Friday, August 3, 2012

A Veteran Writer’s Ongoing Journey by Irene Hannon

A writer’s journey doesn’t necessarily get easier after being published—or even after being multi-published. Nothing is guaranteed. Today on Seriously Write, author Irene Hannon shares personal experiences and how she tackled new challenges in her writing career. Enjoy! ~ Dawn

A Veteran Writer’s Ongoing Journey
by Irene Hannon

I guess you could call me a veteran writer. I’ve been published for 20+ years and just saw the fabulous cover for my 40th novel, Vanished (January 2013).

Yet four years ago, after 26 books, a RITA award and various other honors, I found myself once again classified a newbie when I decided to expand from contemporary category romance into single-title, trade-length novels.

Let me tell you—that was a big surprise. I had no idea breaking out of category was going to be so tough. Or that I would essentially be starting all over. But the hard truth was, very few people in the single-title, trade-paperback world had ever heard of category-writer Irene Hannon.

My first effort, a longer contemporary romance, drew little interest. So I tucked the manuscript away in a drawer, hoping to sell it someday down the road. (And I’m delighted to report that day seems to be fast approaching!)

When I couldn’t sell that book back then, I decided to try my hand at a different genre. Since my Nancy Drew days, I’ve been a fan of suspense. In fact, my very first novel (novella, really), was a romantic suspense. I still have it; it’s in the deepest, darkest corner of my closet—where it shall forever remain. To put it delicately, the book stunk. My writing in those days was unpolished and I had no law enforcement or military background—nor was there an internet to consult. (We’re talking the dark ages here.)

But this time when I tackled suspense, I had my ducks in a row. I’d polished my writing. Established publishing industry contacts. Lined up amazing sources in law enforcement and other professions. And even though my original intent was to write one book, two more hunky FBI characters appeared, begging me to tell their stories. So without even a nibble from a publisher, and in between category commitments, I took the plunge and wrote the entire Heroes of Quantico series on spec. Kind of like newbie writers do when they’re trying to break into the published ranks.

I’m happy to report my gamble paid off. All three of those books became best sellers. They garnered two RITA nominations and a RITA win, as well as a Daphne du Maurier award. So far—fingers crossed!—all the books in my second, series (Guardians of Justice) have been best sellers, too. And one of them (Deadly Pursuit) is up for a RITA as I write this. The third book, Lethal Legacy, has just been released.

So what does all this mean? Simple. When spreading your wings, perseverance, risk-taking and a belief in your own talent is as important to multi-published authors as it is to the unpublished. My experience also reminded me that while nothing about this business is easy or guaranteed, if you want something badly enough you can find a way to make it happen. But it takes work—homework, groundwork and hard work.

I’m glad I made the effort!

Click to reach Amazon.
Irene Hannon is the author of more than 35 novels, including the bestselling Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice series. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, a HOLT Medallion, a Daphne du Maurier Award and two Reviewers’ Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine. Booklist also included one of her novels in its “Top 10 Inspirational Fiction” list for 2011. She lives in Missouri.

To learn more, please visit Irene’s website:


  1. Your one time reviewer here checking you out. Love the picture and stuff about book.
    jrs362 at hotmail dot com

  2. Thank you so much, Irene. I needed to hear this today. Love "homework, groundwork, and hard work!" I'm going to put it on a sticky note on my wall.

  3. Glad you found the piece worthwhile, Ocieanna!

  4. Irene, I have to say - you amaze me. I only recently discovered your books, but I'm now a fan all the way (and I have the sleepless night to prove more chapter...just one more chapter to find out what happens next....) As an inspy romance/fiction author, I laude your skill and your flexibility to write not to just genre, but to the stories God gives you. Many blessings, and much continued success. Can't wait to dive in to Lethal Legacy - it's already on my Kindle! :-) <3

    1. Thanks, Marianne! Sorry about those sleepless nights--but I'm so glad you enjoy my books!

  5. Hi Irene! I really enjoy all of your books. Thank you for sharing some of your writing journey with us. I am pursuing a writing career, and your insight is encouraging. I recently finished "Lethal Legacy", and I truly enjoyed it. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed the series so much (as well as your "Heroes of Quantico" Series) I recommended them on my blog ( Keep up the great work! I am looking forward to reading "Vanished" in January. God bless! -Ashley


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