Thursday, January 21, 2010
Welcome to Sandra Hill's guest blog
Welcome Ms. Hill to Love Romances and More, thank you for joining us.
Did you always want to become a writer?
Not sure I always wanted to be a writer, but I always enjoyed writing. I was the kid who liked to write essays and term papers in school. However, I first went into journalism to utilize that talent. Only later, as a lifelong avid reader, did I decide to try novels.
What is the most, and the least interesting fact about writing?
The least is that it is just hard work. Putting yourself in the chair and writing even when you’d rather do anything else. It is a job. Period. One I love, but a job.
The most interesting? I always knew that books touched people, but I assumed it was only those that dealt with serious issues, or ones written in a classic literary style. I had no idea until I started getting vast amounts of reader mail that humor touches people, too, often in unexpected ways. And it’s not just those who say my books helped them through hard times…an ill child, an illness of their own, divorce, unemployment, whatever. It’s those who struggle everyday to make ends meet, raise good kids, and keep a spouse happy that say, at the end of the day, these books make them smile and lift them up.
How did you celebrate your first release? What was it like to see your book in a bookstore? Do you have a special ritual for celebrating a book release?
I don’t think I celebrated in any particular way. I recall more clearly the day I got a call from my agent that she’d sold my first two books. I was at my mother’s house (she is now dead), and it was such a joyful day…equal to giving birth, I swear. On the day I learned that one of my books would be on the New York Times list for the first time, I recall my husband asking if I wanted to go out to eat. Instead, we had hot dogs. I swear! I will say this…each book’s release is special, even after more than thirty books published. The first time a copy of the book arrives in the mail, or I see it on a bookstore shelf, there is a certain thrill that cannot be explained.
How did your family react to fact that you write romance novels? Have your family read your book?
They have all been supportive. My mother read every one of them. My husband and four sons have not read my books (fear of what kind of sex I’m writing, in the case of my sons), but they have all done so much to help me. They talk my books up to friends, do book spotting when travelling, help with computer programs and promo.
In the early days, I used to tell people that I write women’s fiction, but then I decided that was less than truthful. When I started saying that I write romance novels, the reaction was generally good, ofttimes telling me that they read the genre or that someone in their family does. Interesting that those who look down on romance novels have no compunction in asking for the name of your agent.
Most authors are also avid readers. Is this the case with you? If so, who are some of your favorites? Have any influenced your writing?
Avid reader from an early age. I love Mary Balogh, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Maggie Osborne, Lisa Kleypas, Beverly Lewis, Suzanne Brockmann, Rachel Gibson, Trish Jensen, Loretta Chase, etc.
Do you feel each of your characters live with you as you write? Do their lives sometimes take over a part of your life? Can you name an example? Do you have living role models for your characters?
I can only write one book at a time because I do get deeply involved in the characters. I am thinking about them and what is happening or will happen constantly…while cooking, driving, anytime, anywhere. I recall that when I sent the manuscript for THE OUTLAW VIKING out in the mail I felt as if I was cutting off a part of myself.
Where do you get the inspirations for your books?
Everything and everyone around me. Books, magazines, TV, the hair salon, cocktail parties, family, friends. Everything I see and hear is siphoned through this filter…
Can I use this in a book?
Where did you get the idea to combine Vikings and SEALS?
I was already writing about Vikings (starting with a family genealogy which can go back to the tenth century Vikings) when I read a Suzanne Brockmann book. Fell in love with her SEALs and had a lightbulb moment. The similarities were glaring. Both love the sea and boats. Brave fighting men. Loyal. Physically fit. Presumably great lovers and good family men. Sense of humor. Adventuresome…sometimes reckless.
Wild, to be sure.
Do you find it difficult at times to write love scenes?
No. I realize that some people do, but I believe they are integral to the story, and therefore fun to write.
Do you have a problem with deadlines and have you ever suffered a writers block?
I never did before, but most recently I ran into difficulties. Writing for three publishers in three genres…historical, time travel, and contemporary…a little glitch in one of them threw everything off.
Do you prefer stand-alone books or series (As a reader or a writer)?
I always say that I write loosely written series that can be read out of order. The books must be able to stand alone, but I have found for myself and from readers that if they like a book, they want to return to that “world” Again and again.
Would you like to give another genre a try?
Always romance, but I’ve been considering Viking vampires.
If you could choose one of your books for a movie, which one would it be and who would you as the cast?
THE LAST VIKING. Kevin Sorbo as he played the role of Hercules on TV.
Do you listen to music while you are writing and if so what music is it?
Big congrats to your latest release, Viking in Love, can you please tell us something about the book?
VIKING IN LOVE started as a medieval version of the Dixie Chicks video “Goodbye Earl” where the three girls kill Earl, the abusive husband of one of them, and dump the body in a lake. In my book, five Viking princesses kill the abusive husband of one of them…an earl, of course…and dump his body in a really funny place. Then they are on the run, landing in the rundown castle of a knight with twelve children
Are you working on anything right now, and can you tell us a teaser about these projects?
There will be another Viking princess story in September, tentatively titled THE VIKING TAKES A KNIGHT. Another Cajun contemporary…the Cajun Navy SEAL Justin LeBlanc returns to Louisiana. And in October, THE DARK VIKING which had previously been titled EVEN VIKINGS GET THE BLUES
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One very lucky winner will receive a signed ARC of VIKING IN LOVE, so stop by and say hello or ask Sandra a question. Please check back on Saturday to see if you are the lucky person, you will have 7 days to contact me to claim your prize.