Dani Collins – Romancing Our Dreams

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Today is Harlequin Presents Day! We have three terrific Harlequin Presents authors representing this quintessential romance line. Enjoy!

The Joy of Writing Romance

I spent a lot of years in the dungeon of rejection. Twenty VowsOfRevengeOrigfive. It’s true. I was twenty-one when I rented a typewriter and sat down to write my first romance manuscript and I was forty-six when I finally got ‘The Call.’

I married and had babies and had other types of joy in my life in those twenty-five years, but I also felt a lot of sadness and discouragement and anger. I would still be stomping around, pouting that life wasn’t fair, if I hadn’t also done some significant soul searching in those same years.

I learned that writing romance couldn’t be my whole life. I looked around at friends with sick kids, some with infertility or divorce or other trials, and I realized that I was very blessed. The only heartache in my life was that I hadn’t sold yet.

It should be noted here that if I had not been a fan of romance, if romance heroines had not persevered through all those pages on my keeper shelf for more years than I had been writing, I may not have had the courage to keep trying. But romance novels had convinced me that happy endings were real and I was determined to find mine.

But, oh, there were cautionary tales, Dear Reader. Published friends had their own Seduced-into-the-Greeks-Worldproblems. The business side of writing isn’t all hearts and flowers. There are tough decisions and disappointments and pressures to meet deadlines and promote. There were times when I asked myself if publishing was really what I wanted.

Which was the key to finding my true joy. I made a conscious decision to embrace being unpublished. No judgment, no distractions, sometimes no real purpose, just exploration. I could write whatever I wanted.

More importantly, I realized that the gatekeepers of publishing weren’t stopping me from writing. It was up to me to decide whether I wrote or not, just as I had decided to sit down that many years ago and give this crazy idea a go.

I threw myself into the sheer joy that comes from unfettered creative expression. Those years of rejection ceased to feel wasted and became a time of practice and preparation. They became mine. Not something that had been deemed unworthy by an outside force, but something that made me happy every single day.

This attitude has served me well as I moved into the world of the published author. I did realize my dream. I even quit my day job a year and a half ago to write full time. I pinch myself every day that I am allowed to do this for a living.

But there are perils here. Scraped knees and the odd troll under a bridge.

I know that I will always have my writing, though. When I have anxious moments and convince myself my career is over, I remember that I get to sit down at my desk every day, regardless of whether I’m paid for it, and bring together two people who are meant to be together, but need help finding each other.

This lack of worry is very grounding. No matter what happens, I get to make my characters happy and that makes me happy.

Joyous, in fact.

Dani recommends:

Left to my own devices, I fill up my TBR pile with my fellow Harlequin Presents authors, but my daughter has turned me onto some New Adult books, which is how I found Carrie Lofty’s ( carrielofty.com ) Blue Notes. It’s simple yet complex and she does a wonderful job of bringing music alive on the page—always a challenge! 

A post by Megan Crane about Mariana Zapata’s (marianazapata.com) Kulti caught my eye. I one-clicked it, stayed up way past my bedtime to finish it and I’ve since reread it. Just thinking about it makes me want to read it again. Kulti. Dreamy sigh.  

Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. 

One of my strongest memories of sheer joy was receiving gold stud earrings from Santa when I was ten. I had been begging for pierced ears and Mom kept telling me I had to wait until I was twelve.

There they were, however. Two years early. Permission to grow up glinted from a tiny jeweler’s box. It was scary but exciting, as all big moments in our lives tend to be. I was shocked, old enough to know that they were really from my parents, which suggested a kind of trust and encouragement of our inner dreams that we yearn for, right? And of course I was scared that the piercing would hurt!

It was also a lesson in delayed gratification, since we had to wait until the holidays were over to get the job done. I was put on this earth to learn patience, I tell you! It wasn’t too traumatic, however, and swabbing them to prevent infection was all on me. This left me feeling very grown up and independent. Autonomous, even. Always a good feeling. 

Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

This one is easy. I live in my own personal paradise, near a lake in southern British Columbia, Canada. I’m a fresh water girl and the summers here can be blistering. Every day when the heat is on, I make a quick trip to the beach for a dip.

I love that it is not a day trip with a bunch of baggage. It is me in a bathing suit grabbing a towel and wearing flip flops, casually enjoying what tourists pay exorbitant sums to visit for a week or two. (Note: they’re not shy about changing in public. I totally pulled up in my car the other day to a big white butt flashing at me. It made me laugh out loud. He probably heard me.)

Two summers ago, my daughter was working up the road from our favorite beach. Every SSChristinaLake1afternoon when she was finished work, I would meet her there and we would do laps between the buoys and marvel at our luck, living in such a beautiful place. If I could take my camera out to that particular spot without getting it wet, I would, so I could show you how perfect it is.

You’ll have to get the sense of it from this. 

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

Music soothes the savage beast in me, for sure. But honestly? The sound that has made me happiest for thirty-five years is the sound of my husband’s laugh. He has one of those laughs that is very hearty and genuine and makes you want in on the joke. Thankfully, he thinks I’m funny so I get to hear that sound a lot.

What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?

I mention some recent books I loved under Recommendations, but Anne of the Island remains one of my favorite books of all time because that’s when she realizes she loves Gil. He’s so worthy of love and he almost dies, but he doesn’t! (Hand over heart. Blink several times. Sniff!)

I didn’t realize it at the time, but Anne of the Island was probably the first romance I ever read. I was hooked!

And for fun, the joy of choice ~

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) – trying for a little diversity! ;o)

On my son’s recommendation, I began watching Parks and Recreation and I am so smitten with Chris Pratt now! It’s ridiculous.

Dani is generously giving away two signed print copies of her September Harlequin Presents, Vows Of Revenge, one to a US reader and one to an international reader. To enter, leave a message on this post or on the Facebook post (you can find that here) or both. For international readers, include your country in your comment so we know you’re international. ;o) Comments must be entered by 11:59 pm CST on Sept 6.

Dani Collins HeadshotAfter her long wait for a publishing contract, Dani Collins hit the ground running, winning 2013’s Reviewer’s Choice for Best First in Series from Romantic Times Book Reviews and going on to publish twenty titles in multiple genres in the next few years.

Along with passionate alpha males for Presents, Dani also writes small town rancher novellas, medieval fantasy romance, erotic romance, and romantic comedy. Writing used to be her hobby, now it’s her job and she’s a workaholic. You can find her at her desk.

Dani’s latest release is Vows Of Revenge, a September Harlequin Presents.

Stay current with Dani’s new releases by joining her newsletter here, or visit her online:

danicollins.com    |    Facebook    |    Twitter    |    Goodreads


Buy Dani’s books:

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