(This is my favorite interview in DD4 so far!)
Where did you get the idea for writing Not a Drop to Drink? I've read in your bio that you have a pond in your backyard. Was it because of that?
The inspiration for NOT A DROP TO DRINK actually came from a dream I had, although the pond played a part. I watched a documentary called Blue Gold, which is about the shortage of water on our planet. That night I dreamt I was teaching a small child to operate a rifle, so that she could help me defend the pond. When I woke up I thought, OK - I just wrote a book in my head.
Of all the elements to remove for a post apocalyptic setting, why the absence of fresh water?
Again, the documentary played a big part. It's really a horribly frightening premise. Water is something we all need to survive - every single one of us. And we can't make it. Sure, we can desalinate, but that takes a lot of energy and money. And what about people nowhere near the sea? Rain can only go so far...
Lynn sounds like a fierce character, one who can survive on her own without anyone's help. Was her character patterned from/molded to resemble/influenced by a real person?
No, not really. She's just a prototype of one way you could choose to live in order to survive. Killing is all she knows. The idea of mercy is not in her worldview at the beginning of the book. While I can say that the character isn't based on any person, she is in some ways patterned after the little girl I dreamt about. I had to ask - what kind of adult would this child grow up to be if she's killing so young in order to survive? The answer I came up with was Lynn.
If you were Lynn and you have one of the few ponds left with freshwater, how would you defend it? Would you rather share it or save it for yourself?
Tough question. Let's go ahead and assume I'm willing to kill to survive. Deep down I think we all are perfectly capable of killing someone else in order to ensure our own survival. If it came down to it, are we moral people or are we base animals? I'm not sure, and a lot of DRINK is about trying to figure that out.
Are there any particular challenges you encountered while writing Not a Drop to Drink? How did you tackle that?
Not really. This book completely fell out of my head. I honestly wasn't writing so much as just dictating what my brain had to say.
Why dystopia? What is it about dystopia that you like?
Technically, DRINK is not dystopian. There is not over-arching society or rage against the machine involved here. DRINK is survival at its most basic. You need water. You have water. What will you do to keep it?
What I like about it is how it cuts right to the chase. There's no questions about who likes who, or what to wear, or how your hair looks today. The question is - will you kill someone in order to live through the day? That tells you a lot more about someone's character than what label they're wearing.
A short message for the readers, please?
It's perfectly acceptable to read DRINK for a romp, an adventure about living one more day just to face hardship the next. But it's also a novel about the human condition, who we all truly are when it comes down to it. So I'd like people to read it with that in mind.
Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
September 24th 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books
Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.
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….
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository
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.
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