After I retired early in the pandemic, it became clear that historical novels may be a vehicle for teaching important lessons about epidemiology and society’s response to disease outbreaks. In October 2021 I published my first historical fiction, Spot On: The 1846 Faroe Islands Measles Outbreak, which was inspired by the true story of Peter Panum, a Danish physician who figured out the epidemiology of measles.
I just published my second novel, Smallpox: The 1876 New Iceland Outbreak on Lake Winnipeg. This historical fiction tells the story of the outbreak as well as the underlying motivation for why people emigrated from Iceland and the colonization of Manitoba in the mid-19th century.
I do believe that I’ve become better with all those things that were so new to me, including writing dialogue, using adjectives, and the most fun – those romantic scenes! Smallpox: The 1876 New Iceland Outbreak on Lake Winnipeg, is now available on Amazon through Kindle Publishing (https://www.amazon.com/Smallpox-1876-Iceland-Outbreak-Winnipeg/dp/B0BW2SL5MY/) and a description of the story is below.
During this upcoming year I will be working on study/discussion guides for both books and start learning everything there is to know about the British Royal Navy in the 18th century. Yep, that means James Lind & scurvy!
1875. Economic hardship and volcanic eruptions in Iceland send Kristin Gunnarsdottir and her family on a journey to New Iceland, a colony established by the Canadian government to entice Icelanders to the Northwest Territory. There she meets Noodin, a young Saulteaux man, who helps the Icelanders survive the unforgiving climate. In 1876, a second group of Icelanders arrives at Lake Winnipeg and brings smallpox with them. Can Kristin and these families survive the outbreak? How can they make a home in a place already inhabited by the Saulteaux? This well-researched account of a terrifying epidemic is brought alive by fictional characters set within a story grounded in fact.