Sixteen-year-old Keegan Roe rarely has a good day. He’s prone to blackouts and his abusive mother has just beaten him within an inch of his life. When his estranged father, Billy Roe, finally helps him escape her terrifying reign by driving out of state and due west, things go from bad to hopeful. That is until they pick up the very creepy John Bruce in the desert. His arrival marks a complete turnaround in Keegan’s life: he goes from zero to hero as he and his father commit to a new life in the just-out-of-the-package desert town of Sedonia Falls.
Questioning his new status in high school as the boyfriend to the most popular girl in school, Keegan soon finds that things are not as they seem in this increasingly bizarre town where everyone has two first names and everything seems to be too perfect. As Keegan falls for the one normal girl in town, Lizzy Bruce, he soon uncovers the secrets that lie underneath everything. Including his own mother’s history of abuse. Disturbing, non-stop action packed with horrifying paranormal encounters propel this tale of alien invasion toward a surprising conclusion.
Targeted Age Group:: 13-18
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
X Files. Oh, a bit more? Okay, I’ve always had an out-there imagination and TV shows like X Files and, going back further, The Night Stalker got me thinking that science fiction and horror made nice dance partners. In fact, they had a twisted love-hate thing going on in such a way that slowly an idea of an abused boy being abused even more by aliens and then topped with self-discovery of inner strength started to worm it’s way into my creative grey matter. For me, an ex creative guy from Hollywood, it was a wonderful WHAT IF prompt to send those crazy dance partners into unmanageable spins and dips. And also, a room full of supportive writers that listened to even my most painful sentences didn’t hurt either.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I suppose characters in all my work come from my own life situations. But like a good actor who can’t possibly have experienced all of life’s situations, I made up the rest. Start with one small interesting behavior and go from there.
I WAKE UP JUST as we pull into the rest area. The Memory Book’s still open on my lap.
I remember the stranger we picked up and lift my head to see if Dad’s gotten rid of him. Nope, still there in the front seat.
Why? Why would anyone help out this freak?
Please, Dad, just give this jerk the boot!
Instead, he parks. Whatever hope I had of Dad coming through for me, must have fallen out the car while I slept. I yank the cotton out of my nostril and tear off a blood-soaked piece of gauze that’s taped to my nose. If only I could take a shower to wash the dirt and blood off of me. Maybe then it would make me feel like I’ve gotten rid of her. Or that Dad has my back. Yeah, fat chance. I toss the cotton and bandages onto the floor and slam the door.
In the bathroom, I pass the mirror and stop. Who is that? Some bizzaro version of me. Me, but with a totally gross face scarred with black and blue bruises, greasy brown hair matted in odd directions, scratches tattooing my neck, and swollen eyes hiding the person inside. I open my mouth and look at the tooth that’s now almost bent ninety degrees with my tongue pushing on it. Great, it’s going to fall out. And I’ll look even more pathetic.
I find an open stall so I can be alone for a couple minutes.
Inside, I pull the lever down on the door. It doesn’t give me the feeling of safety I’d hoped for.
I read the brilliant thoughts etched into the stall wall: Here I sit all broken-hearted, tried to shit but only farted. Dick, the other white meat.
Then something catches my eye—
This could be your last memory!
What the hell? It’s meant to be some kind of sick joke but it freaks me out.
I’m zipping up when I hear the bathroom door reopen. On instinct, I go completely quiet. I hear the sound of footsteps scrape across tile. I look through the crack in the door. It’s him, John Bruce!
Damn, I can’t leave now.
He walks to a urinal. Unable to see me, I hope. His body’s turned away at least.
Why are his sunglasses still on? Those stupid sunglasses! It’s too dark for sunglasses. He’s such a freak. And why is he looking around like he’s confused? Is he on something?
Oh my God! What the hell is he doing? Is he sniffing the urinal? Good job, Dad, you picked a real winner.
Shit, my heart’s banging in my chest and I’m holding my breath. It’s like two giant hands are squeezing on my lungs. I need air. But if I breathe he’ll hear me.
Can’t hold it!
I release a tiny breath. To me it sounds like opening a car window while doing seventy. But he doesn’t hear it. Good. Finally he stands. But he’s still not taking a piss. Did he even unzip? He’s staring at the wall for Christ’s sake, like he is going but he’s not. His hands are by his sides. What is he doing? Then, he stops as if he hears a noise. I jerk back against the wall, and try to be as still as possible.
But my elbow bangs the back wall, triggering the pain all over in my body that’s only been taking a break. I groan and back away from the door even more, then quickly cup my mouth. He must’ve heard that. I wait. Nothing.
That’s it, I’m leaving now!
Lever, lever, come on, open!
He’s left and I’m going right. I should run for it.
No, no, no. Just walk. Walk slowly.
Good, I’m two feet from the door. I’m going to make it.
Wait, I have to look—just a quick glance—I need to see why he’s so—
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