Alyssa Roat studied professional writing at Taylor University. She is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E., the publicity manager at Mountain Brook Ink, and a freelance editor with Sherpa Editing Services. She has had 200+ bylines in publications ranging from The Christian Communicator to Keys for Kids. Find out more about her here and on social media @alyssawrote.
Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing program. More than 800 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer’s Digest to Keys for Kids to HOOKED to Crosswalk.com. She writes about 250-300 articles a year. Her modern-day Daniel, “Blaze,” (Illuminate YA) released in 2019, and the sequel “Den” released in 2020. The final installment Vision releases in August 2021.
Her superhero romance she co-wrote with Alyssa Roat releases from INtense Publications in September 2020. Sequel Dear Henchman set to release in April 2021. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on Instagram and Twitter @hopebolinger. Find out more about her at hopebolinger.com
TWEET CUTE X I HATE EVERYONE BUT YOU
Up-and-coming teen superhero Cortex is on top of the world—at least, until his villain dumps him. If he’s going to save his reputation, he needs a new antagonist, and fast.
Meanwhile, the villainous Vortex has once again gotten a little overeager and taken out a hero prematurely. Will any young hero be able to keep up with her? Maybe she should work on finding a steady relationship with an enemy she won’t kill in the first round.
So the two turn to Meta-Match, a nemesis pairing site for heroes and villains, where they match right away. After throwing punches at each other behind coffee shops, practicing their fight choreography, and hiring henchmen to do their bidding (mostly just getting them coffee), they begin to realize they have a lot more in common than just names that annoyingly rhyme.
But not everything in the superhero world is as it seems. Who are the real heroes and villains? And just how fine of a line is there between love and hate? When darkness from the past threatens them both, Cortex and V may need to work together to make it out alive.
Publication Date: September 28,2020
Thank you to the authors of Dear Hope, Alyssa Roat and Hope Bolinger for the chance to interview them about their new upcoming book, Dear Hero.
|1). For those who are meeting you both for the first time what would you say are 3 “Good To Know” Facts About You? |
Hope: Oooh boy, ok. I dress up in costumes and walk around in them in my downtown for no reason. 2) I don’t sleep to alarms. In first grade, I trained myself to use the pineal gland to wake me up at the same time each morning. 3) I play handbells, one of the hottest instruments since the lyre.
Alyssa: I think Hope beat me to the wacky ones, so I’m going to be a little less exciting. 1. If I could live anywhere, I would move to London ASAP. 2. I was going to go into medicine until my mom encouraged me to pursue my dreams as a writer as a career path, and we can all thank her for that. 3. I don’t understand why it isn’t socially acceptable to be nocturnal.
2). What would you say are your 5 favorite books – and why?
Hope: Yikes, this is hard. I think it changes on the daily. I do know books in my top five are The Great Gatsby (beautiful symbolism), The Book Thief (wonderful book, such a clever voice), The Percy Jackson Series (because, why not?), The Woods by R.L. Toalsen (shows grief in a poignant way), and Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (I’m not usually a fan of historical fiction, but she makes it enticing).
Alyssa: Why would you ask such a mean question? I’m going to have to go with Pride and Prejudice (a masterpiece of wit and social critique), To Kill A Mockingbird (one of the most compelling narrative voices in all of literature), The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas (yes I’m counting that as one; the worldbuilding is outstanding and the plot twists are on point), The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis (you have to read it like five times, it makes you think so much), and The Giver by Lois Lowry (beautiful voice, haunting philosophical questions).
3). Would you say that any of those books/authors inspired you to become a writer? If so, how? If not, what did inspire you to become a writer?
Hope: Oh, for sure. Good reading inspires good writing. But what did inspire me to write actually came in the form of a friend from high school. They wrote books, and I wanted to talk with them about something other than Doctor Who. So I wrote books. The rest is history.
Alyssa: I started dictating stories to my parents when I was small; by kindergarten, I was writing them myself, even if my block letters were nearly illegible. I think The Chronicles of Narnia, A Wrinkle in Time, and the DragonKeeper Chronicles by Donita K. Paul were the main books that convinced me I wanted to be an author. I don’t know exactly when I decided for sure, but I have vivid memories of declaring to my teacher in fourth grade that I was going to be an author someday.
4). Tell us a little bit about Dear Hero and your inspiration behind the story?
Hope: Sure! So Dear Hero follows the story of a villain and a hero who match in a nemesis-pairing app. They fight behind coffee shops, but they don’t expect to fall in love. When a shadow organization haunts both of them and their pasts, they may have to team up to make it out alive. It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact moment we got inspired. Alyssa and I had some parody YA twitter accounts where we made fun of YA and superhero cliches and tropes. My friend was also on a dating app at the time, and we saw quite a few superhero movies come out that year. Everything clicked together, so we hopped on a Google doc and started writing.
Alyssa: What if being a hero or a villain was a career path like any other? What if it involved building your social media platform and fighting bigger and better nemeses for clout? At that point, what does it even mean to be a hero or a villain? I think a lot of our own Millennial/Gen Z (Zillennial?) experience played into it as well. Turns out, becoming a hero or a villain as a teenager is a lot like the real world.
5). Your story starts off in the virtual world. Why did you choose that as the setting for your book? Did our current pandemic have anything to do with your choice in the setting?
Hope: Well, we wrote the book back in 2018, so we didn’t foresee any global pandemic happening. But because it’s mostly over text message (with some voice-to-text thrown in during the action sequences) it had to be virtual. We’d also noticed a number of storytelling apps like HOOKED that have millions of readers that tell stories only through virtual chat format.
Alyssa: Our original idea involved hero/villain pen pals, but we wanted it to be snappier, with better dialogue, so we modernized the concept. The idea of a hero/villain pairing app was too funny to pass up. By the time the pandemic hit, our book was already contracted with our publisher and in the editing phase.
6). What was something about Dear Hero that you struggled to write or come up with?
Hope: I wouldn’t necessarily say we struggled a lot. Alyssa and I write well together. But the most difficult part was we were working 5 jobs collectively that summer and had a three-hour time difference between us. Most of the difficulty came in finding a good time to write.
Alyssa:We wanted to include action scenes, but how to do that in a text-based format? We scratched our heads a bit. Cue the superhero gadgets and speech-to-text. We had a lot of fun with the quirks that come from software like that, onomatopoeias, and techie characters.
7). What would you say was the most surprising thing that you learned while writing your novel?
Hope:For me personally, it was that I can improvise and “pants” my writing far more than I realized. I’m usually a plotter, but because we both wrote this in real-time, and Alyssa is more of a pantser, I had to learn to let go of some of the control of an outline. It really did pay off. I’m completely in love with the finished product.
Alyssa: I learned how much fun it is to co-write. It’s a great way to avoid writer’s block; if you can’t think of something, your co-writer can. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist and a control freak, but with a writer I respect and trust like Hope, it was a ton of fun giving up part of the reins and wondering what hilarious thing she would come up with next.
8). What do you hope your readers take away from reading Dear Hero?
Hope: Besides laughter, we’d love for readers to reevaluate what it means to be a hero versus a villain. The book often flips the definitions of both on their heads, showing everyone has a little of hero and villain inside of them.
Alyssa: I’d say, don’t let society put you in a box or tell you who you are. Choose your own identity, and don’t bow to stereotypes. Everyone around you is more complex than they might first seem.
9). What is your next project? What have you been working on recently?
Hope: Ohhh boy, I’ll try to keep this short. I have a trilogy out, and the third book, Vision, releases next year with Illuminate YA. The sequel to Dear Hero, Dear Henchman, releases next April. In addition to that, I have about six other books out on submission with publishers. Depending if any of them get acquired, that will determine what I write next (since most of those have sequels).
Alyssa: Most relevant here, our sequel Dear Henchman releases April 2021. The first book in my YA contemporary fantasy trilogy, Wraithwood, releases June 2021, and in my spare time (ha!) I’ve been working on a low fantasy inspired by a mix of the Sonoran Desert where I grew up and ancient Egyptian, Byzantine, and Israelite culture (weird mix, I know!).
10). What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Hope: I always feel like I could write a book for this question alone. My best advice is to trust the process. It will take a lot longer than you anticipate. Publishing involves a lot of stop and go, and a heck of a lot of hustle.
Alyssa: Take every opportunity you can. You’re going to have to take on a lot of gigs you don’t like before you get to where you want to be (cough cough, my stint in journalism). And right when you’ve had it and you’re about the throw in the towel, that tends to be when you hit a breakthrough, if you just hang on.