Behind the Words with Irene Hannon
Welcome Irene Hannon, we’re excited to have you on Reader’s Entertainment. First, tell our readers a bit about yourself. Where you’re from, where you live? Is writing your full-time job?
I was born in Missouri, and except for a few years as a child in Atlanta, have always lived here. Yes, writing is my full-time job now—but for many years I juggled it with a career in corporate America. As I rose into the executive ranks, however, my corporate job left me no time for writing. So, I had to make a choice between the two. Walking away from a job that one of the villains in my suspense novels would kill for was difficult, but I don’t miss the rush hour commute, the corporate politics, or the 24/7 on-call nature of my job. Plus, it was only after I left and could devote full time to my books that my writing career took off and I began to hit bestseller lists. So, no regrets!
How long have you been writing?
Forever. Seriously, I think writing, like any other talent, is a gift. So, I’ve been writing since I was old enough to pick up a pen and form words. But I like to tell people that I made my professional writing debut at age ten, when I was one of the honorees in a complete-the-story contest conducted by a national children’s magazine.
Give readers a look at a typical writing day.
My workday is always very full. I begin in the morning by checking social media. Then I review and edit the work I wrote the previous day. After that, I move on to new writing. I write until I meet my page count for the day. Sometimes that happens before dinner, sometimes it doesn’t. So, I’m often back at my desk after dinner. Also, somewhere in the midst of writing, I have to handle the business and marketing side of writing. For example, this morning I got little writing done because I did a Zoom interview with a TV channel in the Netherlands. That was fun—but the writing time has to be made up. So, I expect I’ll be at my desk late tonight!
Tell us about your latest release? Where the idea came from? Perhaps some fun moments, or not so fun moments?
Point of Danger is Book 1 in my Triple Threat series, which features three sisters who are involved in truth-seeking professions that put them in the line of fire. To some degree, this storyline came from current events—but I had no idea when I was writing it almost two years ago how much more topical it would become. I can’t say more without giving the plot away, but the parallels to some of the things happening right now are uncanny.
Could you share one detail from your current release with readers that they might not find in the book? Perhaps a juicy bit of back-story, or something only you know about a character.
Unlike some writers who often toss out scenes during their revising process, I write tight. So readers know as much about my characters as I do! I can tell you, though, that the epilogue was a bit…shall we say….steamier in the original draft until one of my editors asked me to rein it in a bit. I complied—but I did write this note in the margin to her: “Party pooper! Ha, ha, just kidding. I toned it down.” It’s still wildly romantic, though! ☺
Who has been the most difficult character for you to write? Why?
The villains in Trapped and Thin Ice were very hard to write because they were so twisted. Most of my villains have redeeming qualities, but these two had serious psychological issues that made them very bad people. Delving deep into their point of view was very, very scary—and I took readers along with me to that dark place. Let me be clear, though, that I don’t write overall dark books. There are always touches of humor, and readers end up uplifted by the end of the story.
If you could be one of your characters for a day which character would it be? Why?
Honestly, I love being me and wouldn’t trade places with any of my characters—especially the ones in my suspense novels. As I always tell people, after a few scary situations during my research, I’ve discovered that I much prefer my suspense between the covers of a book! But I wouldn’t mind trading places with Jeannette Mason from Driftwood Bay (one of my Hope Harbor contemporary romance novels) for a day, because she runs a lavender farm and tearoom—and I always had a secret desire to own a tearoom!
All writers are readers. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?
Every author I read influences me, because I’m constantly learning and trying to improve my craft. That’s actually one of the downsides to being an author. It’s hard to read for pleasure when you’re analyzing every word and every scene!
Do you have a secret talent readers would be surprised by?
It’s not super secret, but I do sing. I’ve been fortunate to play the leading role in quite a few community musical theater productions, including Brigadoon, South Pacific, Oklahoma, The King and I, and Anything Goes—to name a few.
Your favorite go to drink or food when the world goes crazy!
There’s a French bakery near my house that has amazing almond croissants. They’re great comfort food. And any chocolate pastry is comforting!
What is the one question you never get ask at interviews, but wish you did? Ask and answer it.
After sixty novels and countless interviews, I think I’ve been asked every question in the book! But the one question that always bugs me—not from interviewers, but from friends and acquaintances—is this: “Are you still writing?” As if this is just a hobby…and an easy one at that. I think they assume the words just flow onto the page and after I play at my laptop for a couple of hours I have the rest of the day free. I always want to say to them, “Yes, I’m still writing—and this is hard work.” As one writer said, at the end of the day he’s as tired as if he’s been digging ditches for eight hours. Creating complex characters and intriguing plot lines, then weaving all the pieces together into a coherent story, is mentally taxing. Is the work satisfying? Absolutely. But it’s not easy. Because if it was, as Nora Roberts says, everyone would do it!
Thank you so much for joining us today, Irene!
LEARN MORE ABOUT IRENE AND HER BOOKS AT:
HERE’S A BLURB FROM POINT OF DANGER, IRENE’S LATEST RELEASE:::::::
Police detective Brent Lange can’t find any evidence to link the string of unsettling incidents that follows, but he’s convinced they’re connected. As the harassment grows more menacing, it becomes clear someone wants Eve’s voice silenced—permanently.
But unless he can track down her elusive foe, the gutsy woman who is willing to take risks for what she believes—and who is swiftly winning his heart—may not survive.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Irene Hannon is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than 50 contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels, including Dangerous Illusions, Hidden Peril, and Dark Ambitions, as well as the Men of Valor, Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series. In addition to her many other honors, she is a three-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of RWA’s elite Hall of Fame and has received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work. Each of her suspense novels have been ECPA bestsellers, and her books often appear on the Publishers Weekly bestseller list. Learn more at