Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mindy McGinnis Takes The Truth

We are so excited to welcome Mindy McGinnis for Truth or Dare this week! Mindy's debut YA novel, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, will be published by Katherine Tegen/Harper Collins, Fall 2013. In the meantime, she's going to tackle a Truth as submitted by Friday the Thirteeners blog reader, Rena:

Q: What was the stupidest thing you did as a teenager that you realized (as a teenager) that it was so bone headed that it makes you blush with shame now?

I grew up in a very rural area. And by rural I mean that we define the term “neighbor” as someone whose house you can see from your own when you’re standing on the roof. Entertainment was far away, and so my older sister and I came up with very original, and possibly lethal, ways to pass the time.

We look at each other now, and while we don’t necessarily blush with shame, we do ask each other, “How did we survive our teens?”

It’s a decent question.

Bone-Headed Self-Entertainment Instance #1:

Grain silos are fun places to play. Um, if this were a True or False question on a parenting quiz, you need to mark False. Yes, parents know better. But do teens? Not usually. You may not be aware of this, but silos have an internal ladder and side access doors that you can open when they’re not full of grain. Opening side doors of partially full bins, then climbing the internal ladder and jumping down into the grain was fruit for dares to see who could climb higher, and subsequently sink the lowest into the grain upon impact. It was a favorite past time of mine until I saw the scene in Witness where Harrison Ford kills one of his pursuers by suffocating him in a grain silo.

Bone-Headed Self-Entertainment Instance #2:

Rushing streams should be viewed as a free waterpark ride. Again, this is patently false to discerning observers, but bored teens aren’t exactly in that category. Scurrying along fallen trees and then clutching onto limbs flailing wildly in the rushing current was a heck of an adrenaline rush, and also an invitation to a quick drowning. Luckily, fate either appreciated our balls or wasn’t paying attention.

Bone-Headed Self-Entertainment Instance #3:

Haymows and swinging ropes were made for each other. At first glance, this doesn’t seem so bad, right? I knew plenty of people with ropes in the mow for a good swingin’ time. Well, the rope we used was a good eight feet from the edge of the hayloft and at the moment we were using it, there was no hay truck (or really anything) in between our skulls and the concrete floor. I can’t remember how many times I made the running leap, but I can remember exactly the words that were used by our father when we were discovered. It was quite the education.

Continued Issues with Bone-Headedness:

I did manage to break my tailbone at one point in a hayloft related incident. I wasn’t paying attention as I scooted backward from a raccoon I’d accidentally surprised. Luckily I was in the small barn and it was only about a five-foot drop to a wooden floor. I got to relive the pain two years ago when I rebroke my tailbone as a passenger on boat that was on land, and not moving. I can attest that while tailbone breakage hurts (like, really effing hurts) no matter how you broke it, there is a certain pang to your dignity that comes along with admitting that you did it while disembarking from a parked boat.

Thanks so much for playing Truth or Dare with us, Mindy, and we can't wait to get our hands on NOT A DROP TO DRINK!

Mindy McGinnis is a YA librarian and writer repped by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary. Her debut YA novel, NOT A DROP TO DRINK will be available from Katherine Tegen/ Harper Collins, Fall 2013. Mindy blogs at Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, and serves as a moderator on the writing forum AgentQuery Connect. She also contributes to the group blogs From the Write Angle and The Lucky 13s.

Come back this Friday, March 27th, because our very own Elsie Chapman is up. Feel like submitting a Truth or Dare for her?


  1. I can't look at a silo without thinking of that scene in Witness! Glad you survived your teenage ideas. :)

  2. I was thinking of that WITNESS scene before you even mentioned it! Too funny. I also entertained myself in some bizarre ways as a teen, many of which involved hiking through random patches of woods, playing on rope swings, and swimming in random ponds/rivers. A rural childhood creates a creative, self-entertained writer, perhaps? ;)

  3. Mindy, so glad you are in our group. I can tell by your fine choices as a young person that you fit right in! Also, now I really want to see Witness.

    It would be interesting to do a poll of YA writers and see if our childhoods (rural vs urban, etc) influenced what we ended up deciding to write about

  4. Man...you're way cooler/thrill hungry than I was. Bridge jumping is paltry in comparison.

  5. Oh yeah, grain silos (hangs head in shame).

  6. Melissa - Survived. Checkmark.

    Erin - Maybe it just ingrained in us a willingness to take risks?

    Megan - I'm glad to be here! I know mine did. So far corn figures prominently in everything I've written.

    Becky - I don't know if I'm cool or just really stupid.

    Rena - Yeah... grain silos.

  7. How did us farm brats not die? Just stepping out the screen door was lethal. There were approx. 11 things on our farm that could kill a reckless kid, just between the laundry line and the garden.

  8. This sounds like perfect material for a book. :) Country living is fun. (And by fun, I mean dangerous). I'm glad you survived. And glad you're part of the blog! That sounded wrong. I don't mean that I'm glad that you survived so you can be part of the blog. Those two sentences were separate and unrelated. :)

  9. You're nuts, you know that, Mindy? :)

  10. Too funny, Mindy, as always! I expect your next novel to be called Death by Hayloft.

  11. It sounds like we grew up in similar places with similar thrill issues. Yeah. We had a grain silo. I had a brother who spent a lot of time in the emergency room (an hour away), usually related to something he shouldn't have done with a machete or a motorcycle.

    1. Rusted machetes make the best toys. We kept our stash in the garage, along with all the other childhood deathtraps.

  12. April - I actually knocked out a few teeth because of a laundry line... but that's another story.

    Kasie - Hmmmm.... OK, I'll take your word for it :)

    Elsie - Yep. Like a bushel!

    Bethany - Thanks :) I'm sure I can come up with something about a hayloft... might be a short though!

    Myrna - Machetes. Yeah, I had a particular affinity for my hatchet.

  13. Hey where's my comment? I know I left one here!! Damn it, I forgot what I said before. But I have to say, this all sounded like lots of fun! Course if it was me, I probably wouldn't have made it out of childhood as I'm so clumsy!

    Love this post a lot! It says a lot about you, you know. he he.