At first glance, Candy was a pretty little seven year old girl like any other in Shirley County. She was prone to singing and dancing and splashing in the rain, in her yellow polkadot bikini and her favorite red galoshes. John was a normal little boy and he loved playing with his best friend, Candy. But their bond drew a darkness that had long stayed hidden in a small, southern mountain town.
Sometimes the truth is in the things you can’t see. Something happened all those many years ago, and it can never be forgotten. But our story begins long after that, when Candy and John are teenagers. John, caught up in the business of life, stops spending his summers in Shirley County. And Candy, hurt and lonely at first, moves on as well. She meets Sam, the new boy in town.
Even though she has never ventured more than a hundred miles from her home, she has never felt at ease there. Always at odds with her high school friends, her church, her family—and bored with her small town existence—she finds the adventure she needs in Sam. He is cool, confident, independent, and Candy likes that. He lives on the fringes of society, and perhaps she likes that, too. But even with Sam in her life, she is sometimes overcome with a sense of dread, like a shadow has passed, just on the edge of vision. And sometimes the truth is in the things you won’t see. Something was awakened all those many years ago, that can never be undone.
When John finally does find his way back, it’s to a Shirley County that is much more disturbing than he remembers. He’s accosted by strange dreams and preoccupied with his grandfather’s visions—the evidence scrawled so frantically that the paper is ragged and torn. Howling animal masks and flailing human figures. Teeth sharp as razors. Wherever John tries to find reason in the madness, he’s blocked by evasion and dead ends. He doesn’t miss his old friend Candy’s new secrets, either. And John’s once comforting presence becomes unwelcome, when he uses the brilliant mind Candy has always trusted to turn up troubling information on Sam’s past.
Despite the confusion of strained friendships, new romance, and high school intrigues, John and Candy begin to suspect something more sinister lurking amidst the days of football glory and the nights of clandestine rendezvous. And then there is a murder. Sometimes the truth is in what you must see to survive.
An artist turned author, Sarah Wathen is a storyteller by trade and a painter at heart. She was trained in Classical Painting at the University of Central Florida, then completed graduate studies in Fine Art at Parson’s School of Design in New York City. Her first step into the world of independent publishing was as an illustrator, and Sarah quickly realized she wanted to write her own books rather than illustrate other’s. That reinvention came as no surprise to family and friends, who remember her as a child always ready to turn a tale. Hours spent under the backyard stairs with her sister—dreaming up imaginary friends with outlandish names like Afisha and Pekins, and designing social networks called the Plant Club and the Tutu Group—were recorded and illustrated, too. Copies still exist under lock and key! Sarah currently resides in Florida and runs the indie label, LayerCake Productions.
Unusual Story About the Author
This will probably sound weird, but I have to wear a ring on every finger when I type my second draft of a manuscript. It started out as a private joke—I was writing about high school and I used to wear a lot of silver rings when I was in high school myself—but now it’s a superstition that I can’t shake. I always write the first draft by hand, then the rings come out when I transfer it onto my Mac. I call it “The Coronation,” but I don’t think I’ve ever said that outside my head until now!