Monday, May 1, 2023

Guest Post with Laura Hankin - The Daydreams

Photo Credit: Katie Tamaro

Laura Hankin is the author of Happy & You Know It and A Special Place for Women. Her musical comedy has been featured in publications like The New York Times and The Washington Post, and she is developing projects for film and TV. She lives in Washington DC, where she once fell off a treadmill twice in one day.


THE DAYDREAMS is about the stars of an early 2000s musical TV show who get famous when they’re teenagers. So in developing my characters, I definitely pulled inspiration from real life pop culture. The research aspect of this book was very fun, though at times it could be heartbreaking too. I tried to immerse myself as much as possible into what it was like to be famous in the early aughts, which meant everything from reading Jessica Simpson’s memoir, OPEN BOOK (so good!) to watching videos of the paparazzi harassing the High School Musical girls (not so good). I also listened to many, many early 2000s bops. Seriously, I made a three-and-a-half-hour-long playlist. It was important to get myself in the right headspace!

When it comes to former teen stars and where they are now, there are certain archetypes we often see in real life: the promising starlets who become cautionary tales, the success stories who manage to build lasting careers, the people who pivot into being more famous for their personalities than their work, and the people who remove themselves from Hollywood completely. I wanted to play with these archetypes, deepening them and flipping them on their heads. And while a lot of familiar names went into my initial brainstorming sessions about the characters in the book — Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, Ryan Gosling, Posh Spice, Lindsay Lohan, so many more — it was important to me that none of my characters were based on one celebrity in particular. While certain elements from reality may have served as jumping-off points, ultimately the characters took on lives of their own. My hope is that readers will feel like the four leads of my fictional TV show could’ve existed in the real world, on magazine pages and TV screens, right alongside Lindsay, Britney, and all the rest of the women upon whom we put so much pressure.

A deliciously entertaining novel about the stars of a popular teen show from the early 2000s—and the reunion special, thirteen years after their scandalous flameout, that will either be their last chance at redemption, or destroy them all for good.

Back in 2004, The Daydreams had it all: a cast of innocent-seeming teenagers acting and singing their hearts out, amazing ratings, and a will-they-or-won’t-they romance that steamed up fan fiction forums. Then, during the live season two finale, it all imploded, leaving everyone scrambling to understand why.

Afterward, the four stars went down very different paths. Kat is now a lawyer in Washington, DC. Liana is the bored wife of a famous athlete. Noah, the show’s golden boy, emerged unscathed and is poised to become a household name. And Summer, the object of Noah’s fictional (and maybe real-life) affections, is the cautionary tale.

But now the fans are demanding a reunion special. The stars all have private reasons to come back: forgiveness, revenge, a second chance with a first love. But as they tentatively rediscover the magic of the original show, old secrets threaten to resurface—including the real reason behind their downfall.

Will this reunion be a chance to make things right? Or will it be the biggest mess the world has ever seen? No matter what, the ratings will be wild.

You can purchase The Daydreams at the following Retailers:

1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.


  1. My favorite restaurant in town is Soileau's, because of it's great selection of Cajun dishes.

  2. My favourite just closed; I loved Wicked Taco Factory due the flavors.

  3. My favorite is Alfredo's Pizza. Nice and Cheesy. The sauce is great

  4. I love a Mexican restaurant called Papacita's!