The HBO film presentation of Larry Kramer's THE NORMAL HEART has many thinking again about the worldwide implications of the HIV epidemic. An accident of timing has allowed my novel, WILDFIRE to be completed this same week. WILDFIRE tells the fictional story of a medical student who is infected with HIV by an accidental needle stick injury in a New Orleans hospital in the late 1980s. Public fear of the poorly understood AIDS epidemic, perceived in those years as spreading like a wildfire all across the nation, becomes political fear that results in a law intended to limit transmission of HIV by imposing a new kind of segregation.
This neo-segregation is based upon one's HIV status, and it is enforced for every bar, hotel and motel, every health club, hospital, clinic and medical office. Entry is regulated for all public places where politicians believe transmission of the virus might occur. In this dystopian world young Jeremy Becker, the infected medical student, pursues his dream of becoming a surgeon. But first he must deal with life-threatening mystery, unexplained deaths of hospital patients, and leading edge HIV research sabotaged by greedy politicians who divert federal funds to their personal use.
WILDFIRE will be presented at the Writers' League of Texas Agents/Authors Conference in Austin in late June. If the novel doesn't capture the interest of a major publisher at that conference, I plan to publish it for release later this year on World AIDS Day.