Dahlia Donovan wrote her first romance series after a crazy dream about shifters and damsels in distress. She prefers irreverent humour and unconventional characters. An autistic and occasional hermit, her life wouldn’t be complete without her husband and her massive collection of books and video games.
How many books to your series? (if it is a series)
The Sin Bin series currently has three novels and two shorts stories. The Wanderer, The Caretaker, and The Botanist have already been released this year. The Royal Marine is scheduled for release in October to be followed in November by a short story, The Unexpected Santa.
Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
Here’s the thing, if you give books away for free expecting it to increase your sales or reviews, you’ll likely be disappointed because it isn’t a guarantee.
Can it bring a new fan into your writing world?
Definitely. And it’s just nice to get a free book. I certainly enjoy it when I win a giveaway. =)
What do you love most about the writing process?
Well, I’m a panster. I rarely if ever plot. I NEVER outline. So, for me, the part of the process I love most is sitting down to a blank page. It’s brimming with all the possibilities and I have no idea yet where it will take me.
And the part I hate most?
Editing. I hate editing with a passion. (I love my editor, though. She’s brilliant.)
What do you think makes your book stand out from the crowd?
I hope (I believe) the realness of the characters. My goal with any novel is to make characters that you feel you know. I want them to come across as though they could live in your town.
What’s the one thing that has really surprised you since you started writing?
The number of people who think you have to write the way that they do.
My favourite piece of advice to give as an author is to take all advice on writing with a grain of salt. We all have our own processes, and I don’t think anyone should try to lock themselves into writing a certain way just because someone else is doing it.
Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers grasp?
One food you don’t care if you never eat it again.
Cooked carrots. I can’t stand cooked carrots. I actually don’t care for most cooked vegetables. It’s a texture thing.
Would you describe your humour as hilariously funny, oddly quirky, diabolically macabre, or non existent?
Quirky and dry.
My humour, particularly in my books, tends to be rather quirky and absurd.
Are there misconceptions people have about your genre?
Every so often I find readers who don’t expect there to be actual romance in a gay romance. It boggles my mind. I think we do men a disservice by believing they aren’t capable of being romantic with one another.
What are some jobs you’ve held? Have any of them impacted your writing? How?
I had my first job at fourteen and I’ve worked every year since. My first jobs were in fast food restaurants, then I worked as a teacher for two years, and I worked in insurance for close to ten years.
All of the jobs I’ve worked have impacted my writing by teaching me about people and how they behave with each other. As an autistic, it’s something that I’d likely have struggled to grasp without having so much experience.
Have you ever gone to a convention? If so, how was it? If not, do you think it’s something you’d like to do in the future?
This year I went to the RT Convention. It was my first (and maybe my last.) As an autistic, attending a large event with so many people was even harder than I anticipated. It took me over a month to fully recover. It’s just too much for me. I may try a smaller event to see if I handle it better.
Have you ever written a scene where it has reduced you to tears?
The Wanderer reduced me to tears several times just from the weight of some of the scenes later in the book as Graham struggles with his diagnosis. There’s also chapter in The Royal Marine that gutted me completely.
Is there a character you feel especially connected to? Why?
There’s a little bit of me in all of my characters. In The Sin Bin series, I probably feel most connected to Alice and Alex, side characters who you’ll all meet in Book Four, The Royal Marine. They’re autistic twins and I used a lot of my own experiences to help build out their world.
A few words about your book
Aled and Wyatt’s story is as much one of healing from trauma as it is a romance. It’s one of the shortest of the tales from The Sin Bin, and their love slowly builds. It’s sweeter and deeper for it, though. My heart ached for Aled while writing The Botanist even though I knew he’d find his happy-ever-after.
Give us a little insight into your main characters:
The only love in Aled’s life is botany. His plants are his best friends. He gets lost in his research of them. His interest partially grew at of wanting to get to know more about his Cree heritage from one side of his family, drawing on holistic medicine for his PhD studies.
In many ways, an obsession with a career is something Wyatt has in common with Aled. His entire life has revolved around being a Navy SEAL to the exclusion of pretty much everything else. Being a SEAL brought him discipline, friends, and adventure. It’s also left him lonely because of the restrictions of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
The book blurb
Wyatt “Earp” Hardy is a US Navy SEAL. His life begins and ends with those two words. He readily risks himself for the men under his command. Trouble is—he can’t live for them during a time when military policy weighs heavily on who he is.
Researching for his master’s thesis, botanist Aled Demers’s life is about to unravel. One torturous nightmare run-in with drug runners leaves him permanently scarred. He knows he’s lucky to be alive after being rescued by a group of SEALs, but suffering from PTSD takes its toll.
The SEAL and the botanist come from different worlds, but one rescue links them together. Can Aled recover enough strength to risk his heart? Will Wyatt’s leaving the Navy force him to reassess more than just his career choices?
The Botanist is a short story introducing two key members to The Sin Bin series.
All digital links: https://books2read.com/botanist
“There’s a boat.”
“Pretty sure it’s a yacht.”
“Nope. It’s a boat.”
“Why’s there a yacht-like boat in the combat zone?”
“Better question: Can we make it go boom?”
“Within the parameters of our war games with the Brits?”
“Does it matter?”
“Oi, Earp. Get your twats to shut the bloody hell up, will you? They’re clogging up our airwaves. Are they comedians or soldiers?” The dry humour in Hamish Ross’s voice echoed loudly in Wyatt’s ear where he’d been working valiantly to ignore the chatter from his team. “You listening?”
“We’re Navy SEALs, Hamster, not soldiers. We leave that grunt shit to you.” Wyatt couldn’t help needling his old friend and SAS counterpart. They’d worked together multiple times over the years, sharing secrets, wounds, and beers. “Hey, Ross, any clue why there’s a vessel in our designated dive area?”
“None.” Hamish spoke in muffled tones to someone, and a long silence stretched before he returned to Wyatt. “Shouldn’t be there, Earp. We’re picking up four warm bodies on the thermal camera. They’re not ours—or yours. Boat’s registered to a local rental company, the owner claims only one person should be on it. A botany student from Cardiff.”
“A botany student from Cardiff?” Wyatt glanced over at Trace, who looked almost as confused as he felt. “Why the fuck would a— You know what, never mind—what are we doing?”
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