Friday, September 20, 2013

Feature Friday: Mindy McGinnis

Mindy McGinnis is a YA author and librarian. Her debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, is a post-apocalyptic survival tale set in a world where freshwater is almost non-existent, available from Katherine Tegen / Harper Collins September 9, 2013. She blogs at Writer, Writer Pants on Fire and contributes to the group blogs Book PregnantFriday the ThirteenersFrom the Write AngleThe Class of 2k13 and The Lucky 13s. You can also find her on TwitterTumblr & Facebook.

Interview:
A.L.:

What piece of advice would you give to a budding author?

Mindy:
Write whatever story is resonating with you the most. Don't chase trends, and definitely don't write something just because you think it might be marketable. If your heart isn't in it, it will be obvious. 

A.L.:
What's your favorite book and why?
 

Mindy:
I don't have a particular favorite book, but THE STAND by Stephen King is up there. I've read it three or four times and I get a horrible cold every time. When something is so strong that it produces psychosomatic symptoms, that says a lot. 

A.L.:
Where did you get the idea for Not A Drop to Drink?
 

Mindy: 
I watched a documentary titled Blue Gold, which is about the predicted freshwater shortage for our planet. It was very frightening, and made me grateful for the pond in my backyard. That night I dreamt about teaching a small child how to handle a rifle, so that we would be able to protect our water source from other people. I woke up and said, "Hey, I think I wrote a book in my head just now." 

A.L.:
Did you hit any snags while writing Not A Drop to Drink?  What were they and how did you fix them?
 

Mindy:
Not really. I often tell people that the story literally fell out of me. And it did. I wrote it in a little under six months, I believe. There were no stalls, no periods of wondering what happened next. I just knew. Or rather, the characters did. They acted, I narrated. 

A.L.:
Which one of the characters in Not A Drop to Drink is your favorite and why?
 

Mindy:
Geez. Favorite books, favorite characters! You're killing me! They're all good (and bad) people in their own ways. A lot of the story focuses on that exactly- they live in a world where good and bad don't exist the way we think of them now. There's survival, and there's what you do to stay alive. 

A.L.:
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as an author?
 

Mindy: 
Sure. It was long and horrific. I'd been writing and querying for ten years before landing Adriann Ranta as an agent. I have three trunked (as in, probably forever) adult mss, and one (and 1/2) YA mss that will probably never go anywhere. DRINK was a whirlwind in its own right - I think I only sent out 10 queries and I had 8 full requests and 2 offers of representation off of those. But there was a decade of doubt before that. 

A.L.:
What are you working on now?  Sequel?  Something new?

Mindy:
Right now I'm giving myself some downtime. Lots of reading. A little brainstorming but nothing I'd call an active WIP. 

A.L.:
You're a YA librarian!  Of course, we're going to pick your brain:  

Mindy:
Favorite YA author. Why?  Rick Yancey - he's not afraid to just go there.
Favorite YA novel.  Why?  THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST by Rick Yancey. Because it goes there.
Whose book did you just order for your YA department? Why? Sadly, we've done zero ordering this year. Yeah. We have no money. It breaks my heart. I've got kids coming in wanting sequels and new releases, and... I don't have them. It sucks. I hate it.
 

A.L.:
So -- because I'm dorky and get super excited when I find out other people also studied religion in college -- not counting your own religion (if you have one) what's the most interesting religious figure you've ever studied and why?
 

Mindy:
Oooooo I like this question. Honestly all religious figures are fascinating. But, I won't give you a non-answer -- I think any nuns or monks (anytime, anyplace) are just amazing. I'm not Catholic (in fact, I'm a Lutheran) but I think anyone who gives themselves fully over to a life commitment like that is admirable. And for the record, Martin Luther is also very kickass. There's a great example of - Hello, I have a very unpopular opinion, and I'm going to make that very clear, in a very public way.

A.L.:
You can your own food.  Do you also grow your own food? What's your favorite canned food and why?

Mindy:
Yes, actually I do. Between what I grow and can and what the boyfriend hunts, we could probably live entirely free of grocery shopping. But we'd have no dairy. And I do love yogurt.

Tomatoes. Yum. There is nothing quite like popping the lid off a jar of tomatoes in the dead of winter and smelling the tomatoes that I canned in August. Just... yum. 

A.L.:
Have YOU ever been deprived of water? 

Mindy:
Not to the extent that I thought I was going to die, no. But I am an athlete, and I know what it's like to have to run past your endurance and then have that NEED for water. It goes beyond thirsty. 

The Giveaway:
Mindy is giving away swag for NOT A DROP TO DRINK.

Not A Drop To Drink:  Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn't leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different than our own.


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