Interview: Irene Hannon

I adore writers with a sense of humor. Don’t you? I knew I wanted to interview Irene Hannon when I read this note on her website:

Irene Hannon is a bestselling, award-winning author who took the publishing world by storm at the tender age of 10 with a sparkling piece of fiction that received national attention.

Okay…maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But she was one of the honorees in a complete-the-story contest conducted by a national children’s magazine. And she likes to think of that as her “official” fiction-writing debut!

Is that cute or what? You know you want to sit down with a writer when you read something like that. (Plus, I wouldn’t mind reading the short story she wrote as a kid, something tells me it’s very good.)

Good thing for us Irene writes stories now as an adult, too! Enjoy this interview.

You have over 35 published novels, which is something most of us just dream of. Tell us about the very first time you realized your book was going to be published.

Even though I have to reach W-A-Y back for that memory, it’s still crystal clear. I’d been trying for several years to find a publisher for my first book. The rejections were discouraging, but I kept plugging away.

Then one day, while I was in California on a business trip, I got a call from my mom. (I lived at home after college until I got married.) She said an editor from a publishing house had called. Of course I called the woman right back—and she made me an offer. I still remember sitting there stunned and elated—and having no one to celebrate with! But I made up for it when I got home!

You mention on your website that you enrolled in the Citizen Police Academy as part o f your research for your Heroes of Quantico series. Do you always do research like this for your books?

Yes. Every book I write—especially my suspense books—is research heavy. Only a fraction of the research actually makes it into the book, but it forms the foundation for the story and gives it the extra ring of authenticity that readers and reviewers have lauded. For a suspense book, I generally end up with 75-100 single-spaced pages of research notes and website links. I also rely very, every heavily on authoritative sources—true experts in their fields—to ensure that every situation in my stories reflects real-life protocols.

Tell us about your latest book.

My latest suspense novel, Fatal Judgement, is Book 1 in my Guardians of Justice series. It’s about a U.S. deputy marshal, the judge he’s assigned to protect, and a killer who may be after the judge. What complicates the story even more is that the judge and the marshal have a history—and it’s not a very pleasant one. I’m very happy to announce that this book has been on major bestseller lists for three months running.

The Guardians of Justice series revolves around three siblings in justice-related professions, but I should point out that as with all my series, the books stand alone; there are no plot points that carry over from book to book.

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

I don’t think I can single out any one book. I read quite eclectically, and many books have caught my attention and touched my heart. Some of my favorites include Mila 18 by Leon Uris, Five Smooth Stones by Ann Fairbairn, A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford and The Gamble by LaVyrle Spencer.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love to perform, so I’m always looking for an opportunity to get involved in community theater musical productions. Last summer I played Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter’s Anything Goes. I also love to take long walks, garden and spend time with my extended family.

Where can we learn more about you?

Please visit my website at www.irenehannon.com. You’ll find an extensive bio, news and synopses/excerpts of my books.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I know this site is especially devoted to writers, so some of your readers might find my article on tips for the road to publication interesting. It’s on my website, under the “Extras” tab.

Also, I’m very, very excited to announce that I just got the call from RWA, and the third book in my Heroes of Quantico series, In Harm’s Way, was just named a RITA finalist. I’m off to Starbucks to celebrate! [Editor’s note: Congrats! We’ll raise a latte with you virtually!]

Books by Irene Hannon:

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