Check out this author spotlight for H. L. Burke!
You can find all her links furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out her books!
1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!
I’m having an identity crisis since I usually start off by saying I’m a mother and military wife, but my husband has retired from the Marines now, so I’m like, “Dang it, can’t use that any more.” Still a mother though my daughters are semi-feral. I’ve moved around a lot in my adult life (see Marines), but we’ve recently settled in Oregon where we have two dogs and a spoiled brat cat who thinks he’s a baby. I write eclectic fantasy in multiple subgenres.
2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 (or more!) of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!
Cat or dog?
I love my border collie, but I’m totally a cat person. I just always have been. There’s something that goes either very wrong or very right in my brain when I see a cat and I just lose all sense of composure. Most cats tolerate me, so there’s that.
Tea or coffee?
Both depending on the time of day. Definitely coffee in the morning. Tea usually in the afternoon and herbal tea in the evening … by herbal tea, I mean fruit tea, by fruit tea I mean grape juice … by grape juice I mean wine.
Hunter or gatherer?
Gatherer. I always roll the gathering professions in RPGs because I like picking up shiny things.
Mountains or beaches?
Mountains. Marines tend to station themselves near bodies of waters (something about amphibious landings), so as a wife of a recently retired Marine, I have lived next to oceans more often than not for most of my adult life (San Diego, Iwakuni, Pensacola, Oceanside over the first 12 or 13 years of our marriage) so I’m a little “over” beaches. I also like trees which are more likely to be around mountains.
Plotter or pantser? I’m kind of a hybrid and I like to stay very flexible. Generally speaking, I think about a book for a while then when I feel I have a grasp at it, I write down a scene by scene synopsis as fast as I can before I forget any of it … but I always give myself permission to change things up or flip the script at any point if something isn’t working in my original plan.
Pen and paper or computer/phone?
I am a fast typer so computer, which is the only way I can keep up with myself, but NOT phone. I am terrible at using a tiny phone screen to write. I don’t even prefer to text if I have to say more than a few words. It takes even longer than writing it out long hand. I HAVE done it a few times (when my phone was all I had available and I had inspiration I just couldn’t leave for later), but it’s never my preference. Most of the time I’d rather do pen and paper over phone.
Standalone or series?
As a writer who has somehow gotten herself caught up in writing a superhero series that has expanded to include two different spinoffs, hints at a multiverse, and potential for a lot of more stories within the world, it’s kind of ironic that I do really prefer standalones. If it’s not my husband, my kids, or my cat, I kind of have commitment issues, I guess, and I get bored easily so if I look up a book and find it is volume one in an ongoing series, I get cold feet. Like do I really want to commit to all that? I also love writing standalones because they are “one and done” and I can move onto something else without feeling guilt about abandoning them … that said, as mentioned, currently writing series that seems to never end, so I guess I do like both in certain circumstances.
3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?
Cats. I am honestly very into quirky stuff, so I’m not so much looking for tropes as opposed to trope twisters or something “unique.” The quickest way to draw me in is to give me something I haven’t seen before … or to put a cat on it. I like cats.
4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!
I mentioned that I was eclectic, right? By that I mean “easily distracted by shinies.”
Because of this my portfolio is super varied. I have romantic fantasy, epic fantasy, Steampunk, Gaslamp, YA fantasy, Middle Grade Fantasy, Fairy Tale, and now superheroes. The superheroes have been my focus for a little shy of two years now. I have seven books in that series, and I just finished another book (which will be out October 9th) in a YA spinoff in the same superhero universe. The theme for the overall series is “supervillain rehabilitation” so it features supervillains who are in the process of trying to leave the life and turn themselves into heroes.
The main series has a more traditional superhero plot with a healthy side of romance, but the YA spinoff revolves mainly around 16-year-old Jake who was raised in his uncle’s supervillain gang but upon capture by superheroes is sent to a camp for at risk superpowered kids instead of prison. There he starts making friends for the first time in his life, learns about the true meaning of family, and struggles with his loyalty to his gang.
5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!
The last book I released was actually book 5 in the Supervillain Rehabilitation Project series, and almost all the details about it would spoil things that happen in books 1 through 4, so I’ll just tell you a little about the series. The SVR series takes place in a world where superheroes have their own government agency and teams that go up against supervillains. An idealistic heroine named Prism wants to restart her late father’s legacy project (the Supervillain Rehabilitation Project) and she does this by recruiting Fade, her father’s former student who relapsed into supervillainy after her father’s death, to join her team of heroes. The series grows from there with new villains added along the way and with new challenges to the team. Series link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B089VYG9W5
6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!
Nothing consistent. Ideas are not a problem with me. I get those going about my day to day life all the time. I have a book that was written because it was cold one night and so I lay awake thinking what would it be like to always be cold, what if a person couldn’t make their own heat and had to steal it from others, what if they could freeze people at a touch. I have at least two books that were written because a friend sent me a funny picture or meme. I have others that were based on vending machines, random historical facts, and stuff my kids said.
I try not to draw direct inspiration from other works of fiction because I like complete ownership of ideas, but I know that brains don’t exactly work that way. I’m sure everything I absorb goes into my head where it gets mixed up and blended and mixed around so things that seem to pop out of no where probably had roots in things I’ve read, watched, experienced and they’ve just become unrecognizable. The fact that I’m writing superheroes right now probably has a lot to do with how much MCU content I’ve absorbed in the last decade or so.
7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!
It’s change a bit since my husband’s retirement. I actually picked up a full time day job recently, since he’s home to deal with the kids and even cooking and cleaning (he’s actually a better house husband than I ever was a housewife. I hate cleaning with a passion. I’m like the reverse of that meme where authors clean their houses to avoid writing. I will write whole books to avoid washing the baseboards).
My day job is work from home, so I usually am doing that until about 4pm then I’ll log off, help my husband with cooking dinner if he needs assistance (a lot of times he’s already got it done), then I’ll sit and write a thousand words before I give myself permission to play video games (currently got myself back into World of Warcraft: Burning Crusades. I have a gnome mage named Pryzzm and she just earned her epic flying mount. Super epic.). It takes me between a half hour and an hour to write 1000 words. If it is going well, I’ll keep going and write more. Other days I’ve just got enough energy to squeak over 1000 words and then go hide in the Outlands on my mage.
8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to becoming an author, what would it be?
I wouldn’t. It would ruin the fun. Like I’m kind of an impulsive person who just jumps into things without a lot of preplanning (I call my learning style “push all the buttons and see what happens.”), so yeah I made mistakes along the way, but I wouldn’t want to deprive myself of the experience of making those mistakes.
9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!
twitter.com/hlburkewriter (for random snarkiness and occasional book snippets)
facebook.com/hlburkewriter (for longer form random snarkiness, occasional book snippets, and #dailydragon posts where I share my favorite dragon related finds)
my website (and mailing list) for news and deals www.hlburkeauthor.com
my instagram for #TheodoretheDragon awesomness instagram.com/burkesdragons
and my reader group if you want to be the first to hear about beta and ARC reading opportunities as well as my day to day struggles and weekly live videos. https://www.facebook.com/groups/hlburkereaders/