Holland. I wrote about her here: http://www.reneedahlia.com/2017/04/02/the-real-josephine-who-inspired-to-charm-a-bluestocking/

Q6. Which authors do you like to read?

How do you pick? I adore Courtney Milan, who writes in the mid-Victorian era as well as contemporaries. I’ve recently enjoyed books by Victoria Dahl, Eva Leigh, Tessa Dare, Lisa Kleypas, Alyssa Cole, Beverly Jenkins, and Anne Gracie.

Q7. What is the nicest thing a reviewer has ever said about one of your books?

“This book not only tells of the female struggles for an education, equality and acceptance, but Josephine’s struggle with her budding attraction for Nicholas. Filled with intrigue, and villains who would stoop at nothing to get their way. This book has been an eye opener and an interesting read.”

Q8. Are you a full-time writer? If not, how do you juggle work and writing?

I wish! Life is a crazy juggle, however, I do have two days a week where I work from home. In the winter, my horse racing work slows down, and I have more time to dedicate to writing novels. And in the summer, I spend most of my weekends watching my kids play cricket, so I enjoy the summer sun while bashing out words on my laptop.

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Blurb for To Charm a Bluestocking:

Tagline: She wants to be one of the world’s first female doctors; romance is not in her plans.

1887: Too tall, too shy and too bookish for England, Lady Josephine moves to Holland to become one of the world’s first female doctors. With only one semester left, she has all but completed her studies when a power-hungry professor, intent on marrying her for her political connections, threatens to prevent her graduation. Together with the other Bluestockings, female comrades-in-study, she comes up with a daring, if somewhat unorthodox plan: acquire a fake fiancé to provide the protection and serenity she needs to pass her final exams.

But when her father sends her Lord Nicholas St. George, he is too much of everything: too handsome, too charming, too tall and too broad and too distracting for Josephine’s peace of mind. She needed someone to keep her professor at bay, not keep her from her work with temptations of long walks, laughing, and languorous kisses.

Just as it seems that Josephine might be able to have it all: a career as a pioneering female doctor and a true love match, everything falls apart and Josephine will find herself in danger of becoming a casualty in the battle between ambition and love.

Buy links:

Escape Publishing

Other links

Amazon Aus

Amazon USA

iBooks

Booktopia

Google Play

Kobo

 

Who’s Tagging Whom?

I was tagged by romantic suspense author Sandy Curtis to participate in this blog. Sandy and I are are fellow Central Queenslanders (although to me the Bundaberg area is more like southern Queensland) and I first got to know her when she came to Emerald to present a workshop with the Queensland Writers Centre. Since then we have been occasional room-mates at RWA conferences.

Sandy Curtis is the author of six romantic suspense thrillers published in Australia and Germany. Her novels have been shortlisted in the Ned Kelly Crime Awards, and two have been finalists in the mainstream section of the Romantic Book of the Year Award run by the Romance Writers of Australia. She has won awards for her short stories, written a weekly newspaper column and monthly magazine feature articles, and organises WriteFest, the annual Bundaberg writers’ festival. Her seventh book, Grievous Harm, will be published by Clan Destine Press in late 2014 and she is currently writing her second women’s fiction novel.

www.sandycurtis.com

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And now I will attempt to answer the four questions:

Q1 What am I working on?

I’m writing another rural romance/dual timeline story, presently titled Morrison’s Road.

Holly Colter leaves her career in nursing to help her grandparents on their Queensland cattle property. But she hasn’t bargained on Jesse Kavanagh, the boy who broke her heart and ended up in trouble with the law, being back next door.

While doing her best to avoid Jesse and encouraged by her grandfather, she tries to uncover the truth about a murdered ancestor.

Mercy Forbes is shocked but hardly grief-stricken when she finds her abusive husband murdered. Sergeant Jake Morrison is determined to find the killer, despite his suspicions about Mercy and a growing attraction between them that threatens to undermine the case and his career.

Q2 How does my work differ from others in the genre?

The dual timeline sets my two latest novels apart from most others in the genre. Although this technique has been used in other rural romances, most are predominately set in the present day and rely on diary entries or similar to tell the historical story. Breakaway Creek and Morrison’s Road are two complete stories in one, interwoven together. They combine adventure and romance with a touch of suspense.

Q3 Why do I write what I write?

I grew up in an isolated environment on my parents’ cattle station and have a deep love of rural life and the Australian bush. I have written off and on since childhood and I’m never happier than when I’m living in my characters’ heads and my writing is flowing!

Q4 How does my writing process work?

Now that I have a publisher waiting for my next book, I’m finding it much easier to stay focused. I try to do my chores first thing and then write for a couple of hours, depending on what’s happening that day. It is impossible for me to always stick to a routine with farm life, my job at the local library, and volunteer work intervening.

Although I write a rough outline first, I am more of a pantser than a plotter, finding the best ideas always come to me as the story evolves.

Now I would like to tag Beverley Eikli.

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Beverley Eikli is the author of eight historical romances.

She has worked as a journalist, magazine editor, a safari lodge manager in the Okavango, and an airborne geophysical survey operator on contracts around the world.

Beverley wrote her first romance at seventeen, but drowning her heroine on the last page was symptomatic of the problems she grappled with during her 23-year journey towards publication.

Recently she received her third nomination from Australian Romance Readers for Favourite Historical Romance with her suspenseful Napoleonic espionage Romance The Reluctant Bride.

Beverley teaches in the Department of Professional Writing & Editing at Victoria University, Melbourne. She also teaches Short Courses for the Centre of Adult Education and Macedon Ranges Further Education.

Beverley writes under the name Beverley Oakley for more sensual stories.

You can visit her website at: www.beverleyeikli.com and her blog at: http:www.beverleyeikli.blogspot.com.au

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My second author is Leisl Leighton.

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Leisl is a tall red head with an overly large imagination. As a child, she identified strongly with Anne of Green Gables. A voracious reader and a born performer, it came as no surprise to anyone when she did a double major in English Literature and Drama for her BA, then went on to a career as an actor, singer and dancer, as well as script writer, stage manager and musical director for cabaret and theatre restaurants (one of which she co-owned and ran for six years).

After starting a family Leisl stopped performing and instead, began writing the stories that had been plaguing her dreams. Leisl’s stories have won and placed in many competitions in Australia and the US, including the STALI, Golden Opportunities, Heart of the West, Linda Howard Award of Excellence, Touch of Magic and many others.

Leisl lives in the leafy suburbs of Melbourne with her two beautiful boys, lovely hubby, overly spunky dog, Buffy, and likes to spend time with family and friends. She sometimes sings in a choir and works as a swim teacher in her day-to-day job. Her novels, Killing Me Softly (romantic suspense) and Dark Moon (paranormal romance) are out now with Penguin’s Destiny Romance.

You can catch up with Leisl at:

www.leislleighton.com, Facebook, Goodreads and on Twitter @LeislLeighton

Dark Moon is due out on March 15th.

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The third author I have tagged is Dean J. Anderson.

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I see exceptional within the everyday; I write because it is who I am.

Dean J Anderson began his professional writing career in 2008.

Living with his wife and son on the Central Queensland coast in Australia, Dean draws inspiration from striking local landscapes and everyday people. His transformation from avid reader to author is ongoing and one that has seen him come alive within the realms of Dark Urban Fantasy.

Dark Urban Fantasy is not a genre he set out to choose; he says it chose him.

Visit his website at www.deanjanderson.com.au

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