In elementary school, Mindy McGinnis took an assessment intended to match her skills to a potential career.

Although even as a child she knew she wanted to be a writer, her assessment results suggested a career in law enforcement.

McGinnis chose to ignore the results and instead pursued her dream profession, but it seems she didn't escape law enforcement entirely.

As an author, it's now the characters she writes – strong female characters – who often take the law into their own hands.

Although she writes in a variety of genres – from dystopian science fiction ("Not a Drop to Drink") to gothic historical thriller ("A Madness So Discreet") to contemporary ("The Female of the Species") – the word dark goes a long way to describe any McGinnis novel.

McGinnis, who won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best young-adult fiction in 2016, knows her audience, having worked in a high school library for 15 years.

Grateful for the opportunity to support herself as a full-time writer, McGinnis is passionate about helping aspiring authors.

On her blog and podcast, "Writer, Writer Pants on Fire," she interviews authors about their publishing journey, writing process and careers. She also critiques the manuscript query letters of writing hopefuls once a week in a blog segment she calls "The Saturday Slash."

At 7 p.m. Feb. 1 at the McConnell Arts Center, 777 Evening St., McGinnis will answer questions and discuss her popular young-adult books, which include "In a Handful of Dust," "Given to the Sea" and "This Darkness Mine," which was released in November, as part of Worthington Libraries' Hear & Now series.

Tickets for her presentation can be purchased for $15 ($10 for teens); they include a 6 p.m. meet-the-author reception. Tickets are available at the MAC; by calling 614-431-0329; and at

Hillary Kline is a communications specialist for Worthington Libraries.