Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Hi, P. J. Hoover here, and today at the Inkpot, I'm so very happy to feature fellow Tor Teen author, Mindee Arnett. Huge congratulations to Mindee on the release of her debut novel!

THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR by Mindee Arnett (March 5, 2013)

And now, here is Mindee!


PJHoover: You’ve run into an old classmate from high school and you tell them THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR just came out. They ask what it’s about. What do you say?

MindeeA: 16-year-old Dusty Everhart is a literal Nightmare, a magical creature who must feed on dreams to fuel her magic. When she discovers her secret crush, Eli Booker, is dreaming about a murder that shortly comes true, she and Eli must join forces to stop the killer before he strikes again.

PJHoover: I love hearing happy publication stories. Can you tell us the path to publication for THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR?

MindeeA: I’d love to! It was pretty straight forward, actually. I started writing short stories in high school and college, eventually publishing some in semi-pro magazines before turning to novels. I wrote a couple of “practice” novels, and I made the mistake of querying two of them too soon. I received a handful of rejections and moved on to a book that I spent more time with before submitting. It received a couple of full requests from agents but in the end, no one liked it enough to sign me.

While licking my wounds from this painful rejection, I started to write The Nightmare Affair. I took a lot of time with it, revised like crazy, and found some awesome critique partners. I then plucked up my courage and started submitting again. I sent out a grand total of ten queries, and within just a few short weeks I had an offer of representation from rockstar agent supreme, Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary. I signed with her as quickly as I possibly could.

Within a month, and after a couple of quick rounds of editing, the book went out on submission. I had an offer from Tor within 17 days.

So in summary, I spent a LOT of time writing, had a rough couple of years of rejection and heartache, and then I signed and sold so fast I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around it. But yeah, I’d consider it a very happy story.

PJHoover: I love all the fun and mystery and fantasy of NIGHTMARE. Can you tell us what biggest influences were for the story?

MindeeA: The big ones, the ones I turned to in order to help get the feel and tone I wanted for the book were Veronica Mars, The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, and Harry Potter, of course.

PJHoover: There are tons of books out there. What are five awesome reasons why THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR should be the one for them to read?

MindeeA: Oh boy, what an unfair question. I object! Kidding. But I seriously am not sure how to answer so I guess I’ll just wing it.

1. No cliffhanger ending guaranteed — hooray!
2. Lots and lots of magic and mayhem — hello? The MC hangs out in dreams. How cool/weird/fun is that?
3. A hot boy who is not abusive or an asshole.
4. The jokes and humor outweigh the angst. For real, there’s almost zero angst. Dusty is way too busy trying to figure out the murder for that.
5. If you don’t read it, a Nightmare will have no choice but to seek you out while you’re sleeping. And trust me, not all of them are as nice and cuddly as Dusty. Mwhahahaha…

PJHoover: If the apocalypse came, would you still find a way to write? If yes, then how and why?

MindeeA: I think I would certainly try, even if I only had a pen and paper to do it with. Writing has been the way I cope with life. Really, if the apocalypse happens I might spend even more time writing just to stay sane.

PJHoover: When it comes to marketing, what do you think makes the biggest difference in whether a book is successful?

MindeeA: If the book trailer is posted when the moon is in the second house of Jupiter. Seriously, I have no idea whatsoever, although I think the most important thing is the story itself. If you read something you love you tell somebody about it. That’s how I am at least.

PJHoover: Finish this sentence, and tell us why. Writing is a lot like…

MindeeA: Having a baby. There’s a lot of chocolate and food binges involved, sleepless nights, and moments of pure, inexplicable joy.

PJHoover: What is next? WIPs? Future publications? Please tell all!

MindeeA: Aside from the sequel to The Nightmare Affair, which should be out in about a year, the first book in my sci-fi series, AVALON, is due out winter 2014 from Balzer+Bray (HarperCollins). I’m deliriously excited about it. It’s an undeniable space-based sci-fi. There’s a short description of it over on Goodreads.

PJHoover: What has been your favorite experience as an author thus far?

MindeeA: I can’t really point to one single moment, but definitely the most rewarding has been hearing that people liked the book and enjoyed it. That is by far the best. Especially if said person is a total stranger who has absolutely no reason to be inclined to like the book even if it sucks. You know, like your mom or sister or something.

PJHoover: Please share your favorite inspirational thought!

MindeeA: I’m not sure if this an inspirational thought, but it’s definitely the absolute best advice I can give based on my own experience—if what you’re doing hasn’t succeeded so far, then change it up and try again. Seriously, don’t think even for a second that you have it figured out. There’s always something new to learn and ways to improve. The key to taking a book from the drawer to the bookshelf is by not being stagnant. Keep searching for the method/voice/story that works for you.

PJHoover: Thank you so much for being here!

MindeeA: Thanks so much for having me. I had an absolute blast.



Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.


Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli's dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.



Mindee Arnett is the author of two young adult series. The first book in her contemporary fantasy series, The Nightmare Affair arrives March 5, 2013 from Tor Teen (Macmillan), while her YA sci-fi thriller, Avalon debuts Winter 2014 from Balzer+Bray (HarperCollins). She 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.


P. J. Hoover is the author of the upcoming dystopia/mythology YA book, SOLSTICE (Tor Teen, June 2013), the upcoming Egyptian mythology MG book, TUT (Tor Children's, Winter 2014), and the middle-grade SFF series, THE FORGOTTEN WORLDS BOOKS (CBAY, 2008-2010). You can read more about her and her books on P. J.'s website or blog.


  1. Great interview. I loved Mindee's book. It's such a unique story line and I loved her characters and world building. So agree writing is like having a baby, too. Wishing Mindee the best.

  2. Great interview PJ, I loved your comments Mindee, especialy about your publishing route - it's always good to hear try and try and again and work at it! The Nightmare Affair sounds really intriguing. I love the idea of a nightmare needing to feed from your dreams!

  3. PJ asked me tat question about marketing too, when she kindly interviewed me -- I keep hoping someday someone she interviews will have the MAGIC ANSWER. Your book sounds like HUGE fun.

  4. I'm about to start reading The Nightmare Affair, so coming across this interview is great timing! I love Ms. Arnett's description of what writing a book is like; I've seen the analogy to having a baby before, of course, but "There’s a lot of chocolate and food binges involved, sleepless nights, and moments of pure, inexplicable joy" simply makes me grin.


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