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.
Here is the book of hers that I’ve read most recently titled In Harms Way. It is the third installment in the series Heroes of Quantico. However, all her books can be read as stand-alone novels even if they are in a series. I found In Harms Way to be intriguing and suspenseful. It kept me guessing and kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next and how the story would play out. I would recommend anyone who enjoy Romantic Suspense to check out Irene Hannon’s books.
Recently, I emailed her with a few questions about writing and she was gracious enough to respond. I also wanted to share her responses with you. Below, in blue are the questions I asked and in red are her answers.
Would you recommend an aspiring author to get some kind of formal training?
Irene Hannon: I think writers are born, not made. No amount of formal training will make someone a writer. But if you’ve been blessed with the gift of writing, by all means join a writers group and attend conferences and workshops. Also, polish the basics – spelling, grammar, etc. Romance Writers of America has much to offer, even if your main genre isn’t romance, and there are chapters everywhere. But there are many other fine writing organizations, too.
How often and how long would you recommend a starting author to write?
Irene Hannon: The length of time doesn’t matter if you’re trying to shoehorn writing into a day job. But consistent writing does. That means it’s important to set aside X hours per week to write and to establish weekly or monthly word count goals.
What do you do when you have writer’s block?
Irene Hannon: Can’t afford to get this with deadlines looming! Seriously, writers write. Period. If words aren’t coming easily, write anyway. As Nora Roberts likes to say, you can fix a bad page; you can’t fix a blank page.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Irene Hannon: I write full time – and I do mean full time – all day, every work day. My romantic suspense novels require huge amounts of research, so I like to allow about 8 months for those. My women’s fiction/romance novels aren’t as research intensive, so I try to set aside 6 months for those. Both genres actually take less time to write, but I like to build in time for vacations, family emergencies, etc.
How often do you publish a book?
Irene Hannon: This year I have four books out. That’s unusual. For the past several years I’ve done three books a year. One or two of those, though, have been shorter series romance.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Irene Hannon: Everything. A snippet of conversation, a news story I read, a situation I observe. The idea for Vanished, my latest suspense novel, came to me one night when I was driving home along a two-lane road and came upon a bicyclist. I swerved to avoid him…and started what-iffing. What if a woman was on a country road in a rainstorm and a figure suddenly appeared in her headlights? What if she swerved, but felt a thump, and knew she’d hit the person? What if a good Samaritan stopped to help and promised to call 911 before she passed out from a bump on her head? What if she awakened an hour later and found no 911, no good Samaritan and no trace of the injured woman. All that from a quick glimpse of a bicyclist on the road!
How do/did you build your voice/brand as an author?
Irene Hannon: Your voice gels the more you write. So write, write, write. As for brand building, keep writing great books that your readers come to love and look for. If you’re known for sweet romance, don’t suddenly throw a vampire fantasy at readers!
How often do you edit/rewrite before you believe your manuscript is read for publishing?
Irene Hannon: I edit as I go, revising the previous day’s work until it’s ready to go into my master file. Sometimes that’s one pass, sometimes several. When I finish a manuscript, I do one final polish.
Do you do any of your own marketing for your books and if yes, what do what do?
Irene Hannon: I maintain a website (and keep it updated!) and do twitter and facebook. My publisher also does a lot of advertising and promotion, for which I’m very grateful, as that isn’t very common anymore.
How did you know you wanted to be an author?
Irene Hannon: This goes back to the first question. I was born an author.
I enjoy Irene Hannon’s books and I look forward to reading her Private Justice series which so far includes the book Vanished and the second book Trapped which is coming out later this summer.
For those of you who wish to find out more about Irene Hannon or want to check out her books, you can visit her website irenehannon.com.