Burning for Christmas by Kaye Kennedy
Note from the Author
I can’t thank you enough for choosing to read Keith and Brielle’s love story. This book is a standalone, but it is set in the same world as my Burning for the Bravest Series, which features New York City firefighters who love hard and make love harder. A few of the characters from the series appear in this book and Keith makes an appearance in the series. You do not have to read the series before reading this, but if you enjoy this story, you’ll adore the others as well.
If you’re new to me, here’s a fun fact: I was a firefighter in a previous chapter of my life, until an injury sustained in a house fire put an end to that. I was actually the third generation of firefighters in my family. I grew up with a father who is now an ex-chief, and I told myself that I would never date a firefighter…but then I fell in love with my lieutenant.
After seven years together, we parted ways, but I took away a plethora of knowledge about the inner workings of the FDNY (that’s the New York City Fire Department). When I decided to start publishing, I knew I wanted to write from experience and that’s how these stories came to be. Plus, the stereotype of firemen being sexy comes from somewhere, right? In my books, I stick as close to reality as possible, but I have used some creative freedom for the sake of the stories.
Note: Any parallels found here to actual people or places are purely coincidental, as this is a work of fiction. You may notice I refer to some places that actually exist, but what I say about them is purely my opinion and I don’t stay completely true to reality.
Lastly, there is a subplot in this story regarding racism because the heroine is mixed race. While I come from a culturally diverse background, I am not a Person of Color; however, that does not mean I don't have a responsibility to use my voice to effect social change.
In the author community, there is sincere hesitation on the part of white authors when it comes to writing black characters. Admittedly, I am one of them. I went back and forth for quite a long time over whether I should just make Brielle white to avoid getting things wrong and upsetting readers, but that is the exact mindset that we as a society have a responsibility to change. We need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Despite being warned off by several authors, I had to stay true to my vision for Brielle's character and this story.
I had a diversity editor perform a sensitivity read on my manuscript prior to publication, simply to make sure I wasn't unintentionally offending anyone. While there are racist characters portrayed in this story, their viewpoints are not my own, rather they are viewpoints that I have observed as being problematic in our society. If it makes you uncomfortable, good, it's meant to; uncomfortability breeds change.
I have my degrees in literature and my thesis was titled, A Cross-Cultural Examination of Mother-Daughter Relationships in Ethnic American Literature. I examined works that had Asian American, Native American, and African American characters. I say this because I dedicated years of my life solely to doing extensive research into how experiences in these cultures differ from my own, and I've drawn upon my academic background in my creation of this novel.
Cultural diversity has always been an interest of mine and as a long-time fan of the romance genre, I'm disheartened by the lack of diversity, which is why I feel obligated to use my platform as an author to change that.
Please note, that I have tried my best to create an authentic portrayal of life for someone who is mixed race, but I'm sure there will be people who feel I've gotten things wrong. To you, I apologize. Please know that I only have the best of intentions.
All that being said, race is not the main focus of this novel. This is a feel-good love story with an HEA and all the warmth of a Christmas tale.
Thank you for taking this journey with me and I hope you enjoy experiencing Keith and Brielle's journey to find love.
Hugs & Happily Ever Afters,