I love asking questions, so when H.L. Burke gave an author interview option for her book launch tour, I had to sign up! I love her patent snarky—and completely relatable—characters, her obsession with all things cats, her creative costumes, her obvious love for her family, and the fact she let me ask a ton of questions! (Seriously, usually people limit questions to three or four. I sent lots—topics varying between her own experiences/preferences and A Superhero for Christmas specific—fully expecting her to just pick a few of her favorites. She came right back with nearly all of them!) Her stories range all over the place with steampunk, fantasy, fairytale retellings, and an ever-growing superhero universe only a handful of titles under her belt.
Okay, now that I've fan-girl gushed for a bit, read on for all the behind-the-scenes questions and answers, details about the book, and a fuller bio for Mrs. Burke.
Q1: What got you into writing?
A1: I've always written to some extent, even dictating stories to my mom before I could actually form letters with a pencil. I realized it was a serious career option when I was eleven or twelve. I had written things before that, but I didn't start thinking “I want to write books for real” until middle school-ish. Other than a few small contests and school paper stuff and “writing for me and friends,” I didn't really pursue it seriously, though. In my late teens, I sent out some queries. Looking back, I know that the stuff I was writing
then wasn't that good. Then marriage and kids happened, and while I still wrote, I
focused more on blogging for several years.
The turnaround point for me was NaNoWriMo 2012. I had a 4-year-old and a 10-month-
old, but dangit, I was going to write a novel that year … so I did. Finding that I still had
the time to create, when I'd been telling myself I didn't because of the kids, flipped a
switch and I just kept going.
Q2: What's your favorite genre to read and/or write?
A2: Read, fantasy, but not the big epic stuff. I like lighter fantasy, generally with some romance. I read a lot of fairy tales. For writing, it’s superhero. I’ve tried to read some superhero, but I haven’t found any with a tone I like yet. It feels like it’s all either too “epic, action” or too “corny, silly.” I like a tongue-in-cheek approach but I still want it grounded.
Q3: What is your least favorite part of being an author?
A3: The business-y stuff. I am bad at keeping schedules and I don’t like math and anything that is repetitive is awful. The actual writing part is great. I don’t mind editing that much, and even marketing is fun when it’s the creative elements. It’s the sitting scheduling posts for social media or trying to come up with a promotion schedule that sucks.
Q4: Do your cats help or hinder the writing process?
A4: The little one, Kaz, is kind of in the “must be in the way” stage, but she actually prefers to shadow my husband while he’s gaming. She likes to sit in front of his monitor and bat at the moving things on the screen. Brownie will sometimes sit on my lap while I write (Kaz is too restless), but the worst that happens there is my legs fall asleep (he only likes it if I sit cross legged so he has ample lap space).
Q5: Do you write yourself or your family into your stories?
A5: Rarely, and generally speaking only as a joke. Claire and Coryn are in the Heart of the Curiosity as side characters, but as much younger children, and they’ve already changed a lot since this stage. I try not to write myself or my husband into books too often as it can become a little self-indulgent. Sometimes he sneaks in because I do very much like a tall, snarky, independent loner type who is secretly a sweetheart and a great dad. When I was a teen with a crush on him, I used to write all my books with some version of us as the leads, and sometimes I’ll revisit one of those older ideas and the characters will be so ingrained in the story that I can’t update them a ton without drastically changing things, so I’ll lean into it.
Q6: Who's your favorite character in A Superhero for Christmas?
A6: Michelob the cat.
More serious, probably the lead, Glint. Glint’s been a long time side character in my other
superhero books, and he always has had kind of a comic relief role, but as he dropped more information about himself and interacted more with the other characters, I realized that yeah, he was kind of dense and cheesy, but he was also a super sweet guy who really wanted someone to see him as a person instead of just a superhero.
After that he basically demanded a book of his own–and also a girlfriend.
Q7: Do you have a favorite passage from A Superhero for Christmas?
A7: I like a good kiss scene:
She reached up and cupped his face in her hands as he bent down to touch his lips to hers. The taste of him rushed through her, opening doors she’d shut, locked, and barricaded what felt like ages before.
What are you doing? You’re supposed to be investigating him, not … not inhaling him!
Marvel hero action collides with Hallmark Holiday goodness in this new superhero romantic comedy by Award-Winning author H.L Burke.
Launches November 5th, 2022!
A Superhero for Christmas
When superhero, Glint's, aka Henry Nichols's, powers go on the fritz after a supervillain attack, he finds himself rethinking his priorities. Years of devotion to public service have left him with little for himself, and with forty swiftly approaching, he finds himself longing for his youth on his grandfather's farm. An incognito vacation is just what he needs.
Former reporter Lara Landis lost her career and her only long-term relationship all in one humiliating blow. Broke and rudderless, she retreats to her parents' small town grocery store to try and make one last career rally, but how is she going to get a big scoop living in the middle of
nowhere? When a poorly disguised superhero lands in her neighborhood, insisting that he's just a normal guy, she can't help but smell a story.
As their chance encounters turn into a begrudging friendship, Lara is surprised to find a caring, sincere human beneath Henry's press-conference-ready exterior. When the truth comes out, though, her big story could turn into his worst nightmare.
About H.L. Burke
H. L. Burke has written more books than she can count—because she's written a lot of books, not just because she can't count very high.
Easily distracted by shinies, she has published in many subgenres including fantasy romance, Steampunk, and superhero, and always creates story worlds with snark, feels, and wonder.
Married to her high school crush, she spends her time writing, spoiling her cat, and supervising her two supervillains in training (aka her precocious daughters).
An Oregon native, she wilts without trees and doesn't mind the rain. She is a fan of delicious
flavor, a follower of the Light, and a believer in happily ever after.