Interview With Dalia Dupris
Debut romance author Dalia Dupris is entering the fiction market with a bang. The Wild Rose Press is publishing not just one but two of her books: A Whirl With My Mocha Chocolate Swirl (released on September 9) and Orange Blossoms-Love Blooms (to be published in October). Dalia is joining us today to chat about her upcoming releases, her approach to writing, her favorite books and authors, and much more.
Welcome, Dalia, and congratulations on your recent and upcoming releases! What can you tell us about them?
A Whirl With My Mocha Chocolate Swirl asks a question that many of us have asked ourselves before, which is should we take a risk on a second chance with our first love? It’s a story that I call a small town-big heart romance about two people who must confront past sorrows before they can move forward and embrace their future, but first they have to revive a failing ice-creamery. It’s a heartwarming story that’s a perfect antidote to the times we live in.
Orange Blossoms-Love Blooms will be released October 19, 2020, and it is Book 1 of my California Hearts series. It’s about legacy, love, loss, and buried family secrets. It ultimately asks: can two people who start off as enemies be drawn towards each other at the same time they have seemingly opposing goals?
Who is Eileen Hart? What makes her tick?
While I believe all of my characters are interesting, I’d have to say Eileen Hart, the main character in Orange Blossoms-Love Blooms, is my favorite. She’s filled with so many contradictions: angst, anger, love, and tenderness. You never know what to expect from her from one moment to the next. Her heart is with saving her family’s 40-year-old orange orchards from being taken over by the bank, which is owned by handsome and business-minded banker David Cole.
How did you get interested in writing romance fiction?
The romance writing community impressed me by their openness and support for other romance writers. Although I enjoy reading across genres, romance novels are pleasurable to write. I’ve been a social worker by profession and I know the world has many challenges, which is why romance novels are needed to remind us of the healing power of love.
How old were you when you wrote your first story?
Probably around eight years old. My third-grade teacher had us send stories and poems into our local newspapers. I had a few published.
How many hours a week do you write?
It varies, but it never feels like it’s enough. I try to write a few hours most days.
Do you have a specific writing routine or process?
Mornings work best for me, when no one else is awake. I like to have a cup of hot, spicy tea and complete silence. Before Covid-19, I’d go to a coffee shop and write there while listening to the sound of ocean waves on my headphones.
Are you an outliner or a pantser?
I’m a little of each—a plantser. I have a general idea. I make notes and visualize scenes beforehand. But I can’t outline every detail. That would be too overwhelming.
Which element of novel-writing do you consider most challenging?
I’d have to say my most challenging aspect is the way I edit. I read over several pages, if not a chapter, of the previous day’s work before continuing. I’d like to skip that step, but I have to reacquaint myself with the tone and previous scene. I want to learn to write more quickly, if possible.
What comes first, character or plot?
They pop up simultaneously for me.
Do you base your characters on real people or make them up from scratch?
Orange Blossoms-Love Blooms was originally based on a real situation that happened a very long time ago. But I think that the characters are a compilation of people that I’ve known over time. They are not any one person.
What is your least favorite part of the publishing journey?
These are my first two novels being published. Social media and marketing is my least favorite aspect. I would really like to write and let the world discover my work without me having to market it, but I know that is not how the industry works.
How do you deal with reviews, both positive and negative?
Neither book is out yet, so I haven’t come to that hurdle yet. I love it when people have positive things to say about my stories. I know that not everyone will like them and I’ll have to get use to reviews that aren’t all positive.
What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Study the craft and know your target population. For example, I write contemporary stories with diverse characters.
What promotional and marketing tips can you offer other writers?
Find a way to engage with readers and fellow writers.
Do you ever get writer’s block, and if so, how do you overcome it?
Haven’t had those problems. I have a lot of stories in my head.
What are you currently working on?
Book 2 in the California Heart series, titled Anything But Love.
Quick, give us an inspirational sentence.
Visualize what you want in your life and watch it manifest.
What are you reading right now?
The Summer Deal, by Jill Shalvis.
What kinds of books do you like to read?
Literary fiction and contemporary romance.
How will you go about choosing the next book that you read?
I belong to a book club and I’ll read that selection, plus probably a couple of other books that I just received when I attended a conference via Zoom.
Who is your favorite author?
For contemporary romance, I like Shirley Hailstock, and for historical romance, I like Beverly Jenkins.
What was your favorite childhood book?
Probably Little Women.
What’s your favorite book of all time?
It’s hard to select a favorite. I remember being enthralled by the mind of Alice Walker after I read The Temple of My Familiar. I’m not into time travel as a rule, but Octavia Butler’s book Kindred was brilliant.
If you could bring a fictitious character to life and become friends with that person, who would it be?
The main character in Kindred, Dana, so I could ask her about her experiences when she traveled back in time.