Exclusive Cover Reveal + Q&A: The Fight for Midnight Encourages Young Men to Join the Battle for Abortion Rights

Books Features Dan Solomon
Exclusive Cover Reveal + Q&A: The Fight for Midnight Encourages Young Men to Join the Battle for Abortion Rights

Though the entertainment industry has made serious strides in recent years, much of our popular culture is still fairly hesitant to tell stories about abortion. Even the most critically acclaimed books and films still tend to speak about the issue and the fraught emotions around it with vague euphemisms or set their stories in far-removed dystopias that aren’t necessarily representative of the world we live in now.

This is perhaps why the entire concept of Dan Solomon’s forthcoming YA novel The Fight for Midnight feels so (unfortunately) timely. Based on the real political events surrounding a restrictive abortion ban Texas attempted to pass in 2013—which, in and of itself, feels almost quaint a decade later. after the same state passed that bounty hunter law that encouraged people to report on their neighbors seeking healthcare and Roe v. Wade has already fallen—the story follows a boy named Alex, who comes to understand that the fight for reproductive rights will take all of us to win.

Most stories about abortion are, quite rightly, I think, centered around women—after all, it’s their bodies we’re talking about in this situation. But while The Fight for Midnight features a male main character, its story serves as a necessary reminder that everyone’s bodily autonomy is worth fighting for, and staying on the sidelines isn’t helping anyone they claim to care about.

Here’s how the publisher describes the story.

It’s been a rough year for Alex Collins. In the past twelve months, he’s lost his best friend, become the target of the two biggest bullies at school, and been sentenced to community service. But on June 25, 2013, he gets a call for help from Cassie Ramirez, the prettiest girl in school. At last, he feels like his luck might be changing.

Cassie is at the Texas State Capitol to protest Wendy Davis’s historic filibuster of the abortion bill HB2, and she’s rallying everyone she knows to join her. Until today, Alex didn’t know what a filibuster was, and he’d never given a moment’s thought to how he felt about abortion. But at the Capitol, he finds himself in the middle of a tense scene full of pro-life “blueshirts,” pro-choice “orangeshirts,” and blustering politicians playing political games as Wendy Davis tries to run out the clock at midnight.

Alex may have entered the Capitol looking to spend time with Cassie, but the political gets personal when he runs into his ex-friend Shireen in an orange T-shirt and quickly realizes that when it comes to an issue like abortion, neutral isn’t an option. Over the next nineteen hours—as things get increasingly heated both on the Senate floor and between the two sets of protesters—Alex will struggle to figure out what side he’s on, knowing that whatever choice he makes will bring him face-to-face with his past mistakes.

The Fight for Midnight officially hits shelves on June 20, 2023, but we’re thrilled to be able to exclusively reveal its cover right now.

The Fight For Midnight COVER.jpg

We even had the chance to chat with Solomon and get a brief preview of The Fight for Midnight and how his own real-life experience reporting on Wendy Davis’s filibuster in Texas back in 2013 made him realize that telling this story was necessary.

Paste Magazine: So, your background (and day job!) is technically in journalism—tell us a bit about your decision to become a young adult author and how your experiences with the former informed the latter.

Dan Solomon: I kinda took the long route into journalism—I was writing fiction way before I started reporting, and I always wanted to do both. This story, specifically, came out of an experience I had with journalism. I spent pretty much the whole summer of 2013 at the Texas Capitol covering the fight over an abortion law that, at the time, was among the most restrictive in the country (at this point, post-Roe, it looks downright progressive).

That summer wasn’t like any other legislative battle I’d seen happen at the capitol—the entire building was packed, for weeks at a time, with protesters and counter-protesters, and it had the attention of people from far outside of Texas. It wouldn’t be hyperbole for me to say that being there as that unfolded changed my life in a lot of ways—and when I started to think about how it would have affected me if I had been a teenager, when there are so many things that can change your life, I started writing this book from the perspective of someone who finds himself there at seventeen.

Paste: Describe the story of The Fight for Midnight a little bit for our readers.

Solomon: The Fight For Midnight is set at the Texas Capitol on the day of Wendy Davis’s filibuster of Texas’s extreme 2013 abortion law. Alex Collins, a 17-year-old is having a bad summer—he made some choices a few months earlier that he’s not proud of, and as a result of them, he lost all of his friends. He starts to feel like his luck is changing when his longtime crush, Cassie Ramirez, asks him to meet her at the capitol for a protest. He doesn’t know what she’s protesting or why, but he wants to hang out with her, so he shows up. When he gets there, he learns that this is about abortion, which he doesn’t really have an opinion on.

Over the course of the book, as the filibuster plays out in dramatic fashion (all of which is verbatim from the transcripts of what actually happened), he learns that getting involved in the political fight happening at the capitol is also his best shot at redemption for his mistakes, and he finds himself pressed to take a side as the voices of the people in the building become increasingly important to what’s happening on the floor of the Texas Senate.

Paste: The premise of The Fight for Midnight is (sadly!!!) uncomfortably timely at the moment, but unlike many stories about the battle for abortion rights, this book’s protagonist isn’t a woman. What made you want to tell this story from a male perspective?

Solomon: I would definitely not be the person to try to tell this story from the perspective of a female character!

But there are a lot of people who think that if they don’t have a uterus, then the fight for abortion rights doesn’t really concern them—which is not an opinion that the men who pass laws restricting abortion access share. I wanted to write about a character who learns for himself why he needs to be involved in that fight.

Paste: How would you describe Alex’s journey over the course of the novel?

Solomon: There’s obviously a ton of politics at the heart of the issue, but Alex’s journey is much more personal.

He starts the book feeling a lot of shame over the choices he made a few months earlier, and he’s really looking for a chance to feel like he’s doing the right thing. When he gets the call from Cassie, he wants to take the shortcut of just following her lead—but as he learns how complicated the issue of abortion is, he realizes that taking that kind of shortcut is what led him to have such major regrets in the first place. It’s such a big issue that he’d prefer to stay out of it, but as the day unfolds, it becomes clear to him that there’s no such thing as “neutral” when the people around you are fighting for their rights.

Grappling with all of that—and running into his ex-friend Shireen, his confirmation sponsor, and the foul-mouthed octogenarian he reads to three days a week as part of the terms of his community service—leads him to recognize that he’s ready to use his voice, this time on the side of things he believes in.

Paste: What are you most hoping readers get out of this book?

Solomon: I’d love for readers to come out of the book feeling like they understood that the fight over abortion rights is both political and personal, and that it concerns them whether or not they are capable of getting pregnant.

I tried to write the book in a way that acknowledges the sincerity and conviction of some of those who oppose abortion, but that also recognizes that acknowledging that conviction doesn’t mean wavering in your own beliefs—that, in fact, understanding that the people on the other side of an issue are often just as impassioned and determined as we are strengthens our convictions and values by testing and re-affirming them.

The Fight for Midnight will hit shelves on June 20, 2023.

Lacy Baugher Milas is the Books Editor at Paste Magazine, but loves nerding out about all sorts of pop culture. You can find her on Twitter @LacyMB.

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