I’m ready to share the story behind the story of SWITCHBACK.
When I sat down to write my Fagan-family-inspired series, I started with four characters I knew well (Patrick, Susanne, Trish, and Perry), a Wyoming past (and present) that shaped my life, a fondness for the 70s in the throwback state, AND a collection of hilarious/endearing/mortifying stories from my dad’s life that I wanted to build stories around. I zeroed in on a couple for SWITCHBACK:
- Young doc subbing for vet (without his foreknowledge): my dad has great stories about subbing for the vet and how that shaped him as a doctor (and amateur vet). Yes, it was a complete surprise the first time he was called in in the middle of the night. And the lab tech, Wes, is 100% real — only his name has changed.
- Chris LeDoux cameo: dad treated Chris over and over for the same broken ankle, never knowing he was the national champ saddle bronc rider at the time, and boy did he lecture him about chipping off his cast every week to ride.
- Family camping/hiking trips: the staple of my childhood, always involving far more physical activity than we thought we were capable of. My active imagination conjured murder and mayhem at every turn. And, my dad did take us hunting when we were very young. I did shoot an antelope (and we ate it for quite some time) and learn to have respect for where food comes from, healthy living, and the gift of the balance between man and nature. And my father never did get a bighorn sheep (yay! I never wanted him to!).
- Animals: I tried to throw in some favorites from past and present, equine and canine.
- And the biggie: the plot is based on a real event in the Bighorns from a few years back, where some out of state hunters accidentally took the preferred elk hunting camp site of local (crazy) brothers, who came back and slaughtered them. It happened not too far from where I set the book. But it did not happen to my family IRL. I promise. We’re all okay.
As for the rest: yes, my brother did sleep on horses, I was a bookworm (and bratty, bratty teen), my mother did hate Wyoming, and my dad, well, he was and is always this cross between amazing and amusing!
If you have any particular questions about what is and isn’t real in the book, give me a shout. I love talking about it.
p.s. you can get the Patrick Flint books in audio, paperback, or ebook.