The graveyard overlooking Skyler Rankin’s hometown is visible from everywhere, like an ever-present reminder of mysterious forces beyond the veil. The town had been a station on the Underground Railroad, so it’s steeped in history and legend. It’s also not far downriver from Mothman country.
It was against that backdrop that Skyler discovered her love of writing and all things creepy. She garnered inspiration from local legends told in hushed whispers, creepy comic books, and thrillers and mysteries from the town’s library.
Skyler typed her first novel on a broken manual typewriter that was missing a few keycaps. She had to keep moving the remaining caps around to type.
“It was a gift from a friend, and yes, it was a pain, but I kept at it despite the frustration. That’s the crazy kind of thing you do when you’re obsessed with writing.”
“My friend gave me the typewriter to help me get started, and I thought it was the most wonderful gift I’d ever received. I had to keep moving the keycaps around to depress the levers to type to keep from hurting my fingers. It was a pain, but it was still faster than writing by hand. It was more than just a typewriter to me. It meant someone else thought my writing was worth reading, and that made me happy.”
Urged by her perennially practical parents to “grow up” and get a “real job,” Skyler worked in broadcasting as an announcer, an electronic graphics operator, a master control switcher, an audio producer, and a voiceover personality for local affiliates for local ABC and NPR affiliates, House of Commons Film Video and Multi-image Productions, and The Learning Channel (TLC). She later pursued a career in education for more than twenty-five years. Through it all, she never lost the nagging itch to write and tell stories.
Despite having a crooked path to publication, Skyler was “born to be a writer,” and she is delighted to finally have the time to do it. She also independently narrates and produces audiobooks. “There’s nothing more exciting,” she says, “than creating great stories and finding that people enjoy them.”
“Like most of my fellow indie writers,” she explained, “I work a day job while practicing my craft in my spare time. In that way, writers are like struggling actors working toward their big breaks. We would all love to get those breaks, but most of us would write whether it comes or not. The craft is its own reward.”
“I’ve been in love with mysteries and creepy stories since I was a kid watching Scooby-Doo cartoons, and I grew up reading Trixie Belden, The Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew. I loved horror films like Night of the Living Dead and vampire and werewolf movies with Bela Lugosi, Lon Cheney, and Christopher Lee. It was always fun to experience a great thriller, and that’s what I hope to bring to my readers.”