Message From The Author
IRIS JOHANSEN EXPLORES PARENTAL BONDS IN QUICKSAND AND TEAMS UP WITH HER SON FOR A THRILLING SUMMER SCARE
By Diane Snyder
Love and loss are the primary forces that drive Iris Johansen's protagonists. In On the Run, Grace Archer fights to protect her child from
the crime lord that killed her father. In Pandora's Daughter, Megan Blair must
face up to her mother's murder and her
own psychic heritage. Megan also makes
an appearance in Johansen's latest, April's Quicksand (St. Martin's), which features Eve Duncan, the author's most famous heroine, in her eighth appearance. This time, Eve's search for her missing daughter Bonnie puts her in the path of a dangerous killer.
A mother of two, Johansen started writing when her children were in high school.
These days she can even count her son, Roy Johansen, as a collaborator. A novelist and screenwriter in his own right, he joined forces with his mother on the thriller Silent Thunder, a July release from St. Martin's. Johansen recently spoke with RT about family, friends and fans.
What inspired you to write Quicksand? It's an Eve (laughs). If you've read Stalemate, you know that there are all kinds of things going on at the end, and I just couldn't let it go.
It nagged at me. Then all of a sudden I got a kernel of an idea
and I went ahead and started writing.
The mother–daughter relationship figures prominently in your books. I think that mother and daughter, mother and son are probably the strongest relationships that anyone can have. I think any mother would agree that the greatest tragedy in life can be losing your child. When you have a child, it's your duty, it's your pleasure, it's your instinct to take care and love that child. And when that's violated it has a completely traumatic effect on you.
Do you plan to keep the mystery of what happened to Eve's daughter Bonnie ongoing? If at one time I decide that the mystery should be solved, it'll be solved. I'm one of those writers who write by the seat of their pants. In Quicksand I didn't know what was going to happen. I admire
people who can outline. It makes their lives much easier.
A lot of writers just write and do quite well. Kay Hooper says she works that way. Yeah, Kay does it that way, and so do Linda Howard and Catherine Coulter. We're all very good friends. In many ways our schedules are different and our styles are certainly different, but we have
a lot of things in common.
How did you all become friends?
We met each other years and years ago at a
conference in Houston. I'm not sure if it was
a Romantic Times conference, but it was very small at the time. We were all writing romance, and we had a lot in common on that front. Then we met each other at another conference and our friendships were very firmly set. Since then we've gone on trips together, and most of the time when we're at conferences we stay in a suite together. They're my very good friends
and I value them so much.
Do you discuss things you're working on, or is it more personal than professional? It's all personal. We don't talk about books at all. Sometimes we talk about the business and celebrate successes together, but we're all individuals and everything that goes on in our books is our challenge.
What about Silent Thunder, the book you wrote with your son that's out this summer? How did you collaborate on it? We got together on plot and on character, and then I'd write some and he'd edit it, and he'd write some and I'd edit it. If one of us had a problem, we'd voice it, and thank heavens we love each other (laughs)! At first we were both sort of walking on tiptoe -- we didn't want to hurt each other's feelings -- but then we had a talk and said that since it's a joint book, whatever bothers the other person has to be right out there in front.
And his part of the book is so fantastic! It gave a whole new edge to what I was writing. I'm really good on characters, but his characters are different from mine -- in this book some of the characters are a little kooky -- and he's fantastic at the technical scenes and the plot twists.
A reviewer described Pandora's Daughter as a "chick thriller." What do you think of that term? I hope it does appeal to women, but I've gotten as many e-mails from men as I have from women. I got one just the other day from a man, and what I loved about it was that he hadn't been interested in reading at all. His wife was the reader, and he just picked up one of my books and said he was hooked. Not only did he read everything I had out, he started to read other authors too. Nothing could have pleased me more.
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