Synopsis: 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 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.
In the Best Worlds: Since you write for teens, what were you like as a teenager?
Mindee Arnett: Not a very typical one, unfortunately. I’ve always been the “thirteen going on thirty” girl. In high school all I wanted was to get out and be in college. Looking back now, I wish I had been more focused on the present and less on the future. Of course, this is probably why I like writing young adult so much—to recapture my underappreciated youth.
ItBW: You do such a fabulous job building the world of Arkwell Academy. What was the hardest part of world building?
MA: The hardest stuff for me is always the “big picture.” The day to day details of the world Dusty lives in, one with all the various magical kinds and electronic equipment with lively personalities and so on, came at once and without any deep thinking on my part. Bringing in the bigger stuff, the logical context in which these details exist, is always harder. I spent a lot of time asking myself questions about the politics behind the Will and the implications of the racial (for lack of a better term) divisions between the various magickinds. Not a lot of this bigger picture stuff makes it into the story directly, but I have to be aware of it in order for the world to have realistic cohesion.
ItBW: What aspect of Dusty’s fantastic, magical world do you wish existed in real life?
MA: Well, it would be cool if all of it existed, right? But I guess if I had to choose one it might be idea that all of our myths and fairy tales are actually true. That there really is a magical public relations department ought there whose job over the centuries has been to convince human beings that all fantastical stories are fiction.
ItBW: I love the way you work Eli’s dreams into the narrative of this story. What is the weirdest dream you remember?
MA: Oh I have so many dream stories to share. One of my most distributing—and regularly occurring I might add—are dreams involving my teeth falling out. In one particularly vivid one, I was singing on stage and the entire rim of my top gums and all the teeth attached to it just broke off into my mouth. Gross, right? I think this is what you call an anxiety dream. This dream was so vivid it actually ended up in one of my story horror stories, Vatticut Dead Man, which was published in a little fiction magazine called Trail of Indiscretion.
ItBW: Was there anything – characters, plot twists, scenes, etc - in The Nightmare Affair that surprised you while you were writing?
MA: Pretty much all of them. I’m very much a pantser when it comes to writing. I don’t outline at all, although I do usually have an idea about where the story is going and sometimes about certain scenes. But for the most part, I discover the twists while writing. However, I will say that the motivations and inner turmoil of one particular male character did surprise me quite a lot, and continues to surprise me as I move on with the series. And I think anybody who’s read the book will probably guess who I’m referring to.
ItBW: How has your life changed since becoming a published author?
MA: You know, it really hasn’t. I’m a lot busier than I used to be, of course, and my stress level has gone up 100%, but my day to day is more or less the same. I still get up and go to my day job every morning and spend the evenings with my husband, kids and pets. Really, aside from the times I’m signing or doing a writing workshop I forget I’m a published author at all. So much of being “published” happens out there and well away from me my writing.
ItBW: So excited that Nightmare Affair is the first in a series! Is there anything you can dish about The Nightmare Dilemma?
MA: Dilemma starts a couple of months after the events in The Nightmare Affair. It’s approaching the end of the school year, and once again Dusty is presented with a mystery that she must use her dream-seer skills to solve, this one involving a vicious attack on one of her friends. She’s also dealing with the aftermath of what happened in book 1, especially when it comes to her relationship with Eli.
ItBW: Finish these sentences:
We could be best friends if…you love books and horses. Seriously, I share one of these in common with pretty much all of my friends. Some of them I even share both.
When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be...an Archeologist (translation: I wanted to be a female Indiana Jones)
If I were a paranormal creature, I would be…a Nightmare of course.
If you can't make it, I have a giveaway for three of these booklets, courtesy of the fabulous New Leaf Literary, going on now!