Monday, December 8, 2014

Meet a Real Hero--and the Author who Created Him

This week Wild Women Authors welcomes Melissa Klein, author of Her Hometown Hero, a recent release out of the Last Rose of Summer line for the Wild Rose Press, and her 'hero', Lt. Col. Brian Stone. After this interview we're sure you'll want to keep this one around your hometown, in your life, on your shelf—next to that pesky elf. First up is Brian.
Where are you from? Being an army brat and then entering the army myself, I’ve lived in a dozen states and five foreign countries, so I guess you could say I’m from everywhere. The closest thing to a hometown for me is Magnolia Springs, Georgia. It’s where my family landed after my father, The General, retired and where I met the love of my life, Riley Logan.
Tell us a bit about Her Hometown Hero. It's about what happens after my return home after losing my legs to an IED that went off underneath the Humvee I was riding in. To say the least, that was a dark period in my life, and I know for certain it was no picnic for my family either. Everyone I knew either treated me like the conquering hero or like I was broken. Thank heavens for Riley. Being new to town, she didn’t know my history, so when I was a pain in the ass, she called me on it.
What did you think the first time you saw her? Riley Logan struck me stupid when I first laid eyes on her. She’s a stunner in this unobtrusive way that many people miss. Thanks to her daily exercise routine, she’s slim with just the right amount of curves. When she doesn’t have her dark brown hair pulled up in a ponytail, it hangs in a straight shot nearly to her waist. But, it’s her eyes that first caught my attention. They’re violet, like Elizabeth Taylor’s. Most of the time her gaze is soft—shy even. When someone gets out of line, like me, her eyes turn this deep purple that can nail a guy where he’s standing. The day I met Riley, I couldn’t look at her enough, or stop myself from finding ways to provoke a response out of her.
And your second thought? The day we met wasn’t exactly stellar in terms of my behavior. I’d been roped into the role of grand marshal for the town's Memorial Day parade. Man, I did not want to be sitting on the back of Riley’s car for everyone to gawk at. She called me on my crappy attitude, got me out of my head And made me see things from others’ perspective. Even if we’d never gotten together, she’d be tops in my book. Not many people have the balls to call me out, but she did. And I’m a better man for it.
Did you feel it was love at first sight? No way. Lust at first sight, sure. Learning to truly love someone takes time. Thank God, my Riley is a patient woman.
What do you like most about her? The thing I like best is her honesty. She’s a straight shooter and people always know where they stand with her.
How would you describe her? Riley is the bravest woman I’ve ever known. After losing her husband in the line of duty, it took a lot of courage to love me, a career military man.
How would she describe you? Just this morning she called me a mule-headed man. As long as I’m her mule-headed man, I’m okay with the stubborn streak.
What made you choose the armed forces as a career? With a father in the army, it was a given that my sister, Maggie, and I would have careers in the military. The job suited me, and I miss it every day.
What is your biggest fear? That one nearly came true after Riley was in a bad car accident. I’m not sure what I would have done if she hadn’t pulled through.
How do you relax? One of my favorite things to do is hang out with my friends and family. Knock back a few cold ones with my best friend, have the niece and nephew running around in the back yard, and Riley at my side—and all is right with the world.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Indiana Jones is my favorite fictional character because no one makes hip deep trouble look more fun.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? It came from my best friend, Grant Davis. “Don’t screw this up. Riley could do a lot better than your sorry ass.”
Thanks, Brian, we're happy to have met you. It's time to speak with Melissa. First we'd like to know what movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer and why. Harper Lee’s book, To Kill a Mockingbird, continues to be a perennial favorite. I also greatly admire J.R. Ward for not only her excellent world building skills but for her commitment to staying true to the stories she imagines, even when it’s not what people expect. Laura Kaye, Sylvia Day, and Marie Force are also women I admire, not only for their books but for the gracious way they help other authors.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? I began writing Her Hometown Hero while my son, Daniel was in Afghanistan. Writing a story of survival helped me cope with the real fears I had about his safety. I’m so grateful he has returned home safely. This book is dedicated to him, my father who also served in the army and to all the men and women who contribute to the freedom we enjoy here at home.
Tell us a bit about your publisher. Her Hometown Hero is the second book I’ve published through The Wild Rose Press (TWRP). From submission to publication, TWRP had been a dream to work with.
What project[s] are you working on now? I’m currently writing the second book in my new Best Of series. The book is called Best of Friends and it deals with a young woman recovering from a traumatic brain injury (TBI). With my daughter still recovering from her own TBI, writing this book is both therapy and hell. I hope to have it ready for publication in the summer of 2015.
What's up next for you? Under my pseudonym, Eva Lilly, I have an erotic novella coming out in December called Ménage Under the Mistletoe. I also have a novel, Best of Enemies coming out in Spring, 2015.
This has been such fun for us. We're delighted to know Melissa is continuing to write and that she has contracted future stories!
Here's where you can purchase Her Hometown Hero:
The Wild Rose Press:
Here's where you can find her:
Twitter ID:


  1. Love your life-like characters and admire your productivity. Using your own experiences is key, I believe. Great blog!

  2. Susan Coryell, I'm so glad you like Brian. I love writing about every day heros in extraordinary situations. Thanks for your kind words.

  3. Loved your interview, Melissa! Those kids always give us a ton to worry about, don't they? And right when you think it's smooth sailing... I think it is great that you let your writing help you through difficult situations. I'm sure it helps others in similar situations, too. Thank you for sharing yourself with us!

  4. I'm also impressed with the way you used your writing to face such difficult fears. I'm sure I'll find that raw emotion and positive attitude in the book! --katie o'boyle

  5. Great interview. Please thank your son for his service for me. Most of the men in my family also served in the military. I'm looking forward to reading your book.

  6. Great interview! I loved hearing about what Brian thought the first time he saw Riley. And please tell your son thank you.

  7. Thank you all so much for honoring Melissa's son and for her extraordinary courage in working through the trauma of an ill child. I admire her more than I can say. Her daughter is a marvel as well as a medical miracle.
    thanks for stopping by to say hey!
    Veronica Lynch and Kat Henry Doran

  8. Thank you to all who took the time to leave a comment. Your kind words mean a great deal to me. I'll pass on your thanks to my son. I'm very proud of his service as well. I'm also so grateful he came back home to us when other didn't. Best wishes and happy reading.

  9. Brian is one great character. I liked him immediately. Please thank your family for their service. Always amazes me what others do for us. I can speak from experience that TWRP and especially LROS are dreams to work with. Best of luck.