"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
June 2002 Issue
The Hot and the Humorous!
Want More...Hot and Humorous Romance!
Humor has become a hallmark of Sandra Hill's books. She started out with Vikings, tried a medieval knight, moved into the Old South, then the California gold fields, on to modern-day Manhattan, Memphis, Maine and Galveston. But the one element that has remained consistent in all her books is the laugh-out-loud humor.
Sandra's first book came out in October 1994, and since then she has published eleven novels and had novellas in three anthologies, all through Dorchester Publishing.
Married for almost thirty years (to the same man!!!), Sandra is the mother of four sons. Living with five males (not to mention a male German Shepherd the size of a small horse) is enough to make any woman develop a sense of humor, Sandra often says. Either that, or go mad.
The most gratifying thing to Sandra has been the amazing reader response to her books. Almost 2,000 readers have taken the time to write to her over the past five years (some of them repeatedly) to tell her how much her books have touched their lives. This is the one thing Sandra never expected when she first started writing...the need for laughter in a world that is becoming increasingly stressful and sometimes downright dreary. She is only too happy to help and promises her fans that her well of humor is not about to run dry for a long, long time.
PNR: In our last interview together we were discussing Vikings. Your Viking heroes are certainly hot, but then all of your heroes are, whether they are historical or contemporary men, time travelers, Creoles, or Vikings. These are the alpha guys, supremely self confident, and oh so good between the bed furs, uh sheets. They are well aware of it too. Women seem to beat down their doors, so why is it that they always fall for the woman who isnt interested? Is it the challenge?
Sandra H: It's all about setting up sexual tension. I'm not saying that the heroine has to be disinterested, but one of them, hero or heroine, usually is resistant...in my books, anyway. Otherwise, there is no spark. Not all authors would agree with this...mainly because some books are plot-driven. Mine are character-driven. In a character-driven ROMANCE novel (as compared to mystery, horror, etc.), the overriding theme is how to get these two people together. If they are already "together" in the beginning, what's the point of the story which is built around them? This is one reason why some romance editors are reluctant to have married heroes and heroines. It's not that it can't be done, but the writer has to come up with a darn good reason for keeping these married characters apart, and it's not easy and often is not done well.
PNR: Needless to say it wouldnt be a romance if they werent able to charm the heroine into falling for them in the end. Besides their obvious great looks, what is it about these men that breaks through their barriers? What keeps them from being so overbearing that they blow it? Each of your heroes seems to have at some area of vulnerability. Is that a factor? Do strong heroines need to be needed?
Sandra H: Humor, humor, humor. If a sexy, overbearing hero can laugh at himself, all else can be forgiven. As for the vulnerability...I don't think there's anything sexier than a tortured hero (vulnerable) with a sense of humor.
Sandra H: Absolutely. I said all along that Tyra was a bit of MY FAIR LADY, PYGMALION, XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS, and CALAMITY JANE all rolled up into one.
PNR: The hero is Adam the Healer. Adam has appeared in several of your other historical Viking tales, he was one of Selek and Rain's orphan's. What kind of person is Adam, and how does he come to live with the Viking hero and time traveling physician who starred in the OUTLAW VIKING?
Sandra H: Actually, Adam played a large role in THE OUTLAW VIKING and THE BEWITCHED VIKING. He and his sister Adela were Saxon orphans who were rescued by Rain and Selik in TOV. A reviewer once described the little boy Etienne in FRANKLY, MY DEAR as a bayou version of Bart Simpson. I would extrapolate from that and say that Adam was a Saxon version of Bart Simpson. Even as a boy, he had a wonderful sense of humor.
Adam had admired Rain from the start and had
followed in her footsteps. When the heroine seeks him out for his
medical expertise, he informs her that he
Sandra H: In THE OUTLAW VIKING, Adam promised his sister Adela that he would *always* take care of her. In MY FAIR VIKING, he was in the Arab lands when Adela died. He believed that he failed her.
Adam's angst in this tale stems from the fact
that he cannot save his loved ones. He loses Rain and Selek to the
epidemic as well. Its quite a risk to kill off beloved characters
from previous books. However you did so in your first novel, THE
RELUCTANT VIKING, and again in MY FAIR VIKING. What made you decide
to take that risk?
Sandra H: In retrospect, I would not have done so... especially after the reader mail I have received on the subject. This falls in the category of "What was I thinking?" If I had it to do over, I think it would have been sufficient to have had Adela die. I didn't need to have all three die.
PNR: Tyra comes to Adam to heal her gravely injured father. How does she respond to Adam's refusal to tend to her father?
Sandra H: She whacks him over the head with her broadsword and carries him off over her shoulder.
PNR: Adam may be a Saxon, but he's handsome and sexy, a match for any Viking hero. He's well aware of his appeal. Still he rejects his assistant's assertion that he needs a harem to end his melancholy <g>. Tyra is tall, gorgeous (though she doesn't know it), muscular, and commanding. Seems like they are bound to clash. Still both are vulnerable in their own way. What do they see in each other?
Sandra H: In Adam's case, it was love at first sight (though he didn't recognize that immediately). I believe Tyra was his destiny, and the fates ordained that she enter his life at that specific time. She could have been homely as sin, and I think he would have fallen for her. In Tyra's case, she sees a good man with a noble profession who is godly handsome with a sense of humor even she cannot resist.
Humor is the hallmark of your novels. Even though
Tyra is attracted she is determined to follow her said course. Adam
virtually bedevils her with his randy
Sandra H: Although I never set out to write humor in the beginning, it soon became apparent from the vast amount of reader mail I received that humor was the strongest element in my books. It still amazes me how people are touched by humor in books, just as much as strong emotion. And I'm not just talking about a mother reading a book while her terminally ill child is in the hospital, or the soldiers serving our country, but everyday working people seem to need humor to balance out the stress and depression that surrounds us all.
PNR: I know that you very much enjoy writing time travels, yet the last four of your six historical Viking novels have been straight historicals. Do you think thing the demand for time travel romance is falling off, or is this simply the direction the characters wanted to be taken?
Sandra H: Actually, my next book will be a contemporary time-travel. But you are correct about the straight historicals. I realized a few years back that if I wanted to grow my readership, I was going to have to write some contemps and straight historicals. It's a known fact that the time-travel reader is more willing to try other genres, but not vice-versa. It was my hope (and I think it was successful) that if I could draw in new fans with the historicals and contemps these people would try the time-travels. IOW, expand the base of time-travel fans.
PNR: I understand that your next novel, THE VERY VIRILE VIKING, is about Magnus, the polygamous older brother of Geirolf and Jorund Ericsson, the two time traveling Viking heroes of your contemporary series. This must have been a challenge. He will be a time traveler as well?
Sandra H: To say that Magnus was a challenge is a true understatement, but making a man with eleven living children a romance hero proved to be so much fun. I mean, really, picture this: a tenth century Viking traveling forward to modern day California (he lands in Hollywood, at first), and, believe it or not, he is time-traveling with nine of his children.
PNR: Wow! Okay, several of your previous titles are being reissued? Tell us about them.
Sandra H: Dorchester has been very good about keeping my backlist in print. Most recently, they reissued THE TARNISHED LADY, third book in my one loosely-linked Viking series, and SWEETER SAVAGE LOVE, a sequel to FRANKLY, MY DEAR.
PNR: Rumors are rampant about sequels to our favorite Creole/Cajun romances, will you return to Louisiana for more of the yummy Baptistes or LeDeux's. What is next for Sandra Hill?
from THE VERY VIRILE VIKING, which comes out next March, I recently
signed two new contracts: one with Dorchester (my current publisher)
for three more Viking novels, and one with Warner Books for three
contemporary novels (sequels to THE LOVE POTION). The Warner book,
tentatively titled RUNNING ON EMPTY, will be out in January, 2004.
It is Remy's story, and the heroine is a Feng Shui decorator. The
first of the three Viking novels will be A TALE OF TWO VIKING, the
story of the twin Vikings, Toste and Vagn, from THE BLUE VIKING.
Next will hopefully be one of Tyra's sisters. Then, Jamie, the Scots
I would love to return someday to post-Civil War Louisian and the Baptiste family, but I suspect it's been too long since those two books (FRANKLY, MY DEAR and SWEETER SAVAGE LOVE) were published for a sequel to make sense. I'm not ruling it out, though. And my contemporary Cajun books have slight connecting threads to those earlier Creole ones.
PNR: I don't know, if you paired it with a reissue, a sequel might actually renew interest in the older works, and who could resist those yummy covers <g>! Readers what do you think?
Featured in this Issue:
VERY VIRILE VIKING
His boat off-course, distracted by a randy she-whale whose infatuation had somehow thrust him into the twenty-first century, Jorund Ericsson had cause to question his surroundings. And though the befuddled Viking thought he'd found heaven when he caught sight of the comely wench with the man-hair and the kiss-some lips, the lovely doctor simply thought him crazy. And Jorund relaized the only thing that had driven him to the edge was her enticing figure.
He skyrocked from the water and into Maggie's life: all senewy muscles in a flawlessly proporltioned body a swath of long blond hair swept back from his brow. His claim to be a Viking from the tenth century made her smile. But it wann't the laughter that caused her stomach to flutter when the Hercules look-alike claimed her lips. And soon he had her believing his story, thought questioning her own sanity. The the psychologist relized there was another possibility: Neither of them was truly mad---but both of them were truly,madly in love.
Dorchester Publishing is conducting a cover experiment to find out if new readers are more likely to buy a romance with a traditional "hunk" cover or if they would be more likely to pick up a book with the more recent "drawn" cover type. Sandra's upcoming 2003 viking time travel romance will be issued with two seperate covers and individual ISBN numbers to assist with the tracking. Which do you prefer?
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