Denisa Nickell Hanania grew up in Burns Harbor, Indiana where living in a small town fueled her appreciation for vivid characterizations. She accompanied her grandma to Mississippi County, Arkansas for a few weeks every summer. Those golden days were filled with second and third cousins and pestering her elders for more family tales. “I loved that time with Granny and all the great aunts and uncles. I understood I came from good stock.” Even as a child of ten, Mrs. Hanania predicted she would one day write their story—an assertion that amused some relatives and alarmed others.
She graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and minors in both Women’s Studies and history. Her professional career includes designing and writing management training material for Fortune 500 companies.
Eventually, the desire for more than just the facts led to writing stories. “You can tell more unvarnished truth in fiction than people will ever accept in plain talk.” She also acknowledges, “The disciplined structure of writing training material prepared me to be a better writer of fiction. I learned how to write clearly and succinctly.”
With the publication of The Sharecroppers, Mrs. Hanania realized her life-long dream of putting her family’s story on paper. “I knew Granny’s life needed to be shared—not because she wanted the acclaim—she was very modest, but because people needed to hear her story. If you know her, whether in person or by reading, she will impact you.”
Real people also inspired her first novel, a mystery titled A Talent to Deceive. Mrs. Hanania was sitting in book club one night, thinking about how blessed she was to call this small group of women friends. It suddenly occurred to her that people could pass these same ladies in the grocery store or at church and never guess they were walking past such brilliant, extraordinary women. That led to the idea of 5 friends who form a book club and while their families believe them to be sipping tea and discussing great literature, they are really out solving a murder. Mrs. Hanania says she chose to write a “cozy” mystery because, as the mother of six boys, she has enough graphic violence in her life.
Mrs. Hanania has a strong need to write. She rises in the wee hours of the night to find quiet in a very busy household. She enjoys homeschooling her children, time with the people she loves, reading, baking, traveling, and organizing big, imaginative projects that involve lots of people. She also enjoys speaking to groups and meeting people. She does not enjoy housework or laundry.