Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Author Interview: Mindy McGinnis previews Not a Drop to Drink

For my spotlight on upcoming dystopian/post apocalyptic fiction series, I interview authors with novels coming out in the genre in 2012/13. These are exclusive first looks at exciting new works. Enjoy!

Debut author Mindy McGinnis introduces us today to NOT A DROP TO DRINK. It's set to come out Fall 2013 from HarperCollins.

Here's the summary:
Lynn was nine the first time she killed to defend the pond. Seven years later, violence is her native tongue in a time when an ounce of fresh water is worth more than gold and firewood equals life during bitter rural winters. Death wanders the countryside in many forms: thirst, cholera, coyotes, and the guns of strangers. 
Mother and Lynn survive in a lawless land. Their roof offers a sniper’s view of their precious water source – the pond. Mother’s strenuous code of self-sufficiency and survival leaves no room for trust or friendships; those wishing for water from the pond are delivered from their thirst not by a drink, but a bullet. 
Smoke rises from the east, where a starving group of city refugees are encamped by the stream. A matching spire of smoke can be seen in the south, where a band of outlaws are building a dam to manipulate what little water is left. 
When Mother dies in a horrific accident, Lynn faces a choice - defend her pond alone or band together with her crippled neighbor, a pregnant woman, a filthy orphan, and a teenage boy who awakens feelings she can't figure out.

And the interview:

Why do you think people are drawn to "dark" stories?
I think everyone has a dark side of their personality, and some of us are more open to exploring it. Fiction offers us the ability to do that without, you know, breaking the law or hurting people. DRINK has a dark voice, but in the end it’s a survival story, and I think that type of fiction can transcend the lines of dark and light preferences in terms of style and voice. Whether we admit it or not, I think a lot of people ask themselves if they could survive in the face of catastrophe. Tales of survival give readers the chance to play with that question.

If NOT A DROP TO DRINK had a theme song, what would it be and why?
Great question! I know a lot of writers have certain playlists they like to listen to while writing. I don’t necessarily do that, but I will often hear a song and think “Yeah, that song and my ms would get along.” Definitely “Thistle & Weeds” by Mumford & Sons, as well as “Waiting For the End” by Linkin’ Park. Both songs have a solitary feel to them, along with a heavy thread of defiance. And that is a lot of where Lynn’s personality comes from – she will survive, no matter what.

What fictional character from another book would your main character choose as his/her best friend and why?
The idea of having a friend at all would be very alien to Lynn. The only person she’s known her entire life is her mother, so asking her to pick a bestie would be difficult. Though I think she would totally get Cathy from WUTHERING HEIGHTS in the sense that you do what you gotta do, and squash your heart in the process if you must.

What are your top 5 Dystopian lit recs and why?
THE STAND by Stephen King – because this is where I learned to speak dystopian.
THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy – I read it right before writing DRINK, and I very much wanted to emulate the isolation and dehumanization that becomes a part of someone in a survival situation.
THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins– because I really can’t tell you how much I wish I would’ve had that idea first!
THE LONG WALK by Stephen King – It’s a short story that pounds the reader’s face into the gravel and makes you like it. Astounding.
THIS PERFECT DAY by Ira Levin – in all of the long lists of dystopian that I see being resurrected here and there in the wake of HUNGER GAMES, Ira Levin’s awesome book is still not getting the credit I think it deserves.

What's on the top of your to-do list before the world ends?
My blog readers are going to kill me when I admit that I have yet to ride a mechanical bull.

How does your novel stand out from others in the genre?
Again, it’s very much a survival story as much as a dystopian. The dangers that Lynn faces are very real, palpable threats that any reader can identify without having to stretch their imagination. Starvation. Dehydration. Hypothermia. Illness. Accidents. Feral animals. Strangers with guns. In the end, the darkest thing about DRINK is how easy it is to believe.

Sounds harrowing! Thanks Mindy.

Visit Mindy's blog
Follow Mindy on Twitter @bigblackcat97
Add NOT A DROP TO DRINK to Goodreads

Mindy also contributes to the group blogs http://thelucky13s.blogspot.com/ and http://www.fromthewriteangle.com/ and is a site moderator at http://www.agentqueryconnect.com/


Maude Lynn said...

This sounds excellent!

Great interview!

Jennifer Prescott said...

Yes, Mindy! Great interview!

BBC said...

Thanks Mama Zen and Jen! I'm thrilled to be taking part in dystopian February, my love of dystop is... well, it's actually kind of frightening really.

Emma Pass said...

Fab interview, Mindy! I'm really looking forward to reading NOT A DROP TO DRINK. :D

Zibilee said...

I think Mindy is right about the reason that people read darker stories. With so much of the world changing, I think that we ask ourselves these questions of survival a lot more often now, considering the world around us.

Not a Drop to Drink sounds excellent, and I am adding it to my list right now. The premise sounds so very intriguing, and I am betting that my daughter and I would both love it. Fantastic post today!

BBC said...

Emma - thanks so much! I'm flattered!

Zibilee - absolutely. We ask ourselves tough questions sometimes, and for writers occasionally those answers turn into stories. I'd be thrilled to have my book be a mother daughter read!

Melissa West said...

Love the sound of this! Adding to my TBR now. :)

BBC said...

Thanks Melissa! I'm flattered!

candice (thecrjreviews) said...

"In the end, the darkest thing about DRINK is how easy it is to believe." I totally got this from reading the summary. Not a Drop to Drink sounds true and down right terrifying (if you had to picture yourself in that situation).

Vasiliki @ Midnight Readers said...

This looks like a very interesting book, can't wait to read it :) and great interview! :)

Evie said...

Love her answer to the question 'what's on the top of her to-do list before the world ends?'
And I can't imagine living in a world without enough water!

Vivien said...

I love darker stories. Especially those with a gothic feel. Authors tend to stray from the darker side of things. I love it when it's explored more.

Laina said...

*bounces* This sounds so good!!!

When I was younger, I liked darker stuff because no matter how bad it was for me in real life, something worse happened in a book. (High school was FUN, if you're wondering.)

Plus, yanno, it's more interesting ;)

BBC said...

Candice - thanks so much! I think the dystopians that are the most frightening are the ones that don't take a huge leap of imagination to picture. HUNGER GAMES was very much like that for me. *chills*

Vasiliki - Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it!

Evie - The things we take for granted in daily life are truly amazing if you sit and think about it. One of the things I did when I was writing was thinking about everything I use during the course of the day. If I didn't have these things, would I be able to make a substitute?

Vivien - Oh yes. The dark side has a call :)

Lydia Kang said...

You have great taste in music! *winks*

I can't wait to read your book. :)