Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Theo Mackey only remembers one thing for certain about the fire that destroyed his home: he lit the match.

Sure, it was an accident. But the blaze killed his mom and set his dad on a path to self-destruction. Everything else about that fateful night is full of gaping holes in Theo’s mind, for good reason. Maybe it’s better that way. As captain of the Ellis Hollow Diving Team, with straight A’s and solid friends, he’s only one semester away from securing a scholarship, and leaving his past behind.

But when a family history project gets assigned at school, new memories come rushing to the surface, memories that make Theo question what he really knows about his family, the night of the fire, and if he can trust anyone—including himself.

Award-winning art director and designer-turned-writer Demetra Brodsky spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her new release, DIVE SMACK:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

That sometimes the people you trust the most may not be who you think they are, even if they’re family.

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

I haven’t yet come across a YA Thriller with a springboard diving protagonist. Also, it shows how the use of prescription drugs can be abused.

Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?

I found I could scare myself. My mind is a dark place.

No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?

A lot of the setting is taken from different places where I lived, woven into a fictitious town. Also, I once received editorial notes from Lois Duncan. She actually sent me a note saying she got out of bed to write me an email because she couldn’t stop thinking about my novel. When she passed away, I was devastated.

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?

Megan Abbott – Her command over language takes my breath away.
Gillian Flynn – Her reveals always have me gasping.
Jennifer McMahon – Oh my can she keep a reader guessing.


Demetra Brodsky is an award-winning art director and designer turned writer. She has a B.F.A. from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and lives in Southern California with her family of four and two lovable rescue dogs. DIVE SMACK is dedicated to the Monarch Butterfly she once saved from the brink of death.

To learn more about Demetra, please visit her website.