Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than forty-five novels, including the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, two HOLT Medallions, a Daphne du Maurier Award, two Reviewers’ Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, a Retailers’ Choice Award, and a National Readers’ Choice Award. In addition, she is a Christy Award finalist, and Booklist included one of her novels in its “Top 10 Inspirational Fiction” list for 2011. She lives in Missouri. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.
Savanna: Welcome to The Engrafted Word, Irene. And Congratulations on your latest release, Buried Secrets. We’re so glad you could join us today. Which of the characters in this story do you relate to the most and why?
Irene: The heroine, a former big-city detective and now the police chief of a small town, is someone I relate to on a very specific level. Both of us went through a period in our life when we were evaluating our priorities, and ultimately both of us made a big course adjustment. In my case, I held an executive-level position in corporate communications with a Fortune 500 company. For many years I juggled both my corporate and fiction careers, writing at night and on holidays and weekends. Ultimately, though, the day job became 24/7 and left me no time or energy for fiction writing. So I had to make a difficult decision—put writing aside until I retired (many years down the road), or leave the corporate position that was truly a dream job. In the end, I left to pursue the stronger dream…and to put more balance in my life. I’m happy to say I never looked back.
Savanna: Wow, that’s incredible. Talk about courage! That’s really great, Irene.
What are you most excited for your readers to discover and learn about your new romantic suspense series, Men of Valor?
Irene: I’m excited about everything related to this series! It features three brothers with special forces backgrounds, so I have very strong heroes. Plus, I get to have a lot of fun with the brotherly rivalry you might find in a family of high-achievers. I’m also very happy with my heroines for these books. They’re independent, capable and survivors. I think readers will really enjoy all of the stories. And, as always, each book can be read as a stand-alone novel. There are no hanging plot threads from book to book.
Robin: I’m excited about this book, too, which is set in a small seaside town on the Oregon coast that will be the setting for more books in the future. The tagline is, “Come home to Hope Harbor—where hearts heal…and love blooms.” These are heartwarming, emotional stories, so readers who enjoy books by Debbie Macomber, Robyn Carr and Karen Kingsbury should love Hope Harbor!
I have too many favorite lines to choose one, but here’s a favorite dialogue exchange that happens near the beginning, when the hero and heroine meet:
With a quick change of direction, he stepped off the sidewalk to cross the street.
“Hey! Watch it!”
At the frantic female voice, he swung around . . . and jumped back just in time to avoid a collision with the bicycle heading directly toward him.
The cyclist, however, wasn’t as fortunate.
She swerved away from him. Tottered a few more yards. Crashed to the pavement in a tangle of arm, legs, groceries, and wheel spokes.
It took him no more than a few seconds to recover enough to go to her aid, but by then she was already scrambling to her feet.
“Are you okay?”
She glared at him with vivid green eyes, rubbing her hip with one hand and shoving back the golden-brown hair that had escaped from her ponytail with the other.
“I’ll live—but next time you might look before you charge into traffic.”
“I’m sorry.” Lame—but what else could he say? “Let me help you with your bike.” He reached for it, but she beat him to it.
“I’ve got it.” She set it on its wheels and gave it a quick once-over.
“If there’s any damage, I’ll be happy to pay for it.”
She lowered the kickstand. “It’s in better shape than my groceries.” Expression peeved, she surveyed the broken eggs on the pavement, then began gathering up the canned goods that had rolled a few yards away.
While she corralled the wayward tins, he picked up a package of ground beef and a semi-mashed loaf of bread. He also retrieved a crinkled white bakery bag. Through the gap in the top he spied a crushed cinnamon roll.
An instant later the bag was snatched from his grasp. “I can take it from here.” She held out her hand for the bread and meat too.
His stomach bottomed out at the blood oozing from a nasty scrape on the fleshy part of her palm, below her thumb. “You’re hurt.”
She gave the abrasion no more than a quick inspection as she plucked the meat and bread from his grasp. “It’s not bad. I’ll deal with it after I get home.” She turned her back and continued to repack her plastic grocery bags.
“Look . . . let me replace the damaged food at least.”
“Don’t worry about it.” She tucked the bags into the baskets on either side of her back fender and swung one long, jeans-clad leg over the bar on the bike. “Just do me a favor. Next time, look before you leap.”
With that, she pushed off, did a U-turn, and pedaled back down the street.
Michael followed her progress until she disappeared around the corner, then shoved his hands in his pockets.
What else could go wrong today?
Savanna: That’s quite the first introduction. 😉 Love it!
Since we’re both Missouri girls, is there a famous Missourian – past or present – you would enjoy ( or would have enjoyed ) getting to meet?
Savanna: After writing over 45 books, how has writing changed your perspective on life?
Irene: I think, if anything, fiction writing has made me less inclined to be judgmental. After getting into the heads of so many different types of characters—good, bad, flawed, happy, sad, challenged, ambitious, desperate, plagued by guilt, kindhearted…. the list goes on—I think I try harder to understand all the forces that can shape people and to leave judgment in God’s hands. I may not approve of behavior I see, but only God sees into the heart.
Savanna: That’s a great point for all of us to remember. Thanks for sharing, Irene. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
Irene: I just found out that Buried Secrets is on the CBA and ECPA bestsellers lists for May, which is thrilling! And I’m very excited to share that Deceived, which came out last year and is the final book in my Private Justice series, has been named a RITA finalist. That award is the Oscar of romance fiction, so fingers crossed until winners are announced in July! As for future projects, I just turned in Book 2 in my Men of Valor series, Thin Ice, which will be out in January. Now it’s on to Book 3!
Savanna: That’s GREAT news all around. Congrats, Irene!! Thank you so much for visiting with us today. Hope you have a blessed year of writing ahead.
Now I have a question for YOU, Readers… how has READING changed your perspective on life? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
If you have any questions or comments for Irene, just leave them here or visit her at www.irenehannon.com
Have a great week, everyone! 🙂