With her thriller Over the Edge, Brandilyn Collins takes the saying “write what you know” literally. In 2002-2003 she suffered a debilitating case of Lyme disease. God miraculously healed her, but she hasn’t forgotten its devastating effects. This helped her write Over the Edge’s main character, Janessa McNeil, who is purposely infected with Lyme by someone and given an ultimatum—convince her doctor husband to publicly reverse his stance on Lyme, or their young daughter will be infected next.
But Janessa’s husband doesn’t believe she even has Lyme, like many real-life doctors and their patients, according to Collins. This disbelief in the severity of the disease isn’t fiction for Lyme sufferers, to which Collins can also attest. Only when she was reinfected in 2009 (she’s since recovered) did she know it was time to pen a novel that would bring to the forefront what has become known as the Lyme Wars, a struggle between Lyme literate doctors and powerful organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control. “I remember slumping in the waiting room of my doctor’s office in 2003, so sick I could not remain sitting in the chair,” Collins says. Mocking her on the wall was a framed medical journal article explaining how Lyme is never chronic and is easily treatable.
“Even my family members and close friends, who saw me suffer from Lyme, have commented that after reading Over the Edge their eyes were opened to the suffering caused by Lyme,” Collins says. And that’s her goal with this novel—to shine a spotlight on the challenges those in the Lyme community face through a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.