Fairmont grad finds a publishing home

Mindee Arnett, soon-to-be newly published author, says she owes her youthful epiphany (that she could write stories) to her sixth-grade teacher in Kettering.

“I always loved to read from the time I was a little girl,” Mindee says, “and I even told myself stories, but it didn’t occur to me that I could write stories until my sixth-grade teacher gave us a writing prompt and assigned us to write a short story based on that prompt. After that assignment, my imagination was unleashed!”

And so was her desire to write her own stories.

Her first published novel, “The Nightmare Affair,” young adult fantasy, will release in hardback and as a e-book from Tor Teen on March 5. She will launch her novel locally at Books & Co. at The Greene that evening at 7, discussing and reading from her novel, with a book-signing to follow.

Mindee is Kettering native, graduating from Fairmont High School in 1998 and from Wright State University in 2002 with a B.A. in English Literature, and again in 2005 with an M.A. in the same field. She currently lives in Germantown with her husband and two small children. She works as a contractor in software development at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Her avocation is tending to her horses on her family’s land in Germantown.

“I wrote four novels before ‘The Nightmare Affair,’ and though none of them found a publishing home, I have no regrets about writing them,” Mindee says. “They were the novels I had to write to learn about the craft of writing.”

Mindee did find success publishing several short stories in small journals, and it was an idea for a short story that led her to the idea for “The Nightmare Affair.”

“I was researching an idea for a short story about a monster, and while doing so happened across an image of the painting, ‘The Nightmare,’ by Henry Fuseli,” Mindee says. The famous 1781 painting features a sleeping woman, an image of a horse, and monster sitting on the woman. “I thought, what if a ‘nightmare’ was a monster, and what if someone was half human and half nightmare, feeding on human dreams. And what if that someone, based on what she learned in the dreams, realized a crime was about to be committed, and that she needed to prevent that crime … ”

Those ‘what ifs’ led to more ‘what ifs,’ and soon Mindee had completed her novel. She says it started as an adult novel, but didn’t feel quite right. Rather, as she worked on her novel, she realized her protagonist was a 16-year-old girl, and that the novel would appeal to young adult readers.

“I know my description sounds a little dark,” Mindee says, “but my novel has many quirky and funny aspects, too.”

After querying several agents, Mindee connected with one who immediately fell in love with the concept of her novel, and not only sold “The Nightmare Affair” to Tor Teen but also the next two in the series as well.

Not only that, Mindee also has a two-part young adult science-fiction thriller (titles to be determined) coming out from Balzer+Bray (an imprint of HarperCollins) in the winter of 2014.

Mindee says her top tip for writers is to “be patient and take your time to learn your craft. My second tip is that if something isn’t working for you, change it up! I wrote my first four novels the same way I wrote stories — by making them up by the seat of my pants! For ‘The Nightmare Affair,’ I did more pre-planning, while still not figuring out everything so I could enjoy that process as I wrote and revised.”

Learn more about Mindee and her books online at www.mindeearnett.com.

Other Literary Life news

• Today, 8:00-10:00 p.m.—“Gem City Poetry Stage,” at Ghostlight Coffee, 1201 Wayne Ave. Steve Abbott will be the featured poet. He is a distinguished professor emeritus of Columbus State Community College, 1993 Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Award, and has published poetry in a wide range of literary journals. An open mic will follow Steve’s readings, so bring your best poems!

• Friday, March 1, deadline for Sinclair Community College Creative Writing Contest— Open to adult and high school writers of Fiction, Poetry, and Creative Non-Fiction who have not received payment for their creative writing work; winners receive modest payment. “Best in Show” writer wins a full tuition scholarship to Antioch Writers’ Workshop; category winners receive partial scholarships. See https://sinclairwritingcontest.submittable.com/submit for submission details.

• Saturday, March 2, 2:00-4:00 p.m.—“Writers’ Workshop - Fiction Writing Techniques” at Wright Memorial Public Library, 1776 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood. Students and adults are invited to join creative writing instructor Ed Davis for this Writing Workshop. Ed is the author of four poetry chapbooks and two novels, I Was So Much Older Then and The Measure of Everything, and taught writing, literature and humanities courses at Sinclair Community College from 1978-2011. Advance registration is required and limited to the first 20 people. Contact the Reference Department at 294-7171 to register.

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