Playing St. Barbara
A saint in a coal mine? Absolutely. To this day, mines throughout the world display an image of St. Barbara, patroness of miners. After Marian read the saint's 7th century legend, the novel's plot began to take shape. A coal patch's annual pageant would reenact St. Barbara's life, and every girl in town would covet the lead role. After completing the first draft, Marian realized the lives of her four main characters bore an eerie resemblance to that of the legendary saint--except the legend's ending.