Lucier’s debut young adult novel “A Death-Struck Year” is set in Portland, Ore., during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic. The Red Cross is overwhelmed by victims of the pandemic which often strikes young and healthy people first and can kill within one day. Seventeen-year-old Cleo Berry puts her own life at risk and volunteers.
“Thirty to 50 million people died worldwide, more than World War I, and more than the Black Death in the 14th century,” says Lucier, who was struck by the death toll and how the flu has now largely been forgotten. She will sign copies of her book from 5:30 to 7:30 Thursday, March 6, at BookPeople, 521 S. Main St., Moscow. Refreshments inspired by World War I-era party menus will be served and there will be a no-host bar.
Lucier, originally from Guam, studied journalism at the University of Oregon in Eugene and fell in love with Portland. Later she earned a master’s degree in library studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she studied literature for children. She researched her novel at the Oregon Historical Society and by walking Portland’s streets. She lives in Moscow with her husband, a University of Idaho employee, and 10-year-old daughter.