Hill, Sandra

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HILL, Sandra

PERSONAL:

Married Robert Hill (a stockbroker); children: Beau, Robb, Matt, and Daniel (sons). Education: Received degrees from Lock Haven University and Pennsylvania State University. Hobbies and other interests: Collecting antiques and nineteenth-century paintings.

ADDRESSES:

Office—P.O. Box 604, State College, PA 16804. Agent—Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency, Inc., 2112 Broadway, Suite 503A, New York, NY 10023. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Author and journalist. Feature writer and education editor for publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania; reporter for the Trenton Evening Times.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Holt Medallion for best first novel, 1995, for The Reluctant Viking; Golden Leaf for best single title romance, 1998, for The Last Viking; Reviewers Choice Award for best historical love and laughter, 2001, for The Blue Viking; Golden Leaf for best historical romance, 2002, for My Fair Viking.

WRITINGS:

Desperado, Love Spell Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Love Me Tender, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 1998.

"VIKING" SERIES

The Tarnished Lady, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 1995.

The Outlaw Viking, Love Spell Books (New York, NY), 1998.

The Last Viking, Love Spell Books (New York, NY), 1998.

The Reluctant Viking, Love Spell Books (New York, NY), 1998.

The Bewitched Viking, Dorchester (New York, NY), 1999.

Truly, Madly Viking, Love Spell Books (New York, NY), 2000.

The Blue Viking, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2001.

My Fair Viking, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2002.

The Very Virile Viking, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2003.

A Tale of Two Vikings, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Wet and Wild, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2004.

"CAJUN AND CREOLE" SERIES

Frankly, My Dear, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Sweeter Savage Love, Love Spell Books (New York, NY), 1997.

The Love Potion, Love Spell Books (New York, NY), 1999.

Tall, Dark, and Cajun, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2003.

The Cajun Cowboy, Warner Forever (New York, NY), 2004.

The Red-Hot Cajun, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2004.

COLLABORATIONS

(With Victoria Alexander and Nelle McFather) Night before Christmas, Love Spell Books (New York, NY), 1996.

(With Ann Avery, Phoebe Conn, and Cara Joy) Lovescape, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 1997.

(With Linda Jones, Sharon Pisacreta, and Amy Elizabeth Saunders) Blue Christmas, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 1998.

(With Kate Homes and Trish Jensen) Here Comes Santa Claus, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2001.

WORK IN PROGRESS:

Another novel in the "Viking" series.

SIDELIGHTS:

Sandra Hill began her career as a journalist, and then she started writing romance novels. One of her most popular series of novels is the "Viking" series. In an interview with Louisa Brown on her Web site, louisabrown.net, Hill said she first became interested in writing about Vikings when she was working on a family history. She noted, "My father's side of the family can trace their roots all the way back to the tenth century and Hrolf the Ganger, first Duke of Normandy. That whetted my appetite to learn more about Vikings, whom I consider fascinating."

Hill's first book in the "Viking" series, The Tarnished Lady, is about the legendary beauty Lady Eadyth, who proposes marriage to Eirik, Lord of Ravenshire. A reviewer writing in the Library Journal called the novel "a passionate story that, despite the clichés and a lack of trust on the part of both hero and heroine, will keep readers involved to the end." In My Fair Viking, a warrior Viking maiden kidnaps a man to help her find a way to heal her ailing father. Anne Bulin, writing on the Romance Reader Web site, noted that the book had plenty of comic relief, but it ultimately "comes off like a really bad episode of Xena: Warrior Princess. "A Publishers Weekly reviewer found the comic relief "delightful" and noted, "a singular blend of humor and romance, this breezy read will appeal to fans of Viking romances as well as mainstream historicals."

Hill's "Viking" novels took a strange twist when she began to introduce her Viking characters to time travel and the modern world. In The Last Viking, the Viking warrior Rolf is sucked through a time vortex and ends up in modern Maine, where he develops a relationship with a lovely but lonely college professor, Meredith Foster, whose expertise just happens to be medieval times. Writing in the Romance Reader, Meredith Moore called The Last Viking "a very silly book indeed. In so saying, I mean 'silly' in the finest sense of the word, for Hill is an author who revels in the ridiculous, and The Last Viking may be the most broadly comedic romance novel thus written."

Hill carried on the time-travel theme in a number of books, including Truly Madly Viking and The Very Virile Viking. In the latter, Magnus Ericsson is a Viking who ends up raising eleven children alone and, after setting sail to find a new promised land, ends up in modern-day California, where he meets and enters into a relationship with a Hollywood real estate agent. While in Hollywood, Ericsson and his brood are mistaken for actors auditioning for a Viking film. Booklist contributor Shelly Mosley noted that "culture shock has never been funnier" and called the book a "winner." Writing in Publishers Weekly, a reviewer noted that a subplot involving an evil Californian neighbor did not pan out but that "all in all, this is an engaging, hilarious and entirely winsome read."

Hill has also written a series of novels with a Cajun theme. In an article for the Time Warner Bookmark Web site, Hill noted that she only knows about Cajun life through research. She also noted that she writes about Cajuns because they fit so well into the romance novel format. "In the best of all romance novels," wrote Hill, "the writer gives you a tortured hero with a sense of humor. That describes Cajuns to a tee." In her book The Love Potion, for example, Sylvia Fontaine is a highly regarded chemist who has developed a secret love potion formula. When her childhood rival Lucien Le Deux accidentally eats some jellybeans injected with the potion, he falls temporarily in love with Sylvia. The plot also includes Lucien falling afoul of some corporate thugs who are after him because he is investigating corporate pollution of the environment. Writing in the Romance Reader, Susan Duncan calls the book a "playful, sexy, and hilarious journey through Louisiana's swamps, Cajun honky-tonks, and voodoo ceremonies."

Hill has also contributed to a number of anthologies and written books with other romance writers. Some of the anthologies have had a Christmas theme, including Here Comes Santa Claus and Blue Christmas. In Here Comes Santa Claus, Hill worked with other writers to write a story about three bachelors who are returning to their hometown of Snowden, Maine, where the man who helped to raise them is getting married on Christmas Eve. Irene Williams, writing in the Romance Reader, called the book "too cutesy" in parts and in need of an editor to keep the various authors' stories straight and nonrepetitive. Nevertheless, the reviewer said the book worked anyway, noting that "what makes the story [is] the men's emotional journeys. Their increasingly desperate attempts to get the women interested in them and their vulnerability under their macho exteriors is actually touching."

While growing up in a strict Catholic environment and attending Catholic school, becoming a romance writer was the furthest thing from Hill's mind. She also states that she didn't have much of a sense of humor as a child, despite the comic touches in her novels. Hill noted on her home page at the SFF Net Web site that "when anyone asks me about my novels, I always say that, if nothing else, they will make you laugh out loud … and maybe sizzle a bit. Which is really funny … to my family, at least. They think I have no sense of humor at all. And as for a sensual nature … forget it!"

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, March 1, 2003, Shelley Mosley, review of A Very Virile Viking, p. 1150.

Library Journal, August, 1995, Kristin Ramsdell, review of The Tarnished Lady, p. 62.

Publishers Weekly, March 11, 2002, review of My Fair Viking, p. 52; February 17, 2003, review of A Very Virile Viking, p. 62.

ONLINE

Louisabrown.net Web site,http://www.louisabrown.net/ (June 21, 2004), Louisa Brown, "Sandra Hill Interview."

Romance Reader,http://www.theromancereader.com/ (June 21, 2004), Meredith Moore, review of The Last Viking; Sue Klock, review of Blue Christmas; Susan Duncan, review of The Love Potion; Tina Engler, review of The Last Viking; Irene Williams, review of Here Comes Santa Claus; Anne Bulin, review of My Fair Viking; Shirley Lyons, review of The Very Virile Viking.

Sandra Hill Home Page,http://www.sandrahill.net (June 21, 2004).

SFF Net Web site,http://www.sff.net/ (June 21, 2004), Sandra Hill, "Profile."

Time Warner Bookmark,http://www.twbookmark.com/ (June 21, 2004), Sandra Hill, "On Writing The Cajun Cowboy. "*

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