Tuesday, 15 October 2019

I Interviews

Interview: Irene Hannon

Author of Sea Rose Lane


 1.      Sea Rose Lane is your fiftieth book. What does it feel like to have written fifty books? Take our audience down memory lane and what it has meant to write those fifty books.

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that number. In the end, I have to conclude that it’s a God thing. Writing, like any other talent, is a gift—and while I did work hard to develop the gift, the real credit for this achievement belongs to the giver. He gave me the stories . . . and the words to tell them. It’s been an amazing blessing that has graced my life in countless ways.

 2.      Sea Rose Lane is the next book in your Hope Harbor series; tell us about Sea Rose Lane and how the story continues.

Every book set in Hope Harbor stands alone as a complete novel. The common element is the setting. And while a romance is front and center in this book, there’s a wonderful subplot of second chances that is integral to the developing romance. Readers who are returning to my special town will also see some familiar characters—Charley, the taco-making artist; Floyd and Gladys, the seagull couple; and my two clerics, with their endearing friendly rivalry.

 3.      Though beloved, the setting of Hope Harbor is fictional. How do you even begin to research and come up with an entire fictional town?

I’ve wanted to set a series of books on the Oregon coast for years. So I took a research trip there, and from that experience I created my own town, borrowing bits and pieces of places I saw along the way. For example, in Florence, I found charming storefronts and to-die-for cinnamon rolls. In Bandon, I learned about seagull romance. In Brookings, I watched the sun set in a secluded cove with a silver-white harbor seal for company. And everywhere I went, I savored the endless sandy beaches and sea stacks. All those bits and pieces of real-life coastal Oregon became part of Hope Harbor.

 4.      Your characters Eric and BJ don’t exactly meet in the best of circumstances. Introduce us to these characters and tell us a little more about them.

Their meeting is memorable—but not in a good way! Eric plows into the back of BJ’s pickup truck while talking on his cell. Beyond that rough start, things are still dicey for them. BJ is an architect who’s left behind the corporate rat race to start her own small-town design/construction firm . . . and she has no interest in romance after a seriously bad experience. Eric is a partner-track, workaholic attorney with a large firm . . . or he was, until his company downsized. He’s home to regroup but has no intention of staying in Hope Harbor, which offers limited opportunities for someone with big ambitions. But as these two begin to interact, both learn that sometimes God offers opportunities where we least expect them.

 5.      Tell us about the Seabird Inn and why Eric’s dad decided to open a bed-and-breakfast.

Much to Eric’s surprise, his widower dad is in the midst of turning the family home into a B&B when he arrives in Hope Harbor. Also much to his son’s surprise, John Nash has always harbored a dream to open an inn—but he put that dream aside for practical reasons. I love this little subplot, because it reminds us that dreams can come true at any age—even later in life—if that’s when the time is right.

6.      Your novels are full of amazing characters; how do you keep them all straight when you are working on your current novel?

It’s not difficult, because they’re all very real to me and have their own unique personalities. By the end of the book, they’ve become good friends . . . and I hate to say goodbye. That’s why I often give characters from older books cameo roles in newer novels.

7.      Talk about Helping Hands and why it was important for you to represent senior citizens in Sea Rose Lane?

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for older adults . . . more so since my parents have aged and begun to battle various health issues. I think older people are often an overlooked resource in our youth-oriented, throwaway society. And I think we tend to forget that everyone has a contribution to make if we just give them the opportunity. The challenges of growing old, along with the value older people offer, is one of the messages in this book.

8.      What faith message do you want readers to take from your books?

A message of hope. That no matter how bad things get, if we trust in God and do our best, there’s always the hope of a happy ending.

 9.      In writing the characters for Hope Harbor and now Sea Rose Lane, are they based on people you know? Are any of them based on you?

All of my characters are purely fictional, although I often incorporate qualities I’ve seen in people I know.

10.  What has kept you inspired in the writing of fifty books? What keeps you writing after all these years?

I was born a writer—and writers write. I love to play with words and create stories that touch people’s hearts.

11.  Publishing has changed since you began writing; what advice would you give to someone listening today who wants to publish a book?

The publishing world has changed dramatically . . . but the basic advice hasn’t. To succeed, you need to read a lot, write a lot, and never stop learning. I still love the stories I wrote early in my career, but I am a much better writer technically than I was back then. And that’s as it should be. I hope that for as long as I write, I learn something new with each book, and that every novel is better than the last.

12.  In writing Sea Rose Lane, what snuck up and surprised you about the setting, the characters, or the story?

One of my minor, secondary characters ended up taking on a life of his own and convinced me to make him the hero of my next book. That was a huge surprise!

13.  You have another Hope Harbor novel coming in 2017—Sandpiper Cove. Can you give us a sneak peek?

I’ll be happy to! Here’s the blurb for the book: Hope Harbor police chief Lexie Graham has plenty on her plate raising her son alone and dealing with a sudden rash of petty theft and vandalism in her Oregon coast hometown. She has zero time for extracurricular activities—including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn’t looking for love either—but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief? Yet wishing for things that can never be is foolish. However, when Lexie enlists his help to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks begin to fly. And as they work together, it soon becomes apparent that God may have a different . . . and better . . . future planned for them than either could have imagined.


 Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including One Perfect Spring and Hope Harbor, as well as the Private Justice and Men of Valor series. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, two Carol Awards, three HOLT Medallions, a Daphne du Maurier Award, a Retailers’ Choice Award, two Retailers’ Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, two Booksellers’ Best Awards, and a National Readers’ Choice Award. In 2014, she was inducted into Romance Writers of America’s Hall of Fame as only the sixteenth member in the thirty-five-year history of the organization. Hannon lives in Missouri. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.

 

Suggested Interview Questions for Irene Hannon

Author of Sea Rose Lane

1.      Sea Rose Lane is your fiftieth book. What does it feel like to have written fifty books? Take our audience down memory lane and what it has meant to write those fifty books.

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that number. In the end, I have to conclude that it’s a God thing. Writing, like any other talent, is a gift—and while I did work hard to develop the gift, the real credit for this achievement belongs to the giver. He gave me the stories . . . and the words to tell them. It’s been an amazing blessing that has graced my life in countless ways.

 

2.      Sea Rose Lane is the next book in your Hope Harbor series; tell us about Sea Rose Lane and how the story continues.

Every book set in Hope Harbor stands alone as a complete novel. The common element is the setting. And while a romance is front and center in this book, there’s a wonderful subplot of second chances that is integral to the developing romance. Readers who are returning to my special town will also see some familiar characters—Charley, the taco-making artist; Floyd and Gladys, the seagull couple; and my two clerics, with their endearing friendly rivalry.

 

3.      Though beloved, the setting of Hope Harbor is fictional. How do you even begin to research and come up with an entire fictional town?

I’ve wanted to set a series of books on the Oregon coast for years. So I took a research trip there, and from that experience I created my own town, borrowing bits and pieces of places I saw along the way. For example, in Florence, I found charming storefronts and to-die-for cinnamon rolls. In Bandon, I learned about seagull romance. In Brookings, I watched the sun set in a secluded cove with a silver-white harbor seal for company. And everywhere I went, I savored the endless sandy beaches and sea stacks. All those bits and pieces of real-life coastal Oregon became part of Hope Harbor.

 

4.      Your characters Eric and BJ don’t exactly meet in the best of circumstances. Introduce us to these characters and tell us a little more about them.

Their meeting is memorable—but not in a good way! Eric plows into the back of BJ’s pickup truck while talking on his cell. Beyond that rough start, things are still dicey for them. BJ is an architect who’s left behind the corporate rat race to start her own small-town design/construction firm . . . and she has no interest in romance after a seriously bad experience. Eric is a partner-track, workaholic attorney with a large firm . . . or he was, until his company downsized. He’s home to regroup but has no intention of staying in Hope Harbor, which offers limited opportunities for someone with big ambitions. But as these two begin to interact, both learn that sometimes God offers opportunities where we least expect them.

 

5.      Tell us about the Seabird Inn and why Eric’s dad decided to open a bed-and-breakfast.

Much to Eric’s surprise, his widower dad is in the midst of turning the family home into a B&B when he arrives in Hope Harbor. Also much to his son’s surprise, John Nash has always harbored a dream to open an inn—but he put that dream aside for practical reasons. I love this little subplot, because it reminds us that dreams can come true at any age—even later in life—if that’s when the time is right.

 

6.      Your novels are full of amazing characters; how do you keep them all straight when you are working on your current novel?

It’s not difficult, because they’re all very real to me and have their own unique personalities. By the end of the book, they’ve become good friends . . . and I hate to say goodbye. That’s why I often give characters from older books cameo roles in newer novels.

 

7.      Talk about Helping Hands and why it was important for you to represent senior citizens in Sea Rose Lane?

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for older adults . . . more so since my parents have aged and begun to battle various health issues. I think older people are often an overlooked resource in our youth-oriented, throwaway society. And I think we tend to forget that everyone has a contribution to make if we just give them the opportunity. The challenges of growing old, along with the value older people offer, is one of the messages in this book.

 

8.      What faith message do you want readers to take from your books?

A message of hope. That no matter how bad things get, if we trust in God and do our best, there’s always the hope of a happy ending.

 

9.      In writing the characters for Hope Harbor and now Sea Rose Lane, are they based on people you know? Are any of them based on you?

All of my characters are purely fictional, although I often incorporate qualities I’ve seen in people I know.

 

10.  What has kept you inspired in the writing of fifty books? What keeps you writing after all these years?

I was born a writer—and writers write. I love to play with words and create stories that touch people’s hearts.

 

11.  Publishing has changed since you began writing; what advice would you give to someone listening today who wants to publish a book?

The publishing world has changed dramatically . . . but the basic advice hasn’t. To succeed, you need to read a lot, write a lot, and never stop learning. I still love the stories I wrote early in my career, but I am a much better writer technically than I was back then. And that’s as it should be. I hope that for as long as I write, I learn something new with each book, and that every novel is better than the last.

 

12.  In writing Sea Rose Lane, what snuck up and surprised you about the setting, the characters, or the story?

One of my minor, secondary characters ended up taking on a life of his own and convinced me to make him the hero of my next book. That was a huge surprise!

 

13.  You have another Hope Harbor novel coming in 2017—Sandpiper Cove. Can you give us a sneak peek?

I’ll be happy to! Here’s the blurb for the book: Hope Harbor police chief Lexie Graham has plenty on her plate raising her son alone and dealing with a sudden rash of petty theft and vandalism in her Oregon coast hometown. She has zero time for extracurricular activities—including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn’t looking for love either—but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief? Yet wishing for things that can never be is foolish. However, when Lexie enlists his help to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks begin to fly. And as they work together, it soon becomes apparent that God may have a different . . . and better . . . future planned for them than either could have imagined.

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