Rectangular photo of Ginger Pinholster’s office bookshelf containing a variety of narratives by and about people living on the edges of society, including some with mental illness. Photo credit Ginger Pinholster.

Ginger Pinholster—Snakes of St. Augustine

Cover of the book Snakes of St. Augustine by Ginger Pinholster with the title and author’s name in black letters on a coiled red snake, on a black background that also includes brown fern fronds and other Florida plants.

Snakes of St. Augustine

Ginger Pinholster
Regal House Publishing, September 12, 2023
Paperback $19.95, Kindle $9.99
ISBN-13: 978-1646033829, ASIN: B0BMGZ53MX

Pinholster reports:

Snakes of St. Augustine describes an unconventional love story served up with a large side of Florida weirdness.

Though fictional, this book was motivated by a real-life tragedy: Jason Harrison, a 39-year-old man living with psychosis, was killed by police after his mother asked for help getting him to a hospital.

The police bodycam footage reminded me of loved ones, including my late brother John. John had a learning disability, attention deficit disorder, trouble communicating, severe anxiety and depression, and in the end, a substance abuse problem. He was 28 when he killed himself.

Portrait photo of Ginger Pinholster

Ginger Pinholster

Losing my brother to mental illness and subsequently finding a partner who has neurodiversity clearly influenced my writing. In my experience, discrimination can turn those with mental health conditions into “the others.”

To learn more, I read journal and news articles. I spoke with my partner Michele’s doctors as well as my sister, a mental health professional, about schizoaffective disorder. I learned that people living with psychosis are far more likely to be attacked than to attack others. Sadly, many police units lack the training or personnel to safely deal with individuals who have neurodiversity.

In Snakes of St. Augustine, the theft of Trina Leigh Dean’s beloved snakes coincides with the disappearance of a troubled young man, Gethin Jacobs. While his sister searches for him, she gains an unlikely accomplice: Jazz, a homeless student. Meanwhile, Trina’s friend Fletch, a burnt-out cop, scours St. Augustine for the stolen snakes. Fletch’s quest puts him on a dangerous collision course with Gethin, raising questions about community and the power of compassion.

Snakes of St. Augustine, was picked up by Regal House Publishing. Named 2021 Independent Publisher of the Year, Regal House accepts unagented queries. Managing Editor Pam Van Dyk provided exceptional insights. I worked briefly with publicist Jackie Karneth of Books Forward.

My novel is not about Jason, John, or Michele; all of my characters are composites, representing the recent trend of fatal encounters between police and individuals with mental health conditions. I hope my work will honor the lives of all those living with neurodiversity and an increased risk of harm.

Contact info:

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Banner image adapted from original photo by Ginger Pinholster.

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September 19, 2023

Advance Copy

The path from idea to book may take myriad routes. The Advance Copy column, started in 2000 by NASW volunteer book editor Lynne Lamberg, features NASW authors telling the stories behind their books. Authors are asked to report how they got their idea, honed it into a proposal, found an agent and a publisher, funded and conducted their research, and organized their writing process. They also are asked to share what they wish they’d known when they started or would do differently next time, and what advice they can offer aspiring authors. Lamberg edits the authors’ answers to produce the Advance Copy reports.

NASW members: Will your book be published soon? Visit for information on submitting your report.

Publication of NASW author reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW's endorsement of any publication or the ideas, values, or material contained within or espoused by authors or their books. We hope this column stimulates productive discussions on important topics now and in the future as both science and societies progress. We welcome your discussion in the comments section below.

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