My second YA book, a desert-set mystery called HIGH & DRY, comes out today, woo-hoo!
What's it about? Framed for a stranger's near-fatal overdose at a party, blackmailed into finding a mysterious flashdrive everyone in school seems anxious to suppress, and pressured by his shady best friend to throw an upcoming game, high school soccer player Charlie Dixon spends a frantic week trying to clear his name, win back the girl of his dreams, and escape a past that may be responsible for all his current problems.
"A dark, well-constructed mystery with a strong voice." - Kirkus Reviews
To celebrate the book's release, I thought I'd share some behind-the-scenes Easter eggs with my fellow sleuths.
1) Lead character Charlie Dixon is named after Dixon Steele, Humphrey Bogart's character in the film In a Lonely Place.
2) Charlie's scheming ex-girlfriend, Bridget Flannery, is named after Brigid O'Shaughnessy in THE MALTESE FALCON by Dashiell Hammett.
3) Mr. Donovan is the name of a teacher at both Charlie's school in Palm Valley, California, and at Imogen's school in Glenview, Illinois (the setting of my first book, BRUISED). One of the Donovans teaches history, the other, statistics. This was simple human error on my part. OR WAS IT? Perhaps one of the Mr. Donovans is an imposter! Perhaps there are clues placed carefully throughout one or both books... You decide.
4) There are three possible references to Breaking Bad in the book. This is fairly bizarre considering I hadn't seen a single episode of the show when I wrote HIGH & DRY. Since then, I've become a big fan, which is why I noticed that...
a) In Breaking Bad, Skyler White's maiden name (and Walter White's alias) is Lambert. In HIGH & DRY, Charlie's father teaches new media journalism at a local liberal arts college called Lambert College.
b) In Breaking Bad, Flynn is the name that Walter, Junior occasionally demands to be called. In HIGH & DRY, a Flynn Scientific baseball cap is evidence in a crime.
c) Breaking Bad was originally set in Riverside, CA. Palm Valley is based on locations near the same Inland Empire locale.
You can pick up HIGH & DRY at any of these fine retailers:
Barnes & Noble
Sarah Skilton is the author of BRUISED, which received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and which the Horn Book called, "nuanced and honest." She lives in southern California with her magician husband and their young son.