2019 and 2020 Graduates Hope Bolinger and Alyssa Roat co-author YA Superhero Romance

Hope and Alyssa signed their chat-fiction superhero romance with INtense Publications for a January 30, 2021 release. Here’s how their out-of-the-box story Dear Hero came to be . . .


It all started when Alyssa and I created parody accounts on Twitter. She was a cliché YA villain, I, a cliché YA hero. We would playfully insult each other and interact with the other parody accounts.

Then the inevitable happened when I read a book of love letters back and forth between two unlikely characters (and my best friend hopped onto one too many dating apps). Why not merge the two? So I sent Alyssa a text message.

We decided, after about an hour’s worth of thought, to do a dating app instead of letters, and upped the ante with superheroes.

Both of us were working 7+ jobs (combined) that summer and didn’t think we’d even get it done by the time we returned to Taylor University that fall. So we hopped on a Google doc and planned to write it in 60 or so days.

Nine days later we’d finished “Dear Hero,” where a superhero and villain meet on an app to find their future nemesis. 


That never happened before. I usually don’t co-write well with others, but we just clicked. Recovering from our lack of sleep, we got to work on editing and preparing the manuscript to pitch to editors.

Yeah, here’s how that went. In person and over email, editors turned it down almost immediately. Because of the text-message/chatroom format it was too out of the box. It didn’t really fit conventions or set formulas. The age group seemed tricky, too. Cortex and V, the two main characters, were on the edge of YA, being 18, but too young for New Adult or Adult. So we figured no one would pick it up after a while.

Fifteen months later, something strange happened.

A publisher actually loved it. They loved how quirky it was and the out-of-the-box plot ideas.


It was amazing to have someone support and appreciate our weirdness. And I can’t wait to start writing the sequel!

Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at Cyle Young Literary Elite 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. Visit her website at hopebolinger.com.

Alyssa Roat is a YA author (Dear Hero Sept. 1, 2020, Wraithwood Nov. 7, 2020), a literary agent with Cyle Young Literary Elite, the publicity manager for Mountain Brook Ink and Mountain Brook Fire, an editor with Sherpa Editing Services, and a freelance writer. She’s also a proud 2020 graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing program. Visit her website at alyssawrote.com.

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