Clare B. Dunkle

A Photographic Study for The Sky Inside

By Clare B. Dunkle. New York: Atheneum, 2008.

Canadian Rockies

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, and Colorado.

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.

You can find a photographic study for The Walls Have Eyes here.


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.

desert scrub landscape

Outside, Martin sees a tawny landscape with olive-green smudges for bushes or trees.

arid landscape

Martin worries because the semi-arid terrain doesn't give him many hiding places.

cliffs near Sedona, Arizona

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.

Arizona storm

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.

desert landscape

When I saw this, I imagined Martin seeing BNBRX in the distance.

All photographs copyright 2009 by Joseph R. Dunkle

All webpage text copyright 2003-2014 by Clare B. Dunkle, unless attributed otherwise. All photos copyright 2003-2014 by Joseph R. Dunkle, unless attributed otherwise. You may make one print copy of any page on this site for private or educational use. You may quote the author using short excerpts from this website, provided you attribute the quote. You may use the photos in both print and virtual media to promote the author's books or events. All other copying or use of this website material, either photos or text, is forbidden without the express written consent of the author.