Elderly mushroom hunter Edna Morton has a health problem. She’s sprouted feathers. A trip to her health clinic brings her to the attention of an aggressive and ambitious physician, Dr. Theodora Band.
Is there something in the local mushrooms that activates DNA? Why now? Why Edna?
Edna knows which mushrooms could eliminate Dr. Band, but Edna would rather look at her family history to see if this has happened before. Could those stories of witches and toadstools be aspects of evolutionary development?
There’s no time to dawdle. Edna’s family is at risk of sprouting feathers too. Then there is a murder at the health clinic followed by the arrival of a National Security analyst who wants to learn about the ability of mushrooms to degrade sarin gas and neurotoxins.
Edna’s challenges are sprouting like mushrooms after rain.
Part adventure, part science class and totally fungi friendly, The EvoAngel delivers a grand gallop through the woods of the Pacific Northwest.
— from the description on Amazon.com of the new book The EvoAngel.
Here on the Steamboat Peninsula, we’re used to reading about the release of new books by local authors. Now there is a new first novel with a familiar setting but which takes place within a newly-emerging area of scientific inquiry. The book is The EvoAngel, written by Ellen King Rice.
The EvoAngel is a fictional thriller that features the activation of human DNA by the use of wild mushrooms. It is set in the Oyster Bay neighborhood and includes local sites and much information on the new science of epigenetics. It also includes pen and ink illustrations of local fungi.
Not only is The EvoAngel an exciting story based in a new area of science, the book itself was created in a new way. When asked about how the book was financed, Rice replied, “To my surprise I learned that it can easily cost $5,000 or more to self publish a printed book.” Cover design and interior book formatting take either a professional hand or a skill set in learning many technical details. “I cut corners where I could but I also ran a Kickstarter campaign last fall.” Rice turned to our local Nextdoor neighborhood to find a videographer and hired Madison Rochelle, a Capital High School student to record a video segment for the Kickstarter campaign. “The video is an important part of a successful campaign and Madison did a great job.” The Kickstarter campaign went on to raise $2,400.
When the Kickstarter campaign took off, Rice realized she could have illustrations of local mushrooms to add to her story. “Again, I returned to the neighborhood forum. I found Duncan Sheffels, who is a student at SPSCC. Duncan has a full schedule but he was able to fit in some trips to the woods and came up with 18 pen and ink drawings that are amazing.”
The story includes epigenetics, mushrooms and even a National Security Agency analyst. When asked about the research required to cover such a scope of action, Rice replied, “I spent the better part of a year doing background reading. I read an incredible book on mushroom lore called Mycelium Running that is written by Evergreen College alum Paul Stamets. I also read the guide to evolutionary development, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, by Sean B. Carroll and a book on dinosaurs, birds and prehistoric atmospheric conditions called Out of Thin Air by UW professor Peter Ward.”
The EvoAngel is an adult book. It does contain sex and violence (which are biological features of our species!). Most of the action takes place in Olympia and in our neighborhood. The book is available on Amazon, both in a printed copy and a Kindle edition. Rice will also have print copies available for local purchase at Orca Books.
Residents are invited to join Ellen King Rice for a night at the Olympia library, March 3 at 7:30 p.m. She’ll have a short talk on evolutionary development and will read from the story. Says Rice, “Come learn about poisoning by mushroom!”
Learn more at www.ellenkingrice.com and join Ellen King Rice for “Mushroom Tuesdays” on Facebook. Just click this link.
Your purchase, on Amazon, of any books using links from this page will support the Griffin Neighborhood Association.