7: Interview with H. L. Burke



Instagram: @WritingPursuitsPodcast

Writing Pursuits Author Community



Mailerlite (affiliate link)

Guests’s Links:



Instagram for H. L. Burke: @BurkesDragons


Writing Pursuits is for authors who drink too much coffee, endure judgmental looks from their furry writing companions, and struggle for words. If you are a writer seeking encouragement, information, and inspiration, this podcast is for you.

Let's get to it.

Today, I'm thrilled to welcome a special guest H. L. Burke.

H. L. Burke is the author of multiple fantasy novels, including the Supervillain Rehabilitation Project series, and Spellsmith & Carver Steampunk series, and Ashen. She is an admirer of the whimsical, a follower of the light, and a believer in happily ever after.

You can find out more about her at her website, hlburkeauthor.com with an e. That will be in the show notes. Heidi, thank you for being here.


It's wonderful to meet you online. You know, that's podcasts. Podcasting, you have to kind of roll with the flow and sometimes you forget to hit the record button. So I feel as though I know you a little bit since we're both members of Realm Makers, and I'm familiar with your Fellowship and Fantasy site and also the Facebook groups that go with it.

But today, I'd like to talk first about your book. It's called Power On, and what is that about? And who's it for?


He's the nephew of a supervillain family who he's been raised since he was about 12 to do supervillain stuff of his gang. And he gets caught on a mission and sent to reform camp. It's his story about how he's, he's trying to learn. How to fit in with normal kids for the first time, how to not be a supervillain. Um, he's, he's a little reluctant to, to reform.


And this is a spinoff, so it can be read independently, but it is the same world in some cases.


And, uh, so I had this idea for like two lead characters. So I kind of carried with me for quite some time. I think that was like, whew. Gosh. How long ago was Edward Norton's Hulk? 15 years?


And I know the tropes really well for this genre, just cause I've, I've been involved with it in one way or another since I was very young watching Batman.


Kind of keep going after the exciting things.


It's almost like a veneer, um, that can be applied to multiple different sub genres. So I do that kind of my own beats. And I feel like I've just absorbed a lot of fiction over my life. Um, for one way or another. I, I, I'm not as, as prolific a reader as I used to be. I, I joke that when my daughter learned to reach up and grab a book out of my hand, when she was breastfeeding was about the beginning of the end for me, but I still not trying to read.

Um, I think I aim for about 40 books a year, so.


And it would be a typical woman on the cover on a film background or a couple hugging, and I'm like, well, what genre is it? And it's like, oh, it's urban fantasy. I'm like, well, you can't tell that this looks like a romance, which is why the romance authors really love it. But if you write a reach this audience, And so I, I just felt that there was a need for a more focused, uh, group, as far as genre goes.

So I created Clean Indie Fantasy as a spinoff. And from there, we decided we wanted to have some reader outreach because Clean Indie Fantasy is about author outreach. It's about training tips. It's not about selling books, but you do need to meet your audience. Combining forces of other authors in the same niche as you niche, niche to niche.

One of those, one of those things, Nick, it's a good way to meet people, meet your readers. And like, so we, we started doing an author outreach. We started a Facebook page. We started a book club, and then we started the website, which has a directory and new release posts that readers can go and find out about fantasy books that are PG 13 or under.


Or things like author swaps and newsletters, because like you said, um, most, no author is ever going to be able to write enough books to keep up with the more aggressive readers, because you know, they're, they're a readers. So you go to good reads. There's some people are piling on a couple hundred books a year and yeah, I don't, I can't, but even if your agents are only reading a book a week or a book a month, it's going to be hard to keep up with them.

So other authors really aren't competition. There are books. Don't prevent your book from being read. I agree. It's an abundance mindset, but I think it's a true to life mindset. So you're better off finding partnerships. Yeah. There's plenty of readers to go around. I don't think that you have to corner the market as it were.

That's also a great way to support indie authors and, um, indie authors actually have a really big place in my heart because I am one. And I know that you are too, although I believe you're an hybrid author too.

I have four books ofUncommon University Press, which is a small press. And then the majority of my other books, twenty-five plus at this point are, are self-published.

So I wanted to ask you, where did you get Theodore? The dragon?

So my daughter got him for me. So there is a small bookstore, independent bookstore in my hometown called cleanse. It's kind of claim to fame is that they're the oldest continuously operating bookstore in, um, at least the state, but I think they also claim west of the Mississippi. And they also have like novelty items. And when my daughter was like seven or eight, my mom took her birthday shopping for me because we were visiting at the time. I think between moves. Took her to the bookstore, probably assuming she was going to get me a, and Corrine was like, No, Mom wants this dragon. And Corrine of course was right.

And the dragon now goes with the on many adventures and poses for Instagram pics and, you know, meets celebrities when he can.

[:[:[:sted by fiction authors since:

I was going to ask because you do anthologies and so forth, that are fantastic. And you also write fantasy and we kind of live in that world of speculative fiction. What would be your advice for new authors in this genre?


And they don't know what your audience expects. They don't know what your audience has tolerances for. So for instance, if you're writing a romance novel, if you have an unhappy ending, you basically failed. If the couple doesn't end in a marriage, that's a failure in a romance. That's not necessarily the case in all fantasy genres; they can have some pretty bittersweet endings.


Like I'd take our, our imaginative play and I'd put it to words. And I was always kind of the writer in my group. I didn't start writing professionally until I was in my late twenties. And we just moved from Japan to Pensacola. My husband was in the Marines at the time and, uh, we had a four year old and nine months old, a new puppy and we just moved internationally.

And I thought, well, I know I'm going to do NaNoWriMo, which is national novel writing month, which is where you try to write a novel in one month. Because before that I had taken a break and was just mommy blogging and you know, that kind of stuff, but I wasn't trying to write books. Book-length material.


And I learned that. You cannot do that. If you're going to get to the end, you have got to move on. Yeah, it was, I think it was Michael Crighton. He was saying: "Books aren't written, they're rewritten." I think it was him that said it.



And, uh, it's just my speed. I really like superhero fiction. I like you, I've watched all the Marvel movies. Some are much better than others. Or they're very uneven, in my opinion.


I have trouble just saying which one's my favorite. Cause every time I think of one, I think of another. They made so many, really so prolific. How did they do it? It was just like one after the other, I guess.

Billions of dollars of resources.

There you go. I know. That's true. I know that. It's true. So if money were no object, what, how would you spend your days?

I would still writes. I would have a lot more cats. There would be a huge cat palace in my house and I would just go visit them daily.


So I had Bruce and my husband had a German shepherd. We still have the German shepherd. We've added on a border Collie at my daughter's request. And, uh, Bruce passed away from feline leukemia a couple of years ago. So we have Brownie Bite instead now.


Also check out fellowshipoffantasy.com to find a lot of great books to read. I look forward to reading your book and also seeing many more of your books in the future. Thank you and have a great evening, Heidi. I appreciate it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.