The Unexpected Superhero Story: A Book Feature on Reformed by H.L. Burke

(I’m honored to have author H.L. Burke featured on the blog discussing her upcoming release, Reformed: Supervillain Rehabilitation Project #1. Take it away, Heidi!) 

Reformed was not what I planned to write this year. I had a list of a few projects I wanted to do, and Reformed, in any incarnation, was not one of them, but for various reasons it became the story that I needed to write. 

Let’s back up a bit.

So 2019 was a weird transitional year for me and my family. My husband, Matt, injured his knee which effectively ended his military career. Once he realized he could no longer do his job, he began to pursue early retirement/medical separation, and, thinking it would take about six months, we decided that me and the girls should go up to Oregon, where we planned to settle, to start house shopping and looking into schools and all that stuff … fast forward almost a year, and he’s just now getting his final paperwork for retirement. We did get a house. The girls did start at a new school, but the military kept drawing out the process to the point where other than some visits, my husband has spent the last year in a different state than the rest of us … and it has sucked. 

Towards the end of January, the finish line had been moved so many times I’d lost count. “I’ll be out in August .. October … November, by the end of the year, by the end of January, March–” I missed Matt. I was sick of living as a single mother when I had a perfectly good husband who I actually wanted to be with. I had started a part time job during the summer to help ends meet which further added to the balancing act, and I was just so so tired. 

I was writing, but in a limp-along way on a story that only felt minimally fulfilling … and then lying in bed at night I pulled out an idea that I hadn’t touched in a while and started playing with it like a kid who discovers a forgotten toy in the bottom of a toy box and it’s new again. An idea about an idealistic superheroine trying to bring a supervillain onto the right path. I had a few basic building blocks of that story, but honestly, there was one particular thing that made me want to dust off this particular idea-toy: the characters of Fade and Prism.

See, like with a lot of romantic pairings from my early ideas, Fade and Prism were essentially me and Matt: a sarcastic guy with a cynical edge but also a moral center he hides well and an optimistic doe-eyed fluff wench who has boundless enthusiasm and optimism … and I missed my husband. I started writing dialogue for the pair in my head, imagining them bouncing off each other … or crashing into each other and holding on for dear life. They became my way of coping with not having my Matt … 

And it kind of spiraled out from there. Not only did Prism have access to a sexy, supportive Matt-Stand-In, she had a fun, straight-shooting best friend who made margaritas and had her back. She had a snarky but level-headed younger brother who would talk things out with her but also tease and torment her, but in a fun way. She had an older gentleman who owned a literal zoo of animals she could play with and also served as kind of a chill-extra-father figure … she had a team, and I loved her team. I wanted to spend time with her team. 

Now, in case you are wondering, this did not stop me from doing terrible things to said team, putting them in constant peril, and generally making their lives hellish for the sake of a good story–but between the peril and sadness, there was flirting and bantering and laughing … and for the first time in months I couldn’t wait to sit down in front of the keyboard again and play with my imaginary friends.

So, that’s where this book came from. I hope you enjoy getting to know Prism’s little family as much as I did.

(Doesn’t it sound fantastic? And such a relatable, encouraging story of how writing can come out of perseverance and difficulty. Thanks for sharing, Heidi!). 

Now breathe deep, go forth, and be awesome. 

Preorder Your Copy on Amazon (99 cent ebook)

Check it out on Goodreads

About the Book

Once a villain, always a villain?

Optimistic and idealistic superhero Prism is determined to redeem her father’s legacy by rebooting his super villain rehabilitation program. To do so, she sets her sights on Fade, the relapsed super villain who was the reason the government canceled the original program in the first place. However, when she petitions for Fade to be released into her custody, she finds out things might not be as simple as she thought.

Convicted of an unforgivable crime, Fade received a choice: surrender to trial and possible execution or endure a memory erasure so he could start fresh. Now with no recollection of his time before incarceration, Fade doubts he has the ability to be anything but the villain the public believe him to be.

A series of attacks by a mysterious power-swapping villain points back to Fade’s past and the crime that cost him his freedom and memory. With her father’s legacy and her own reputation on the line, even Prism has to wonder: can a villain truly be reformed?

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 is the author of a four part fantasy/romance series entitled “The Dragon and the Scholar,” the Award Winning (2016 Realm Award for Young Adult Fiction) Nyssa Glass Steampunk series, and MG/Fantasy “Cora and the Nurse Dragon,” among others .

Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram (@burkesdragons), Twitterher reader group, and her website

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