When I approached Mindy with some ideas of what to write about for this release-week post, she thought some Q&A about how "possible" DROP could be as a survival story would be interesting. (Let it be noted here that Mindy--being the librarian that she is--also sent me some links to read as prep. Seriously, I love this girl.)
I'm so very happy to be able to talk about NOT A DROP TO DRINK today! Mindy, huge congratulations on the release of your debut, and thank you so much for writing this incredible book!
Elsie: Did any specific real-life event spark the idea for NOT A DROP TO DRINK? Or was it more of a slow burn of a whole bunch of different scenarios and timing just coming together in the perfect way?
Mindy: Definitely a real life event, but it was a slow burn. When I was in college I had to take a geology class and there was one paragraph in my textbook about aquifer depletion. (Google it, you'll be terrified). I went to class expecting everyone to be freaking out and nobody seemed bothered (or, ahem, they didn't do the reading). In any case the idea stuck with me, but it recessed until I watched a documentary called Blue Gold which is not about aquifers, but rather the simple math concerning depletion rate of freshwater sources and human population. It was chilling.
I do have a small pond in my backyard and I went to bed that night ridiculously grateful for it. I dreamt about teaching a young girl how to operate a rifle so that she could help me defend my pond. I woke up and said, "Hey.. I wrote a book in my head just now."
I had to wonder what kind of person this child would grow up to be... and Lynn was my answer.
Elsie: Does the fact that you live in the midwest have any influence in your decision to go with water shortage as the issue for DROP? For example, where I live, it's mostly earthquakes and floods that we talk about, so when I think of natural disasters, those are the first things to come to mind. Is water shortage an issue with which you were already familiar?
Mindy: Quite the opposite, actually. It's set in the Midwest because there *is* plenty of water here. Unfortunately, if the taps were suddenly turned off a lot of places in the west would simply... be screwed. (Sorry, westerners). Where I live there are ponds, small streams, a lot of us have hand-dug wells. So, while there IS water here, it's still a limited supply. I thought, "You know, once someone has established a claim on their source, they're not going to give it up." And out of that, comes violence.
Elsie: In DROP, water is highly valued and protected. Did you ever consider adding a dystopian slant to an already pretty plausible post-apocalyptic premise? Such as water becoming a currency, or a way for a government to control its people, depending on how its allotted?
Mindy: Nope :) I wanted NOT A DROP TO DRINK to be a survival story, pure and simple. One of the most frightening things about where Lynn lives is that there *is* no law, no governing force. It's everyone for themselves, and that brings out the worst in most of us, right away.
Elsie: Do you feel compelled to keep bottled water in the house at all times in case of a natural disaster? What do you think about the human tendency to hoard, most likely at the expense of others?
Mindy: I do drink a lot of water, I'll admit to that! But I don't keep it around, bottled up or anything like my characters do. In that sense, I'm a total poser because I totally rely on my tap. I do have three different capped wells on my property though, so... they're there if I need them.
Hoarding... oh man. Well, its not healthy - I'll say that. I'm actually very anti-hoarding. I go through every room in my house every six months and if I haven't touched it, used it, worn it, watched it, or interacted with it since the last time I did a sweep it goes to Goodwill. There is no point me having something that other people might need.
However... again I am a poser because the exception here is my library. I do weed it every now and then, but I'm not clearing out the shelves every six months!
NOT A DROP TO DRINK is Mindy’s debut novel, a survival story set in a world where freshwater is almost nonexistent. Available from Harper Collins / Katherine Tegen 9/24/13. Find it at your local bookstore, or online at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's, or Books-A-Million!
Mindy McGinnis is an assistant YA librarian who lives in Ohio and cans her own food. She graduated from Otterbein University magna cum laude with a BA in English Literature and Religion. Mindy has a pond in her back yard but has never shot anyone, as her morals tend to cloud her vision.Visit Mindy on her website, on twitter, and tumblr!