Thomas Patrick Hopp routinely imagines the unimaginable. He writes science fiction and mystery thriller novels that draw on his background as a scientist and scholar of the natural world in all its glory and terror. His stories have won multiple literary awards and garnered him a worldwide following. He is a member of both the Mystery Writers of America and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and served for several years as President of the Northwest Chapter of MWA. Tom is also an internationally recognized molecular biologist. He discovered powerful immune-system hormones and helped found the multi-billion-dollar Seattle biotechnology company Immunex Corporation. He advised the team that created Immunex’s blockbuster arthritis drug Enbrel. He developed the first commercially successful nanotechnology device, a molecular handle for manipulating proteins at the atomic level, which is used by medical researchers around the world to study human cells and every major microbe known to science.
Tom’s NORTHWEST TALES are thrillers set against backdrops of disaster, whether natural or man-made. Earthquakes, eruptions, and epidemics are grist for these gripping adventures. Tom’s mystery stories follow Dr. Peyton McKean, a super-intelligent sleuth known as “The Greatest Mind Since Sherlock Holmes.” Viruses, microbes, and evil geniuses form the core of his opposition. Tom’s DINOSAUR WARS science fiction stories read like “Star Wars meets Jurassic Park.” Featuring laser-blasting space invaders and huge beasts from the past, they follow Yellowstone Park naturalist Chase Armstrong and Montana rancher’s daughter Kit Daniels, who struggle to survive in a world where dinosaurs live again. Most of Tom’s tumultuous adventures are suitable for readers young and old.
How do your books about viral epidemics relate to COVID-19?
Both of my medical thriller novels have eerie parallels to today's pandemic crisis. In The Smallpox Incident, I described a deadly virus spreading rapidly by human contact, and a medical researcher, Dr. Peyton McKean, who rushes to create a vaccine that could save millions of lives. Today's coronavirus outbreak, the shutdown of society, and the urgent need for a new vaccine were anticipated in this novel published 18 years ago! The reason I could foresee this future that has come to pass is that in addition to my credentials as an author I am also a vaccine researcher, and have been for a lifetime. The other novel, The Neah Virus, examines a similar catastrophe, this time arising out of nature like COVID-19. The parallels are frighteningly familiar.
Now, I understand readers might be reluctant to pick up books so closely related to our current disaster, but I urge people to give them a try. You see, in this case we're dealing with fictional viruses and most importantly, with happy endings. Viruses vanquished. Lives saved. The world restored to normal. And all that with extreme attention to realistic detail only an actually vaccine researcher like myself could bring to bear. Be prepared for much nail-biting along the way, though.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in West Seattle. My earliest days were spent in a housing project on the banks of the Duwamish River. I remember my mother scolding me for coming inside with mud on my shoes. That was Duwamish River mud, and I have always felt a connection to the riverbanks that were home to Chief Seattle and his people. Most of my fiction includes Northwest native culture at one level or another, most often as a central element of the mystery or adventure tale.
When laser-blasting dinosaurs from outer space invade the Earth, humans are the endangered species! Join Yellowstone wildlife biologist Chase Armstrong and Montana rancher's daughter Kit Daniels at ground zero, where the invaders' 66 million year old lost civilization lies buried under a mountain of sandstone. Nearly non-stop action, a bit of romance, and a cast of astonishing prehistoric animals fill every page with excitement!
These short medical mysteries and thrillers feature Dr. Peyton McKean, a Seattle biotechnology researcher and sleuth who has been called "The Greatest Mind Since Sherlock Holmes." Run-ins with deadly plagues, viruses of unknown origin, bioterror attacks, and genetically altered organisms are his stock in trade.
A CITY SHAKEN TO ITS CORE
The Seattle Fault traces a ragged line through the heart of the metropolitan area. Forces deep in the earth have built up tremendous pressure over eons. What if this subterranean fracture were to release its pent-up fury—tomorrow?
AN EPIC TALE OF VOLCANIC CATASTROPHE
Mount Rainier is one of the most dangerous volcanoes on earth because of its awe-inspiring size and close proximity to the population centers of Seattle and Tacoma. What if this primordial giant were to erupt—tomorrow? Thomas P. Hopp vividly portrays the all-too-possible day when the mountain unleashes its pent-up fury.
THE NEW WILD WEST—WHERE DINOSAURS LIVE AGAIN! Ever had one of those days when you had no other option but to bullfight a charging Triceratops? Or dodge an angry Pachyrhinosaurus? Or fly on a giant Quetzalcoatlus? Then you know how Kit Daniels and Chase Armstrong feel. Action, adventure, and even a little romance are the order of the day in a world gone mad with dinosaurs!
A DEADLY NEW PLAGUE—OR ANCIENT SHAMAN’S CURSE? A lethal virus breaks out in a remote corner of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. It spreads toward Seattle, threatening to kill millions if it can’t be stopped. CDC virologist Peyton McKean tries to isolate the deadly organism and search for a cure, but finds himself in a desperate race against time to save humanity—and himself!
DEADLY SECRETS OF THE TREE SPIRITS
When a member of Seattle's Duwamish Tribe is accused of murder, Dr. Peyton McKean is called in to unravel a dense tangle of clues among the majestic trees of a Pacific Northwest rainforest.
AS "NEAR FUTURE" AS MILITARY SPACE FICTION GETS!
Dateline—tomorrow! Blood on the Moon is a taut, action filled science fiction novel featuring a strong female and male protagonist team on a military expedition to the moon.
RED TIDE WARNING!
Dr. Peyton McKean helps police investigate the murder of a Seattle geoduck clam digger killed by an impossibly massive dose of red tide toxin. In this taut biotechnology thriller, McKean follows a trail of clues along a twisted path of intrigues involving Native Americans of Seattle's Duwamish tribe, drug dealers, and an old shaman who knows more than he's willing to tell.
DEATHS AT A LUNAR ICE MINE—ACCIDENT? OR MURDER?
On the moon, oxygen is the most precious commodity. Without it, death comes quickly. But there are other things of value in the vastness of Luna, and other reasons to die.
A DEATH SENTENCE FOR UNCOVERING A POLITICAL DIRTY TRICK
A computer-altered video used to win a presidential election, a murder on the wet streets of Seattle, and political intrigues at the highest levels draw Peyton McKean into the most treacherous case of his life.