I’m so honored to have author Elizabeth Camden on the blog today to chat about her new historical romance, Hearts of Steel! I’m such a fan of her books and the progressive & gilded ages she writes about.
Elizabeth Camden is best known for her historical novels set in Gilded Age America featuring clever heroines and richly layered story lines. Before she was a writer, she was an academic librarian at some of the largest and smallest libraries in America, but her favorite is the continually growing library in her own home. Her novels have won the RITA and Christy Award, and she lives in Florida with her husband, who graciously tolerates her intimidating stockpile of books.
HEARTS OF STEEL by Elizabeth Camden
SERIES: The Blackstone Legacy #3
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Romance / Gilded Age
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
RELEASE DATE: January 17, 2023
His steel empire has catapulted him to the top of the world, but loving her could cost him everything.
Maggie Molinaro survived a hardscrabble childhood in the downtrodden streets of Manhattan to become a successful businesswoman. After a decade of sacrifice, she now owns a celebrated ice cream company. But when she offends a corrupt banker, she unwittingly sets off a series of calamities that threaten to destroy her life’s work.Liam Blackstone is a charismatic steel magnate committed to overhauling factory conditions for the steelworkers of America. Standing in his way is the same villain determined to ruin Maggie. What begins as a practical alliance to defeat a common enemy soon evolves into a romance between two wounded people determined to beat the odds.A spiraling circle of treachery grows increasingly dangerous as Liam and Maggie risk their lives and fortunes for the good of the city. It will require all their wit and ingenuity to protect everything–and everyone–they hold dear.
Hi Elizabeth! Welcome to the blog! I’m thrilled to have you here!
Elizabeth: Winter because I live in Florida and it’s human nature to crave what you don’t have.
Carrie: haha so true
Elizabeth: Coke because I’m old-fashioned and love those vintage ads for Coca-Cola from way back.
Carrie: plus it tastes better 🙂
Elizabeth: Under because it was the way I was raised, although I am woefully aware that the 1891 patent for the toilet roll says that I’m wrong. Maybe I’m a rebel, but I’m not flipping that thing over.
Carrie: Exactly! I knew we were kindred spirits (is it weird to be kindred spirits over toilet paper? probably… lol)
Elizabeth: I’m an omnivore—I devour them all.
Carrie: me too!
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Elizabeth: I’ve always admired people who can speak multiple languages. I’d love to be one of those who can slip from Russian to Spanish to Latin with ease. Sadly, Google Translate is the closest I can get to that.
Carrie: I taught English as a Second Language to adults for over 10 years and it always amazed me how many 70 & 80 year olds I taught (and younger, of course, too) for whom English was really their fifth or sixth language. I was so in awe of their knowledge!
Q: Who is your favorite book character from childhood?
Elizabeth: Lucy from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. She feels small and overlooked by her more dramatic older siblings, yet she never gives up and always tries her best to do what’s right. That really resonated with me.
Carrie: I adore Lucy for those exact reasons ♥
Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever Googled while researching a book?
Elizabeth: I hope the government isn’t spying on my computer because over the years I’ve written books about presidential assassination that included searching for floor plans of the White House and Secret Service shortcomings (The Gilded Lady), contaminants in the water supply leading to citywide outbreaks of cholera (A Daring Venture), and drug smuggling (Against the Tide). These books are all romances, I promise!
Carrie: LOL!! I’ll back you up, should there ever be a need 🙂 haha
Q: What surprised you about the characters in Hearts of Steel as you wrote their story?
Elizabeth: Both my hero and heroine grew up in poverty, but by the time the novel opens, both have achieved professional success and are quite well off. Research about self-made millionaires shows that most tend to be surprisingly frugal and have a hard time relaxing and enjoying their success. Some live in fear of slipping back into poverty and therefore won’t ease up on their demanding work schedules. I gave this characteristic to my heroine, which made for great conflict with the hero, who has been wealthy for considerably longer. Both Liam and Maggie inherited some trauma from their childhoods of extreme deprivation. On the outside they appear successful and happy, yet each struggle with the aftereffects of their journey.
The title Hearts of Steel works on a couple of different levels. Liam’s business is the steel industry, but beneath his rugged exterior he’s a sentimental softie. Maggie had to be tough in her business managing a factory, but she has a huge and generous heart for the people she loves. So, while Liam and Maggie are both smart and hardworking, it is their strong hearts that propel them through the story.
Carrie: i can’t wait to meet them on the pages!
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from Hearts of Steel?
Elizabeth: I hope they feel as though they’ve just read a heart-pounding romance about two people who risked everything to earn their happy ending. Falling in love rarely happens in glittering ballrooms or while being showered with wine and roses. More often it’s about showing up in a storm to help someone out. It can happen while seeing someone at their worst and sticking around to help them out of the ditch they’ve dug themselves into. I don’t care for fluffy romances where women get swept off their feet. I find it more meaningful when romance happens while slogging through the tough stuff. I want to see two people overcome obstacles and become indispensable to each other. That’s what I aim for in every novel I write, and I hope readers see it in Hearts of Steel.
Carrie: “I find it more meaningful when romance happens while slogging through the tough stuff.” <— I love that! Yes! And that’s why I love reading your books.
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Elizabeth:I’m busy at work on another Gilded Age trilogy that will once again be set in New York City, though I still don’t have a title or a release date.
Bethany House is offering a print copy of Hearts of Steel by Elizabeth Camden to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Hearts of Steel by Elizabeth Camden? And just for fun – where do you stand on the over vs. under debate for the toilet paper roll?