Microscopic microbes that kill—those have been my life’s blood for forty years as a veterinary epidemiologist with state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now focused on communicating public health through creative writing, I’ve published ten shorter works and the first novel of my alphabetical series, “Anthracis: A Microbial Mystery.”
Epidemiologists used to joke that everyone thought we were skin doctors. Now in the age of COVID, much of the public is sick to death of public health pronouncements. But there are enough people who are fascinated by the science and inside story of how diseases are routed out and conquered. The West Wing immersed us in the personal and professional challenges for public servants in the White House. The MayaVerse provides a backstage pass to veterinarians in public rather than private practice.
Medical thrillers usually have physician pathologists as the heroes, but medical detectives can include veterinarians specializing in zoonoses, diseases transmitted from animals. “One Health” is the concept that humans, other species, and the environment are intricately intertwined. Ignoring one part places the others at peril.
The MayaVerse is the world of Dr. Maya Maguire, a young veterinary epidemiologist starting her first assignment as part of the CDC shock troops called Epidemic Intelligence Service Officers. I had the honor of beginning my own public health career as an EIS Officer, and my creative writing is inspired by my mentors, peers, and successors. Maya is partially modeled on my daughter, adopted as an infant from China. She’s been a close collaborator at creating the story of a ‘fish out of water’ growing up Asian in the American Southwest.
The author Edward Abbey said that our definition of beauty is formed by the land imprinting our brains during childhood. I bless my good fortune for growing up in Arizona. No place on earth is more spectacular to me than the Sonoran desert.
With climate change scorching the earth and increasing asthma-inducing wildfires, my retirement home is along the gorgeous shores of Lake Champlain in Vermont. However, the Southwest still has my soul and is the initial setting for the MayaVerse. In the second novel “Borrelia” to be published June, 2022, Maya’s investigations into this squiggly spirochete will take her to Europe, and the fifteen years of her life until “Zika” will take us all on a worldwide adventure.
Shorter works, many available for free at HOME (drmayamaguire.com), provide some prequels and side stories for lively secondary characters. Those who sign up for my Reader list will be emailed the e-book and pdf versions of my award-winning short play “Monuments,” which dramatizes a fictional encounter in Santa Fe’s Plaza inspired by real-life controversy over its phallic monument.
“Anthracis” is published wide so available through bookstores, libraries, and multiple online sources including Amazon. Links for the e-book, paperback, hardcover, and large print versions are available at ANTHRACIS (drmayamaguire.com). Please join me on this grand adventure through the microbial world!
Anthracis: A Microbial Mystery
In the hottest summer on record, the spectacular southwestern desert is alive with Bacillus anthracis spores. Maya Maguire, new veterinarian with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, battles the largest anthrax outbreak in U.S. history.
Despite lingering trauma from a childhood accident, Maya’s confidence builds with a supportive team of passionate physician Manolo Miranda and enigmatic veterinarian Dave Schwartz.
But Homeland Security and the FBI are suspicious when spores match Dave’s home Texas Triangle of Death. If Maya can’t find the source, thousands may perish. Anthracis takes us to the front lines with scientists betting their lives on the investigation outcome.
Buy Links: https://drmayamaguire.com/anthracis
MILLICENT EIDSON is the author of the alphabetical Maya Maguire microbial mystery series. The MayaVerse at https://drmayamaguire.com includes prequels, “El Chinche” in Danse Macabre and “What’s Within” in Fiction on the Web, and a side story, “Pérdida” in El Portal Literary Journal. Author awards include Best Play in Synkroniciti and Honorable Mention from the Arizona Mystery Writers.
Dr. Eidson’s work as a public health veterinarian and epidemiologist began with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and continued at the New Mexico and New York state health departments. She is a public health faculty member at the University at Albany and the University of Vermont.
Millicent discusses her first novel “Anthracis: A Microbial Mystery” at Microbial Mystery Author Dr Millicent Eidson on Big Blend Radio – YouTube.
She can be found on Twitter, @EidsonMillicent, and Instagram, @drmayamaguire.