Congratulations to Debra Pruss, who is Dakota’s giveaway winner! Debra, Dakota will be in touch with you. Thanks to everyone who stopped and commented!
I’m so excited to welcome fellow Tule author, Dakota Harrison to the Spotlight today! When I asked her to give me a bio, she sent me this, and I loved it too much to change it up as if I were telling it, so in her own words, please meet Dakota Harrison!
My first attempt at writing a book was about my first love—horses.
But this was no ordinary horse, he was from Alpha Centauri and could talk. I also illustrated this book. I learned the hard way that my writing was far better than my drawing skills.
Growing up on a steady diet of romance novels and sci-fi and fantasy in a house where reading of all kinds was encouraged, I never tired of finding fabulous books in both Speculative Fiction and Romance genres, but none crossing over. I dreamed of the day when the alpha prince would not only get his princess but would get the chance to bring their relationship to the fore, making it a major plot line.
I decided to combine my two loves and write the books I wanted to read. I love writing both alpha and beta heroes, all of whom I torture and make fall to their knees before their heroines and beg for mercy.
I live in Queensland, Australia, with my human and fur kids, and harbor a strange love of UGG boots. K and J-Pop feature heavily in my home, especially when drafting my novels, drawing inspiration for my heroes from the music videos and anime, much to my children’s delight and my husband’s sufferance.
GIVEAWAY! Dakota is giving away an e-book and a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter. Just tell her what you’d love to see in Australia if you had the chance to travel there!
N: Welcome to the blog, Dakota! I’m so delighted to have you visiting today. So, what inspired you to start writing?
A: Thank you so much for having me, Nan! It’s wonderful to be here. Oh wow, loaded question! Actually, there’s never been a time I’ve not wanted to be an author. Books were such a huge part of my life from the time I could remember. Growing up we didn’t have much, but mum always made sure there were books amongst any birthday or Christmas gifts. I devoured them. Read anything I could get my hands on and told everyone who would listen that I was going to be an author one day. Our house wasn’t genre snobby at all. Every genre you could think of was there somewhere. I grew up on a steady diet of science fiction, fantasy, and literary books. Then I hit puberty and suddenly my mother’s Silhouette’s and Mills & Boon’s caught my interest. J She used to swap with friends and I had a constant, regular turnover of new ones. My love for romance was born.
The TL;DR version – my mum was my inspiration.
N: You’ve been writing in the With Love, from Kurrajong Crossing series for three books now, so the series is sort of your baby, right? What special hurdles did you face as a writer while creating this series?
A: Yes! Fiona and I came up with the idea at one of our weekly write club meetings. (We eat lunch, talk books, then write for the afternoon each Friday.)
Hurdles … Well, just before we started this my mother died. It hit me hard and writing was incredibly difficult afterward, my entire style changed. Fiona and I nutted out a country town based on where we lived and how we’d change it if we had a magic wand, and voila! Kurrajong Crossing was born. We populated it with people we wanted to know more about. The hardest part of writing with someone else in a town setting that I’ve found is keeping everyone straight! Do they have blue eyes, or brown? Did we say they were 25 or 35? Hey Fiona! Was that person dating this one, or her sister? Those sorts of things. J We now have a spreadsheet … 😉
N: Talk to us about writing a series with another author—Fiona Marsden. What made you decide to invite another author into the series.
A: It wasn’t really inviting her, it sort of grew organically. I discussed the idea with my awesome editor, Kelly Hunter, and Fiona was there. We both chatted with her about it and wrote pages of notes (that I can barely read, J ) and went from there. The idea really excited us.
N: Hometown Cowboy, which released July 25 from Tule Publishing, is part of your new series with Fiona Marsden. How many books will be in the series, and will we meet any other of the series characters in this book?
A: Oooh boy. As many as the wonderful people at Tule will let us write! We have notes and premises for at least another six, with characters for many more. Yes! We both have another book each out next month and October respectively. For me you’ll meet Dante, a wonderful, sweet (delicious!) winemaker who lives across the road from Belle, our sommelier from Book 1—Feels Like Home—where Cat and the girls go for Cat’s birthday dinner.
N: Give us three words to describe your character Darby—what a cool name for a heroine! Three words to describe your hero Ryan?
A: Darby (She thanks you. I love her name too! I got it from The Pelican Brief – the heroine Darby Shaw.):
Kind, honest, loving.
Loyal, cheeky, deeply insecure.
N: Your trope of a one-night stand turning into more is such a fun one to write. Talk a little about keeping that theme fresh with Darby and Ryan’s story.
A: It was so much fun as they were also friends to lovers and Ryan is also her twin brother’s best friend. It made it a supremely sticky situation to negotiate. Ryan was an only child and grew up as part of their large family. So, it wasn’t simply a hook-up at a wedding. So much more twisted beneath that surface. Was it the right thing to do? Would it wreck their friendship? Would it estrange him and Gabe as well? She didn’t want to come between them, but she couldn’t let him go, either. And Ryan couldn’t say no to her, because it was secretly what he wanted all along.
N: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
A: I watch movies, they’re my drug of choice. The visuals, the soundtracks, the dialogue. When I write I see it as a full cinemascope, surround sound movie in my head. Usually it’s science fiction or fantasy, or rom coms. Also love action movies, but usually they’re more when I’m feeling a little unsettled. Then I like to watch things blow up. 😉
I also like to read a lot of science fiction romance. It frees up my brain like nothing else.
N: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: An author. Then for a period in my teens, an astronaut. I wanted to be the first person to be sent from the solar system in suspended animation. (I had a HUGE imagination.)
N: Favorite book when you were a kid?
A: I had a large format Disney hardcover (still have it, but it’s in bad condition now) that was condensed versions of all the fairytales with full color pictures. I *adored* that book! Then my oldest brother bought me a book when I was about 7? A, You Can Read By Yourself hardcover and it was fabulous!
N: And here is my signature question that everyone loves: If you could choose three people, living or dead, to invite to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
A: This is a tricky one, because some of the people I’d want to invite are quite controversial. If I could delve into fantasy for a moment, I’d invite an alien as one 😉 . Seriously though, my guests would be people that I could either pick their incredible brains with off-the-wall questions, or the controversial ones I would ask, why? Why did you do it? What brought you to that point that you would do something so terrible? Honestly, these are people I’d rather not name.
So, for ones I *can* name, I’m going to be terrible and choose four, and they would be:
Brian Cox – astrophysicist
Plato – to ask him specifics about Atlantis.
Akhenaten, Rameses II, or Cleopatra.
The very first king of ancient Sumer (this remains somewhat ambiguous, depending on sources.)
Darby Jameson knows that spending the night with groomsman Ryan Thomas after her twin brother’s wedding is a big mistake. Darby’s not cut out for one-night stands and Ryan’s definitely not one for relationships—she knows this. Still, she falls hard for the sexy cowboy’s many charms, and it’s better than she ever imagined. Darby is in for a world of hurt when one night turns into a secret affair, but what’s she to do when his smile melts her heart?
When Ryan finally gives in to his attraction to his best friend’s sister, he insists it’s only temporary and best kept to themselves. Darby can do so much better than to take up with him. He has nothing to give to a sweet woman like her, and everyone knows it.
But when Darby drops a bombshell, suddenly a casual fling is no longer an option. With so much at stake, and so many factors keeping them apart, do Darby and Ryan have a chance at a happily ever after?