About The Dahlia Project

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

Last August, I came up with a book idea that I just couldn’t shake. After months of toying with how I wanted to write this book, I finally began to put words on paper. The story is about young love that is tragically ripped apart, before finding each other again later in life. The title of the book is Cadence, named for the heroine in the book. You can read a more detailed synopsis for Cadence by clicking HERE.


As I was writing Cadence,  I had to research immigration laws and the DACA program due to Cadence's profession. You see, in the book, Cadence is the founder of a non-profit organization that works with immigrants who want to become legal citizens of the United States. The primary source of funding for her organization comes from a children’s book that she wrote and illustrated.  On my quest for information, I learned about real life organizations that operate similar to the one that Cadence founded.  I was incredibly inspired by their good work and found myself asking, what can I do to help?


And then....my birthday happened. For my birthday this past March, my sixteen-year-old daughter decided to give me a gift that keeps on giving. She did a $25 Kiva loan in my name in order to provide women in developing countries a chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities. To learn more about what a Kiva loan is, click HERE.


I was completely in awe over my daughters gift. Inspired by her compassion and generosity, my brain literally exploded with ideas. This is how The Dahlia Project was born. 

I had originally planned for Cadence to be a standalone contemporary romance novel. It will be, but it will also be part of a bigger series called The Dahlia Project. Each book will have its own set of characters and can be read individually, but all will embrace diverse characters and current day world issues. In addition, 10% of the proceeds will go to fund future Kiva loans. 

But wait...there's more to The Dahlia Project. Do you remember the children’s book I mentioned? The one that Cadence relies on to fund her non-profit organization? Well…yeah. I'm writing that too. The title is And I Smile, with diversity being the primary message. However, you won't find it under the Dakota Willink name. I will be publishing it under the pseudonym of Marie Christy so that an unsuspecting young mind doesn't accidentally pick up one of my romance novels! The proceeds from this children’s book will be donated to the Young Center and the NOW Foundation. To read more about And I Smile, click HERE

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 by clicking
HERE. You can also stay in the know by texting DAKOTA to 77948.