Former U.S. Marine Bryce Stone served 10 years in the military, including three tours of duty in Afghanistan. While attempting to protect his men from a land mine, Bryce put himself in the line of fire and suffered extensive injuries. Unable to save one of "his boys", Bryce returned to his home town to heal and put the miseries of war behind him. It's with pride and pleasure that I introduce Bryce Stone, the hero in my next novel, Love Finds You in North Pole, Alaska:
Q: So Bryce, what's with the pirate-like eye patch?
A: The sight in my left eye was destroyed by shrapnel, and I wear the patch mostly to protect others from having to look at the scar that crosses from my eyebrow to my cheek.
Q: Ouch! How many other injuries did you sustain during that battle?
A: This was the result of triggering a land mine, not an actual all-out battle.
Q: I can see that you're not crazy about talking about that period of your life, but I'm sure readers would love to know more....
Q: I know you're also uncomfortable with pity of any kind, so I won't say "Ohmygoodness!" or "I'm so sorry!" Instead, I'll thank you from the bottom of my heart for going over there and risking life and limb to keep our country safe.
Q: So you're from North Pole, Alaska, eh?
Q: And the only time you were away from town was to serve in the Marines?
A: That, and to attend college.
Q: Where'd you go to school and what was your major?
A: U of Alaska, naturally
Q: Guess that came in handy when you got home and found out you'd have to run your parents' gift shop....
Q: It must be a blast, living in a town where it's Christmas, all year long!
Q: Sorry...I didn't quite make that out.
A: Nothing. It's a great town. Clean. Wholesome. Low crime. Great people. What's not to like?
Q: Rumor has it that "Rudolph's Christmas Emporium" wasn't doing very well, financially, when you hit home.
A: There's an understatement!
Q: But you saved it. How?
A: I didn't save it. If it had been up to me, I would have sold the store.
Q: And your Aunt Olive managed it for you while you were overseas?
A: Right. My dad's sister, and my only living relative. Love the woman to pieces. She's been more a mom to me than...
Q: So what tips would you offer anyone else whose business is in financial trouble?
A: Hire a savvy manager, that's what.
Q: Oh? You didn't manage the store, and instituted changes, yourself?
A: Like I said. I wanted to sell the place, use the profits--if there were any--to open a carpentry shop.
Q: I've seen your work. You're a regular artist with a chisel and saw!
Q: So this manager who turned things around for you, what can you tell me about him?
Q: Hard worker, eh?
A: Clumsy as all get-out, but yeah, she puts in an honest day's work, and then some.
Q: Sounds like more than your typical boss-employee relationship here...
Well, gentle readers, take it from me. This guy is h-o-t with a capital H. Tall as a tree with shoulders that just won't quit and a smile that could light up a dark room, I have a feeling he looked just as gorgeous in his dress uniform as in fatigues, and the faded jeans and fisherman knit sweater he wore to this interview. He tends to be a little on the quiet side, but something tells me he talks a lot more...when he and Sam are alone.
Guess you'll all just have to pick up a copy of LFY in North Pole, AK to find out more about this quiet hero and his beloved Aunt Olive. And Sam, of course.
Looking forward to hearing what you think of the story, which will hit book store shelves this October. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment here, and you're automatically entered in a contest to win an autographed copy.
Hugs and happy reading, y'all!