Happy Wednesday! Continuing through Saturday (culminating with a list of winners), I have the privilege of sharing mini interviews with nearly all of the 2019 ACFW Carol Award Finalists! Today I’m covering the mystery/suspense/thriller & romantic suspense categories, including Irene Hannon and her Carol Award nominated book Hidden Peril! You can check out a list of all the finalists HERE.
FYI – There will be several posts per day, and a week-long giveaway, so make sure you catch them all!
IRENE HANNON is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than fifty contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. In addition to her many other honors, she is a three-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America and a member of that organization’s elite Hall of Fame. She has also received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work. Visit her at https://www.irenehannon.com
SERIES: Code of Honor #2
GENRE: Inspirational Romantic Suspense
RELEASE DATE: October 2, 2018
As teenagers, Kristin Dane and her two best friends took a vow to make the world a better place. Twenty years later, she’s fulfilling that pledge through her fair trade shop that features products from around the world. All is well until, one by one, people connected to the shop begin dying.
Detective Luke Carter, new to the St. Louis PD, wants to know why. Before he can answer that question, however, the FBI weighs in and Kristin suddenly finds herself in the middle of international intrigue–and in the sights of the ruthless mastermind behind an ingenious and deadly, scheme. Can this cold-blooded killer be stopped before more people die . . . including Kristin?
Three-time RITA Award-winner and “queen of inspirational romantic suspense” (Library Journal) Irene Hannon doesn’t disappoint in this edge-of-your-seat thriller that will have readers up late as they rush toward the explosive conclusion.
Hi, Irene! Welcome to the blog!
Q: Why do you write fiction? And, why specifically Christian fiction?
Irene: I write fiction because I like to tell stories—and touch hearts. I write Christian fiction because it’s a hope-infused genre that reflects my faith and worldview. It’s also what the general market calls “clean” fiction. That descriptor has fallen into disfavor in some quarters these days, but I think readers understand what it means: a book without profanity, explicit sex, or gratuitous violence. As master suspense novelist Mary Higgins Clark (who leaves those elements out too) once said, you don’t need them to tell a good story. I couldn’t agree more.
Carrie: I agree completely! Personally I think it shows smarter writing too – to not have to rely on those ‘fillers’ to tell a great story.
Q: Other than the Bible, what are a couple of your most cherished books and why?
Irene: I’d have to pick the books that got me hooked many years ago on the two genres in which I write—Nancy Drew for suspense and the Emilie Loring novels for contemporary romance. I loved Nancy Drew because she was a terrific role model for a young teen—smart, strong, independent, kind, generous, brave, loyal, and a leader. The Emilie Loring books were old even when I was a teen, and I’m not certain how I stumbled across them. But I loved how the romance was depicted. It was dimensional, focused on far more than hot looks and hormones. Characters came to care for each other because of the values they shared and the honorable way in which they lived their lives. Plus, I always turned the last page with a smile. The way I felt at the end of those books was how I wanted to make readers feel when I began my fiction career.
Carrie: Ok how have I never heard about the Emilie Loring books??? Making it my new mission to track some down 🙂
Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever Googled while researching a book?
Irene: I’ve googled many, many weird subjects—usually several per book. If I have to pick one, I’d say paranormal phenomena for In Harm’s Way, including twin telepathy and psychometry (the supposed ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them). Fascinating stuff.
Carrie: I loved that book!! I think it’s time for a re-read
Q: If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?
Irene: Probably that I’m nosey. I want to know everything about what makes a character tick, and I’m not afraid to ask hard questions and dig deep to find out.
Carrie: … which is part of what makes your books so good!
Q: Which of your main characters (either in Hidden Peril or over all you’ve written) is most like you?
Irene: I think there’s a part of me in every heroine I write—just as I could see pieces of myself in Nancy Drew and the heroines in the Emilie Loring books. In Hidden Peril, my nominated book, the heroine yearns to have a closer relationship with her parents. I had a super close relationship with my mom, and still have one with my dad, so while I don’t share my heroine’s experience in that regard I was able to write her well because I could imagine what a gap there would be in my life if I hadn’t been close to my mom and dad.
Carrie: As someone who is also super close with her parents, I love that you were able to empathize with Kristin anyway by putting yourself in her shoes.
Q: What is something God taught you while you wrote Hidden Peril?
Irene: Writing this book reminded me that everyone faces challenges and tough choices, and that even people who seem to have their act together may be hurting inside. It also made me appreciate that making the right choice often requires tremendous courage—and to ponder what I would have done if I’d faced the moral dilemma two of my characters had to deal with in this book.
Carrie: There’s always more to someone than what we see on the surface – so true.
Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from Hidden Peril & why do you love it?
Irene: A terrorist plot is at the heart of this story, which features a heroine who runs a fair-trade shop and finds herself caught up in situation that rapidly takes on international dimensions. She’s out of her element and running scared. But in the end, when the stakes are the highest, she rises to the occasion and makes a heroic decision. Right before the climax, these are her thoughts:
“But if her courage held, in less than a minute he was going to find out that for all his hatred of America and Christians, the values of her country and her faith were going to prove more powerful in the end than his ideology of hatred and intolerance.”
I love the message here…but to understand fully why the momentous decision she made was so courageous, you’ll have to read the book!
Carrie: Well, it just moved right up to the top of my teetering TBR tower 😀
I am offering one reader any TWO books (print copies) that finaled in the 2019 Carol Awards! (open internationally as long as Book Depository ships to your address) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What interests you most from Irene Hannon’s Q&A or the romantic suspense Carol Award finalist Hidden Peril?