Author Interview with Cynical Romantic H.L. Burke

Have you ever been one of those readers where it seems everybody shares how amazing a certain author’s books are, but you have yet to read more than one by them?


I have to confess that I am guilty as charged when it comes to H.L. Burke’s novels. *hides*

More than just one friend has told me I need to read her books and was thankful for the opportunity to read an ARC of her latest release to remedy it because…



It’s with great excitement that I get to share this fun chat I had with her about Flower, romance, and plant dragons!

About the Book

Kitrin always assumed her overprotective parents were just paranoid—until the trees started talking to her.

For sixteen years, Kitrin has longed for freedom from her parents’ secluded manor. However, one day her emotions trigger flowers to bloom, roots to grasp, and trees to bend. Unable to control her unexplained abilities, she finds an anchor in a young man with sad eyes and his own secrets. A man who sends sparks through her, but who might be tied to her destruction.

Palace outcast and nephew of the king, Prince Bryce lives under the shadow of his father’s execution for treason. To escape the toxic court, he takes comfort in the company of the kindhearted Kitrin. However, as the mysteries in both their pasts are revealed, he realizes the girl he loves is someone his family wants dead.

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Let’s Chat!

– Hi Heidi! I’m so excited to get to chat with you again! Last time we chatted it was during the release of Coiled. Now today it’s about The Green Princess: Flower! Since it recently released, what are some of your favorite ways to celebrate a book release?

I’m so so bad about ritual. I don’t often do the same thing the same way twice, and even when I do, it’s more of an accident than planned. Unless you count refreshing all the sites to see if I have new sales or reviews. I do that pretty much every time.

– Haha! Let’s say that totally counts. 😉 Last time we also talked a little about fandoms and came to realize that since then your favorite TV show, Psych, has a fandom. This might be opening a can of worms, but what is one of your favorite Psych quotes?

Psych is the best fandom. We have pineapples. Our in jokes ran for 8 seasons (and a TV movie … and a musical … and a few novel tie-ins). It has a lot of catch phrases (Wait for it. Come on, Son. I’ve heard it both ways. I can’t do this with you right now.) that are applicable in many conversations.

I think the quote that best expresses why I love the series is when the skeptical, by-the-book detective Lassiter asks Shawn and Gus what their “process is.” I use this whenever anyone asks me how I do anything.

Shawn: You really want to know our process? It starts with a HOLLA! and ends with a creamsicle.

Gus: And if there’s time in between, Thundercats! Hoo-oo!

It immediately takes the seriousness out of any conversation, and represents my own, “Yeah, I’m making this up as I go” approach to … pretty much everything.”

– I had no idea there had been a Psych musical! 😮 Also, I’m going to see if my library has the DVDs because I totally feel I’m missing out. Thankfully I’m not missing out with  Flower! 😉 It was one of the first books I’ve read in a long time where it was a packed-full YA romance feely novel. It was awesome! Would you consider yourself to be a romantic?

I’m a cynical romantic and a romantic cynic. I love romance but find a lot of traditionally romantic gestures silly. I don’t want a guy to say poetry to me. I want a guy who says sincere things to me that he means, and if a guy sincerely means poetry, chances are he’s not my type (married a sarcastic, bookish Marine). I feel the things very much, but part of me is always very grounded.

I remember at one point when Matt and I were dating where I thought if I lost him, I’d just shrivel up and die, but also knowing that it was ridiculous. That if something happened to him I’d have to go on, and I’d have to figure out how to live my life without him—and the idea of losing him was not me being melodramatic. He was in Iraq at the time, and there would be periods he wasn’t allowed to call home because of operational things. I lived for several months never knowing for sure if he was safe or if I would see him again. It ached. It hurt. The idea of literally dying if something happened to him was somewhat easier to get my head around than just living on feeling empty for the rest of my life—which seemed the other option on an emotional level. However, somewhere behind that my logical brain wouldn’t let me fully commit to it. It wouldn’t let me wallow. I was mostly okay, while totally not being okay at the same time. I spend a lot of time in contradictory states like that. I appreciate emotion, but hate drama and theatrics. I am instantly skeptical of anything that remotely sounds like a greeting card.

And with happy things, too. I married an extremely practical man and I appreciate the lack of drama that this allows me. We don’t do typical romantic couple things very often. Even at the height of our honeymoon stage, Matt’s always been thoughtful and sincere but he would be the boring guy who loses the girl to the more interesting guy in most romantic comedies. Not that he’s boring. He’s hilarious. He’s sarcastic, smart, really good at computer games, well-read, knows how to make furniture … he’s an ultimate catch, but he doesn’t do “the things” that society has trained women to see as romantic. I don’t remember the last time I got flowers, but the other day he brought me home a toy dragon, and on Mother’s Day he took the girls for a few hours so I could write in a coffee shop as my gift. He doesn’t do sentiment. He remembers to say I love you, but I can count on one hand the times he’s said anything romantic without doing it in a silly voice or following it up with a joke; however, I can remember several times he said something (to me) romantically sincere.

Like our last anniversary he just said, “Sometimes I worry you don’t know how much I love you because I’m not good at saying things.”

Yeah, I’d take a guy telling me that over the things in any romance novel any day.

– Awwww! Thanks so much for sharing! Your story reminds me a lot of Kit. 🙂 Speaking of her, if you could have a magical seed from one of the magical houses, what seed would you want? What would you do with your new abilities?

It’s between Fire and Sight for me, but just for fun, I’ll break down why it isn’t the other three first:

The obvious “good person” choice is Vitality, the healing powers, but I always thought having healing powers would be super stressful. You’d always feel pressured to help people, because you could help people, and your time would either be constantly eaten up by all the people you’d feel obligated to help, or you’d have to start saying no to people who are in need of help. Either way, I’d be an emotional wreck if I were a vitality magus.

Flora is probably the coolest one to me (plant magic) because you don’t see it a lot and it can be used in a variety of ways, but I don’t think I’d make much use of it. Plants do a fine job being plants on their own, and while it would be nice to have a garden that I didn’t somehow manage to kill (or a houseplant for that matter), I don’t think I’d really have much fun with it, and I’d be at a loss at how to use it practically.

Quickened magi can run really fast. If they could think as fast as they run and therefore do things like type out a whole novel in a few minutes as it sort of manifested in their brain, this would be tempting, but they aren’t that powerful, and I’m not interested in sports.

So Fire … fire is just cool. I always play a mage/caster type class when I do RPG or MMRPG. I love the idea of throwing fire around. I would play with it all the time. I’d use it practically … somehow … I’m sure … I’d come up with something to justify it, but mostly, it’d be for playing.

Sight Magi are kind of a mix between prophets and super spies. They can’t hear what people are thinking and their ability to see into the future is mixed at best, but they can pick up objects or touch a person and trace back their time lines to see everything they’ve done or every place they’ve been for the last few days. They can concentrate on an area far away and see it. There are a lot of things I’d use this for.

Theodore the Dragon (Photo Credit: H.L. Burke)

– I love how you broke down your answer because I hadn’t thought of a “downside” to joining some of the other houses. I definitely know I would be exactly what you described if I was part of the Vitality magi. Though he isn’t part of that house, were introduced to a new kind of dragon in Flower, which was super exciting! From my understanding, you love any kind of dragon, but do you have a preference on what kind of special abilities you like dragons to have? Or does that change with the story you’re writing?

I think one reason I do like dragons is they can be so versatile. There’s so much varied dragon lore out there (compared to say unicorns or phoenixes which do have variation but most people are familiar with just the main types) that you can do pretty much anything you want without readers calling you out on it.

I don’t think it counts as a special ability, but I do have a slight preference for pocket-sized-dragons, smaller dragons in general. They’re just easier to keep and you don’t have to worry about getting them through doorways.

– Ooo another good point! Despite my love for unicorns, I have to confess it would be cool to have a pocket-sized dragon (though don’t tell my pet unicorn). Lastly, I know I’ve bugged you about this already, but for those who don’t know, when is book two coming? What’s one thing readers can expect without giving away major spoilers?

September. Book two is a second act. There’s a lot of stage setting that will pay off in book three. It’s still its own story, and we meet several fun new characters, including a too-charming-for-his-own-good quickened magus and a sharp-tongued vitality magus who has a small part in book two but a huge part in book three (book two is written. I’m writing book three. Release depends mainly on “when I get a chance to sit down and edit it.”).

– I am totally thrilled for book two! I might just have to start a countdown when it gets closer. 😉 Hehe! Thanks so much for chatting with me, Heidi!

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.

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By | 2018-07-18T16:52:03-04:00 July 19th, 2018|Author Interview|3 Comments

About the Author:

Laura A. Grace had a lifelong dream of getting to know authors behind the covers of her favorite reads. Little did she know that one day she would become an author, too! She has since published Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl and Team Lines: A Poetry Collection, and has an upcoming manga, Gathering Faith. An avid BookTuber and book blogger at Unicorn Quester, as well as writer of clean, Christian manga, Laura creatively balances her passions of supporting indie authors and feeding her readers new stories. In between, she wields plastic lightsabers with her children and binge-watches anime with her husband.


  1. Brie Donning July 19, 2018 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    I relate so much to what Heidi says here. Sincerity over romantic gestures (not that I have either),practicality, and fun. I avoid drama, and certainly can’t write greeting cards.

    And I would have trouble with healing powers for exactly the same reason. I feel stretched thin as it is some days. I might pick Flora because I like homegrown vegetables. Quickened would be nice because it would presumably give me increased ability to protect myself, and then I could travel without people worrying about me.

  2. Heidi July 20, 2018 at 8:43 am - Reply

    Thanks for hosting me. Theodore looks fabulous.

    • Laura A. Grace July 23, 2018 at 6:08 pm - Reply

      Thank you for listening to my fangirl ramblings prior to us sharing this! 😀 Also, was super excited to include Theodore! 😉

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