Today, I’m covering the story of the story behind SNAGGLE TOOTH.
When a plane crashes in the Bighorn Mountains, Patrick Flint embarks on a rescue mission he may not live to regret.
What is real in SNAGGLE TOOTH?
My dad at one time had a goal to scale the seven highest summits on each continent. He was a true mountain goat, wonderful in altitude, and with a never-say-die spirit. Most of his serious climbing came after my brother and I grew up, but we did a lot of high altitude hiking in the Rocky Mountains as a family when I was a kid. Dad climbed Cloud Peak in the Bighorn Mountains multiple times, but never Black Tooth Mountain. I decided to put him there for this story. We climbed up and scouted the locations for the book together before I wrote it in September of 2020. With his cancer treatment, it didn’t come quite as easily as it had years earlier, but he by-God did it!
The flying scenes (not the crashing ones!) were oh-so-real. My dad is quite the pilot (as is my brother, a full bird Colonel in the Marines who flew Cobras all over the world) and I am quite the horrible passenger.
Also, there is a beloved story in our family about a dog biting out my brother’s front tooth. Perry is too old in these books for that to happen, but I needed to honor the spirit of the event somehow, so Perry ends up with a snaggled-tooth in this one.
Since I included my dad’s real-life brother in SCAPEGOAT, I included his real-life sister here. I’m sure my Auntie Trice wants to kill me for it. There are many nods to her stories hidden in the book, not always directly with her character. She was always my favorite when I was growing up <3
Where did the murder plot come from?
This was a hard one. We wanted to pull in characters from previous books, and we needed something unique within the world of my fiction as far as motive, method, criminal activity, and the like. In the end, I think our devious plan worked quite well, pulling bad guys from TWO previous stories: SAWBONES and SNAKE OIL. And I accidentally developed some affection for bad-guy Elvin from SNAKE OIL (you’ll see what I mean).
Killing off characters.
I hated killing a good guy in this book. (No spoilers) But, believe it or not, even though Trish stays pretty annoying, I try to give each character some personal growth in each story. Patrick is becoming more self aware. Susanne is getting tough as nails. Trish has developed a little bit of empathy. Perry is heroic and indomitable. So, I apologize in advance, but I felt it was necessary. Let me know if you thought it worked.
Trish throws her parents into a tailspin at the end of SNAGGLE TOOTH. Ultimately, I like where Patrick and Susanne come out on the issue. It hits a little close to home in several ways. One: I was far too boy crazy as a teenage girl. I was a cross between Barbie doll and Army general, and it wasn’t always pretty. Two: our youngest daughter had a HIGHLY inappropriate boyfriend in high school, without the redeeming qualities of Trish’s love interest. But, in the end, Eric and I handled it much like the Flints do. And our girl turned out all right :-0
What’s next for the Flint family?
STAG PARTY. In Snaggle Tooth, Perry endured a tragedy. I think next it will be Trish’s turn. Uh oh…
Pick up a copy of SNAGGLE TOOTH, along with the rest of the series.