Becoming A Hero
Updated: Sep 23
I am all about celebrating coming releases this month! Here is another guest post from H.L. Burke about becoming a hero, and her new book Reformed.
Any time one writes about heroes, the question of what it means to be a hero needs to be considered. Especially, when writing about a former supervillain trying to redeem himself by becoming a hero, then it’s an inescapable question.
When, as a teen, Fade discovered he had superpowers that let him walk through walls and manipulate his body so that bullets pass straight through him, a life of crime was the easy choice. He’d grown up in the foster system and was used to having to look out for himself. He worked his way up through petty crime and burglary to become a master thief and spy by the time he was in his mid-twenties—only to be arrested.
Offered a chance at redemption in the first Supervillain Rehabilitation Project (SVR for short), Fade managed to stay on the hero path for several years before he relapsed. At the start of Reformed, the reader will find him in prison with his memories wiped as part of a reeducation attempt.
When Prism, the daughter of the original hero behind the SVR, decides to restart the program, she is determined Fade will be her first subject for rehabilitation and redemption—but many people—including Fade himself—doubt that Fade has what it takes to walk the right side of the law.
“My father told me you had a good heart and a strong spine and anyone with those two traits could be brought back on the right path.”
Prism is an optimist who believes anyone can be a hero if they make the right choices. She’s not going to let Fade doubt himself. She knows that he’s done the right thing before and is certain he can do it again, and she’s not going to let him give up on himself—even if her own brother thinks it’s a lost cause.
“Heroes care about something greater than themselves, and you don’t. Without that anchor, you’re at best a free agent, batting for whatever side is convenient for you in the moment.”
Prism’s younger brother, Aiden, is a skeptic. He believes that people need more than good intentions to stay on the right path, and he’s not happy to have Fade dropped into his life. To him, Fade is a wild-card, someone who has turned on those who trusted him once.
“I know there are monsters in this world, more than most considering I used to be one of them. Maybe that’s why I have to stay, because if I can protect you, if I can keep those monsters away from you, then maybe I’m not the monster I thought I was. Maybe I’m a hero after all.”
Fade’s own doubts echo Aiden’s. He’s not the type to chase abstract ideas like justice and freedom so fighting for those ideas won’t motivate him. He also knows that his heart and spine failed him once, meaning Prism’s idealism rings hollow—however, when he starts to care about the people he fights besides, he discovers what matters, what his anchor to the hero life is.
Because it really is about making choices that put the other before yourself, whether that other is a school bus filled with children about to go over the side of a bridge or the superhero fighting at your side to save them.
Of course, whether Fade can hold onto that new ideal when a new villain with the ability to copy the powers of other super-abled people starts to stalk him and his new friends, remains to be seen.
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 .
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?
Tour Stops: Check out the other visits along the blog tour!
March 29th-April 4th