XOXOAD is excited to welcome New York Times bestselling author Sandra Hill to the blog today! Her brand-new novel in the popular “Deadly Angels” series is out, and she tells us how on earth she got the idea for her “vangels”–the V is for vampire AND Viking! You can click through to purchase EVEN VAMPIRES GET THE BLUES at the bottom of this post–and for more information on the vangels or the rest of Sandra’s extensive body of work, visit her website. Take it away, Sandra!
How did this happen? I mean, really, when I started writing fiction (after a long history in journalism), medieval knights were the most popular genre in historical romance fiction. And over the years, Regency rogues became the heroes du jour. Cowboys in the Old West even enjoyed a period of popularity. So, why choose Vikings?
Reason One: Viking men were very, very sexy. These Men of the North knew things. All those harsh winter nights where there wasn’t much to do except practice under the bed furs. If you read my books, you know about the famous Viking S-Spot. Look at the knowing grin on this Viking’s face.
Tell me this guy hasn’t been around the fjord the time or two. I rest my case.
Reason Two: Seriously, I was doing a family genealogy when I switched over to fiction writing, and to my amazement, discovered that I could trace my paternal family tree all the way back to the tenth century Viking Rollo, also known as Rolf the Gangr, who became the first Duke of Normandy. Thus was born my first published novel, THE RELUCTANT VIKING. And, yes, this Rollo is the same character depicted as Ragnor Lothbrok’s brother in the History Channel’s popular “Vikings” series.
Reason Three: I discovered after much research that the Vikings were a fascinating people, much maligned by historians (usually monk clerics) as being nothing but vicious rapers and pillagers. In truth, they were no more brutal than other men and nations of that time. In truth, they were known to be tall, handsome, well versed in the sex arts, family men, great ship builders and sailors, brave warriors, with marvelous senses of humor as shown in their sagas. It also helped that they bathed more often than other men, all of which accounted for the fact that women of countries they “plundered” welcomed them into their bed furs.
That answers the question about Vikings, but where did I ever get the idea for vangels? (I mean, come on! Wicked Vikings as angels? And vain Northmen accepting those unattractive fangs?)
I have to admit that I am not a fan of dark vampire novels. One thing that always bothers me is where do these creatures fit into a world created by God? And there never seems to be any mention of the afterlife. It’s certainly not a criticism of the hugely successful novels in that genre. In any case, I needed to have that celestial connection. Don’t get me wrong. I do not write religious books, and I do not proselytize. In fact, I write very sexy vangels. Too sexy sometimes. Harek Sigurdsson, the hero of EVEN VAMPIRES GET THE BLUES, for example, could teach Christian Grey a lesson or two. I’m just sayin’.
Reason Four: I write humor. Doesn’t matter if the novels are time-travel, historical, contemporary, Navy SEALs, Cajuns, or vampire angels. The common element in all of them is humor. And sizzle, too. But mostly what readers comment about after reading my books is the laugh out characters, and plots, and dialogue.
Take EVEN VAMPIRES GET THE BLUES to demonstrate these points. It’s the year 850 A.D., and God is angry with the Vikings as a whole. They’ve become too vain and arrogant and brutal. And the seven Sigurdsson brothers are worse than all the rest, each being guilty of one of the Seven Deadly Sins. So, God decides to wipe out the Viking culture as a whole. (Did you ever wonder why there is no Viking nation today? Now, you know!) But St. Michael the Archangel, the patron of warriors and soldiers, intercedes on the Sigurdssons’ behalf and ends up being the reluctant celestial mentor for a new group of what you could call a “God Squad,” Viking vampire angels (vangels) to fight the evil Lucipires (demon vampires).
Then, there is Harek Sigurdsson, the smartest of all the Sigurdsson brothers, sort of a Viking geek, who has been living in exile in freeze-your-buns Siberia due to a few sins he might have committed, like gambling and playing the stock market with insider info and…well, you get the idea. Besides that, Harek is supposed to be setting up an Archangel website on the Internet to satisfy Mike’s latest idea for bringing religion to modern people, even when the archangel doesn’t know a cursor from a profane person. But then, Mike is always coming up with grandiose ideas for the Vikings, like “Get rid of ISIS!” Like that’s an easy matter! Or “Maybe I should have given the vangels tails, as well as fangs.” What? Oh, no! (By the way, Mike is the vangels’ rude nickname for the saint.) Then, there was the time Mike decided that Trond, the laziest of all the Sigurdsson brothers, should become a Navy SEAL. Hoo-yah! Or when Mike assigned Ivak Sigurdsson, guilty in a big way of the sin of lust, to be a chaplain in Angola Prison. Now, that had been funny.
Harek’s troubles may soon be over, though. Or perhaps they are just beginning. Mike calls Harek out of exile and assigns him to a new mission involving Navy SEALs (male and female). They will be fighting a band of Nigerian terrorists and Lucipires. Piece of cake for a thousand-year-old warrior! Or it should be. Except that the soldier Harek will be working with is Camille Dumaine, who could prove to be the biggest temptation of his life.
For more information about EVEN VAMPIRES GET THE BLUES, or Sandra’s other books, check out her website at www.sandrahill.net, or her Facebook page at Sandra Hill Author. If you like to receive the occasional newsletter from Sandra, with the opportunity to win many prizes, sign up for her mailing list at https://www.sandrahill.net/mailinglist.html
As always, Sandra wishes you smiles in your reading.