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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Holding her readers spellbound

“Mystery writing involves solving a puzzle, but 'high suspense' writing is a situation whereby the writer thrusts the hero/heroine into high drama.” – Iris Johansen

Born in St. Louis on this date in 1938, Johansen has had 17 consecutive New York Times bestsellers in the crime/mystery genre – something she didn’t first attempt until age 58.    In fact, Johansen didn’t even start writing until her late 40s, first trying a “mixed” genre of historical romance and suspense beginning with her first book The Wind Dancer.   

“I write 'by the seat of my pants.' I love to do research,” she said.  “I am inspired by contemporary writers and contemporary events.  I live in the real world.”  She also is willing to try new ideas, like having two consecutive book covers that each have half of the cover picture.  To see how she uses this clever idea, take a look at her books Hunting Eve and Silencing Eve.  Alone, each cover works just fine, but together you get a whole new look at what is going on with both books.

Her writing world is home-based out of Georgia
 and in addition to her own writing she has seen 
the success of son Roy Johansen, an Edgar-winning screenwriter and novelist, and daughter Tamara, who serves as her primary research assistant.
“The greatest compliment a writer can be given is that a story and character hold a reader spellbound,” she said about the research work she and her daughter put into each book.  “I'm caught up in the story writing and I miss a good deal of sleep thinking about it and working out the plot points.”

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