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Dr. Jenna Podjasek | Medical Training:  Influence and Inspiration

Particles in the Air
Dr. Jenna Podjasek



Barnes & Noble

A Dr. Mallory Hayes Medical Thriller

January 2023
On Sale: January 3, 2023
ISBN: 1610885376
EAN: 9781610885379
Kindle: B0BPMQGVV5
Add to Wish List

Also by Dr. Jenna Podjasek:
Particles in the Air, January 2023


I couldn’t have written Particles in the Air without my medical expertise.  Every step of the way, I wanted to be sure that my story had a realistic medical setting with scientifically plausible scenarios.  My training gave me the ability to remain true-to-life, from the illness descriptions to lab abnormalities, to the disastrous effects of what a manufactured, contagious virus can do to the human immune system.

Written words have always been a central part of my world.  I grew up nurturing my creative side with art, creating writing, and reading.  To this day, I read and listen to audiobooks constantly.  At times, I ask myself, how did I become an MD?  When I was young, I didn’t have a significant interest in science.  However, after someone close to me became ill, I began to explore medicine as a career.  A biochemistry class during college opened my eyes to the complexities of the human body.

I’m a big proponent of planning and research in both writing and everyday life.  “Write what you know” is something I relied upon heavily throughout my process.  Years of education have honed my organizational skills, which helped my writing progress smoothly.  Before I began, I spent weeks scouring the internet, fact-checking and pinning down setting details.  I studied google maps and reviewed immunology textbooks.  I made sure my framework was complete before I started chapter one.  Once I made a conscious decision to start my novel, I didn’t stop.

In the clinic or hospital setting, I approach a patient’s presenting symptoms in an organized way.  Each new bit of information from the history, labs, and imaging, narrows down an algorithm of potential diagnoses.  In my mind, I approached fictional medical scenarios from the opposite end.  I started with a diagnosis.  Most of the case presentations in the story began with a microbe that infects those with a compromised immune system.  I chose specific organisms that a character may feasibly have an environmental expose to and wrote their clinical presentation from there.  For example, one of the characters contracted toxoplasmosis from her cat, Mercedes, presumably from emptying her litter box.  For those with a healthy immune system, this typically wouldn’t cause an infection. However, certain microbes that humans encounter regularly, such as toxoplasmosis, often only cause symptoms in those with a dysfunctional immune system.

As I did with Mallory, the lead character in the book, when I discuss complex medical ideas with patients, I explain concepts in a way they will understand.  This turned out to be good practice for writing as well.  While I don't have any formal or informal training in creative writing, I've read countless thrillers and mysteries. Being essentially "self-taught" has resulted in an uncommon marriage of the right and left sides of the brain.

For me, the concepts in Particles came together and resulted in something that I haven’t read before.  The medical details are wholly unique with real descriptions of medical scenarios woven into the story.

PARTICLES IN THE AIR by Dr. Jenna Podjasek

A Dr. Mallory Hayes Medical Thriller

Particles in the Air

Dr. Mallory Hayes, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) medical investigator, is a committed physician and researcher quietly battling height and air-flight anxiety. When a tsunami devastates the coast of Southern California, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) establishes a camp to house the tens of thousands of people displaced by the disaster, and the Army is brought in to provide medical services.

Mallory is dispatched to the camp by the CDC to prevent the potential spread of disease from contaminated water. What she discovers is far worse than anything she could have imagined—an accelerated HIV-like virus, and a common, everyday microbe, which are proving to be unfailingly deadly.

Soon, Mallory is called upon to determine the virus' origins. But it turns out to be a complicated story involving a scientist with psychopathic tendencies, a devout Islamic extremist, and a misguided adolescent. Will the virus itself continue to spread throughout the country, without either a cure or a treatment?

Particles in the Air is a shockingly realistic tale only an immunologist could write—a tense, high-concept thriller meant to appeal to fans of A.G Riddle, Michael Crichton, Terry Hayes, Richard Preston, and others.

My training has made writing a novel possible and I’m immensely grateful.


Thriller Medical [Bancroft Press, On Sale: January 3, 2023, e-Book, ISBN: 9781610885379 / ]

Buy PARTICLES IN THE AIRKindle | BN.com | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Dr. Jenna Podjasek

Dr. Jenna Podjasek

Jenna Podjasek, MD, is an allergist/immunologist who trained at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

She lives with her husband, two children, and numerous pets in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.

Particles in the Air is her first novel.







1 comment posted.

Re: Dr. Jenna Podjasek | Medical Training:  Influence and Inspiration

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(Bella Smith 5:47pm January 28)

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