Irene Hannon was new to me as an author, and after reading Against All Odds, I knew she was someone I wanted to know more about! It is with great pleasure that I share with you a brief interview we completed about her life and her writing talent. I hope you are as blessed and encouraged as I was! Please, welcome Irene Hannon to My Window!
Although you are a new author to me (blushing with embarrassment - you've only written 20+ novels!) it seems Against All Odds is a new turn in your writing career. Your journey into romantic suspense was VERY successful in my opinion, and I'd love to know where the original idea for the Quantico series was conceived?
Against All Odds very definitely reflects a new direction in my writing. My previous 26 books have all been pure romance, and while lots of stuff complicated the lives of the main characters, there were no ominous threats hovering over them. This time, I added a hefty dose of heart-racing, edge-of-the-seat suspense.
My interest in suspense goes way back - to my Nancy Drew days! I devoured them one summer when I was about ten or eleven. As a teen, I loved the vintage 1940's Emilie Loring books, with their mix of romance and suspense. Then, a few years ago, I discovered the O'Malley series by Dee Henderson. Wow! The Guardian, in particular, inspired me to give suspense a try. And thus was born the Heroes of Quantico series!
Have you ever been associated with the military personally? If so, in what way?
No - I have no connections of any kind ot the military, the FBI or law enforcement in any form. As a result, the research challenge for this series was more than a little intimidating. In the course of writing these novels, I read books, scoured the Net and consulted police officers, FBI agents, physicians, academics and a host of experts in their fields. I also enrolled in our local Citizen Police Academy, which included a heart-pounding ride-along with a patrol officer. By the time I finished Against All Odds, I had 75 single-spaced pages of research notes and reference citations for that book alone.
Since Against All Odds is the first in a series, can you tell us what the scope of the series involves? Give us a sneak-peek at the next story?
Each of the three books puts an FBI Hostage Resue Team member or a special agent center stage. Book 2, An Eye For An Eye, (which will release in September), features Mark Sanders, Coop's partner in Against All Odds. It's a story about a reunion that turns deadly. But who is the killer after - Mark or the woman he reconnects with? It's a race against the clock to find out. Book 3, which doesn't yet have a final title, is currently sceduled for release in February or March 2010 and features Special Agent Nick Bradley, who makes a brief appearance in Against All Odds. In this book, a woman approaches the authorities with a very strange story. She knows the looming danger is real - but can she convince the FBI to take her seriously?
Both of the main characters sturggle with broken parental relationships. I know from my own experience that this is indeed one of the most vulnerable areas of our hearts. I have a feeling, based on your comments in the ackowledgements, that your relationship with you own parents is quite different. Can you share with your readers...what are your parents' like and how have they influenced your writing?
I could never give sufficient credit to my parents for their tremendous positive influence on my life. They ahve always been my ardent fans, encouraging me every step of the way in every venture I undertook. They believed in me, and because they believed, I believed too. There's an old saying about the two gifts parents can give their children - one is roots, the other wings. My parents gave me both. They created a home where I was accepted without question, loved without conditions and encouraged without restraint. With that kind of foundation, it's easy to take on the world. I give thanks every day for the gift of their continued presence in my life.
In your biographical information there is mention that you are a rather musically talented lady in addition to your writing. Can you tell us about your love for musical performance? When did that begin for you? What is your favorite type of music?
I don't know how talented I am, but I do love to sing! I've been performing for as long as I can remember, even organizing backyard shows as a child, but the music part came later. I never thought I had much of a voice, but I'd always wanted to sing. So when I was in college, I gathered up my courage and took voice lessons. That opened a whole new world for me. I continued the lessons when I went to graduate school and began auditioning for community theater musicals. Let me tell you, singing in front of a whole roomful of people is REALLY scary! And in the beginning, nerves got me every time. But eventually, after singing in the chorus of a few shows, I started to get small parts, and over the years leading roles came my way.
I still perform in stage shows when time permits, but the grueling rehearsal schedules don't always mesh well with my writing commitments. So mostly these days I solo at church and perform with a six-person musical review group for private parties and organizations around town. My favorite kind of music? The classic Broadway musicals (Rogers & Hammerstein, Lerner & Lowe, Merideth Wilson, Cole Porter, etc...) and lots of music from the forties. In the musical review, I sing songs like "Till There Was You," "With a Song in My Heart" and "It's Magic."
What exciting things is God doing in your life right now? Any closing words of encouragement you'd like to share with your readers?
With the release of Against All Odds, every day lately is exciting, and I'm loving every minute of it! But I'm not an excitement seeker in general. There have been some major health issues in my family over the past year, and those experiences have made me appreciate more than ever the beauty of normal, ordinary days.
As for closing words...an interviewer recently asked me what message I'd like to leave with readers as they finish Against All Odds. I didn't really have a good answer at the time, because it's not a "message" book in the sense she meant the question. But in thinking about it later, I realized that in all of my books, no matter the storyline, I try to do three things. First, I want to entertain. People need whoesome ways to unwind in today's stressful, fast-paced world, and I do my best to write books that help them put aside their cares for a few hours. Second, I want to leave people with hop; with a belief that no matter how tough life gets, a happy ending is always possible. And finally, I want people to close the last page with a better appreciation for the tremendous power of love - both human and divine - to change lives.