“The Registration” is Coming: Interview with Author Madison Lawson

The opening lines of “The Registration” read:

Dallas is busier today than on a usual Thursday. The first Thursday of the quarter, April 4th, brings promises of vengeance, clarity, relief, justice, and love.

It’s Registration Day.

The registration – a novel by madison lawson

If that doesn’t get your spine tingling, the next 300 pages will give you whiplash. I received an ARC of THE REGISTRATION, which debuts in just a few days on September 27, 2022.

What to expect from THE REGISTRATION (no spoilers)

The story begins when our protagonist, Lynell Mize, has resolved to Register an awful man from her past in order to save potential victims from his evil. Though she has gathered her courage, and her purpose is righteous, she is still terrified about going through with the Registration – that is, a legalized system of murder in which someone can commit this heinous act for any reason and receive no penalty, at least in our mortal world. But, there’s a clock ticking away: the legal ‘grace’ period is two weeks, and the plot hits the ground running when, just as Lynell is standing in line at the DMV-like Registration office, she witnesses a man whom she has never met Register her name. With a target on her back, how will she proceed?

A twist reveals itself (several twists, actually), showing Lynell that the stakes are much higher than survival of just one – herself, but the entire system upon which her modern society has evolved to promote their version of peace. Just when you think you have a grasp on things, more curveballs are thrown the reader’s way.

This dystopian thriller asks, is some level of violence required in order to maintain peace overall? Surely, this is a question that humanity has raised through time eternal, on scales both large and small.

This thriller entertains and also raises questions of relevance to our own world, such as: What rights does one give up to create a thriving society? When is murder justified, if at all? What should be the moral limits of what money can buy? If you’ve asked yourself these questions, you’ll appreciate that the story doesn’t shy away from exploring the potential answers.

Interview with the Author: Madison Lawson

I was fortunate enough to ask Author Madison Lawson about her inspiration for ‘The Registration,’ the upcoming movie adaptation with Sydney Sweeney, and advice she has for writers aspiring to publish. Read on — her answers will surprise you.

Katie Yen:  Your debut novel, ‘The Registration,’ has an intriguing premise: “Imagine it’s legal to commit one murder in your lifetime, if you Register the victim and accomplish the kill within fourteen days. When Lynell Mize stands in line to Register the man who abused her as a child, she’s shocked to hear a stranger Register her to be killed.” I’m almost afraid to ask – what was the inspiration for your novel?

Madison Lawson: A few years ago, some political current events kept coming up in my life and causing friction in my relationships, specifically any happenings around abortion and the death penalty. I have very strong personal opinions about both, but what caused the true grief and anger was how these opinions influenced all of my relationships. I noticed how easily I lost trust in someone after finding out their opinion. This made me want to write a book where both are completely legal, which turned into anything that anyone considers to be murder (from abortions to assisted suicide to killing an innocent person in cold blood) is legal no matter the circumstance. I didn’t want to focus on the government aspect or write a “teenage girl saves the dystopian world” novel, I wanted to focus on this sort of law would impact relationships, particularly familial relationships.

KY: Dystopian novels hold a mirror up to society to help us see where we should zig when we zagged. What positive message would you want readers to walk away with?

ML: Honestly, I’m okay with any message readers walk away with. But if I had to pick, I would love for people to realize that most things are always more complicated than they seem and no one should be reduced to one opinion. Yes, I think some things and political views are not okay, but most people are so much more than one view. And those opinions are always influenced by other aspects of their life. But in the end, we should all be choosing what is good.

Also, I’d love for readers to see that family is more important than most things. But family doesn’t have to be blood. It can be chosen. You get to choose who is in your life and who deserves your love, loyalty, and trust.

KY: Without giving anything away, the final scene left us with one dangling clue. Do you have plans to revisit Lynell with a sequel?

ML: Yes, I do! And I’m SO excited to jump back into this world and see where life takes Lynell.

KY: Sony Pictures has acquired the film rights to The Registration. A HUGE congrats! What was your reaction when you first heard the news? (Read the exclusive from Deadline: Sydney Sweeney, Brad Fuller And Sony Developing Adaptation Of ‘The Registration’)

ML: I was SPEECHLESS! And SO excited. Keeping the secret was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do, but it was definitely worth it. This is a dream come true, and I’m so glad I get to be experiencing this dream with [Actor] Sydney [Sweeney] and [Producer] Brad [Fuller]!

KY: In the film adaptation, actress Sydney Sweeney is set to star as the protagonist, Lynell Mize. If you could build your dream cast, which actors would you cast as the other characters from the novel?

ML: I honestly avoid thinking about this because it’s SO difficult and I rarely ever picture characters. Whether I’m reading or writing, I just can’t picture the character in my head. I have to look up pictures. So, after some outsourcing from my family and friends, here’s the dream cast:

Daniel – Austin Butler or 2010 Ian Somerhalder

Zachary – Zac Efron because my sister would kill me if I didn’t include him.

Eric – NO idea. Maybe Bruce Willis for my dad. Or Brad Pitt so my mom can meet him. Or James Spader, I think he would do a great job.

Elizabeth – Paige Turco

Zoe – Halsey because I ADORE her, and she’s worked with Sydney on other projects.

KY: Tease us a little – what are you working on right now?

ML: I’m actually working on quite a few things. An adult sapphic fantasy, another adult dystopian (although less fast pace than The Registration and much darker), a possible Registration sequel, and a YA fantasy that I’m writing with my roommate!

KY: For those readers hungry for more, where can we find more of your work?

ML: I post all my updates on my website – madisonlawson.com. Also, you can subscribe to my email list to be the first for all updates on future projects!

KY: What advice do you have for other writers on their publishing journey? 

ML: Keep going. I know that’s so vague and broad, but it’s honestly the best advice I can give. I heard someone say once that to be a successful writer you need at least two of these three things: talent, persistence, and luck. If you’re persistent, then you’re halfway there.

Writing often comes with a TON of rejection. First, you have to query agents, then you have to send your manuscript to publishers, and then reviewers and bloggers get their hands on the book. Most of us will be rejected dozens and dozens of times during our careers. But it really is true what they say: it only takes ONE yes. I queried 82 agents with three different manuscripts before signing with Julie Gwinn with The Registration. Try not to let disappointment or discouragement stop you from trying to achieve your goals and dreams. 

Thanks again to Madison Lawson for the ARC of her debut novel, The Registration. Visit her at madisonlawson.com.

About the Author

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