Writer’s Desk with Irene Hannon
We’re so excited to have Irene Hannon featured on this week’s writer’s desk. Irene Hannon is the Publishers Weekly bestselling and award-winning author of more than 50 contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels, including Dangerous Illusions, Hidden Peril, and Dark Ambitions, as well as the Men of Valor, Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series. In addition to her many other honors, she is a three-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of RWA’s elite Hall of Fame and has received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work. All of her suspense novels have also been ECPA bestsellers. Be sure to stick around until the end of the post for more about her most recent release plus a chance to win a copy!
Q&A with Irene Hannon
Do you have a writing routine? When/Where do you write?
Since I’m a full-time novelist with contract deadlines, I definitely have a writing routine! I’m at my desk every weekday by about eight, take a brief break at lunch for a walk, and try to wrap up by five. If I haven’t met my page count goal for the day, though, I’ll return to my office after dinner. In the past year, I’ve been trying to work less on weekends—but it all depends on what remains on my desk by Friday afternoon! In addition to writing, there are all kinds of promotional, marketing, and business obligations that are part of this career, and they often end up getting handled on weekends. I do 99 percent of my work in my home office, but once in a while, I steal away to the country for a three-day solo writing retreat without internet where I can focus on nothing but writing, with no interruptions. I love those getaways!
When are you most productive?
I’m pretty productive all day. My least productive time is late in the evening. After working all day, my brain just reaches a point where it says, “Enough!”
What do you snack on or drink while writing?
Nothing. All my eating takes place in the kitchen. I didn’t grow up in a family that snacked or ate between meals, so I never got into that habit—thank goodness, since this is such a sedentary occupation! The only thing that comes with me to my office is the cup of hot chocolate I have every morning after breakfast.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
I don’t typically get blocked during the writing of a book. If I’m having a bit of trouble with a scene, I just keep plowing through. As Nora Roberts once said, “You can fix a bad page. You can’t fix a blank page.” The hardest part for me is the upfront thinking before I start writing. I need to have a good sense of my basic storyline and know my main characters well before I begin typing. Coming up with fresh storylines can be a challenge after 60+ books. And often my characters have to be coaxed out of the shadows. Both of those tasks can be difficult—at least for me!
What is your outlining process? Are you a pantser/plotter or something in between?
I don’t plot—but as I mentioned in the previous question, I do have to have a strong sense of my story before I begin. I suppose I’m a bit of a hybrid. But I don’t outline. Once I start writing, I let the story flow naturally.
Best advice for someone who is just starting out.
Read extensively, seek feedback, strive to produce a technically polished manuscript, and never stop honing your craft. Even after all the books I’ve written, I learn something new with each one, and I think my writing gets better and better. I’d also suggest you learn the business side of writing, even if you have an agent—because no one will ever care as much as you do about your career.
Quickfire questions — what are you currently:
Binge-watching: Cary Grant movies—best leading man ever!
Reading: The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox—next up in my TBR pile.
Favorite song right now: Our Love Is Here to Say—always and forever my favorite song. (And yes, there’s a story there!)
Current Starbucks pick: English breakfast tea in the morning, chocolate chip frappuccino in the afternoon
Enter to win a copy of Point of Danger from Irene*
More about Point of Danger:
Radio talk show host Eve Reilly is used to backlash from her pot-stirring on-air commentary and interviews, but now it seems a disgruntled listener is resorting to more than angry words to express their displeasure. When a suspicious package arrives on her doorstep, Eve turns to law enforcement for help.
Police detective Brent Lange can’t find any evidence to link the string of unsettling incidents that follow, but he’s convinced they’re connected. As the harassment grows more menacing, it becomes clear someone wants Eve’s voice silenced—permanently.
But unless he can track down her foe, fast, the gutsy woman who is willing to take risks for what she believes—and who is swiftly winning his heart—may not survive.
Bestselling author and three-time RITA Award winner Irene Hannon is back with a heart-stopping new series that will have you turning pages well into the night.