SAULT STE. MARIE -- Not content to simply wait out the pandemic, a Sault Ste. Marie doctor is using his downtime to write pandemic-themed books in the hope of informing and entertaining readers.

Dr. Graham Elder said he got the idea for his book, 'A COVID Odyssey,' while his wife was travelling at the start of the pandemic. He didn't know what would happen in the event she became stuck overseas.

“It’s about a physician from a small Ontario town, much like Sault Ste. Marie, who has to find his way into the U.S. to save his wife at a hospital in Florida,” said Elder. “So he has to get across the border and work his way through the pandemic American landscape.”

Elder said he wanted to incorporate education into his book, which he describes as a medical thriller.

“Things about masking and physical distancing, which was all pretty new to everybody back when I was writing this last March and April,” he said.

Before self-publishing his book, Elder had a passive interest in writing. His first work of fiction was for his children.

Got the creative bug

“I wrote a trilogy of kids books for my kids only as a Christmas present, probably in my 40s,” he said. “When I turned 50, I kind of got the creative bug and I wanted to explore other things.”

Still in the early stages of his second career as a writer, Elder has some advice for other aspiring authors.

“You have to do it over and over again and it really helps to have a critique partner,” he said. “If I could make any suggestions, line yourself up with someone else who has a similar interest and don’t be shy about critiquing each other because that’s how you learn.”

Elder has written a sequel entitled, 'A COVID Odyssey: Second Wave,' and is working on a third instalment of the series. He hopes the books will provide readers with a snapshot of our times.