Mindee Arnett Talks Writing, Science Fiction, and “Polaris” with Nerdophiles and Rockstar Book Tours!
Avalon was one of my favorite books from last year, and I have no problem telling you guys just how excited I have been Polaris. One of the reasons I loved Avalon so much is that it filled a deep, personal need for a particular genre in young adult fiction that, so far, has been pretty barren.
I love science fiction. And while, yes, dystopian fiction generally fits into that broad category, I needed something more; I needed something more realistic, something that was much more classic. What I needed was some real, hard science fiction. And Mindee Arnett was happy to provide.
Now, you can get in on that awesome sci-fi action too!
Enter Rockstar Book Tour’s giveaway above to win your very own SIGNED copy of Avalon and the soon-to-be-released Polaris. Then read on for our interview with Mindee Arnett and to learn more about the author and her latest release.
If you’re not excited yet, you will be!
An Interview with Mindee Arnett
What do you think of the current state of YA sci-fi? Do you think we’ll continue to see a rise in more traditional sci-fi stories and possibly fewer dystopias?
Wow, this is such a difficult question. It’s a bit like trying to predict the future, and unfortunately, I don’t have a single psychic bone in my body. So I guess the best I can offer is what I hope will happen, and that, of course, is that we’ll see a lot more traditional sci-fi stories among the dystopias. I suppose that’s a bit self-serving, but the truth is, for me, I just prefer a little more hope and a little less bleak in my future. Also, I tend to find a lot of the premises in dystopias hard to fathom, like I just don’t see the world making that big of a fundamental change. But in sci-fi we take a look at the world as it is now and see what it could be. Take the brain implant technology in Avalon, for instance. This is a science that’s already under way. But how far will it go? What impact will it have on our world? These are the questions that sci-fi asks and tries to answers.
What’s it like, writing and promoting a traditional sci-fi series in a genre still focused a lot on dystopian fiction?
You know, I get the feeling that a lot of YA readers aren’t sure what to make of Avalon. I don’t really have a good comparison book for it, the way that you could tell fans of The Hunger Games that they should check out Divergent. When Avalon first came out, I described it to potential readers as Firefly meets The Godfather, which works well for certain readers, but not so much on teens who were too young to mourn Firefly, and who probably haven’t discovered the awesomeness of The Godfather. Fortunately, in recent months I’ve been able to change this description to The Godfather meets Guardians of the Galaxy, and that’s definitely helped. Honestly, the more mainstream sci-fi gets, the easier it’s going to be.
What were some of your major influences for Avalon and Polaris?
Well, Firefly, for one. Which is a bit obvious at this point, I think. The feel of Avalon is definitely done in a spirit of homage to Firefly. But beyond that, a lot of the inspiration for Avalon came out of the oil crises of 2008. The sudden jump in gases prices from around $1.36 to over $3.00 had a huge negative impact on my life—and pretty much everyone else’s as well. The worst part of it was realizing how energy is a monopoly. So few countries and organizations control that resource almost exclusively, and those same entities that hold that monopoly go out of their way to stop the growth of alternative fuels and energy sources. They want to destroy anything that threatens their bottom line. This is where the real heart of the conflict in Avalon started—one organization having all the control of a limited resource. I just imagined what it will be like when fossil fuel finally goes bust. It’s inevitable that it will deplete someday, and we’d better come up with a plan b before it does.
What are some of your favorite sci-fi movies, books, etc.?
My current favorite sci-fi movie is definitely Guardians of the Galaxy. Plot holes aside, I just enjoyed every minute of this film. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me feel, and it had a bunch of space ships and blue aliens. What could be better? I’m also a big fan of Star Trek. I love the old movies and shows and the new incarnation under J.J. Abrams. I’m also looking forward to the new Star Wars. I mean, even if it’s a big steaming pile of dog poo it will be an improvement over the prequels, yes? For books, I prefer my sci-fi with a lot of humor ala The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams or Redshirts by John Scalzi.
How do you strike the balance between science fact and science fiction while writing your books and developing your universe?
This is a constant challenge, mostly because science isn’t my forte. I was an English Lit major, after all. But knowing I’m a bit of a fish out of water with the science aspects, I go out of my way to try and stay within the realms of plausibility as much as possible. I don’t often succeed, I know, but I do try. Whenever I know I’m doing something completely wonky, I try to keep it at least within the realm of acceptable soft sci-fi, like anti-gravity devices and faster-than-light travel.
What is it like writing two on-going series at once and switching from writing fantasy one moment and science fiction another?
Actually, writing the two is very easy. The only time it’s hard is when I have competing deadlines. It doesn’t happen a lot, but I do have to make sure I stay on top of it or I’ll get so far in the weeds I might drown. But the easiest aspect is that the two genres have a very different feel and approach. So switching between the two is like cross training. I work for a while on one book, exercising certain muscles, and then I switch over and focus on a different set. That said, there are a lot of similarities in the two series, and I think people who enjoy the one could easily enjoy the other. The biggest similarity is that story is boss in both of my series. The story has legs and it moves. Things happen, plots twists, and so on. They both share an element of fun and escapism, but they both have a lot of heart and character focus as well.
Thank you for a great interview!
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us!
About the Author
Mindee Arnett lives on a horse farm in Ohio with her husband, two kids, a couple of dogs, and an inappropriate number of cats. She’s addicted to jumping horses and telling tales of magic, the macabre, and outer space. She has far more dreams than nightmares.
About the Book
Jeth Seagrave and his crew of mercenaries are pulled into one last high-stakes mission in this breathtaking sequel to Mindee Arnett’s fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi thriller Avalon.
Jeth Seagrave and his crew are on the run. The ITA, still holding Jeth’s mother in a remote research lab, is now intent on acquiring the metatech secrets Jeth’s sister Cora carries inside her DNA, and Jeth is desperate to find the resources he needs to rescue his mother and start a new life outside the Confederation. But the ITA is just as desperate, and Jeth soon finds himself pursued by a mysterious figure hell-bent on capturing him and his crew—dead or alive.
With nowhere to run and only one play left, Jeth enters into a bargain with the last person he ever thought he’d see again: Daxton Price, the galaxy’s newest and most fearsome crime lord. Dax promises to help Jeth, but his help will only come at a price—a price that could mean sacrificing everything Jeth has fought for until now.
The conclusion to the story Mindee Arnett began in her acclaimed novel Avalon, Polaris is a dangerous journey into the spaces between power and corruption, life and death, the parts of ourselves we leave behind, and the parts we struggle to hold on to.