The Story Behind the Story of SCAPEGOAT: The Penny Pincher

Today, I’m covering the story of the story behind SCAPEGOAT.


When his son is critically injured on a river trip, Patrick Flint finds himself in a race against time and a gang of outlaws who are determined the Flints won’t make it out of Wyoming’s Gros Ventre Wilderness alive.

What is real in SCAPEGOAT?

That my father is an obsessive about being early/on time/sticking to a plan and that he is a penny pinching son of a gun! (I thought of the book as “cheapskate” as I was writing it). And that he has a brother/best friend eleven months younger than him who has seven kids who were with us on several adventures. Definitely, the disasters in this book were set off by the collision of the seven kids with Patrick’s penny pinching, inflexible nature.

What is not?

I play fast and loose with the personalities and characteristics of family members I bring into the stories. Their sole reason for inclusion is to push Patrick’s buttons. So, suffice it to say that I have to muffle their best traits. 🙂

Where did the murder plot come from?

I was looking to write a river adventure. Eric and I decided that the hunt for gold would make a nice motivation for murder, and I found an area of Wyoming with decent gold deposits in the rivers, then I made up a river to run through that wilderness. I loved the history of the Sheep Eaters/Mountain Shoshone there, as well.

I wrote the book in the early months of the COVID pandemic, and I think the high stress/tension of this super fast-paced book is the best result I could have hoped for from it!

What about those grandparents?

They’re written fairly true to their personalities. I had a love-hate relationship with my grandfather, and I confess I did not want to write a heroic role for him. But—darn it—he plays a pivotal role in saving the day. No plot spoilers.

Did I visit the area?

Did I ever! Eric and I spent a weekend nosing around it to be sure that it would fit, geographically. We took some great video and pictures, and that enabled me to get really vivid with the descriptions.

What’s next for the Flint family?

SNAGGLE TOOTH. And I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Pick up a copy of SCAPEGOAT, along with the rest of the series.

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