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Cadence Untouched: A Dahlia Project Novel by Dakota Willink (1)

A note from the author…

Have you ever had a really big idea, one that is so monumental and game changing, you can’t get it out of your head? Then, the more you think about it, the bigger it becomes?

For me, the idea stemmed from the 2016 United States Presidential election. No matter who you voted for, there’s no denying the shock that reverberated through the country. I couldn’t avoid the news if I tried. Because of this, I came up with a book idea I just couldn’t shake. I wanted to write a book that reflected the current world we live in. However, I didn’t want it to be opinionated or in-your-face-political. God knows, we have enough of that, and fiction should be an escape from reality.

After months of toying with how I wanted to write it, I finally began to put words on paper. Cadence was supposed to be just one book, but I felt I wasn’t doing justice to the characters backstory. They needed more of a foundation. As a result, Cadence became two books—Cadence Untouched and Cadence Defined.

Untouched is a prequel to Defined. It takes place seventeen years ago, which made it a lot of fun for me to write. I was able to dive into trends from the late 90’s, and it brought me back to when I was in my late teens and early twenties. However, as fun as it was to write, it also came with challenges. The new adult genre is way out of my comfort zone.

After I finished Untouched, I moved on to Defined. This was more my style of romance writing. While working on the second part of Cadence & Fitz’s story, I had to research non-profit organizations due to Cadence's profession. On my quest for information, I learned about real life organizations that operate similar to the one Cadence founded in Defined.  I was incredibly inspired by their good work and found myself asking, what can I do to help? 

Then my birthday happened.

For my birthday, my sixteen-year-old daughter decided to give me a gift that keeps on giving. She invested in a twenty-five-dollar Kiva loan in my name. This loan provided women in developing countries a chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities. As the women repaid the loan, the money was then recycled for someone else to use. The money is still being reused to this day.

I was completely in awe over my daughters gift. Inspired by her compassion and generosity, my brain literally exploded with ideas. If you noticed on the covers of Cadence Untouched and Cadence Defined, The Dahlia Project is written at the top. Whenever you see this, it means a portion of the proceeds will go to fund various non-profit organizations. To read more about the organizations The Dahlia Project will give to, please visit the tab on my website.

But wait... there's more! In Defined, Cadence wrote and illustrated the children’s book, And I Smile. I decided to bring that to life too, published under the pseudonym of so an unsuspecting young mind doesn't accidentally pick up one of my romance novels! A portion of the proceeds from And I Smile will go , a global organization devoted to promoting literacy and girl's education.

These books have been a long time coming. I couldn’t have written them without the help from so many.

To —your beautiful illustrations brought my vision for And I Smile to life.

To the beta readers—as always, your feedback was immeasurable! Thank you for the helpful insight.

To Lacy Laurel and Zachary Webber for the amazing work on the audiobooks. Your voices truly captured the characters in my head, and I couldn’t be happier with the end performance.

To Cheryl and Chasidy—you’re my rock stars! Thanks for always holding the fort so I can write.

To my author friends—every author needs an author tribe to help navigate the crazy world of Romancelandia. Thank you for being mine!

To my son and daughter—thanks for the enlightening verbiage on video games, emojis, and acronyms! I love you, but I’ll never completely understand what goes on in your brains! Joking aside, I’m so proud of the strong, driven, and compassionate individuals you’ve become. You are the voices of the future.

To my husband—wow, holy deadline! I know it was a rough couple of months. Thank you for stepping up while I was in the writing cave. I love so much you!

And finally, to the readers. Your continued support allows me to keep doing what I do. I’m so incredibly excited about The Dahlia Project! Never in my life have I felt so determined to get something right. I want to make a difference, and to make this matter in a very real sense.  I hope you’ll follow the journey I take with it! To stay up to date on its progress, subscribe to my newsletter or text DAKOTA to 77948. I hope you love the Cadence duet as much as I love the journey it took me on!



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