She’s Leading a Double Life as a High School Principal and Novelist


Since her days as an undergrad, it seems that Rachel Skerritt (C’99, GSE ’99) likes to be involved in as much as possible.

This author …and High School Principal(!) just published her third novel (her other books here) this year, entitled WHEN THE LIGHTS GO DOWN (Kensington – Dafina Books).

Rachel’s books are contemporary fiction and per Rachel can be branded African American fiction, because most of the characters are African American, or as “chick lit,” because the central characters are female.

When The Lights Go DownPer Rachel,

“My books tend to address the age group of the main characters, and the issues that people of that particular age group face.  TRUTH BE TOLD is about coming of age on a college campus, very much inspired by my time at penn.  NO MORE LIES captures that time when you’re out of school and living on your own and trying to figure yourself out.  WHEN THE LIGHTS GO DOWN focuses on folks who are turning thirty and making those major life decisions about career, family, and lifestyle.

Rachel tells me that she was originally C’99 but graduated a year early to spend the extra year getting a masters.) In addition to this she was involved in the following activites: Admissions Tour Guide, Service Learning through the Center for Commnunity Partnerships, Writer for The Vision (Penn’s African American Student Newspaper), Graduate Advisor for DuBois College House, Writing Advisor in Writer’s House )

upennWhat inspired Rachel to start writing? …Which famous Penn alumni have been mentors to her? …And what are her tips to YOU? The answers got me chuckling… Find out more here!

Click here to read a quick synopsis and the first chapter to WHEN THE LIGHTS GO DOWN …+/-


Kahlila Bradford keeps a written record of all of the qualities she wants in her mate. With hundreds of items on her list and counting, it’s no wonder that she’s still single. Realizing that she could stand to cut loose a little, Kahli decides to leave Boston for a spell and spend a sizzling summer in Harlem – no lists and no limits.

Once in New York, Kahli meets the one man who can actually exceed her expectations. Darius Wilson is the hottest thing in R&B, with charisma to spare and a genuine interest in what Kahli thinks of his music. It isn’t long before Kahli is dying to give him more than just her opinion, and she suddenly she is center stage at the side of a celebrity.

But autumn’s arrival means returning home and getting back to reality. Now it’s time for Kahli to ask herself some serious questions about how much she’s willing to give up to keep living in the spotlight, and what’s really important … when the lights go down.

First Chapter:

upennRachel’s website here


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