The League of Scribes: Interview With Author H. L. Burke

Welcome to The League of Scribes!

Each week, The L. Palmer Chronicles unites the Three Swords of Heroic Awesomeness to open up a portal through the universe to bring you a member of The League of Scribes.

The League of Scribes is a legendary group of authors who write grand adventures in the realms of science fiction and fantasy. They are able to write rich, compelling stories while keeping content in the PG –PG-13 range.

If you have been on a quest to find clean sci-fi and fantasy novels, you have reached the right place.

This week, we present :

H. L. Burke

H. L. Burke:

Otherwise known by her Code Name: Dragonkitty

Dragon Cat

About the Author:

Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

She self-published her four part fantasy/romance series “The Scholar and the Dragon,” followed by YA Steampunk Fantasy Beggar Magic, and a children’s chapter book. She is now working on an epic fantasy trilogy.

H.L. Burke’s Latest Work:

An Ordinary Knight by H.L. Burke:

An Ordinary Knight

Stuck in a humiliating position as the Royal Kennel Guard, Sir Percy sees little hope for anything other than an obscure fate. After all, in the Kingdom of Ithelia, you need a fairy to guide you to greatness, and fairies just don’t bother with knights like him.

However, when Percy catches the eyes of the sheltered Princess Matilda, his world expands in new and frightening ways.

A victim of an ill-planned Christening, Matty has spent her life in a locked tower, hiding from pixie attacks. Now she’ll do anything to escape. And if that means dragging Percy along for a cross country search for Prince Charming, so be it.

But not all Prince Charmings are what they seem, and as Matty’s plight grows more desperate, Percy finds himself losing his heart. Does a lowly knight have what it takes to uncurse a princess?

Interview

Who would love your books?

I’m an easily distracted writer who can’t seem to stick to an audience. I have one book I wrote specifically for my seven-year-old, a couple of tween books, an epic fantasy aimed at general fantasy audience but with some darker themes I think makes it best for older teens and adults, and a clean but definitely romantic fantasy series which is primarily aimed at women.

However, in all my books there are themes of family and faith. Even in my darker series where my characters endure the losses of war and the pain of betrayal, there’s a good deal of hope involved. So I would say my audience who want character driven fantasy with a little bit of humor and whimsy.

What was the inspiration for your latest book? 

An Ordinary Knight is actually a rewrite of a book I wrote about ten years ago. At the time, I was single and lonely, so I made up a love story involving the perfect knight who wasn’t necessarily the most charming or flashy individual, but who had strengths I wanted in a man, like intelligence, kindness, and loyalty. I made a few changes to it to appeal to a slightly younger audience during the rewrite (for instance, I took the main character’s age from 20 to 17 and made him a little less self-assured), but it’s still has a message of a person’s character being more important than their ability to make fancy speeches or big gestures.

If a movie of your book were made, what movie(s) would it be most similar too?

Princess bride.jpg

The Princess Bride, mainly because of the tone. There’s a lightness to it, and it is set in a familiar fairy tale universe. As a book, it probably has the most in common with Ella Enchanted, but I wasn’t crazy about the movie version of that book (why the musical numbers? Just why …?).

Do you use music while writing? If so, what music do you use? Is there a theme song for your book?

I like ambient sounds, movie soundtracks, and video game music. Video game music is great because it is meant to play in the background to support the experience without distracting from it. I don’t prefer things with lyrics because the words work their way into the book. So I guess if this book had a theme song it would be the Eversong Woods music from World of Warcraft … it’s very pretty and a little bit haunting.

What authors or books inspire you most?

The Tale of Despereaux.jpg

I have an eclectic top three authors: J. R. R. Tolkien, Kate DiCamillo, and Fyodor Dostoevsky.

If you were called in as an impartial ambassador in a war between ninjas and pirates, how would you create a peace treaty?

I’d have a dragon as my intermediary. If either the ninjas or pirates get out of hand, FIRE AND DEATH. Besides, Dragons make everything cooler.

When did you decide to be a professional writer?

I kind of always wanted to be one. However, for a long time I didn’t think I had time to pursue it. Then, in 2012, I decided to do NaNoWriMo and found the time to finish a book in a month. Knowing I could do that made me put aside excuses and start writing seriously again. I’ve always been writing, though. I have a big box of things I wrote in middle and high school which will never see the light of day, but I hang onto for sentimental reasons.

Are you a planner, a discovery writer, or a hybrid?

Hybrid. I think a lot about my projects before I start them, and usually know how I want them to begin and end and maybe one or two big twists, but I find that if I write down an outline, I usually deviate from it. I’ll get a better idea while exploring some quirk of the characters or the world and I’ll go with that instead. I like to be flexible.

Are you traditionally or independently published? Why did you choose this path?

I’m way too impatient for traditional publishing. Independent publishing allows me to quickly get the stories I want into the hands of readers and pursue projects I find interesting rather than ones that might be currently marketable.

What is your number one piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Don’t worry. Just write. I see so many writers never get started because they are afraid of failure. Or they’ll ask their friends what they think of ideas, hear, “Isn’t there already a movie about that?” and give up immediately looking for something more original. The other thing is to find people to read and give honest opinions of your work so you can improve your craft.

Where do your books fall on the Rating Scale of PG to PG-13 Content (1 = How To Train Your Dragon, 8 = The Dark Knight, 10 = Borderline R-rating).

I have a broad portfolio right now, from 1 to probably a 6 or 7. I do have one middle grade, which would be a one, and two young adult books, which are threes (for some kissy stuff and mild violence). My grown-up fantasy often plays with more mature concepts and I prefer that to be for older teens and adults.

What would you choose as your magical/technological steed, vehicle, or other mode of transportation?

star trek teleporter

I’ve always wanted a Star Trek style teleporter. Instant arrivals. So wonderful. However, if I want to enjoy the journey, I’d probably go with dragons. Plus dragons make great home security systems, if you’re fine living in a hollow mountain.

To explore the worlds H. L. Burke has created, check out the books below:

To Interact with H. L. Burke online, check out the links below:

Readers:

  • Do you have any more questions for H. L. Burke?
  • How did you feel about the musical numbers in Ella Enchanted?
  • Do dragons make everything cooler? Why or why not?
  • Would you rather have a teleporter or a dragon?
  • Do you think you could teleport a dragon?
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