Interview with cozy mystery author Annie Hansen

Mystery author Annie Hansen is helping me wind up
another week here on Reviews and Interviews. We’re chatting about her latest
Kelly Clark Mystery, Take the Donut.
It’s book 3 in the cozy mystery series.
Hansen is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a B.S. in Biology. She
is a partner with Hansen Search Group, a staffing firm she cofounded with her
husband and business partner, Brent Hansen, in 2001. She was named the winner
of the Helen McCloy Mystery Writers of America Scholarship in 2011 for her
submission of “Give Me Chocolate.” Annie is the author of The Kelly Clark
Mystery Series and can be reached through her website: She lives with her family in the western suburbs of
Welcome, Annie. Please tell us about your current
The third novel in The Kelly Clark Mystery Series, Take the Donut, takes the reader further
into Kelly’s mysterious back story. Kelly’s past has been something she’s been
trying to hide from, but when a new piece of evidence is brought to light, she
is tempted to try and change the story altogether.
Kelly Clark has
spent the last three years of her life running from her tumultuous past. With
her violent ex-husband, Steve, locked up, Kelly is now in a supportive and
loving relationship with her boyfriend, Jack, and reconnecting with her two
sisters. Kelly finds time to help her sister, Adelle, launch a new donut
business, while also getting her parents to move back to their hometown of
Geneva, IL from their home in Miami. But when a jailbreak at Steve’s prison
threatens her safety, Kelly is drawn once again to solving the mystery of what
made her ex-husband derail in the first place. When Kelly finds out one of her
close family members may have been involved in Steve’s fraudulent money
schemes, Kelly begins to doubt everyone around her. Did she trust the wrong
people? Is Steve coming back to get his revenge on Kelly? Featuring an
interesting heroine who is determined to make a new start, Take the Donut is a cozy mystery that centers on temptation, family
drama, greed, and sweet revenge.
Is William lying about his past? And
if so, is Catherine willing to sacrifice their beautiful life in order to find
the truth? Featuring a fascinating heroine who longs for answers but is blinded
by her own privilege, We Could Be Beautiful is a glittering,
seductive, utterly surprising story of love, money, greed, and family.
What inspired you to write this book?
I want to complete this
series to the end because I feel like I owe it to Kelly, my main character. I
started this madness for her, I need to end it and end it well. Or at least, in
a way that will complete Kelly’s story. For some reason, I found that the third
book in the series was much more difficult to write than the first or the
second. I think by the time you get to the third in a series, you’ve really
attached to and connected to your characters. Every move they make has a big
influence on the outcome for the series. In my books, there are three main
sisters that are the pivotal characters. I’m in love with all three of them and
want the best for them. But this is a murder mystery series, someone has to die!
What exciting story are you working on next?
I am currently
hibernating! I plan to spend the months of January and February reading,
reading, and reading. It rejuvenates me and allows my mind to rest so that in
the spring I can start location scouting. I use real locations in the towns
surrounding Geneva, IL, where my main character, Kelly Clark, lives. That will
begin in the spring and then the writing kicks in during the summer. I hope to
start writing my 4th Kelly Clark Mystery by summer of 2017 with a release
by fall of 2018.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I really accepted the role
after my first book was published. I realized quickly that the audience expects
a professional, so it’s time to step up and take on that role. I like to say to
myself, “Own it, girl! God gave you this opportunity and desire to write. No
second guessing or negative head talk. Step up and own it.”
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day
like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to
I do not write full time
right now. I’m a partner in a staffing firm I cofounded with my husband in
2001, Hansen Search Group, so that takes the majority of my time. I’m also a
mother of young children. Right now, my life is a lot of juggling and working
whenever I can. I work a lot at night when my kids go to bed.
When I’m writing a new
manuscript, I only write about two pages a day, but I commit to it every day.
It really helps to stay checked into the stories and the characters. I’ve
written three books like this now and it works for me. If I write every day, I
end up with a first draft after 6 months. The editing and re-writing from there
is madness.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
If I’m stuck, I
vacuum. It clears up all the cobwebs in my head.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I read all the time as a
kid, but I never imagined I would write myself. I thought seriously about being
a healthcare professional, but I’ve discovered I’m scared of blood, so I’m kind
of glad that path did not work out. Hahaha!
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Thanks for being here today, Annie!

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