Sheffield University’s Michelle Rawlins Releases New Book ‘The Steel Girls’

Award-winning journalist, Michelle Rawlins, has released her new book ‘The Steel Girls’ based on the real life women who worked in the Sheffield steel industry during World War Two.

‘The Steel Girls’, which was released a week ago (April 15) is the first in a historical fiction saga series about the lives of Betty, Patsy and Nancy who work in Vicar’s factory.

Rawlins, who is also a lecturer at the University of Sheffield, wrote the book after spending two years researching the true-life stories of the women who worked in the factories which lined the River Don in the 1940s.

She said: “It’s an honour to record their stories.”

The Steel Girls book cover

The book release comes a year after the author’s success with ‘Women of Steel’, the story of Sheffield’s unsung heroes during the Second World war.

The author said: “What struck me was how little resistance was offered to this new arduous, strangely unfamiliar and frequently quite terrifying way of life.”

During  Rawlins’ research, she found that many of the women working in the factories were mums or young girls, with no experience of what it was like to be employed in one of the ginormous windowless factories.

Upon asking the women why they chose to volunteer for such risky roles, the usual answer was simply: “We were just doing what was needed.”

Rawlins said: ” The sacrifices they made, the resilience they displayed and their sheer hard work is utterly humbling.”

Author, Michelle Rawlins                    Photo credit: Scott Merrylees Steel Girls’ on 15 April.

When asked how she balances work with her tight writing schedule,  Rawlins said: “I’m very strict. I work four nights a week on the books. I aim to write 1000 words a night and always have weekends off so I can spend time with my husband and two children.”

She added: “Training and working as a journalist for 25 years has helped me manage my time efficiently. I’ve never missed a deadline but equally don’t allow myself to work every hour God sends.”

‘The Steel Girls’ is now available on Amazon for £6.55, or £3.99 Kindle Edition.

Written by Beth Farrell

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