Hailed by the Romantic Times as having a “magical touch when it comes to creating heroes who are warriors but have a vulnerability that appeals,” author Sandra Hill is a graduate of Penn State and worked for more than 10 years as a features writer and education editor for publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Writing about serious issues taught her the merits of seeking the lighter side of even the darkest stories. She is the wife of a stockbroker and the mother of four sons. VIKING IN LOVE is her Avon debut.
Sandra Hill and, with that one book, I was hooked. A New York Times Bestselling author of more than 30 books, she is now one of my auto-buys. Whether she’s writing historicals, contemporaries or time travels, I know that I’ll always be entertained when I pick up one of her books. Please join me in welcoming Sandra Hill to The Romance Dish. ~ PJ
We’re delighted to have you with us today, Sandra. Your newest release, VIKING IN LOVE, will be in stores on January 26th. Will you tell us a bit about the story and why you decided to return to straight historical with this book?
I’m an avid reader, and my first love was historical romance. I have always wanted to return to historicals. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy writing contemporaries and time travels, too, but still…
VIKING IN LOVE is the story of five Viking princesses on the run after killing the abusive husband of one of them. Think a medieval version of the Dixie Chicks video “Goodbye Earl.” Princess Breanne meets her match in Caedmon, a Saxon knight who lives in a rundown castle with his dozen children.
I’m looking forward to spending more time with Breanne’s sisters. How many books will be in this series?
Well, Tyra was the heroine in MY FAIR VIKING. Breanne stars in VIKING IN LOVE, although Vana’s story gets told there, too. Then, in THE VIKING TAKES A KNIGHT (tentative title, 9/2010), Ingrith gets star billing. The only unmarried princess left is Drifa. Definitely, she will get her own book someday.
Vikings figure prominently in many of your books, both the time travels and straight historicals. What appeals to you about the early Middle Ages and Vikings in particular?
First of all, I can trace my family tree on my father’s side all the way back to the tenth century and the Viking Rolfr, the first duke of Normandy. That started my interest in Viking and what I discovered fascinated me.
The Vikings were a truly magnificent race, and isn’t it sad that they don’t exist as a separate race today.. The men were taller and better looking than men of other societies at that time. They had a wonderful sense of humor, as evidenced by their sagas. And resourceful! Since their land (rocky and not suitable for farming) couldn’t sustain their growing families, they developed an art for shipbuilding and seafaring. And when all that didn’t work out, they blended into the countries and cultures that they conquered. Women loved them, and no wonder!
You’ve been quoted as saying that your family doesn’t think you have a sense of humor and that you grew up a shy and serious girl, yet the stories you write are filled with laugh-out-loud moments. What’s been your inspiration for the humor that fills your books?
My husband and sons have great senses of humor. The first time I met my husband, he was a political aide and I was a newspaper reporter. A group of us were walking into the governor’s office when I felt someone pinch my butt. Today that would be considered sexual harassment. Then, it was just funny. Remind me to tell you sometime about the romance cover art my husband wanted to hang in his stock brokerage office.
There have been many swoon-worthy heroes in your books. In VIKING IN LOVE, there’s a scene where Breanne and Caedmon are stranded together in a locked room. If you were single and could be stranded for a weekend with one of your heroes, who would you choose and why?
OMG! What a question! Almost any of them, really. I always say that there’s nothing sexier than a man who can make a woman smile in bed. Every one of my heroes can do that. My husband, too. I’ll take that a step farther. Is there anything sexier than a tortured hero with a sense of humor?
Oh, I agree! A hero who can make his lady smile, and laugh, in bed is very sexy indeed. Flipping the coin, if you could arrange a girlfriend’s getaway with three of your heroines who would you invite and why?
Tante Lulu would be there cooking up a batch of gumbo. Then, the shrewish Viking Madrene would be a good addition, and Charmaine, the unabashed Cajun bimbo. A great combination, I think.
What a fun weekend that would be! Sandra, you’ve written contemporaries, time travels and straight historicals. Is there any sub-genre, era or location that you haven’t written about that you’d like to try?
For years I’ve thought about doing Viking vampires, but I think the time has passed for that idea. Sexy inspirationals? More Amish settings like PEARL JINX. Possibly more post Civil War Louisiana books.
Many of us here at The Romance Dish have favorite comfort reads. What books or authors do you turn to for that “warm and fuzzy” reading experience?
Mary Balogh, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Maggie Osborne, Cait Logan western historicals (a recent find and glom of mine), Lisa Kleypas, Suzanne Brockmann, Dorothy Garlock, Karen Moning, Christine Feehan, Susan Wiggs, Trish Jensen, Loretta Chase, and for really warm and fuzzy, Lora Leigh.
Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to share with us?
I have a novella “Tomorrow Is Another Day” in the anthology LADIES PREFER ROGUES out in March. Although it’s not a sequel to FRANKLY, MY DEAR and SWEETER SAVAGE LOVE, readers will recognize the area in Louisiana and a few names.
Thank you so much for visiting with us today, Sandra. Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Are there any books or characters you would like to see me do in the future? Are you interested in signed bookmarks or bookplates? If you are interested in upcoming news or books about to come out, you can sign up for my mailing list at http://www.sandrahill.net/. Or do you consider these occasional newsletters a nuisance?