Liberty Ledger

Asylums and Other Dark Things

Author Mindy McGinnis comes to Liberty to share her knowledge about writing, insane asylums and other interesting topics

Mindy+McGinnis+signs+one+of+her+books+for+an+LHS+student.
Mindy McGinnis signs one of her books for an LHS student.

Mindy McGinnis signs one of her books for an LHS student.

Arianna Amann

Arianna Amann

Mindy McGinnis signs one of her books for an LHS student.

Leah Miget, Reporter

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You never know where an inspiration for plot or characters or any aspect of your book is going to come from.  

“Sometimes things just fall on you,” said author Mindy McGinnis said. “It just depends.”  

The idea for McGinnis’ first book, Not a Drop to Drink, came from a documentary about the Earth not having enough water to sustain life many years from now.  That night, she had a dream about herself and a little girl with a shotgun protecting a pond in their backyard because most of the world’s water had run out.  After waking up, she decided that was a good start for a book and she wrote her first published novel based off a documentary and a dream.

McGinnis is an Edgar Award-winning author as of 2015 after her book, A Madness So Discreet won the ‘Best Young Adult’ book award.  She visited Liberty on Dec. 13 and signed copies of her book.  Her blog, Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire, is for aspiring writers.

If you want to get traditionally published the first thing you need is an agent.  In order to get an agent, you have to write what’s called a query letter, which is around 300 words.

According to McGinnis, “You have to make your book sound like the most amazing book that’s ever been written and make yourself sound like the most interesting person that ever lived.”

The Saturday Slash is where McGinnis, who wrote for 10 years before getting an agent because writing a query letter was so hard, looks at queries people send her so she can critique and edit them.  Since she has seen hundreds of queries over the years, she can confidently help improve others’ query letters so that they can find an agent.

During her visit at Liberty, McGinnis gave a summary of all her books and students had the opportunity to buy any of the available books and get them signed.  

As research for A Madness So Discreet, McGinnis went to an old insane asylum to do some research for her book and found a lot of information to put in her book.  She talked about how they sheet-wrapped people in really hot or really cold sheets because they thought a patient’s temperature had something to do with their mental illness or how they did lobotomies and many other horrible things to the patients there.  

The reasons why some patients were in the asylum were bizarre and ridiculous.  Syphilis was one reason to go into an asylum.  Even being an independent woman who could think for herself would be reason enough for a trip to the asylum because women weren’t supposed to have ideas or think for themselves in that time period.

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