Book Spotlight: A Warm Heart of Steele by Roe Braddy

  1. Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
    The two main characters in the story, Nezzie, and Mathias, are named after my parents. Inez (Nezzie) and Mathias Whaley.
  2. Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share with your readers?
    The character Paulie was someone patterned from a person that I knew in Pgh. as a child.
  3. Can you share a snippet that isn’t in the blurb or excerpt?
    A Warm Heart of Steele was initially a live stage play. The play and the book are slightly different. The play was a musical. (Sure, I’ll read an excerpt)
  4. Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?
    Yes, Nezzie and Mathias. Many of the mini-stories in this book are stories that my parents told me about when I was a young child. They lived through the Civil Rights Movement and were a part of the Great Migration from the south in the late ’50s.
  5. What was the inspiration for the story?
    The inspiration for this book was the fact that I love history, particularly history from the Civil Rights area.
  6. What is the key theme and/or message in the book?
    The key theme in this book is that despite going through hard times, the characters survived and went on to find love and fulfillment.
  7. What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
    I hope the readers get a sense of the importance of how history has shaped our lives and made us who we are.
  8. What is the significance of the title?
    Pittsburgh, PA was the home of the steel mills in the late ’60-’70s. One of the main characters was a steelworker.
  9. Tell us about the process of coming up with the cover.
    I had to find pictures from newspaper archives. Mainly the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It took a while to research copyright free pictures. All the images are of that period.
  10. What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?
    Yes, these characters will live on. I am currently writing the second and third books in the series. Eventually, each character will have their own book.
  11. Do you write listening to music? If so, what music inspired or accompanied this current book?
    Yes, old music. Etta James, Otis Redding, Nina Simone are a couple of my favorites. It’s the music that I grew up with.
  12. Was the writing process different and what challenges did you face writing women’s fiction?
    No, I love writing women’s fiction. I am a believer that a write what they know the best. These are bits and pieces of my childhood mixed in these stories.
  13. What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
    At the time I was writing this book, I was also producing a play. Some days it was difficult balancing writing with directing and producing a play.

Author Bio:

Roe Braddy, a playwright, retired teacher, and Pittsburgh native, uses her writing to bring readers into the experiences of her characters. She first brought us into the lives of the children living with disabilities and their teachers in her book, “A Seat on the Playground”. In “The Warm Heart of Steele” she draws from her childhood in the “Steel City”, and from the stories she heard many times while growing up in the Hill District. Roe also has a passion for the theater. “A Warm Heart of Steele” was adapted into a live stage production that was produced and performed in a local community theatre in Harrisburg, PA. She has also written a produced two other stage productions. Roe enjoys writing children’s stories that teach life lessons, stories about the Civil Rights era and writing poetry with social justice themes. She is a ferocious reader and loves August Wilson. She likens herself “To becoming the next August Wilson.” Roe lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two adult children.

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