Monday, September 9, 2013

The Dark Days Are Here (Not A Drop To Drink): Review, Interview & Giveaway!

I love when I get asked to be on a tour of a book I LOVED SO MUCH. I'm super picky about tours so you know I really recommend a book if I'm saying yes to a tour stop. When I was emailed about Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis I was like "YES PLEASE!!!" So, welcome to the tour stop! Seriously, I really loved this interview and I think you'll find it super interesting!

In Lynn’s world water has been scarce for many years. Her whole life revolves around surviving and defending the pond in her backyard — her source for survival — at any cost. The pond seems to be getting lower and lower thanks to droughts and winters that bring barely any snow and the threat of other people to the pond seems to be incoming when Lynn and her mom see smoke on the horizon and these strangers start to show their intentions.

I love the fact that Not A Drop To Drink is a bare bones survival type story! McGinnis nails it when she's able to make you FEEL in your bones how hard life is in Lynn's world and the oppressive danger that threatens her every day. This story is frightening and raw because it's something that COULD happen one day and you really get the sense for how hard it is to keep your humanity in a world like this and try and survive at the same time. THAT is what made this book go from a really great story to an AWESOME book -- this whole perfect weaving of the morality issues that come up when you are trying to survive. Would you kill if you had to? What constitutes a danger? Should you work together?

I loved Lynn so much but Stebbs was my favorite character in this book and could quite possibly be one of my favorite characters I've encountered so far this year. He really was a contrast to Lynn's mother and really made Lynn wrestle with some tough thoughts.

See my full review of Not A Drop To Drink on my personal book blog --  The Perpetual Page-Turner.

Describe your book in six words or less

Dog eat dog. But more awesome.

The idea of a world with very limited water and what it could devolve into actually quite scared me because it seems so plausible! What was your inspiration for this premise?

 Well, not to freak you out further but it is very plausible. I originally was introduced to this concept in a geology class in college. I was immediately stunned -- RUN OUT OF WATER? HOW CAN THAT BE?! But the idea slipped to the back of my head, only to be resurrected when I saw a documentary titled Blue Gold, which is about the frightening real numbers behind this scenario. That night I dreamt about teaching a young child how to operate a rifle so that she could help me defend my backyard pond. I woke up and thought... "Hey, I wrote a book in my head just now."

After reading Not A Drop To Drink I'm so curious about all the research you did for learning how people would survive like this, the plausibility of water wars like this, etc. Can you tell us one or two of the most interesting/scary/gross bits of information that you learned while researching? 

The funny part is that I didn't have to do a ton of research about basic survival, because in some ways I do live that way by choice. My house is heated entirely by wood, most of which I try to cut myself (although my dad helps me), I grow and preserve the majority of my own food, and as I revealed at ALA - much to the shock of the room - I can, in fact, gut a deer. I don't however, have a clue how to preserve meat without a freezer so I had to read up on that!

I did have to research methods of naturally purifying water, though. I remembered reading an article in National Geographic about an effective method that uses the UV-A rays of the sun, so I Googled that and learned about the SODIS method.

What I loved about this story was that very raw, survivalist feel to it. What do you think the hardest aspect of Lynn's life would be for you if you lived in this novel?

Constant awareness. She can't go for a walk or just enjoy being outside for a second, because that could be the second that someone takes her down.

I loved that you explored the mentality and the morality behind what it takes to survive. We see two very different mentalities in this novel -- one person is all about the survival of the fittest and taking care of yourself and your family and then we see another character emerge who believes that maintaining our humanity and helping one another is how you are going to survive. What kind of inspiration or research helped you to explore both of these sides so authentically? Do you think it would be very black or white for you if you lived in this situation?

Fantastic question. There was no research involved, but I definitely relied upon my degree in Religion & Philosophy when it came to addressing these two different methods of surviving. I don't think it's black and white at all, which is part of the larger question. I think in these situations, almost everything is gray. Killing people is bad, yes. Killing someone in self-defense is excusable, so how do we define self-defense? Technically, Mother kills to defend the pond - and she'll die without it, as will her daughter. Yet... it's not that simple, is it?

As far as what I would do in that situation, I don't think any of us can know what we would or wouldn't do until we are in that place, and the choice is forced upon us. I do believe that every human being is capable of killing, if the right things are threatened. For some people it's their favorite baseball hat, for others, their children.

If you could pick a theme song for Not A Drop To Drink what would it be? 

A talented musician friend of mine named Jack Korbel did an original song for me based on the book. So, definitely that one!

I know it's hard to pick favorite characters for authors but do you have one? Which character did you find yourself attached to the most after you finished writing it? 

Oh man, it's actually a really easy question. Writing Stebbs was a breeze. Anytime he showed up on the page he just started talking and took over, the words flew out. He wrote himself, yet I will miss not writing him.

The story ends in a very satisfying manner and from what it looks like it is not part of a series. Are there any plans to continue Lynn's story or write in this world but create a whole new set of characters?

Glad you liked the ending! I felt like it was important to give this story some closure, to have it be a complete reading experience. But Lynn's world in DRINK is a very small one, and I do think it would be interesting to know what's going on in the rest of the country....

This is your debut novel so I'm curious to know what has been the most surprising thing about the publishing process?

It is my debut novel, but I've been writing for ten years. Quite honestly the most surprising part for me after a decade of getting nowhere is that I'm published at all!

What are 3 skills you possess that would help your chances of survival in Lynn's world?

Target Shooting
Common Sense

For some quick fun:

If you could do a mashup of any two shows/books/movies what would they be? I would love to see THE WALKING DEAD meets ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA.

Name 3 luxuries you feel like you'd miss the most living in Lynn's world? Technology, Electricity, Media

Name a world, besides the one in Not A Drop to Drink, that you'd NEVER want to live in? Any world that has dinosaurs in it. BEJESUS!!

If you were in Lynn's shoes what is one thing you would scavenge for in other houses? Oh good question... um - books!

Since we are talking about survival here, what's one thing you can't survive without as a writer? My laptop. I type everything out, zero longhand for me.

You can win a copy of Mindy McGinnis' FABULOUS debut novel, Not A Drop To Drink, for yourself thanks to HarperTeen! You must have a US mailing address to enter and this giveaway ends 9/16.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out more of the great reads in this batch of Pitch Dark Days books and get a chance to win them from these blogs!

         8/19: ASYLUM at Icey Books
         8/26: THE BITTER KINGDOM at Good Books and Good Wine
         9/2: DON’T LOOK NOW at A Life Bound by Books
         9/8: NOT A DROP TO DRINK at The Broke and the Bookish
         9/16: THE BURNING SKY at A Book and a Latte
         10/7: THE BROKENHEARTED at Tales of the Ravenous Reader

I'm not so lucky to have a tour stop near me but maybe you are?? I've been to Dark Days tours before and they are FABULOUS!


  1. What a great interview! I had no idea about the deer gutting! And umm, a mash up of TWD and Sunny would be hysterical!

  2. Good review, exciting premise to the book. Thanks for the chance to win it.

  3. I really enjoyed this book, too. It's the most realistic YA dystopian I've read in a long time. Which explains why it's so scary! I love that the author wrapped the book up in a satisfying way, but also in a way that could lead to a sequel. I'd definitely like to hang out with these characters again.

  4. I'm really excited for this one!! Great interview!

  5. I already added it to my TBR when I read your review, but now I'm even more excited about reading it. Unfortunately I don't live in the US, so I can't enter the giveaway :(

  6. I thought the scarcity of water was scarily plausible and now I see that it is-I think that is what will make reading this so terrifying!


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