Irene Hannon is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than 60 contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. In addition to her many other honors, she is a three-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of RWA’s elite Hall of Fame and has received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work.
In 2015 Irene penned her first Hope Harbor Series novel entitled Hope Harbor. This novel paved the way for more novels set along the rocky shores of the Oregon coast. Now Hannon lures readers back to the seaside town with her ninth novel in the Hope Harbor collection. Windswept Way will introduce fans to a new cast of characters while still bringing back a few favorites in this charming town where hearts heal and love blooms.
FF: Please provide readers with a brief description of your new novel, Windswept Way?
Here’s the story in a nutshell: A woman who’s taken a leap of faith and a reclusive man resigned to being alone help an older woman give new life to her family’s historic estate…and in the process find their own happy ending.
FF: Windswept Way is the ninth book in the Hope Harbor collection. What was the inspiration behind these novels?
I’d always wanted to write a heartwarming, long-running series set in a small seaside town filled with characters readers would come to love. When I wrote the first book—called Hope Harbor—I had high hopes it could lead to that series. Happily, those hopes were fulfilled. My little town has become beloved not only in the U.S., but around the world.
FF: Why did you choose the Oregon coast as the setting for the Hope Harbor Series novels?
I’d seen photos of the Oregon coast for many years, and it looked like the kind of place that could be home to my fictional community. So I took a research trip there, traveled the coast from top to bottom taking copious notes, and found the perfect setting for my stories.
FF: Hope Harbor is a place where “hearts heal and love blooms.” Can you please provide some insight on how this takes place for your two protagonists, Ashley Scott and Jonathan Gray?
Both Ashley and Jon are hurting and alone when this story starts. So is the owner of Edgecliff, the historic home that is the centerpiece of this story. But as the three of them begin to work together on their ambitious project to open the estate to the world, their hearts begin to open as well. Because love truly can transform lives.
FF: Can you provide more information on Jonathan Gray’s backstory?
Jon was badly injured by an IED in the Middle East, which cost him the future he had planned. He carries deep physical and psychological scars. He’s not in any way the stereotypical model-perfect hero of a romance novel. He’s created a successful landscaping business, but he relies on Daisy, his border collie for company. Until Ashley comes along.
FF: Each Hope Harbor novel focuses on new characters. Will characters from previous books in the series make appearances in Windswept Way?
Every Hope Harbor book is a brand new story, with a whole new cast of main characters. Each story begins and ends in each book, with no hanging plot threads from book to book. The unifying element is the town. There are several secondary characters who appear in every book, but a reader can pick up any book in the series and feel right at home. Readers who’ve been following the series all along will definitely recognize the leading characters from past books who make cameo appearances in this story.
FF: Do you have a favorite character in this novel?
I love Ashley and Jon, but Rose, the reclusive older woman who owns Edgecliff, touched my heart in a special way. Watching her emerge from her self-imposed exile was so inspiring and uplifting.
FF: What lessons do you hope readers gain from reading Windswept Way?
Never judge a book—or a person—by its cover.
FF: What do you love most about writing contemporary romance?
I love telling stories about people with honor and character and integrity and faith who are living full, rich, interesting lives and finding happy endings without sacrificing their principles. I think everyone can benefit from encouragement to stay the course in a world that often isn’t supportive of traditional values or faith-based living.
FF: What are you working on next?
I’ll have a new suspense series starting in October, which features three foster siblings whose careers put them on the front line of danger. And the Hope Harbor Series will continue in April 2024 with Book #10.
Hope Harbor Series #9
Release Date: April 4, 2023
Buying a haunted house was never in Ashley Scott’s plans, but when an intriguing opportunity drops into her lap after a major setback, she finds herself trekking cross-country to Hope Harbor to launch a new life.
Wounded warrior Jonathan Gray isn’t sure what to make of the attractive woman on his reclusive older neighbor’s isolated property, but her presence is none of his business—until she enlists his help with an ambitious project. When Jonathan finds his interest in the new arrival becoming more personal than professional, however, his defenses go up. There’s no room in his life—or his heart—for romance.
Yet, as these three hurting people join forces to restore life, laughter, and love to a historic estate that has known too much sadness, they may also find healing, hope, and happiness for themselves.
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