More Precious Than Gold (The Hearts of Gold Trilogy, Book 2) by Renee Yancy was released Tuesday. in the Historical Romance genre.
A young woman refuses to become a pawn in her grandmother’s revenge scheme and forgoes a life of wealth and royalty to pursue a nursing career as America enters WWI and the Pandemic Flu of 1918 wreaks havoc in New York City.
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/bQPlGd
Renee Yancy is a history and archaeology nut who works as an RN when she isn’t writing historical fiction or traveling the world to see the exotic places her characters have lived.
A voracious reader as a young girl, she now writes the kind of books she loves to read—stories filled with historical and archaeological detail interwoven with strong characters facing big conflicts. Her goal is to take you on a journey into the past so fascinating that you can’t put the story down.
When she isn’t writing, Renee can be found in the wilds of Kentucky with her husband and a rescue mutt named Ellie. She loves flea markets and collecting pottery and glass and most anything mid-century modern.
Viviana, you asked me to write a post about what it was like to write a story about a pandemic while experiencing a pandemic.
Here’s the funny thing. I actually finished this manuscript in 2017, two years before COVID hit. Here is part of a blog post I wrote in 2018:
The Pandemic Flu of 1918 affected not just the lives of Bellevue nurses but nearly the entire world. The administration of Bellevue Hospital gave their student nurses the option of going home while the deadly Pandemic Flu of 1918 raged through New York City.
Not a single one of Bellevue’s student nurse chose to leave. And eleven of those student nurses lost their lives while serving their patients. That’s dedication.
Kitty Winthrop, eighteen years old, is a student nurse at Bellevue Hospital in New York City.
It is difficult today to imagine the horrific situation these student nurses found themselves in. Antibiotics and antivirals hadn’t been discovered yet, and the treatment regimen for flu patients consisted of aspirin, fluids, and morphine or laudanum. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of patients, the nurses could barely keep up with the all the blood and body fluids produced by the sick and dying.
The Pandemic Flu of 1918 depressed the average life expectancy of adults in the US by almost 10 years, according to the National Archives. Research on the Pandemic Flu of 1918 continues to the present day. The really scary thing to contemplate is that it will happen again. The question is not IF but WHEN.
Still, no one was more surprised than me to find myself in the middle of a modern pandemic.
Then, as now, cities and states set up and enforced quarantines, people wore masks, and places of business shut down. My story is set in New York City, which had a fairly proactive Health Department for the time.
However, other cities, such as Philadelphia, chose to ignore the early warnings about this influenza and decided not to cancel a WWI war bonds parade. 200,000 people attended, and a week later, 4500 people in Philadelphia were dead of the influenza.
Today we have much more information about viruses, and we enjoy the benefits of up-to-date medical information. We have antivirals and antibiotics to treat the secondary infections that occur with a flu. We have oxygen and ventilators and myoclonal antibodies.
In 1918, all they had was morphine and aspirin powder. The second, most lethal, wave of the flu took place in the autumn of 1918. You could be fine in the morning, feeling sick at noon and be dead by midnight.
I almost feel as if I lived through the pandemic flu of 1918 with my character Kitty Winthrop. Writing that part of the story was difficult. Even harder was trying to decide who had to die! Even though they are fictional characters, they were still close to my heart and I grew attached to them. But it wouldn’t have been historically accurate to let them all survive.
There are lots of funny parts of the book, especially Kitty’s adventures as a student nurse, which were great fun to write. All in all, it’s a story about triumphing over adversity, and the character that develops as you go through difficult times.
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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Renee-Yancy/e/B00726MJDQGoodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5754717.Renee_Yancy