Dan Hanlon is a native of Cheyenne, Wyoming and spent his childhood in the Rocky Mountains. He still thinks of them as home, and they are a safe place for him. He adds, “A kid could experience nature there. I learned to respect the outdoors in a way that few children can today, except perhaps on cable TV. Even then, I’m afraid; it’s just not the same. But then again, maybe that’s how childhood is supposed to be, good times and even better memories.”
While growing up in Wyoming, Hanlon’s fondest thoughts are of the summers with his parents, sister, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. “The best days were spent at my uncle’s ranch or celebrated at Frontier Day’s with my grandpa. He drove a stagecoach in the parades there, and somehow always found a place for me to ride shotgun. In the afternoons and evenings, he raced chuck wagons at what is one of the most well-known rodeos ever. It still goes on every July in Cheyenne, ‘The Grandaddy of them All’,” he says.
Hobbs Elementary and McCormick Jr. High were the places that taught Hanlon to love writing. To this day he owes a big debt of gratitude to two teachers – Mary Jo Merandon and Dean Talagon. Hanlon adds, “Those two teachers not only insisted that I write well, they challenged me with good books and introduced me to one of the greatest pleasures of my life – reading and writing stories. Of course, they were in cahoots with my mom. She made me spend more than a few blizzardy Wyoming nights reading The Little House on the Prairie books to her in the kitchen!”
Hanlon attended the SDSU Writers’ Conference in 2008 and he says, “The conference helped me to understand the complexity and diversity of the publishing world. It afforded me the opportunity to make many contacts and meet other writers. Part of being a good writer is understanding how diverse and intricate the total process is. As writers, we spend so much time alone with our thoughts and the process of transferring them into the printed word, that sometimes we feel isolated. The conference brings the vibrancy and community of the craft into focus. Not only do you understand that as a writer you are not alone, you are in fact in a very competitive arena where talent must be supported by hard word and discipline.”
Fraternity of Thieves, Hanlon’s first published book, was released October 31, 2012. It’s a contemporary story, closely mirroring the events and struggles that so many people face today. In the backdrop of unbridled corporate greed, it is a modern day tale of good versus evil, brother against brother. In the shadow of murder, a typical family takes a courageous stand to preserve the American dream. The reader will find themselves choosing the true meaning of justice as they journey to a shocking conclusion that will leave those that come along, hungry for more.
As for recommending the writers’ conference, Hanlon adds, “I would recommend the conference to those who are truly serious about their craft and publishing. I have been to other conferences, and frankly this one is the most professionally organized and hosted. It is a venue where one can easily be blanketed in almost every facet of the trade.”