Decades: A Journey of African American Romance
LOVE’S SWEET MELODY is the fifth book in the Decades: A Journey of African American Romance series. This series consists of 12 books, each set in one of 12 decades between 1900 and 2010. Each story focuses on the romance between African American protagonists, but also embraces the African American experience within that decade. Join the journey on our Facebook page, http://bit.ly/2z9sMrd.
I’m so excited to be a part of the Decades: A Journey of African American Romance series. The publishing industry has been afraid of or unwilling to publish stories like this for far too long, and I love’s Wayne Jordan’s determination to see these stories published anyway. Also, the amount of talent in this group of authors is amazing!
My story, LOVE’S SWEET MELODY, is set in 1946 in the small fictional town of Fox Den, Virginia. The hero, Warner Hughes, is a veteran still living in the shadow of the war, and most of his neighbors avoid him or pity him. One person, his high school classmate Betty Daniels, is able to see Warner as a person. She plays piano in the hotel restaurant where he often dines, and the sparks between them are undeniable.
In my research into Warner’s unit, the 761st Black Panther Tank Battalion, I discovered many fascinating things about the first African American armored tank unit to see combat in World War II. Most of all two things struck me. First, the overt and insidious racism faced by these young men as they trained in the southern United States before deploying oversees disgusted me. They were largely confined to the base for safety, because those soldiers who ventured out into neighboring towns risked being beaten or shot by racist whites. Jackie Robinson, who would go on to integrate Major League Baseball, was a lieutenant in the unit and was kept from deploying with the unit because of a race-related incident on a city bus.
The second thing that struck me was the fighting spirit of these men. To say they fought valiantly is a gross understatement. These men charged into battle in tanks, and when their tanks were disabled or destroyed, many got out and fought on foot, facing down German Panzer units with only their guns and their wits to aid them.
My research on the unit was greatly assisted by the book The 761st Black Panther Tank Battalion in World War II by Joe W. Wilson Jr. The author’s father, Joseph Wilson Sr., is a veteran of the unit, and the book includes photographs, personal accounts, maps, and a wealth of information that has enriched my story.
I hope you’ll check out LOVE’S SWEET MELODY, coming May 8, 2018!
Kianna Alexander is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and author of more than 35 African American and multicultural romance titles.