Monday, 16 October 2017

From New South Wales to South Wales…

By Renee Dahlia

We are very pleased to have author Renee Dahlia as our guest this week.

Renee grew up in a family of storytellers. Surrounded by orators, and books. Even with all that encouragement for books, She had no inclination that she could write, nor that she wanted to write. Instead, she chose to study science, and graduated with a degree in physics and maths. She ended up doing data analysis in a range of industries: road maintenance, natural gas, electricity, and horse racing. 

She joined Romance Writers Australia (RWA) and did as many courses as she could to learn about the differences between fiction and non-fiction. A year later, in August 2016, with two novels complete, she pitched the series at the RWA conference. A few months later, she had a signed contract with Escape.

Nearly twenty years of wondering, and a decade of planning, came to fruition last month for me. No, it’s not finally being published, although my debut novel came out in March this year, and the second one in the series is out now. Last month, I made it to the other side of the world. 
South Wales - Copyright Renee Dahlia
I’ve always travelled through books, letting reading take me to new worlds, other countries, while finances and young children prevented me from doing any real travel. In my twenties, everyone I knew did a Contiki tour. I wanted to get drunk around Europe on a bus too. Instead I woke up stupidly early to brush racehorses, tend to their needs, and earn enough money to pay for my uni degree. After graduating, I’d had it with poverty and went to work, forgoing travel to squirrel away every penny to spend on… you guessed it… horses. 
Copyright Renee Dahlia
At some point, horses gave way to marriage and children, although I still work in the racing industry, in a desk job (welding the degree and the horses together). The desire to travel has always been there, and even when struggling financially, I managed to do plenty of local travel, including camping trips around Tasmania and the southern corner of WA. 

This year, the children were big enough to cope with a longer plane ride, and we had saved up enough for our first major overseas adventure. My partner wanted to see Wales, simply because of curiosity. Why did Cook name us New South Wales? Is there any similarity to South Wales? Throw in some engineering landmarks, some industrial revolution history, and our trip planned itself. London, followed by three weeks in a motorhome driving around Wales.

Copyright Renee Dahlia - Natural History Museum
The fifth book in the Bluestockings series will be set in the British Museum, so that was high on my list. I hadn’t planned to write a fifth book in this series, however, my beta reader for In Pursuit of a Bluestocking fell in love with the hero’s sister and begged me to give her a book! The building itself is a pretentious monument to stolen treasures, however, it’s sister, the Natural History Museum (built in the 1880s to house the overflow from the British Museum) stands as a highlight in our visit. A purpose built building with d├ęcor to suit its reason for being, the Museum’s many fascinating collections are as impressive as the building itself. 

Tagline: When he goes hunting a thief, he never expects to catch a bluestocking...

A train chase set in 1888 that takes readers from Amsterdam, to Paris and finally the U. In Pursuit of a Bluestocking begins in Amsterdam, the city where my father was born, and a place that looms large in family lore. Both my parents speak Dutch fluently, unfortunately mine extends as far as Lord Stanmore’s few words. In hindsight, it’s a shame that I didn’t learn the language properly, however, it has allowed me to write the differences between a native speaker and a hesitant speaker from a place of personal experience. I hope readers enjoy it as much as I enjoyed researching all those wonderful places. 

Has travel ever inspired you to do something you thought you would never do?

I love to love... my family, my friends, my readers.

I love to laugh... at the absurdities of life.

I love to learn... history of science and technological advances.

Contact Renee:
Twitter: @dekabat