Interview with Irene Hannon

» Posted on Apr 20, 2010 in Blog | Comments Off on Interview with Irene Hannon

This week I’m hosting Irene Hannon with In Harm’s Way and Laurie Alice Eakes with The Glassblower. If you want to enter the drawing for Irene Hannon’s book, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at The drawings end Sunday (April 25th) evening.

Interview with Irene Hannon:

In Harm’s Way
Irene Hannon
Revell, April 2010

Tell us about In Harm’s Way.
This is the third and final book in my Heroes of Quantico series. My hero, FBI special agent Nick Bradley, has seen his share of kooks during his fifteen years with the Bureau, from the guy who insisted he’d been abducted by aliens to the woman who claimed God had told her to assist the FBI by acting as His intermediary on difficult cases. But Rachel Sutton is an enigma. She seems normal when she shows up at the FBI office in St. Louis—until she produces a tattered Raggedy Ann doll she found and tells him it gives her bad vibes. Nick dismisses her—only to stumble across a link between the doll and an abducted infant, setting in motion a chain of events that uncovers startling connections…and puts Rachel’s life on the line.

Sounds a bit…paranormal?
It certainly has that feel at the beginning. There are some weird things happening. That’s one of the most intriguing aspects of the story.

Since this is Book 3 in the Heroes of Quantico series, do readers have to read the first two to enjoy this one?
No. It stands alone. There are no continuing plot threads that run through all three books. All three heroes are in each book, but a different one is featured in each.

This series marked your suspense debut. How has it been received?
The response has been amazing! Books 1 & 2 both made multiple bestseller lists and got fabulous reviews. I’m also thrilled to announce that Book 2, An Eye For An Eye, has just been named a RITA finalist. And I was recently notified that Book 1, Against All Odds, has just won a prestigious national award that will be announced publicly very soon! As for In Harm’s Way, if anyone would like to read some reviews, Google my name this week—I’m doing a blog tour, and reviews should be popping up all over the place!

Did these FBI books require a lot of research?
Tons! This series marked my romantic suspense debut, and I truly started from scratch. I have no background in law enforcement, and had no contacts at the FBI. But I did have one acquaintance who is a detective captain at one of our area police departments, and he put me in touch with a just-retired FBI special agent, whose input was invaluable. Beyond that, I did lots of reading and traditional research. But each of the three books required some very specialized research—Afghanistan and terrorism for Against All Odds, the intricacies of police procedure for An Eye For An Eye, and several topics I can’t reveal for Book 3 without including spoilers! In all cases, I found expert sources who could fill in the blanks left by my book research. It’s paid off, because reviewers have been very complimentary about the technical authenticity of the books.

You also write contemporary romance, correct?
Yes. I’ve written more than two dozen contemporary romances. In that genre, I write for Steeple Hill. I have new book out with them this month, too—A Father For Zach.

What’s the difference between writing category romance and single title romantic suspense?
Length, for one. My category books run 55,00-60,000 words. My suspense novels run 85,000-100,000+ words. The suspense pacing is also faster, with clipped, high-intensity dialogue. Lots of dialogue! In addition, my suspense books incorporate many more points of view, which I love. It’s really fun to get into the head of more than two characters—especially the villain’s!

What’s the difference between mystery, suspense and thriller?
The best explanation I heard for this was at writing conference a few years ago. In a mystery, a crime has already been committed, and much of the book is spent trying to figure out “who done it.” In a suspense novel, a crime is imminent, and it’s a race against the clock to stop the crime from happening. A thriller is the same as suspense, except the threat is on a global scale. While one person may be in danger in a suspense novel, a family, town or even the world is in peril in a thriller.

Why did you branch out from contemporary romance to romantic suspense?
Romantic suspense was my first love, going back to my Nancy Drew days. In fact, the very first book I wrote was a romantic suspense novella. I still have it, hidden way back in the darkest, deepest corner of my closet! It was REALLY bad! Although I enjoyed writing it, I realized I didn’t have the necessary technical background to make it work, and in those days (20+ years ago), it was far more difficult to do research. So I focused on contemporary romance.

Then, a couple of years ago, I read The Guardian by Dee Henderson and was not only blown away, but inspired. So purely on spec, with no contract in hand, I wrote this series. That was a huge gamble—but it paid off. And I was deeply honored—and grateful—that Dee Henderson gave me a fabulous endorsement after she read Against All Odds: She said, “I found someone who writes romantic suspense better than I do.” Amazing!

What is your average writing day like?
I’m very blessed, after more than two decades in the corporate world, to now be able to write full time. And I do mean full time. I’m usually at my computer by 8:30 a.m. First I answer e-mail and check a couple of websites and writing loops. Then I edit the work I wrote the previous day. At lunchtime I take a walk, then I’m back at the keyboard. I write 5-10 new pages a day, minimum. In the first third to half of a book, I’m usually closer to five because the characters and plot are loosely formed and still gelling in my mind. Without distractions, I can hit my page count by 5 or 6 p.m. So that’s my ideal writing day. However, distractions are common. If galleys or line edits show up, time has to be set aside for those. If a new release is pending, there’s publicity work to be done. In addition, I have to update my website, keep my bookkeeping current, prepare for speaking engagements…the list goes on. So I’m often at my computer well into the evening. It’s a busy life—but I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Any advice for aspiring writers?
I did an article on this very subject for Here’s the link:

Any final thoughts on your newest book?
My publisher tells me advance sales have already exceeded the first two books, so I hope that’s a good omen! I’m also pleased by the reviews so far. In addition to a very nice endorsement from Susan May Warren, RT BOOKreviews noted that “Both male and female characters are richly developed. The faith element is not overwhelming, and the surprise twists keep the reader engaged.” I’m also thrilled by the review in Publishers Weekly, which described the book as “fast-paced crime drama,” “an ever-climactic mystery” and “engagingly sure-footed.” So I’d say it’s off to a good start!

One last question—is it true that readers can get a Kindle version of the first book in your Quantico series FREE right now?
Yes! My suspense publisher, Revell, is doing a Kindle promotion on with Against All Odds for a VERY limited time. So if anyone would like to sample my suspense writing, this is a great opportunity! Here’s the link—just scroll down until you see my book: