First I need to announce a few winners.
The winner of SKY JUMPERS is Jen Petroy-Roy!
The winner of STARBOUNDERS is PK Hero!
Congrats! E-mail me your addresses so I can send you your books. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.
Today I’m thrilled to have debut author Mindy McGinnis here to share about her new YA post-apocalyptic story, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, that released September 24, 2013. I loved the timeliness of the issue of a lack of water. And I really enjoyed that this was a really character driven story with gripping characters.
Here’s a description from Goodreads:
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
Hi Mindy. Thanks so much for joining us.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a writer.
I’m a YA librarian in a very rural community, and a lot of the things that Lynn would call survival techniques are hobbies where I live Knitting, canning food, hunting… we’re pretty much fine when the apocalypse comes. As far as how I became a writer, I don’t know if I became one or have always been one. I won’t say I’ve been writing since I could walk or anything like that, but when I was a kid if I didn’t like the way a book ended I’d change it in my head, then think, “There. That’s better.”
2. Sounds like you have a lot in your own life that you drew on in writing NOT A DROP TO DRINK. Where did you get the idea for your story?
I watched a documentary called Blue Gold, which is about a projected shortage of potable water on our planet due to overpopulation. It was a horrible thought - we all need water to survive, and it's something we can't make. I went to bed very grateful for the small pond in my backyard, and that night I dreamt I was teaching a young girl how to operate a rifle so that she could help me protect the pond. I woke up and thought, "Hey... I wrote a book in my head just now."
3. Awesome how a documentary + dream = story idea. One of the things I loved about NOT A DROP TO DRINK was the characters. Lynn, the not trusting main character who had little interactions except with her mom, Stebbs, the self-reliant neighbor, and Eli, the guy from town who had no clue how to survive in the wilderness, were all memorable characters and a lot of the story was about Lynn’s emotional growth. It had a contemporary feel to it for me. Share about your character development process and any tips you have for the rest of us.
I knew I wanted the transformation of Lynn from an isolationist to a human being with feelings to be
4. You did a good job showing those characters each impacting on Lynn’s growth in a different way. I read that you’d been writing for ten years and NOT A DROP TO DRINK was the story that came very easily for you to write. What was the process of working with your editor like? Was it just as easy?
Working with Sarah Shumway of Katherine Tegen Books has been awesome. We see eye to eye on the big things, and the littler things I was always willing to give something different a shot – and more often than not her suggestions opened up the text more than what I’d originally had in place.
5. I hear from lots of writers that you have to be open to editor suggestions like you were. I heard you talk about your writing ritual, which is unusual. Tell us about it.
Ha, well basically I just sit down and write. I don’t plot or outline or anything. I always seem to know the first and last line of the book, and while I have a general idea of where things are going to go in between, I mostly just let it happen on its own. Big things – really, really big things – sometimes happen and I’m like, “HEY YOU! HEY STORY! WHAT DID YOU JUST DO!??!”
6. That’s cool that you know the first and last line, two hard lines to get right. Adriann Ranta is your agent. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like?
As you said, I’d been writing for 10 years and pretty much doing awesome at failing. The book I’d written prior to DRINK received over 130 rejections. Yep. When it was time to query DRINK, I was pretty confident in what I had to offer. I sent out about 15 queries, had 8 full requests and 2 offers of representation in about a week. I was pretty stunned. I was so good at failing I didn’t know what to do with success.
7. Okay everyone. We need to remember Mindy’s experience. Don’t give up when you get a ton of rejections. Your next story may get you an agent quickly. I know you’re part of the Dark Days tour with Rae Carson, Madeline Roux, Sherry Thomas, Michelle Gagnon, and Michelle Kahaney. How did that come about and what does the tour entail?
I’m not sure how Harper chooses who goes on the tours, but I found out I was on the Dark Days tour earlier this year. Pretty awesome news to get! The tour entails Vegas, Denver, Dallas and Austin in the first leg, and then Dayton and Cincinnati in Ohio for the second leg. (Dark Days can be linked here, my other OH stops are listed as well: http://www.mindymcginnis.com/news.html)
8. What other plans do you have to market your book?
Harper is taking really good care of me, but I also have a presence on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest, along with my personal blog, Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire, PLUS I blog for a bevy of group blogs – From the Write Angle, Friday the Thirteeners, Class of 2k13, The Lucky13s, Book Pregnant, and the League of Extraordinary Writers. So… I think my bases are covered. If anything the internet will be sick of me soon.
9. Yeah, I can’t believe you’re able to write and blog so much. And I saw on your blog that you have some book signings set up on your own.
Here’s a question I’ve been dying to ask you since I know you’re also a librarian. What’s the best way we can let librarians know about our book before it releases and hopefully get them excited about it? Are there any resources we should use to find librarians to contact?
Honestly it depends on the library / librarian. Some like to be sent postcards or fliers, some would rather be emailed. I know it’s a horrible answer but you have to find a way to stand out from everyone else… much like the publishing world in general.
10. Darn it! I was hoping for an easy answer. That's okay though. What are you working on now?
Keeping my sanity.
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Mindy. You can find Mindy at:
Writer, Writer: http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com
Friday Thirteeners: http://fridaythethirteeners.blogspot.com
Class of 2k13: http://classof2k13.com
Book Pregnant: http://bookpregnant.blogspot.com
G+ (yes I have one) : https://plus.google.com/u/0/117987168469022730340https://plus.google.com/u/0/117987168469022730340
Mindy’s publisher, Harper Collins, generously provided an ARC for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through October 19th. I’ll announce the winner on Octobeer 21st. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. If you follow me on Twitter, let me know in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome.
Here’s what’s coming up:
Next Monday I’m interviewing Jenny Lundquist and giving away an ARC of THE PRINCESS IN THE OPAL MASK, a YA fantasy about a girl forced to always wear a mask. This was a fantastic story that kept me up into the wee hours of the night.
Next Tuesday I’m participating in the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop. There have been lots of great new releases this Fall and I’ve got lots of great book choices for you.
Next Wednesday, I’m super excited to feature Tu Publishing books. This is a fantastic publishing house that publishes fantasy and sci-fi middle grade and picture book stories that are multicultural. I’ll be giving away THE MONSTER IN THE MUDBALL, a fun middle grade adventure, WOLF MARK, a YA paranormal story, and CAT GIRL’S DAY OFF, a YA urban fantasy.
The following Monday, I’m interviewing author Ruth McNally Barshaw’s 10th grade daughter for my ASK THE EXPERT series and giving away a copy of THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US and A HERO'S GUIDE TO STORMING THE CASTLE.
And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.
Hope to see you on Monday!