Today I’ll be interviewing author H. L. Burke, author of The Dragon and the Scholar series, Beggar Magic, Lands of Ash, Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon, and Cora and the Nurse Dragon, to name a few. But her real claim to fame is that she is my big sister!
Heidi, how does it feel to be the sibling of the most amazing person on earth? 😉
Hello, Heidi. So, I bet you’re pretty busy getting ready to publish Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors on the 20th. What do you have to do in these last few days before you publish?
I’ve had the book done for about a week now, but I decided to jump right into writing the sequel so I’ve been typing away at that. Other than that, I drink a lot of coffee and take pictures of dragons, but that’s always. I like to give myself enough of a window before publishing that if something goes wrong I have time to fix it. If nothing does go wrong, though, then I can just move onto the next project.
What is Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors about?
It’s about a young former thief who is trying to get her life together but finds herself forced to use her “skills” for one last job. Nyssa ends up taking on a supposedly abandoned mansion with an automated security system, booby traps, and killer robots. There’s also a mystery regarding the mansion’s former inhabitants and a sarcastic computer.
I’m really looking forward to reading that! 🙂 So, what’s Nyssa like?
She’s practical, analytical, and perceptive. In other words, not much like me. She’s also curious, and doesn’t like to leave problems unsolved. She also talks to herself and is emotionally attached to both her lockpicks and her goggles.
Of all the books you’ve written, which is your favorite?
I have a soft spot for Beggar Magic. There’s just something about the world I keep going back to. I think it is the idea of hearing magic in the air around me. I want to move into that book sometimes.
Yes, that idea appeals to me, too. The cover is amazing, by the way. 😀 Do your readers have a favorite?
Based on sales, Dragon’s Curse (or the Dragon and the Scholar Saga as a whole) is the most appealing to the most readers. However, Cora and the Nurse Dragon has so far gotten the most enthusiastic praise. Either way, I’ve learned it is hard to go wrong with dragons.
Well, that’s a quote for you.
Do you have a favorite thing somebody has said about one of your books in a review?
I like it when readers say I made them cry. I cackle evilly and savor my power.
Have you wanted to be a writer all your life? Or have you had other aspirations?
I wanted to be a cat at one point. They tell me this isn’t possible, though. Dang it. However, I’ve been writing since before I could write, dictating short stories to my mom, so I always come back to that.
What was the first full-length novel you wrote?
I wrote a couple of fantasy series and some Star Wars fanfics that were probably novel length in high school. I think the Star Wars fanfic was technically first … and then the epic fantasy series … and then another epic fantasy … but they were all undeniable messes of teen clichés and melodramas. I still have them, though, in a stash of folders in a box I bring with me every time I move. I may revisit some of the ideas in them at some point. The first thing that deserved to see the light of day was Dragon’s Curse, my 2013 novel.
How much time do you spend writing every day?
It varies widely. I like to sneak in at least an hour. That’s about what it takes to get me to my daily goal of a thousand words. However, some days I’ll need to do serious editing or promoting or just be on a roll, so I’ll disappear for hours … as long as I can.
What is your biggest goal as an author?
To be able to make enough off my books to hire a maid. I hate cleaning.
Now THAT’S A worthy goal! 😉 Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Just keep writing … and reading. It often surprises me how many writers don’t want to read. That’s kind of like a chef not eating food. Also, make sure you get input. It’s really hard to be impartial about your own work. Writers tend to vacillate between being totally in love with every word and completely loathing the exact same words. Neither approach really is helpful when you’re trying to improve. One doesn’t feel it needs improvement. The other just tends to wallow.
Well, thanks for letting me interview you! Any closing thoughts?
Just remember: everything is better with dragons!
Thanks for reading and have a nice week! 🙂
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 is the author of a four part fantasy/romance series entitled “The Scholar and the Dragon,” YA/Fantasy “Beggar Magic,” and MG/Fantasy “Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon,” among others. Her current projects are a young adult Steampunk fantasy and an epic fantasy trilogy.
Sign up for her monthly newsletter at www.hlburkeauthor.com