Monday, 14 September 2009

Character Spotlight ~ Irene Hannon's Mark Sanders & Emily Lawson

Today the spotlight shines on Mark Sanders & Emily Lawson

Irene Hannon has me hook, line and sinker! Her Heroes of Quantico series is brilliant and I can't recommend it more highly. The latest instalment, An Eye for An Eye, is now available and you don't want to miss it.

I hope this spotlight intrigues you ~ add the book to your Wish List without delay!

Over to you, Irene:~

Mark Sanders

Brief Description

Mark is 38, 6’2”, with medium brown hair and brown eyes. As a member of the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team, he’s in excellent physical condition. Although more outgoing, communicative and laid-back than his partner, Coop, he’s intense on the job.

As I’ve mentioned in past Spotlights, I never picture celebrities when envisioning my characters. They always take on their own unique personalities and looks. So this is a tough question for me. Maybe David Duchovny in his X-Files days?


Mark is committed to seeing that justice is done and has a well-developed conscience. He’s smart, determined and loyal. Although he presents a strong face to the world, he has a tender heart. And unlike Coop, he’s not afraid to let the right woman peek into it!


He sometimes pushes himself too hard—and expects too much of himself.


No real quirks

Inspiration for the Character

Since this is a reunion story as well as a suspense novel, I wanted Mark to be a guy who was still searching for the right woman—even if he didn’t know it! And I wanted him to be in the midst of both a personal and professional crisis that had thrown his life off balance. I thought it would be interesting to watch a strong male character deal with both a trauma that has temporarily pushed him off the Hostage Rescue Team—the center of his world—and a situation that makes him reevaluate the loneliness of his life. Reintroducing him to his high school sweetheart in the context of high drama and life-threatening risk was a great way to accomplish the latter!

Emily Lawson

Brief Description

Emily is 36, 5’7”, with shoulder-length blonde hair and green eyes. She’s a psychologist in private practice, and she also hosts a weekly call-in teen radio show. In addition, she handles EAP cases for companies and is an expert in workplace violence. Her husband, a fireman, died five years ago in the line of duty—less than six months after they were married.

Think Cheryl Ladd in her Charlie’s Angels days comes closest—but with a little shorter hair!


Emily is smart, intuitive and empathetic.


After losing her husband tragically, she’s afraid to get too close to anyone again. She fills up the emptiness in her personal life with way too many work-related commitments. Even though she’s a psychologist and knows this isn’t healthy, she hasn’t been able to get past the fear of letting someone new claim her heart—and then losing him again.


She’s addicted to vanilla lattes and double chocolate chip frappuccinos.

Inspiration for the Character

Because Emily has been devastated by loss and is reluctant to risk being hurt again, I needed to give her a good incentive to rethink her position. So I brought in Mark, her first love. Then I put her in a volatile situation that throws the predictable life she’s created into turmoil and forces her to acknowledge that no matter how hard she tries to shape her own world and insulate herself from loss, it’s just not possible.

Background to the Story

Although An Eye For An Eye is Book 2 in my Heroes of Quantico series, it was actually written first—and I never intended it to be part of a series. Since it was my inaugural foray into suspense, I didn’t want to over commit. But then along came Coop, who intrigued me enough that I wanted to write his story. So An Eye For An Eye became Book 2 and Against All Odds became Book 1. Fortunately, Nick showed up with his own very compelling story, giving me my third book for the series, In Harm’s Way (April 2010).

One of the things I like about the Heroes of Quantico series is that each of the stories is very different. Against All Odds featured a two-continent setting and a terrorist element. An Eye For An Eye focuses on a more personal threat when a determined killer shatters Mark and Emily’s unexpected reunion. But who is the target? And why? As they search for answers, the peril escalates. Will they find the killer before he can complete his mission? Or is this new chapter in their long-ago summertime romance destined to have an unhappy ending? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

One last note: Although these books mark my suspense debut, I’ve also written 26 contemporary romances. But I felt strongly called to dip my toes into suspense. And I’m happy to say it paid off. Against All Odds went on to hit both the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists for multiple months and is now in its third printing. I’m crossing my fingers that the same happens with An Eye For An Eye! It’s already gotten a 4 ½ star Top Pick rating from RT BOOKreviews and has been called “superbly written” by Booklist, so it’s off to a great start!

Thanks so much, Irene ~ I adored An Eye for An Eye and can't wait for Nick's story, In Harm's Way, releasing next year :)

Aussie Giveaway

I am thrilled to have a copy of An Eye for An Eye to give away! To enter:!

1. You must have an Australian postal address

2. Post a comment by Sunday 20th September, 2009 telling me what qualities make a great romantic suspense novel for you.

Relz Reviewz Extras

Interview with Irene

Character spotlight on Monica and Coop from Against All Odds

Visit Irene's website

Buy Irene's books at Amazon or Koorong

Read my review of An Eye for An Eye, now at


southeastcountrywife said...

These books look awesome so I was very excited to see you offer a giveaway. :) I like romantic suspense that has brainwork involved by the reader, skips going into blood-and-gore detail (just give me the bare facts please!! lol) and had a believable main couple.

Beth said...

The first one was really good, as are Irene's romance novels.
Hmm ... the intruigue has to get you interested right from the start, but it shouldn't be obvious that the main couple are going to end up together. That can even be part of the intrigue - are they the ones for each other or could there possibly be someone else? I like to try to figure out what is going on, but don't want so much information that I work out "who done it" before the end.

Rel said...

Thanks Girls - love reading your thoughts.

If you liked Against All Odds you are going to love this one, Beth. Maybe not so much on the might they end up together but everything else is perfect!

Definitely, gives you things to think about, K!

Jewelz said...

I love a romantic suspense novel that makes me think, doesn't have a really obvious ending, and develops the relationship between the couple rather than moving it really fast.

Please enter me :)
joyfuljewelz (at)

Angela said...

I like stories that have twists and turns, that doesn't tell of an obvious relationship at first but then has a bit of 'sizzle' towards the end :)

ad said...

Please add my name to the list. I like romantic novels in which the main characters take some time to get together.

Fi said...

Chemistry between the main characters and a well woven plot. A story that grabs me. That has me sitting on the edge of my seat, not wanting to put the book down!

Jen said...

I think a great romantic suspense has you gripped from the start with the main characters at odds with each other but who end up together by working through the issues. Can't wait to read this book. Thanks Rel

Laetitia :-) said...

Not knowing if the characters are destined for each other or whether one is actually the murderer is a good start (romance triangle helps here so that there's actually a 'good' person to end up with).

But mainly, believable characters (and if you're given some serious details about how they spend their time or interesting forensic things it helps make them more 'real') and a tight plot where the murderer isn't obvious.

Leola said...

I like the romance to have believable characters where it isn't always obvious who will end up with who, and where the relationship is developed through working out some issues. As for the suspense, I like one that is gripping, light on the gory details but has twists that make me think and not wanting to put the book down until its solved.
Thanks for another great review Rel, and the opportunity to win another great book.

Chloe-Anne =) said...

I like fast paced romantic suspense novels, that keep you guessing right until the end.
Please enter me.

Thnx heaps

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