Hello, everyone. Today I have a recap of a surprise author event. I say surprise because my friends and I went down to Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach this weekend to do some shopping and realized when we got there that Mindee Arnett, author of The Nightmare Affair, was signing there that afternoon. Awesome surprise since I have been wanting to read her book. Luckily we arrived about 20 minutes before the signing started and had time to grab coffee and books before settling in to hear Mindee talk.
Mindee began by telling us that writing a book is a little bit like having a baby. You give birth to something that you love and it takes quite a long time. Weight gain is acceptable. Mindee said that she thinks the number of people you are eating for as a writer is proportionate to how many characters are in your book. Then she said she was glad she didn't write Game of Thrones, cause you have seen George R.R. Martin lately (total joke)?
Then Mindy read a bit from the first chapter of the book which sounded really fun. After that she opened it up to questions from the audience.
When asked about her inspiration for the book, Mindee said that she had been doing research one day and came across the painting The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli. It depicts a woman laying on a bed (presumably having a nightmare) with a demon figure sitting on her chest as she dreams. Mindee began to wonder what it would be like if, instead of a demon, it was a normal looking girl. Then she thought what a crappy job would be...and Dusty was born.
Last book read? Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (OMG so jealous!)
What is the editing process like for you? Mindee says that she is a natural "taker-outer" writer, meaning she tends to edit and cut a lot of things out herself. So her editing notes usually tell her to expand on an idea or scene more instead of cutting things out. She said that her notes for The Nightmare Affair were short and to the point - more magic and more romance.
Mindee believes that editing is a collaborative process and doesn't mind when she's asked to make changes. The editor is the outside view and, unless the changes are really against what she believes is right for the book, she will usually make them. She then told a funny story about how her (young) editor thought that she should remove a reference to Freddy Kreuger and A Nightmare on Elm Street since she had not heard of it and thought other readers might not be familiar with the reference either. However, after speaking with a few other editors and friends, was told that the Freddy reference was totally relevant and would be a cool addition. (Side note to say that Freddy used to scare the crap out of me as a kid. I mean, you can't sleep or he'll get you. Terrifying.)
Did you do any research on dreams or nightmares when writing this book? Mindee says that she loves research. While she did not to a lot of specific research on nightmares, she did research the meanings of names and a lot of folklore and legends. Each book in the Arkwell Academy series will be based on a folk tale.
Why do you think series are so popular, particularly in YA? Mindee said she wasn't sure why series were so popular and prevalent in YA. But she did have a theory that maybe teens are more obsessive in nature, which is why they are more attracted to series. They want more of what they love. Sci fi and fantasy also tend to go the series route. She thinks this is because the writer takes so much time building a world and they just want to live in it for a while.
Favorite and/or authors who influenced you? Laini Taylor, Maggie Stiefvater, Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis, Frank L Baum, Stephen King, Jennifer Roberson, Mercedes Lackey
Are those streaks in your hair? (asked by an adorable teen) Yes! The streaks are fake and removable, which you can have with long hair. Mindee had in reddish streaks but noted that her press pic has blue streaks.
Mindee is super fun so definitely go see her if you can. Thanks to Mindee and Mysterious Galaxy for turning our trip to the bookstore into a special event. Sweet dreams (or nightmares), everyone!