When I got the call from my father that he had metastatic prostate cancer spread into his bones in nine locations, I was with a houseful of retreat guests in Wyoming while my parents (who normally summer in Wyoming) were in Texas. The guests were so kind and comforting to me, as was Eric, but there was only one place I wanted to be, and that was home. Not home where I grew up, because I lived in twelve places by the time I was twelve, and many thereafter. No, home is truly where the heart is. And that meant home for Eric and me would be with my parents.
I was in the middle of writing two novels at the time: Blue Streak, the first Laura mystery in the What Doesn’t Kill You series, and Polarity, a series spin-off contemporary romance based on my love story with Eric. I put them both down. I needed to write, but not those books. They could wait. I needed to write through my emotions—because that’s what writers do—with books spelling out the ending we were seeking for my dad’s story. Allegorically and biographically, while fictionally.
So that is what I did, and Dr. Patrick Flint (aka Dr. Peter Fagan—my pops—in real life) and family were hatched, using actual stories from our lives in late 1970s Buffalo, Wyoming as the depth and backdrop to a new series of mysteries, starting with Switchback and moving on to Snake Oil and Sawbones. I hope the real life versions of Patrick, Susanne, and Perry will forgive me for taking liberties in creating their fictional alter egos. I took care to make Trish the most annoying character since she’s based on me, to soften the blow for them. I am so hopeful that my loyal readers will enjoy them, too, even though in some ways they are a departure from my usual stories. But in many ways they are the same. Character-driven, edge-of-your-seat mysteries steeped in setting/culture, with a strong nod to the everyday magic around us, and filled with strong, complex, authentic characters (including some AWESOME females).
(Here’s the book trailer)
I had a wonderful time writing these books, and it kept me going when it was tempting to fold in on myself and let stress eat me alive. I even had fun recording the audio, and that’s saying something.
Thanks to my dad for advice on all things medical, wilderness, hunting, 1970s, and animal. I hope you had fun using your medical knowledge for murder!
Gracias to my mom for printing the manuscript (over and over, in its entirety) as she and dad followed along daily on the progress.
Much love and appreciation to my husband, Eric, for brainstorming with and encouraging me and beta reading the Patrick Flint stories despite his busy work, travel, and workout schedule. And for moving in to my parents’s barn apartment with me so I could be closer to them during this time.
Thanks to our five offspring. I love you guys more than anything, and each time I write a parent/child (birth, adopted, foster, or step), I channel you. I am so touched by how supportive you have been with Poppy, Gigi, Eric, and me.
To each and every blessed reader, I appreciate you more than I can say. It is the readers who move mountains for me, and for other authors, and I humbly ask for the honor of your honest reviews and recommendations.
Thanks mucho to Bobbye and Rhonda for putting up with my eccentric and ever-changing needs. Extra thanks to Bobbye for the fantastic Patrick Flint covers.
Patrick Flint editing credits go to Rhonda Erb and Whitney Cox. The proofreaders who enthusiastically devote their time—gratis—to help us rid my books of flaws blow me away. My gratitude goes to Anita, Caren, Karen, Kelly, Misty, Ginger, Lanier, Tara, and Pat.
As for the rest of you, you can pick up Switchback on Amazon now, paperback, ebook, or audiobook, along with the other books in the series. And you really should.
If you want to read the other “stories behind the stories,” find them here:
Extras this week:
Wine Women & Writing podcast —
Montgomery County Aggie Moms Scholarship Fundraiser —
p.s. Ever the curvebrearker, my dad is managing his own comprehensive cancer-fighting plan, and is exceeding all prognoses and expectations.