“Not a Drop to Drink” by Mindy McGinnis sets up a world without water

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This is the book cover for “Not a Drop to Drink.” The photo is from teen.com

Olivia Kalb, A&E Editor

Lynn will kill to protect her pond. And she has, many times before, but never has the threat been so high as now with the group of men to the south.

There’s no longer any easy access to water in this frighteningly real dystopian novel. So when Lynn meets her crippled neighbor Stebbs along with city-born Eli, pregnant Neva, and child Lucy, she doesn’t know whether to befriend and help them or leave this motley crew to fend for themselves, especially when there’s the danger of the southern camp coming any day to take her pond.

“Not a Drop to Drink” is hands-down the most interesting book I’ve read this year. McGinnis did a fantastic job of portraying a very realistic breakdown of our society. And the emotional progression of Lynn from completely shut down to opening her heart wide open to her new family of Stebbs, Eli, Neva, and Lucy just about killed me. As fierce as she is, Lynn completely endeared herself to me through her awkwardness and honest desire for family.

The insanely creative author of “Not a Drop to Drink,” Mindy McGinnis, was kind enough to answer a few questions about her fantabulous book:

What are 3 fun facts about you?

1) I live in the middle of nowhere and can most of my own food, much like my main character.

2) I used to speak Koine Greek when I was in college but I’ve lost the ability now. The only phrases I can still say are, “I am evil” and “There’s a fish in the boat.”

3) I have really fat thumb pads which makes texting difficult.

I loved that you chose to write about an environmental issue, and not the usual zombie outbreak or war. It was such a unique idea, and one that actually had me a little scared because of how possible it is to happen. What inspired your idea?

Unfortunately my answer will freak you out more. I watched a documentary called Blue Gold, which is about a projected shortage of potable water on our planet due to overpopulation. It was a horrible thought – we all need water to survive, and it’s something we can’t make. I went to bed very grateful for the small pond in my backyard, and that night I dreamt I was teaching a young girl how to operate a rifle so that she could help me protect the pond. I woke up and thought, “Hey… I wrote a book in my head just now.”

How do you think you would fare in Lynn’s world? I believe I watch enough movies and read enough to have a passing chance…maybe.

A lot of the survival techniques that you see at work in the book (gardening, canning, hunting, using the SODIS method to purify water) are all very doable things that any human can conceivably do. Minus purifying pond water, I do all those other things. Could I survive? – I think yes. Could I kill someone else to defend my resources? – Not sure, I’ll let you know when we get there.

I feel like a lot of the books I read tend to have the male lead as stronger and more capable, especially in a survival novel, is that part of the reason why you made Lynn the teacher to Eli? Did anything else inspire Lynn’s character?

I think mostly because I am a strong female that can perform all (minus killing) the tasks that Lynn does, I chose to make the main character a female. But also a female character in a world without any law and order faces a different set of dangers than a male one, and that’s something I felt shouldn’t be ignored.

The writing process is different for every writer, some plot every detail out and others I know go on a whim. What’s your process?

I don’t plan or plot, at all. I honestly just sit down and write my book from beginning to end. My characters decide their own fates, so you can’t blame me for anything that happens!

What do you have coming out next?

I do have a release coming out in Fall of 2014, but I’m not allowed to share anything about it as of yet! I will also have books coming in 2015 and 2016 – so hopefully you’ll stick around for the ride!