I wrote this book and the first draft of its sequel, The
Walls Have Eyes, while my family was living in Germany. We
had been away from home for four years when I started The Sky
Inside, and I was feeling very homesick. Europe is beautiful,
but it is nothing like the part of the United States I call home.
I'm a child of the Southwest: I grew up in north Texas and
live in south Texas. My husband's family lives in Arizona,
so family trips have taken us across New Mexico, Arizona, Utah,
I wrote the landscapes of the Southwest into this book
as vividly as I could recall them. If you are unfamiliar with Martin's
world, here are some photographs to bring it to life for you.
Except for Jimmy's rat, Martin has seen no animals, so the wildlife fascinates him.
He realizes that Chip's coloring, like the
coloring of the wild animals, helps him blend in.
Outside, Martin sees a tawny landscape with olive-green smudges for bushes or trees.
Martin worries because the semi-arid terrain doesn't give him many hiding places.
Martin meets Hertz in a gorge with walls that are striped orange and white. He notices that the rocks are crumbly
and scratch easily: they are "soft" rocks. Much of the landscape in the Southwest shows sedimentary rocks, which have built up in layers
and erode easily.
Storms in the Southwest can be very violent. This little cloud
darkened rapidly and wound up hailing on me until the ground was white. The violence of the storm in the suburb adds to Martin's terror there.
When I saw this, I imagined Martin seeing BNBRX in the distance.
All photographs copyright 2009 by Joseph