While living in North Carolina, I became aware of another dying American industry—cotton manufacturing. Because of the proximity to cotton fields, cotton mills populated the south from early colonial days. Entire towns grew up around a single industry, providing a way of life that disappeared once cotton was exported to cheap Chinese labor.
Granted, before unionization, the mill system was often little better than paid slavery, but they were jobs that fed the hungry and provided housing for centuries. Manufacturing provides opportunity for small businesses from mechanical part makers to restaurants catering to workers. Once the mills closed, those small businesses, and consequently the towns, died with them. Rural mountain towns with no farming, poor roads, and no other opportunity were hardest hit.
I admired the creativity and all-American ingenuity that went into finding ways of maintaining a way of life in the towns that survived. My story, of course, is entirely fictional and intentionally romantic, but it does reflect some of the desperation of a populace abandoned by industry. I don’t promise a lot of education with the story, but this is a sequel to SMALL TOWN GIRL, and I do hope readers will enjoy the ride.
How much reality do you like to see in your fantasy/romance?