My mother, Jayne Marsnik, warmed our Iron Range house with her love for poetry and literature, inspiring me to become a writer. My father, Fuzzy Marsnik, a proud union man with a gentle heart, taught me about labor history and Iron Range politics. His research on Eugene Debs and the Wobblies was indispensable to me in writing this novel.

"Minnesota's Iron Country: Rich Ore, Rich Lives" by Marvin G. Lamppa was paramount in providing historical, geographical and cultural context. Kathy Bergan of the Iron Range Historical Society in Gilbert, Minnesota, provided crucial historical documents in early stages of my research. Thank you to David Harich Jr., who patiently taught me to load and shoot his 1873 Winchester.

Guidance by language expert John Zakelj of the Twin Cities Slovenians and Karel Winkelaar, retired mining expert and Soudan Underground Mine tour guide, was invaluable. Any mistakes are mine alone.

This book never would have been completed if not for the extraordinary Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, where Mary Gardner introduced me to my writers group. William Burleson and Stephen Wilbers provided careful critiques and much-needed encouragement at every stage of the writing process.

I am extremely grateful to my early readers: Katy Gorman, Shannan Marsnik, Peggy Wilson, Mary Stachovich, Colleen Gorman, Susan Marsnik, Neva Maki, Kathy Hill Gray, Marissa Bertram, Paul Winkelaar, Jessica Winkelaar, Jeanne Doney Ritterson and Harry Urschel.

I am indebted to Books Editor Laurie Hertzel and Assistant Managing Editor Kate Parry for selecting "Under Ground" as the Star Tribune's serialized novel for 2015, and to the many staff members involved in producing it for print, online and as an ebook. Laurie's enthusiasm was a life raft and Kate brought a meticulous, brilliant eye to the editing.

Thank you to Jason Langer, for everything.

My dauntless daughters, Maddy and Georgia, inspired me to write about strong women. This history is your history.

Megan Marsnik