Monday, July 22, 2019

Straight Chatting from the Library: Melanie Hansen

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Melanie Hansen will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


What is the favorite book you remember as a child?

I loved The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett! My mom actually read it to me while I was sick from chickenpox in second grade, and I loved it so much that it distracted me from how awful I felt. I still read it occasionally and I enjoy recommending it to people at the library where I work.

What is your favorite book today?

I have two! My favorite romance is the brilliant Rough Canvas by Joey W. Hill. It’s an emotional, nuanced second-chance-at-love story featuring two heroes who’ve overcome a lot of obstacles—both personal and family—in order to be together. It’s my go-to comfort read.

My other favorite book is nonfiction, Red Platoon by Medal of Honor recipient Clinton Romesha. He tells the story of the Battle of Keating, in which a large contingent of Taliban fighters attacked a remote American firebase deep in Afghanistan. It was an all-day siege that left eight Americans dead, but in the end, they drove the Taliban back. It’s a riveting, firsthand account, and I’ve read it multiple times. It’s another book that I recommend all the time to patrons at my library.

Tell us about your current book in 10 words.

Emotional, and triumphant, about a woman who reclaims her power.

What are you reading right now?

Currently I’m reading The Seven Longest Yards by Chris and Emily Norton. It’s the true story of a young man who became a quadriplegic after a college football injury, and it’s about how he and his wife have built a rich and meaningful life together while bringing awareness to spinal cord injuries.

What books do you have on hold at the library?

Right now I have Laughing at my Nightmare by Shane Burcaw, The Targeter by Nada Bakos, Secrets of a Marine’s Wife by Shanna Hogan, and City of Thorns by Ben Rawlence, all autobiographies or other nonfiction. That’s what I gravitate toward these days!

Do you have any bad book habits?

I tend to decide whether I like a story after the first few pages. If the writing or story doesn’t grab me by the end of the first chapter, then I’m done. I don’t give it much of a chance beyond that, so I find myself picking up and discarding books at a pretty rapid rate.

E-Reader or print? and why?

Oh, my Kindle is my precious! I love highlighting passages in books, and when ninety percent of the books I read are library books, I’m able to do that and then save the highlights for future reference. As an author who does a lot of research, that’s my go-to.

One book at a time or multiples?

I usually have two-plus books at a time downloaded on my Kindle. Some days I’ll switch between fiction and nonfiction depending on the mood I’m in and how much time I have to read.

Favorite book you've read this year?

My absolute favorite book this year is Touching the Dragon by James Hatch. He was a SEAL Team Six guy, a dog handler, who was shot in the leg during the search for Bowe Bergdahl. The injury ended his career, and a K9 was killed while trying to protect him. Jimmy became depressed and suicidal after that, and it’s a fascinating glimpse into Navy SEAL life and how a special operator reinvents himself. Highly recommended! I even ordered myself a signed copy of it, I adored it so much.

My second favorite this year is American Cipher by Matt Farwell and Michael Ames. It’s an examination of the Bowe Bergdahl case, and it’s fascinating. Set aside your preconceptions and judgments of this young man, because the truth is a lot more complex and nuanced than the media coverage and statements by politicians would suggest. I learned a great deal and it changed my mind on a lot of things.

When do you do most of your reading?

I do most of my reading in the early morning, when the house is quiet and I have my coffee and my little dog on my lap. It’s my favorite time of day


Devon Lowe is a survivor.

A survivor of war. Of combat. And of a betrayal by men she considered her brothers-in-arms. But her trailblazing work as a Cultural Support Team member working alongside the Navy SEALs is too important for her to back down now.

Fresh off a painful break-up, Air Force pararescueman Rhys Halloran recognizes Devon’s trauma for what it is—something that’s left her isolated, but far from irreparably damaged.

With Devon’s trust still lying shattered back in Afghanistan, putting her faith in a man who’s nursing a broken heart isn’t easy. But she’s tired of people making her feel weak, and Rhys makes her feel anything but, sparking a heated attraction that was never part of the plan.

With all eyes on Devon to prove herself in a brutal man’s world, having it all will mean putting her heart on the line like never before. But when it comes to Rhys, it’s an uphill battle she’s ready to fight.

Publisher’s Note: Keeping a Warrior deals with topics some readers may find difficult, including past sexual assault.


Rhys watched until Devon had disappeared safely into her room, then turned toward his own with a sigh.

“If I were you, I’d watch yourself with her.”

The voice came at Rhys out of the darkness, and he jumped. “Jesus!”

Mullet stepped out of the shadows where he’d been leaning against the wall. He held up his phone. “Came out to call my wife, saw you drive up with Lowe.” He paused. “What were y’all doing?”

None of your business. “Just talking,” Rhys said tightly. “Unwinding. What’s it to you?”

“Man, it ain’t nothin’ to me. Just think you should be aware of what you’re dealing with.”

“We were just talking,” Rhys emphasized with a slash of his hand. “What exactly am I ‘dealing’ with?”

“Why don’t you ask one of the guys she accused of rape? Oh wait, he’s dead.”

Rhys rocked back on his heels. “What?”

“Yeah, that first team she was attached to in Kandahar?” Mullet’s voice was hard. “Lowe started fucking one of the dudes there, and when she found out he was engaged, she lost it and accused him and two other guys of rape.”

Rhys’s mouth flapped open and closed uselessly.

“She was hanging out with them,” Mullet went on. “Drinking with them, you know? A real party girl. Got into a relationship with this dude, and when he tried to break it off ’cause of his fiancĂ©e, she turned on him, tried to ruin his career.”

“Where did you hear this?” Rhys croaked. “Did she tell you this?”

“Nah.” Mullet shook his head. “You think El-Tee isn’t gonna vet anyone we’re bringing on board?”

Rhys’s face went hot with anger. “And then what, our leadership just sat down and gossiped with you about it, knowing it could destroy unit cohesion before it even had a chance to form? No way. Try again, and leave El-Tee out of your bullshit story.”

“Fuck you with the gossip and the bullshit,” Mullet growled. “All you need to know is it’s a fact that accusations were made, there was an investigation, and Lowe was transferred off the team.”

The team Rhys had been a part of for such a short time. One mission. The mission where Devon had made such an impression on him.

“It’s your life, Halloran, but that girl’s trouble, and if I were you, I’d keep it strictly business.”

He strode off, leaving Rhys numb with shock. He sucked in a few deep breaths, horror freezing his blood when he saw Devon standing there, an ice bucket in her hand, her face white as a sheet.

Oh, God. She must’ve heard everything.

“Devon.” Rhys took a step toward her, and she put up a shaking hand to ward him off.

“Just in case you’re wondering if his facts are true,” she said tonelessly, “they are.”

Devon’s knuckles clenched white on the bucket, her lips twisting in a bitter smile. She shoved open her door, and right before she disappeared inside, she turned to look back at Rhys.

“Not all war stories are heroic, you know.”

She shut the door with a quiet click.


Melanie Hansen doesn’t get nearly enough sleep. She loves all things coffee-related, including collecting mugs from every place she’s visited. After spending eighteen years as a military spouse, Melanie definitely considers herself a moving expert. She has lived and worked all over the country, and hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to the love stories she gets up in the wee hours to write. On her off-time, you can find Melanie watching baseball, reading or spending time with her husband and two teenage sons.

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  1. Great post and I appreciate getting to find out about another great book. Thanks for all you do and for the hard work you put into this. Greatly appreciated!

  2. How long did it take you to write your book?

  3. I enjoyed reading Melanie Hansen's bio. I would have liked Touching the Dragon by James Hatch, but I can't do anything where an animal is hurt or dies.

  4. I've really enjoyed the tour for Keeping a Warrior and I'm looking forward to checking it out. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thanks so much for hosting me today! It was a super fun interview <3

  6. Thank you for sharing your author interview. I enjoy learning about new-to-me authors and their work.

  7. How do you come up for the names of the characters in your book?