Marshalltown author makes adult fiction debut with hockey romance

SUBMITTED ARTWORK Marshalltown-based author Katie Kennedy’s latest, “Hearts on Thin Ice,” is her debut adult fiction book.

Katie Kennedy has authored several books aimed at pre-teens and young adult readers. Now, she’s written her first novel for adults, a hockey romance entitled “Hearts On Thin Ice,” recently released through Alcove Press.

The story centers on hockey player Nick Sorensen, who is recovering after being the lone survivor of a plane crash. He hires interior designer Alyssa Compton to decorate his sparse apartment and sparks fly despite their differences and his trauma.

As Kennedy explains it, her agent gave her the green light to pursue a romance novel, and the idea to center it on hockey came from feedback she saw on Twitter/X.

“There was an established romance writer who had a thread that had just blown up — a couple hundred people — saying they wanted a hockey romance,” Kennedy said. “I’m a huge Detroit Red Wings fan. I thought yes, I could do this. No research. It would be great, right?”

She was further inspired by hockey player Dylan Larkin, who has starred in a series of clothing ads that have led to some saying hockey players make good “romance fodder.”

Kennedy said a lot of hockey romance novels take place in Colorado, so she wanted to go in a different direction, landing on Detroit instead.

“The story is set in a random NHL franchise in Detroit, not an actual team,” she added. “The female main character grew up in poor economic circumstances. I modeled a scene in the book after the food box near Hope United Methodist Church…I just visualized a little bit of Marshalltown.”

Kennedy describes the book as a little “spicy.”

In the final chapter, new characters are introduced, lending the perfect set up for a sequel.

“I think people will expect a follow-up and we’re hoping to do that, but not committed to it at this point,” she noted. “I will be writing some other romance (for my publisher), but whether they want it set in the same world as ‘Hearts on Thin Ice,’ is still up in the air.”

Kennedy is the author of “The Presidents Decoded,” which is aimed at readers ages 8 to 12. The book follows up the success of her 2020 release “The Constitution Decoded,” which won a Nautilus Award — taking gold in the young adult nonfiction category. Her two published young adult novels are entitled “Learning to Swear in America” and “What Goes Up.” Her future endeavors include a book for young readers on voting (a companion volume to her books on the presidents and the Constitution). She’s also working on a book on the Salem Witch trials, geared towards middle graders.

She and her family came to Marshalltown in 2016 from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Since that time, she’s worked as an adjunct professor of history at MCC, and as a part-time librarian at Marshalltown Public Library.

“I call them my morning job, my afternoon job, and my evening job,” she said with a laugh.

Her books are available on Amazon and other retailers. Learn more about her here: katiekennedybooks.com.


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