Congratulations to the winner of the Author Spotlight giveaway of Keeping Christmas, BETTI MACE. Please email info {at} suzannewoodsfisher {dot} com to claim your prize.

Welcome Irene Hannon, author of Thin Ice, to Author Spotlight! Keep reading to find out how you can enter to win a copy.

Irene Hannon 1 hi-resIntroduce us to you as an author: When did you get bit with the writing bug? How would you describe your writing style?

I didn’t really “get” the writing bug—I was born a writer. It’s a gift, like any other talent … and one for which I’m immensely grateful. As for style … my suspense books are similar to suspense novels by Nora Roberts (without the sex and four-letter words), and my contemporary romance/women’s fiction books have elements found in novels by Debbie Macomber, Robyn Carr and Susan Wiggs.

Tell us about your new release:

Thin Ice is Book 2 in my Men of Valor series—but it can be read as a stand-alone novel. This series features three brothers with special forces backgrounds. Here’s the blurb from the back cover:

After losing her parents and her sister, Christy Reed has been mired in grief. Now, life is finally starting to feel normal again–until an envelope addressed in her sister’s handwriting arrives in the mail. And the note inside claims she is still alive.

FBI Special Agent Lance McGregor, a former Delta Force operator, is assigned to reopen the case . . . but he’s coming up with more questions than answers. Is Christy a pawn in a twisted cat-and-mouse game—or the target of a sinister plot? As Lance digs deeper, one thing becomes clear: someone in the shadows has a deadly agenda.

How can readers connect with you online?

My website is irenehannon.com. I’m also very active on Facebook … and I dabble on Twitter.

Anything new for you on the book horizon?

In June, my next contemporary romance/women’s fiction novel, Sea Rose Lane will release. It’s set in my charming Oregon seaside village of Hope Harbor, where hearts heal … and love blooms. In fall 2016, the final book in my Men of Valor series, Tangled Webs, will release.

After you started writing seriously, how long was it before you were published?

Too long! I honestly can’t recall how much time passed, but I’m thinking it was five or six years. I do know I had three completed manuscripts by the time I sold my first book.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well?

I’m not a coffee drinker—but I start every day (even the hottest ones) with a cup of hot chocolate! I also take a walk every day, which refreshes my mind.

Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?

I have a home office, where I spend every weekday from first thing in the morning until I finish my page count for the day. On a day where I have no interruptions, that’s about five o’clock. But life often intrudes, and on those day I can be at my computer until ten or eleven at night. In nice weather, my office moves outside to my screen porch, where I can feel the breeze, smell the roses, enjoy the birds singing and listen to the wind chimes.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first-draft reader?

Hands down, the support of my family. From the beginning, my parents believe I could do anything I set my mind on, and because they believed it, I believed it, too. That helped me persevere during the early years of constant rejection letters. Since I met my husband, he’s also been in my corner. He understands that writing is hard, demanding work and does everything he can to keep our life running smoothly so I can lock myself away in my office and tell stories.

Do you prefer reading physical books or e-readers?

Physical books. No contest. I spend too many hours a day as it is looking at a screen.

If you weren’t able to write, what would you do?

I love to sing, and manage to find time to occasionally participate in community musical theater productions. I’m also a soloist at church. So I squeeze that in on top of my writing—and would do more of it if I didn’t write. I’ve always had a hankering to run a tearoom or a B&B, too.

Right this moment, what does your office look like?Thin Ice-Book Cover

Hmm. It’s amazingly neat—but it’s Saturday, and I do try to put away all my working material for the weekend. You should see it during the week! One thing that never changes, though, is a collection on the corner of my desk of shells, driftwood, rocks, coral and other items I’ve collected on my visits to the ocean. Whenever I look at it, I’m transported back to the seaside—the setting for many of my contemporary romance/women’s fiction novels and a favorite vacation destination.

Ever had a bad review? How did you handle it?

Give me a minute to stop laughing. Of course I’ve had bad reviews! What published author hasn’t? And a couple were real doozies—from prestigious reviewers, too. Stomach-clenching moments, for sure. Thank goodness, the vast majority are positive … but those bad ones do linger in memory. One lesson I learned early on—you have to develop a thick skin in this business, because it can be traumatic when you pour your heart into a book and someone rips it apart.

What’s your favorite writing snack?

I don’t snack. I didn’t grow up in a “snacking” house and never got into the habit. Lucky thing, given the sedentary nature of writing! Thank you, Mom!

What are your biggest distractions?

Social media and great weather. When it’s beautiful outside, I want to be out in the country on a picnic or taking a hike or working in my garden!

What advice would you give to new writers?

Start the book in the right place (i.e. at the moment a character’s life is about to change). Grab your reader in the very first paragraph and never let go. Also … learn the business side of writing, especially contracts, even if you have an agent.

[Tweet “”Start the book in the right place!” Great advice from @IreneHannon #amwriting”]

What was your biggest break?

Getting an amazing endorsement from Dee Henderson for my first romantic suspense novel—and catching the wave of that genre just as it was beginning to surge.

Best surprise:

Winning my third RITA award (the Oscar of romance fiction) last summer in New York for Deceived and being inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame as only the 16th member in the 35-year history of the organization. It was a pinnacle moment in my career and one of the most exciting nights of my life!

[promosimple id=”8dc4″]

Are you new here? You might want to subscribe to my email updates, or follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+, or Instagram.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Read full privacy policy here.


Good Things are Coming!

Find out first when you sign up for my email newsletter.

Consider yourself invited to sign up for my newsletter and get the behind-the-scenes scoop, info on freebies and giveaways, and more. Also, by signing up, you will receive the first chapters of some bestselling books. A small way to say I’m glad we’ve connected!

You have Successfully Subscribed!