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Thursday, June 3, 2010

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AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Deborah K. Frontiera, author of Living on Sisu

May 31, 2010 — sylviahubbard1 | Edit

Book Title and ISBN:

Living on Sisu: The 1913 Union Copper Strike Tragedy 978-0-9820278-5-1

Author Name: Deborah K. Frontiera

Author's Website www.authorsden.com/deborahkfrontiera

100 word Synopsis

To twelve-year-old Emma Niemi, life may be hard, but it is basically good. She has finished sixth grade and is nearly a young lady. Her father pushes tram cars full of copper ore in a Calumet and Hecla Mine and has saved almost enough money to buy land for a farm. In the summer of 1913, Emma's life, and the lives of everyone in the region, will be changed forever by a violent strike against the mining companies in Houghton and Keweenaw Counties in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. A friend whose father is not on strike will be forbidden to talk to her. Another will die in the terrible Italian Hall Tragedy on Christmas Eve. Only the character trait the Finnish people call "sisu" will help her and others in the region live through this terrible tragedy.

Genre of book: historical fiction for grades 4-8 and up

How do you come up with story ideas and characters?

I grew up in The Copper Country hearing the "myths" of the Italian Hall Tragedy. My father taught at MTU and ran a bottle gas business. My grandfather, who grew up in the area and received a degree from The Michigan College of Mines (one of MTU's former names) was a mining engineer who, although not involved in any side of the strike, returned to the area a year or so later. I had friends of Finnish descent whose families farmed the Trap Rock Valley. The idea of doing a story of "The Strike" from a young person's point of view came to me the summer I attended the premier of the opera, Children of the Keweenaw, at the restored Calumet Theater. Discovering that, while there are many non-fiction books for adults on this subject, there was little to nothing still in print for young people on this important part of Michigan history took the project from "idea" to reality. "Emma" is a compilation of several real people's experiences. Three years of research, two years of writing, several years of rejection later, I finally found a publisher willing to take a chance on it. Its "partner", Copper Country Chronicler: The Best of J. W. Nara (coffee table book of historical photographs) grew out of discovering that most of the photos I wanted to use in Living on Sisu were Nara photos. MTU archives and the photographer's grandson, Dr. Robert Nara, worked with me to complete that project.

When and how do you write?

read more at: http://motownwriters.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/author-spotlight-deborah-k-frontiera-author-of-living-on-sisu/

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