Unmasking the Story Behind Hope Bolinger and Alyssa Roat’s “Dear Henchman”

Hope Bolinger is on the blog today talking about her and co-author Alyssa Roat’s upcoming release Dear Henchman, YA superhero chat-fiction romance.

Welcome, Hope! Before we delve behind the scenes, tell us about Dear Henchman.

Henchmen and sidekicks aren’t supposed to fall in love. Or save the world. They’re supposed to brew coffee, take pics of their hero/villain for social media, and stay in the background.

That was sidekick-slash-frat boy Kevin and henchwoman-slash-tech genius Himari’s plan, until a taxidermy-collecting villain robs Kevin’s hero of his powers and leaves Himari’s villain wounded. Now it’s up to the sidekicks and henchies to save the world.

Without powers, they’ll go up against the Shadow Assassins (a deadly organization that can’t work a PowerPoint to save their lives), road trips-slash-kidnappings, and strange initiation rituals that may or may not involve singing campfire songs.

Himari and Kevin will battle the odds, their insecurities, and their weird affinity for Mexican food as they discover if they have just what it takes to save the world from a nuclear disaster.

It’s great to see sidekicks taking the lead. What inspired you and Alyssa?

Alyssa and I one summer decided what would happen if there was a nemesis pairing app that would match heroes and villains for fighting potential. That was for our first story Dear Hero. For Henchman, we wanted to see the sidekicks and henchfolks in action, defeating a nuclear threat.

Chat-fiction is a fairly new storytelling style. What sort of research went into crafting this story?

A lot of the research was on epistolaries themselves (think Illuminae Files). This is becoming a booming genre in YA, so we really wanted to get the tone and voice right. And, of course, watching plenty of superhero movies.

What’s the most interesting discovery you made writing Dear Henchman?

So we have a hilarious villain in this who collects taxidermy and sings campfire songs. He really wasn’t supposed to be this crazy, but he decided he wanted to be a bigger personality than we anticipated. We had to completely change the outline because of him.

A villain who sings campfire songs—he sounds like a fun character. With so much creativity in one story, are there any hidden references readers should keep an eye out for?

So many! We often poke fun at our college town where we met (we pursued the same major in college). But we do have lots of inside jokes that friends and writing mentors will definitely catch.

Before you go, are there any other behind-the-scenes tidbits that would be of interest to readers?

I have a background as a playwright, so this came really naturally to me. Because there are story apps like HOOKED out there, teen readers definitely have an interest in text-message stories. I love that YA has ventured into new territories in terms of formatting and presenting stories.

Yes, it’s wonderful to see all the creative new paths stories are taking. Thanks so much for stopping by, Hope! I’ve enjoyed chatting with you and learning more about Dear Henchman.

Dear Henchman officially releases May 4th. But the ebook is available now on Amazon.

About Hope Bolinger

Hope Bolinger is an editor at Crosswalk.com, literary agent at C.Y.L.E., and a graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing program. More than 1,000 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer’s Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her modern-day Daniel trilogy released its first two installments with IlluminateYA, and the final one, Vision, releases in August of 2021. She is also the co-author of the Dear Hero duology, which was published by INtense Publications. And her inspirational adult romance Picture Imperfect releases in October of 2021.

Find out more about her at her website. Or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.

About Alyssa Roat

Alyssa Roat has worked in a wide variety of roles within the publishing industry as an agent, editor, writer, and marketer. She is the publicity manager at Mountain Brook Ink, an associate literary agent at Cyle Young Literary Elite, an editor with Sherpa Editing Services, and a freelance writer with 200+ bylines in local, national, and international publications. Alyssa is the co-author with Hope Bolinger of the YA superhero chat fiction romance Dear Hero and the sequel, Dear Henchman. Her solo debut, the YA contemporary fantasy Wraithwood, releases July 2021. Her name is a pun, which means you can learn more about her at alyssawrote.com or on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as @alyssawrote.

*** View past interviews here. ***

Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Text for hosting #IMWAYR. Check out the other It’s Monday! What Are You Reading posts!

Published by K.A. Cummins

K.A. Cummins is an award-winning author and artist. Her publications include Havok Publishing, Rattle, Blue Mesa Review, and her middle-grade series, Snow Globe Travelers.

6 thoughts on “Unmasking the Story Behind Hope Bolinger and Alyssa Roat’s “Dear Henchman”

  1. I read this one a couple of times. I enjoyed it well enough, but while I liked the happy ending, it just felt too simplistic and outlandish.

  2. Thanks for sharing this book today. I read Hench by by Natalie Zina Walschots earlier this year. It’s a more traditional writing style but I really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading this one now.

    1. It sounds like a fun read. I recently picked up the first book in the series, Dear Hero. Hoping to read it before Dear Henchman releases on May 4th. I hadn’t heard of Hench. Thanks for mentioning it.

  3. This sounds like a really fun story! Thanks for sharing this neat interview!

  4. It’s an interesting format but sounds like a good story. I’ll see if I can find it! Thanks!

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