This appeared March 4, 2013 in the Gilbert Republic, and now is online

PDF 3-4-2013 Interview “Gilbert couple share passion for travel, writing”


Gilbert couple share passion for travel, writing

Norm and Maralyn Hill
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Norm and Maralyn Hill of Gilbert have seen the world and written about their experiences.

Holland America Eurodam
By David M. BrownSpecial for The Republic | azcentral.comMon Mar 4, 2013 9:23 AM

Maralyn D. Hill’s job is out of this world. Sometimes out of country, too.

As past president of the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association, the Gilbert woman and her husband, Norm, also a writer, spend much of their time gallivanting around the country and the globe — and writing about their experiences in books and articles.

Since 2008, when she became the group’s president, the couple has traveled from Alaska to the Caribbean, Switzerland to the Ozarks, and plenty of other places in between.

And Maralyn is glad to have her husband tag along. “He takes better notes and transcribes them right away, giving me great CliffsNotes,” said the Chicago native, who has co-authored three books and maintains two blogs. The husband-and-wife team also co-author pieces and proofread each other’s work.

Although his wife’s forte is culinary writing, Norm has focused on business, travel and historical pieces.

Previously a partner in two of the “big eight” accounting firms, he specifically publishes in insurance industry trade magazines. Also born and raised in Chicago, he has a bachelor’s degree from Elmhurst College and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan.

“Norm started (with) road trips as a child and international travel as a young adult. We both enjoy the history, different cultures and stories that accompany all experiences,” Maralyn said.

After attending Blackburn College in central Illinois, she lived and worked in Chicago as a flight attendant, then moved to Connecticut for the next 22 years, where she owned an advertising and marketing business and wrote travel-incentive programs for companies.

“After I got married the first time, I continued to travel someplace special at least once or twice a year,” she said. “Once I had my two children, they went with me. I’ve always been energized by travel.”

In August 1989, as she was pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she met Norm — traveling, of course.

“We were on a bus out of the Port Authority in New York City — the most unlikely place to meet romantically,” she recalled. “He took the last seat, where my briefcase was, and sat next to me. Due to noise behind us, we could not work or sleep, so we started talking. We had so much in common; seven months later, we got married. It certainly was not on my agenda, but all these years later, we are happy for that lucky day.”

With her lifetime interest in culinary and hospitality tourism, she joined the travel writers association in 2005.

“I was drawn to the association because it covers both food and travel. I interview a lot of chefs,” she said.

The Hills say tourism connects them with new people and creates great memories.

“We have tasted wonderful food and wine, some unusual delicacies, and occasional offerings we may only want to encounter once,” she said. “Most of us in the association do this out of love, sharing the experiences and the stories.”

Still, the long roads always wind back to the East Valley.

“We are exposed to so many places,” she added. “We could live anywhere, I guess, but we love coming home — even in the summer. The more we explore all Arizona has to offer, the more we enjoy living here — and telling people how wonderful Arizona is.”