Today I’m pleased to welcome Megan Thomason to Off the Page chatting about her new book, Daynight.
Megan Thomason lives in paradise aka San Diego, CA with her husband and five children. A former software manager, Megan vastly prefers writing twisted tales to business, product, and marketing plans. When she isn’t typing away on her laptop, she’s reading books on her phone—over 600 in the last year—or attending to the needs of her family. Megan’s fluent in sarcasm, could potentially benefit from a 12-step program for road rage, struggles with a Hot Tamales addiction, loves world travel & fast cars and hates paperwork & being an insomniac. Daynight is Megan’s first published novel, but fourth written one.
1. Tell a little about yourself, what you do when you’re not writing, what are your aspirations for the future?
I’m happily married and the mother of five. Post-college I had a successful stint in the software business. I ‘retired’ upon becoming pregnant with child #4 and haven’t missed it. When not writing, I’m a part-time taxi driver (kids to here, there, and everywhere). I read a lot (600 books in the last year on my phone… lots of waiting time in the taxi biz). In addition, I volunteer, fundraise, and help produce at my daughters’ theatre conservatory and other community service; travel; and spend time with my family.
I don’t write with aspirations of fame or fortune, but because I love it. The stress relief alone makes it worthwhile. Most days, book drama beats life drama hands down. I aspire to continually better myself—better writing, better mothering, better at serving others, being a better spouse.
2. When and why did you start writing?
In 2008, I helped my husband plot and edit his middle grade book Max Xylander and the Island of Zumurrud and loved the process of immersing myself in an alternate reality. Post completion, I thought up a new book concept (teen romance) that my husband rejected (not his thing J), so my daughters encouraged me to write it for them. I ended up writing a full trilogy for my daughters, their friends and my friends. The books were well received and the experience helped me grow as a writer. By 2009 I had constructed the much more ambitious project, daynight.
3. If you could only read one book over and over again for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
I despise repetition, so there are precious few books I’ve read multiple times (The Hunger Games, Pride & Prejudice, and The Hobbit jump to mind as notable exceptions)… but if forced to pick one for the rest of my life, I’d have to go with my scriptures. I learn something new every time I read them. That might seem ironic given I created a world in daynight void of religious influence. But honestly, I find it more fun to peer at our world and society through distorted glasses and write without constraints.
4. Give us some back story about Daynight, where and when did you write it?
My first drafts of daynight date back to 2009, with completion in 2010. Six months writing and six months editing. All on my MacBook Air laptop, which I carry everywhere with me. But, the story still didn’t sit right, so I shelved it. Life intervened, and I had to focus on other things, including some serious medical issues with my children. Inspiration hit this year and I filled in the missing elements, repeated the intensive editing process, and finally felt happy enough to release it.
5. What inspired your story?
As I hiked the canyons of San Diego during hot weather, I ruminated about an ‘inverted’ world where days and nights had to be switched due to extreme daytime heat. This was the genesis for Thera, though the concept evolved significantly from that first thought. Once inception occurred, the story invaded every waking and sleeping hour until I’d plotted and written it. Still does, but now for book 2.
6. What was your favorite part of Daynight to write?
With a very complicated storyline, told from three points of view, I found it necessary to insert comic relief. In this vein, two small, but important characters were fun to write—Jax and Bailey. Jax loves to communicate in double-speak and Bailey’s just plain snarky. There’s also a fun couple chapters where Blake plays a joke on Kira and she retaliates that I enjoyed writing. And, our family does have an entire Mr. Potatohead collection in tribute to Ted ‘Spud’ Rosenberg.
7. Your book’s going to be made into a movie, who would you cast in the main roles?
Ah, the impossible question. I started daynight with pictures of each character (none of which were actors). Finding current actors who look the part and know how to act… very difficult. I’d definitely take a ‘Hunger Games’ approach and cast for acting ability over exact written character match.
Kira—Emma Stone would be my pick from the current pool of young actresses, but Dianna Agron could work
Blake—Alex Pettyfer, Alexander Ludwig, Logan Lerman or Hunter Parrish (more the merrier for those auditions)
Ethan—Ian Somalhalder would definitely pull off Ethan’s five o’clock shadow beautifully. Reece Thompson or Brant Daugherty as backups.
Jax—Jake Abel or Zach Gilford
Bailey—Gemma Ward or Hayden Panettiere
Ted ‘Spud’ Rosenberg—Pete Postlethwaite, Jeffrey Jones, or John Goodman
Brad Darcton—Nicolas Cage
8. Are you a Pantser or Plotter? Why?
The first book I wrote as a ‘pantser’. After that, I’ve become an avid plotter out of sheer necessity. To craft a tale with multiple points of view; a complicated and ever-twisting plot; characters with depth; interesting backstories; a visually appealing, substantial world; an alternative governmental structure; compelling hooks for future books; and polished writing & editing… that takes up-front planning and careful execution. Does that mean I don’t change things along the way? No. I update the plan as often as I have better ideas. So, all the time.
9. Do you have any tricks to your trade, bottomless coffee, a magic pen, a special muse?
As embarrassed as I am to admit it… Hot Tamales. For whatever inane reason, chewing them helps me think. So, I’m constantly alternating between states of Hot Tamales binging and complete sugar withdrawal. My kids also make excellent muses.
10. If you could be any fictional character for a day, who would it be and why?
Hard one. But I’ll pick Bilbo Baggins, my favorite childhood character. Round front door, journeying with Galdalf and depriving Gollum of ‘his precious’? Priceless.
“Technically, Ms. Donovan,” Spud grunts between spasms, “we are no longer on God’s green earth.”The Second Chance Institute (SCI): Because Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Life(TM). The cause sounds benevolent enough. Which prompts grieving Kira Donovan to agree to spend her senior year with the SCI at one of their more remote locations, Thera. Serving others will help her forget the explosion that killed her friends, and the promised payout is huge—a full-ride college scholarship. However, SCI training proves to be brutal, tests worse; plans for her, disturbing. And her job description? All kinds of wrong. Blake Sundry’s father, fierce adversary of the SCI, has trained Blake for a decade to join—and help destroy—the SCI. Ethan Darcton’s the son of SCI elite and expected to follow in the family business, but his heart’s not in it. Juggling what’s expected, what’s possible, and what’s right may be too much to ask any of them.
Full of competing agendas, romantic entanglements, twists and turns, daynight is Megan Thomason’s debut young adult dystopian novel and first in the daynight series.