This I Got the Call story is a little different: we are talking to a new Harlequin author who is writing their debut for Harlequin, but who has been a successful indie publisher for many years.
Dahlia Rose is a USA Today bestselling multi-genre author from urban fantasy to romance with a hint of Caribbean spice. She is also now a Harlequin author, writing for Heartwarming. She was born and raised on the island of Barbados and now currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her life revolves around her family and her grandson who she’s fondly nicknamed, “the toddler overlord, long may he reign.” She has a love of dark fantasy, crazy sci-fi B-movies, and delving into the unknown. Dahlia likes to always give her characters the voices they deserve, if she doesn’t, they surely won’t let her sleep. With over a dozen books published, Dahlia has become a sure favorite of readers. Not only because of her writing but her vivacious attitude in talking to her fans online and at various events. Being a BIPOC, author of color, her books feature strong heroines with a Caribbean or African American culture, which is showcased in the vibrancy of her words. Books and writing are her biggest passions, and she hopes to open your imagination to the beauty of possibilities between the pages of her novels.
Harlequin: Tell us about yourself. Our readers want to know!
Dahlia Rose: I’m a Caribbean girl from a small island, who has always had a love of reading and a story brewing in my mind. Those daydreams went from notebooks into stories on my computer and I’ve never stopped or given up on my passion for writing.
H: Why did you want to become a romance writer?
DR: Picture a girl, 12 years old, reading on the beach with the sand between her toes and the waves crashing gently on the sand. I was reading Harlequin books, I read everything I could get my hands on and my aunt’s romance novels were always there in abundance. I’ve always wanted to write for this publishing house, the happily ever after never ever felt old or contrived. This is the long-awaited dream of a young girl from the west side of Barbados coming true.
H: What were the big steps in your journey to becoming a published author?
DR: Being published was the first major step, for many authors that dream is not attainable. Finding that readers loved my work and followed me on my journey since 2005 was amazing! They watched my babies grow up and me evolve as a writer, so my readers are very important to me. My first book being contracted with Hallmark was an accomplishment after 17 years of successful Indie publishing. And being keynote speaker for a major convention was another big step that sealed my foundation. I’m here and I’m exactly where my blessings have led me to be.
H: What advice would you offer aspiring writers?
DR: Be present for your own work, it’s hard, but anything worth having means we step, stumble, get up and start all over again if necessary. The beautiful thing about being a writer is that there is an infinite number of worlds we can build, and characters to weave. Be unapologetically proud of your talent and each milestone you make, celebrate, no matter how small it may seem! It’s bigger than you can possibly imagine. Dream big and live the exact same way when it comes to your writing.
H: What did you do when you got the call from Harlequin?
DR: I told my husband, he is a retired/disabled army veteran who was honorably discharged after 23 years of service, having been injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The first book I ever wrote, he printed out and bound it for me, on base. He gave it a lovely printed cover, I still have that copy to this day. The first contract I ever got, I printed out and when he came through the front door in his unform from annual training I waved it around, dancing, and if you can picture it, this big bad soldier in unform danced around with me. He said, “You’re doing it babygirl!” Seventeen years later, I printed another signed contract and while he wasn’t in uniform and we’re both a little stiffer when we dance, the tradition was the same. My whole career has been me and my Sarge, so he was the first to know.
Now let’s hear from the editor, Kathryn Lye:
Right away, Dahlia’s blend of humor and heart-tugging themes spoke to me as a reader. With well-drawn characters and evocative description, her writing style is vivid and memorable. It makes the reader feel at home from the start and is easy to embrace, like a warm blanket on a cold day.