Born and raised in New York City, Rudean Leinaeng grew up hearing family stories about her grandparents, Sergeant Albert S. Johnson, Sr. and his wife Evelyn. Coal, War & Love is based on their lives together before, during, and shortly following World War I.Rudean received her BA from Hunter College and an MS from New York University, and was a Professor of Chemistry at Bronx Community College. During the 1970s, she and her two young sons lived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania for two years. After participating in the struggle for women's rights and racial equality, as well as the anti-apartheid struggle, Rudean and her husband Pule Leinaeng, an African National Congress activist, took up residence in Bloemfontein, South Africa. In 2002 she co-produced the acclaimed documentary film Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela, directed by her son, award-winning filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris. She was inducted into the Hunter College Hall of Fame for her activism and leadership in 2012. Coal, War & Love is her first novel.