“…prepare yourself for a heartwarming story filled with feminine strength, challenge, bravery, friendship, and romance…” — Love on the Line (Women at Work Book 1) @AuthorKFullmerTweet
My latest book, Love on the Line, is the story of Andy, a woman who chooses to work building a pipeline in the rugged mountains of West Virginia. Why did I write about this? I wrote it partly because I was inspired by the experiences of my own daughter who entertained me with many of her personal experiences as a pipeliner. But I also wrote it because I too chose to work in a male dominated field back in the day. Some of the struggles of women in these fields are upsetting, but many are inspiring and funny, thus perfect material for the kind of books I love to write. Just because not many women choose to do it, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done, right?
More than any time in recorded history, women are choosing to work in male dominated fields. Every day you come across a woman truck driver, firefighter, or pharmacist. And even though it’s become commonplace, many fields stick with their traditional titles such as policeman, draftsman, and even garbage man. Given this plus the infamous glass ceiling, why would a woman choose to spend their entire career fighting an uphill battle? There are a million reasons, but overwhelmingly, the answer I find is “because I want to” or “because the job appealed to me,” or “My dad and grandpa did it, why shouldn’t I?”
When was the idea planted for women to take the jobs they wanted, even if they were traditionally considered only suitable for men? Some would say with Eve, but both folklore and history are filled with women who not only worked at the jobs they pleased, they ruled societies: Joan of Ark and Cleopatra, to name a few. In Victorian times, women who wrote were forced to use a male pen name or work without recognition. But the women of my grandmother’s generation were forced to work at jobs considered appropriate only for men during world war II. They worked everywhere from factories to the fields. Sadly, after a taste of the liberation a paycheck affords a person, these women were expected to quietly step back into the kitchen once the men came home.
My mother’s generation, were blessed with not only their mother’s experiences, but all manner of modern conveniences which allowed them to clean and cook and generally care for their families in a fraction of the time it took their mothers. Many of these women took it upon themselves to “have it all” and step out into the working world, and not just as nurses and schoolteachers. Their bravery gave the women of my generation the encouragement and conviction that we too could plan a career. However, we quickly learned that we couldn’t be super mom and have a demanding and time consuming career without a shift in attitude, and this shift had to come from the men. The change had to happen not just because of the aforesaid glass ceiling on the job, but because we needed help at home.
Do I think only women who work have value, and somehow women who don’t work away from home are lesser somehow? Of course not! In my lifetime I have been a stay at home mom, a sick in bed mom, a full time student mom, an employed full time mom, and a retired mom. All of those words we put on women are pointless when you realize that we are in this together, and we should be supportive and understanding, no matter what roll you chose.
So, take a moment this summer to grab a copy of Love on the Line. Then curl up in a corner with a cup of coffee and prepare yourself for a heartwarming story filled with feminine strength, challenge, bravery, friendship, and romance.
Love on the Line
Women at Work Book 1
by Kirsten Fullmer
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance
In this epic and unique love story set in the wild mountains of West Virginia, a young woman and her unlikely friends find their way through multiple job hazards and terrible working conditions to achieve the unexpected.
Andrea never thought she’d live in a camp trailer or work outdoors in inhospitable climates; but eager to leave the stress and tedium of grad-school behind, she sets off with her estranged grandpa, Buck, to build a pipeline through the rugged mountains of West Virginia. She’s determined to understand the man and the family divide that drove him away. Once the job starts, she forms an unlikely friendship with Nick, the rough and tumble foreman of the bending crew. Most of the guys aren’t willing to accept her, and Rooster, the handsome, cocky, tie-in foreman, is determined that she’s a ridiculous distraction.
But building a pipeline is fraught with danger, fatigue, and confrontation as egos collide. Caught up in the all-male social microcosm, Andrea can’t help but understand the pecking order, and she’s at the bottom. Being a woman makes it even more unlikely she’ll be accepted. Buck proves to be a taskmaster, but a kindhearted teddy-bear of a man under a gruff exterior, and Andrea comes to love him, opening herself up to the pain of his past.
Rooster and Andrea are drawn to each other, yet they know an on-the-job romance will only cause problems. Rooster is tormented by his own past, and determined to prove himself to Buck, a pipeline ledged. Messing with the old man’s granddaughter is a line Rooster refuses to cross. But as Andrea shows herself to be a hard worker and a valuable member of the crew, she earns Rooster’s respect and he can’t keep his distance. It seems the couple can’t go back, they can’t move forward, and they can’t let go. Both will have to make sacrifices and take a chance on ruining their credibility in order to be together.
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“You’ll need these…” Travis’ voice drifted off when he realized Nick paid him
no attention. Following the foreman’s line of sight, Travis saw that new girl on the office trailer steps.
“What do ya make a her?” Nick asked, his expression one of awe.
The worker to Travis’ left sneered and spit a wad of chew into the mud at his feet. “All women on a pipeline are whor—”
“She’s dangerous,” Travis interrupted. “She’s too small.” Casting a glance in Andy’s direction, he scowled. “She’ll likely get someone distracted and killed.”
“Come on, Rooster,” Nick scoffed, shoving Travis with his elbow. “You’re just smitten, that’s all.”
“Hardly,” Travis assured his friend. “I’ve got work to do…” With a frown he turned and headed back into the warehouse trailer. He had no idea why the girl was here and he didn’t really care, other than to be wary about the problems she’d cause. He had too much riding on this job to waste time over a silly woman. The work wasn’t going to do itself while the men stood staring.
Nick, however, took all the time he wanted.
An elbow in her side caused Andy to jolt forward and she stumbled her way down the rest of the wooden trailer steps. Several men glanced her way as they passed, then quickly looked away as if she were fascinating yet horrifying, like kryptonite.
Trying to remember where Buck had parked his work truck that morning, she headed across the yard. As she picked her way through the snow and frozen mud, she noticed a group of nine or ten men who looked different than the others, standing near flat bed trucks with dual tires and machines of some sort on the back. They stared at her silently as she passed. Unlike the other workers, these men were in no hurry. They didn’t wear hardhats or safety glasses, instead they wore soft cloth caps with long bills, some of which were turned sideways, with the bill flipped up against their heads. Their jeans were clean, new dark blue, and ironed crisp with a crease. Arrogance radiated off the group.
There had been a group of boys like that back in high school. She remembered their eyes boring into her as she passed in the hall, their eyes glued to her chest. Invariably one would shove another, causing them to fall directly into her. How could she report being groped when–
A horn honk startled Andy, causing her to trip on a clump of frozen mud. With her cheeks flaming, she tore her gaze from the haughty men to find Buck’s truck pulled up by her side. Glad to have a get-away, she tugged open the door and stretched hard against layers of clothing to get her foot up into the truck. Pulling herself up into the cab, she settled into the seat, out of the wind and away from the glares of strangers. With a grunt she tugged the door closed behind her.
As they drove through the yard, Buck was silent, but offered a nod and the lift of two fingers from the steering wheel in greeting as he passed workers. Heat pumped from under the dash as the truck growled and bumped over the frozen ruts, jarring and rattling the paperwork and gear scattered throughout the double cab.
“Who were those guys?” Andy asked, leaning forward to see the group of haughty men in the side mirror.
Buck pulled the truck to a stop at the gate of the yard. “Who?” He bent forward to peer up then down the road, waiting for a break in the traffic streaming past on the highway.
“The ones wearing the funny hats.”
He glanced in the mirror. “Them’s welders,” he snorted.
Unsure why a welder would be different than any of the other workers, she shrugged.
Time clicked past as they drove. Brilliant bursts of morning sunlight flashed through the towering hardwood forest as it slid past Andy’s window. Never before had she seen such dense growth. Even the ground cover was thick and deep. This place was very different than the open rolling green fields of Kansas. Bushes, briars, and plants of every kind made her wonder how anyone could navigate between the trees. She turned from the scenery and back to Buck. “Where are we going?” She asked. It was a simple enough question, but having no idea what lay ahead, she braced herself for the unexpected.
Kirsten is a writer with a love of art and design. She worked in the engineering field, taught college, and consulted free lance. Due to health problems, she retired in 2012 to travel with her husband. They live and work full time in a 40′ travel trailer with their little dog Bingo. Besides writing romance novels, she enjoys selling art on Etsy and spoiling their three grandchildren.As a writer, Kirsten’s goal is to create strong female characters who face challenging, painful, and sometimes comical situations. She believes that the best way to deal with struggle, is through friendship and women helping women. She knows good stories are based on interesting and relatable characters.
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