Interview with Author Mindy McGinnis + Query Letter Critique Giveaway!

Mindy McGinnis from Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire is represented by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary, and her novel, which just sold to a publisher, is a YA dystopian titled NOT A DROP TO DRINK!

Mindy’s been in the business of seriously pursuing book publishing for ten years. She wrote a few books and had her share of rejections before writing her YA novel, Not a Drop to Drink and signing with an agent. She’s here to tell us all about what she learned!

*For a giveaway, read on for your chance to be one of the lucky writers to have their query letter for a book critiqued by Mindy herself!

1) When and why did you decide to write a novel?

Long and short of it is that I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer. Also, I double majored in English Literature and Religion in college, yet never went for a teaching license. So other than deciphering LOST episodes, I’m kinda unemployable.

2) Lol! Love LOST. So how did you get your agent? What was the query process like?

I landed Adriann Ranta through the good old traditional query process. Yes, it really does work sometimes. I did conferences, blog contests, all the things that are non-traditional. And yet, the query is what got me in. If you’d like to read the query itself, it’s up on my blog.

Um, the query process was like having your teeth pulled everyday only to have them grow back again overnight. Very Prometheus-ish.

3) Astute description…seriously perfect! How long did it take you to write your novel?

I’ve been writing for ten years, and querying on and off for the same period of time. I’d decided that if this wasn’t the ms that got me in, nothing would. So, I told myself 1k a day, and then I made that happen. I think I wrote NOT A DROP TO DRINK in about a month and a half, that’s not including edits.

4) Wow. Now that your book sold, what advice would you give to aspiring writers?

My first bit of clichéd advice is to never, never give up. Churchill style. My second piece of advice is that if you can see yourself doing anything else for a career, do that instead. Also, grow a thick skin. Like maybe even some kind of exoskeleton.

5) Tell me about your debut novel, Not a Drop to Drink

DRINK is set in the not-so-distant future when freshwater is incredibly scarce. My main character, Lynn, has spent her entire life on a Midwestern farm defending the small pond in the backyard. She’s basically been sniping people without questioning the morality of the situation since she was nine years old. After she loses her Mother – the only person she’s ever spoken to in her life – she has to decide whether she is going to reach out to some distant neighbors for  assistance to get through the winter, or if she’s going to stick to her upbringing and tough it out alone.

6) How did you come up with the idea?

I’m a fan of documentaries and I watched one called “Blue Gold” about freshwater shortages. Then I went to sleep and dreamed the novel. I happen to have a pond in my backyard, btw.

7) Are you working on a new novel…and can you give us any hints??!

I’m ¾’s of the way through the sequel to DRINK. It can stand on its own if needs be, but there was more story to tell, and it’s finding its way to paper.

8 ) Congrats! What else are you working on or do you in your spare time?

Blah. Everything. I work full time as a YA librarian in the public school system. I adore my job, and so few people can say that. I also blog at Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire where I have a few ongoing series of interviews with writers, agents, and industry bloggers, as well as book reviews. I contribute to a group blog at From the Write Angle, serve as a site moderator at AgentQuery Connect (which I credit with my landing an agent in the first place), and you can usually find me hanging out in the #yalitchat on Twitter most Wednesday evenings under the name @bigblackcat97.

So yeah in my spare time, I network.

I tried sleeping once. It didn’t go so well.

9) If you could meet any author (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

Great frackin’ question. I’m going to surprise you and say Charles Dickens, because that dude was funny. The classics are so not boring. Dickens is hilarious in a dry sort of way, which is very me.

**Mindy just sold her book, Not a Drop to Drink and it’s sequel, to a publishing house! CONGRATULATIONS Mindy!! We can’t wait to read it!

*To Enter for a chance to Win a the Query Letter Critique:

Simply leave a comment answering the following bolded question!

Rules for this contest:

*You can enter anytime from right now up to Sunday (Nov. 20th). Those who comment will be entered to win. This giveaway is open to everyone! When you comment, you will be asked for your email address. This information will not be made public. It will only be used to contact the winner. You must provide your name.

For additional entries and chances to win:

*Subscribe to this blog!

*Become a member on Facebook: The Write Stuff

*Follow me on Twitter

*Twitter, Facebook, or Blog about the contest (you must provide a separate comment that you did this with a link).

Every name is assigned a random number. The more you enter, the more numbers are assigned to your name. The range of numbers is put into a Random Number Calculator and the winning number is chosen! I’ll announce the winners on Nov. 14th! Once contacted, the winners will have three days to email me their mailing addresses. If I do not receive a reply within the allotted time, I will pick another winner. Good luck!

*When did you realize you wanted to write be an author?

For Example: I’ve always wanted to be one but it wasn’t until a year ago that I wrote my 1st YA novel. I’m just realizing I have a lot to learn! The Road to Publishing is a long one but it’s worth it. It’s my biggest dream 🙂

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10 thoughts on “Interview with Author Mindy McGinnis + Query Letter Critique Giveaway!

  1. Marice Kraal says:

    Congratulations, Mindy!

    At the ripe old age of twelve, I wrote my first manuscript, typed it out on my grandmother’s old typewriter, and sent it (unsolicited) to one of the big publishers. It got a rejection, which totally crushed my young heart, and I didn’t notice until many years later that the rejection was personalized (if only I’d known to take courage from that!) Still, I kept writing and I now have many manuscripts stuffed in drawers and lurking in old computer files. I might even have one on a floppy disk somewhere. Happy writing, all!

  2. KimberlyFDR says:

    I was making up stories and writing them down from a very early age. The first play I ever wrote was when I was six. The first novel (more like a novella;) came about when I was nine. I have all these stories to tell and I need to get them down on the page. I don’t know how not to be a writer. It’s who I am 🙂

    And in my early years, when I was devouring book after book, I would envy the authors I was reading. They got to share their stories with the world. What a great career! And I knew that I wanted to see my stories shared with the wider population as well.

  3. osozereposo says:

    Congrats to Mindy! That’s a big achievement!

    In response to the question:
    I was six years old. Ever since I learned to talk, I had told stories, and when I learned to write, my parents would make little books for me to write and draw in using dot matrix paper and staples. When I decided I wanted to be an author, I was making another “book,” but this one was different. My dad had made a “hardcover book” for me using sheets of foam, more paper, and duct tape. I was so impressed by the hardcover book, which I considered somehow more serious, that I began to have more serious thoughts. I realized that there were people who did just what I was doing as their job.
    P.S.: conniegbarnett (at) gmail (dot) com
    P.P.S: also a subscriber 🙂

  4. Krista says:

    I retweeted the contest!

  5. Krista says:

    I am a subscriber too.

  6. Krista says:

    I follow you on FB!

  7. Krista says:

    Since I was a teenager 😀

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