My novel Hearts of Steel is being released on Monday, October 8. In celebration, I’m sharing the copy from my acknowledgement page because it explains the inspiration behind this contemporary romance.
This novel would not be in existence were it not for the Northeast Ohio Chapter of Romance Writers of America, of which I am a member and past president. Years ago, a program involved brainstorming in the creation of a romance novel. Participants named a hero Quade, a heroine Jessica, and the premise of a piano and a steel mill. After leaving that session, I began to craft the novel that became Hearts of Steel. Actually, I couldn’t stop writing until Quade, Jessica and their love story were told. I was the only member who took the premise and ran with it. Through the years, I’ve been have asked about the novel and when it would be published. Thank you Crimson Romance for allowing that opportunity.
I enjoyed researching the steel industry for this novel because of my family and background. My paternal grandparents left the coalmines of rural Pennsylvania to honeymoon in Cleveland, Ohio. They stayed to raise a family after my grandfather was hired to work in the steel mills. Subsequently, an uncle and my father worked in the steel mills as well. My father left after witnessing a tragic accident in a blast furnace. The steel industry also relates to my maternal grandparents. Immigrants from Poland, they moved to Southern West Virginia seeking opportunity and work in the coalmines. At the time, U.S. Steel owned the mines, the town, the houses and the employees. My grandfather and uncles were coal miners, all contracting “black lung” later in life. I’m proud to say that I’m a “coal miner’s granddaughter” and that coal and molten steel run in my veins.
This novel is a tribute to my ancestors who gave their lives to the coal and steel industries and to those who work in these dangerous, undervalued professions.