- SNAKES OF ST. AUGUSTINE was inspired by a real-life tragedy involving the late Jason Harrison, a man living with psychosis whose mother made a fateful call to the police, who shot and killed her son. Family members in such situations can now call 988, instead of 911, to be connected with mental health professionals. Do you think that the new 988 service might have helped Jason Harrison – or Gethin Jacobs, the fictional character in this novel?
- Police officers who deal with trauma on a daily basis may sometimes experience “compassion fatigue,” causing them to become numb, stressed out, and irritable. In SNAKES OF ST. AUGUSTINE, how does compassion fatigue affect the way that Officer Fletch Jefferies reacts to certain events?
- St. Augustine, described as the “Nation’s Oldest City,” has been the site of much African American history. It is said to be the place where slavery first began in America – before Jamestown – when the Spanish brought slaves with the arrival of Pedro Menendez in 1565. Yet, slavery also ended in St. Augustine, and Fort Mose, formed in 1738, was the first free black settlement in the United States. Sadly, during the 1960s, civil rights activists fighting for justice suffered brutal beatings by members of the Ku Klux Klan. In SNAKES OF ST. AUGUSTINE, how does that long racial history seem to affect Rahkendra Wright as she goes about her life and work?
- Near the beginning of SNAKES OF ST. AUGUSTINE, Serena Jacobs refers to her late father’s friend as “Uncle Kevin.” How does her opinion of, and relationship with Kevin change, and why?
- The character Jazz repeatedly mentions feeling invisible and wanting to be seen and heard. When families walk by him in the park, he says they often don’t make eye contact, but look straight through him as if he is a “homeless, potentially dangerous ghost, out of focus and wavy around the edges.” Have you ever felt invisible, and if so, when? Can you recall walking by someone like Jazz? If yes, what happened?
- Why is Trina Leigh Dean so devastated by the theft of her three snakes? What is their significance to her financial and emotional wellbeing? Are there any animals in your life that hold a similar significance to you? Sadly, some people will try to kill any snake they encounter, whether venomous or nonvenomous. How do you feel about snakes?
Ginger Pinholster likes to say that turtles find her. A volunteer member of Florida’s Volusia Turtle Patrol, she earned her M.F.A. degree from Queens University of Charlotte and a B.A. from Eckerd College. Her first novel, City in a Forest, won a Gold Royal Palm Literary Award from the Florida Writers Association in 2020. A resident of Ponce Inlet, she serves as vice president for communications at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. Previously, she was the long-time chief communications officer for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, where she became an elected Fellow. Long ago and far away, she was a journalist. To learn more, visit: www.gingerpinholster.com