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Read every post. In each one, we write about something that appeals to us. We hope it will appeal to you too.

The Pretender Creator's Blog
Friday the 13th Series

Friday the 13th Series

When people hear Friday The 13 they immediately think 80’s slasher exploitation movies; a madman with a machete chasing girls in crop tops. And that’s what we thought when we were approached about reimagining the series of movies into a televisions show.   And yes, –...

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Just as I was leaving to Trick or Treat on Halloween when I was 3 years old, we got the call.  I had a baby brother and his name would be Steven. My grandmother, whom we called 'Mom' (which would prove to be confusing to say the least to have both a mother and a...

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Where Did You Go, Little One?

Where Did You Go, Little One?

Where Did You Go, Little One? Like many dads and moms, when my children, Aridae and Wills, were each wee tots, I’d tuck them into bed. Just before I’d sing or hum The Beatles’ lullaby to end all lullabies, Good Night, I would playfully throw the sheet over their heads...

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People often ask how it is that we can come up with some many twist and turns, ups and downs, ins and outs when writing the Pretender.  Well, this is a subject that we have been reluctant to discuss for fear of our methods would be copied and duplicated by others. ...

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The Votes Are In!

The Votes Are In!

The auditing team in SL-1 has analyzed, categorized, and scrutinized the votes for the Saving Luke cover… and the results are in!

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  I’m not sure what it was, but something really weird happened to me last summer. It started like this: I’m taking a sip of coffee when the woman smiles at me, slightly tilts her head and answers my question by saying, “When I tell people what I do for a living...

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Steven Long Mitchell

Chiseled into my grandfather’s headstone are the words, ‘He Loved To Tell The Story’ – and he truly did.

Leon Mitchell was a farmer who toiled long hours in the blazing hot Louisiana sun without ever complaining. He taught me to be a man, to work hard and love my family.

He also taught me how to tell a story.

Steven Long Mitchell

stevenEmmy Award nominated Writer and Executive Producer of Tin Man, the highest rated miniseries in the history of the Syfy Channel; Co-Creator/Executive Producer of the hit cult classic TV show The Pretender; Novelist; Graphic Novelist; Speaker; Master Storyteller; and Social Interactive Media Marketing Consultant.

Along with his writing partner, Craig W. Van Sickle, Steven has written, produced and/or directed over 200 hours of entertainment programing, including feature films, TV movies, and has worked on series as varied as 24, NCIS, Medical Investigation, Alien Nation, Murder She Wrote and many more. He continues to expand his brand by creatively interacting and collaborating with his fan base in ways that are redefining fandom on a global immersive interactive level. He has taught workshops, participated on panels and spoken at numerous conferences and Cons in the Writer, Geek, Tech, Entertainment, SciFi, Branding and Social Media worlds.

To reimagine The Pretender brand in this quickly expanding virtual world, Steven has become a trailblazer in Trans-media, or as he prefers to call it, Social Interactive Media/Marketing, SIMM, to grow and engage a global fan base in an immersive entertainment experience. He sees fans as being an integral part of the creative process and not merely spectators. Collaborating with fans from around the world, now houses a Global Interactive Think Tank, where fans are encouraged to be part of the creative process. This G.I.F.T. has morphed into the engine behind the reenergizing of the brand as it is reintroduced into the entertainment spectrum as feature films, television, novels, graphic novels, animation, gaming and much more.

Steven was born and raised in New Orleans and now resides in the Los Angeles, California, area with his wife and daughters and can be contacted through the website (fill out the form on the right).

Steven Long Mitchell, author, producer and writer. Steven has become a trailblazer in Trans-media.

Big Daddy, as we called him, wasn’t large in stature, but when he spun a tale he was a giant to me. Whether around the campfire, the dinner table or a gas pump at a filling station, he knew exactly how to grab his audience and take them on a spellbinding ride. With a clever phrase, a long pause, a slight snicker or a deep meaningful look into their souls, he could bring a smile to their lips, a tear to their eyes or plant a thought they’d ruminate about long after.

I always marveled at their faces as he moved them with his words.

He said the secret was not to just tell people stories, but to share with them something from deep in your heart. That regardless if they were black, brown, red, white, rich, poor or where they were from, everyone was exactly the same on the inside and that the art of storytelling was to speak from your insides to theirs.

Before he died he taught me everything I know about how ‘to tell the story’ – I strive to honor him by one day being as accomplished at it as he was.

Big Daddy used to say we are nothing but acorns scattered around the root of the trees from which we fell. That may sound sappy – I know it did to me when I was a kid. But the older I get and the more hair I lose, the more I find his wisdom to be true. (FYI I’m not that old – Big Daddy gave me the gift of storytelling and also the genes for premature male pattern baldness. I guess you take the good with the bad.)

Anyhow, when you think about it, the analogy of the acorn and the tree is true. It doesn’t matter how grand the branches above – or how gnarled – we are all a product of the sap that runs within. It is up to us to choose how to live with what the tree taught us, contributed to our souls – or took away from them.

In many ways the character of Jarod in The Pretender is a reflection of all those competing factions: the good, the bad, the secrets, the lies, the justice and injustices, the love that we receive or that is taken away from us. We can’t control that. All we can control is what we do with it. Jarod went through a terrible childhood, yet came out of it a man with a moral compass and an innocent zest for life that too many of us who didn’t grow up in The Centre sometimes forget all too soon.

Oh, yeah, the bio.

When I was an acorn I fell upon roots in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was both a turbulent yet exciting time to join the world.

Learning to walk, then run, during the later years of civil rights struggle and the beginning of desegregation in the Deep South gave me great insight into humanity at its best and worst. I spent my youth watching my mother burn her bra, (also humanity at its best and worst) and entering the sexual revolution. Unfortunately, I was too young to enjoy it! I spent my high school years in the blue grass of Kentucky – a wonderful oasis in the heartland of Americana. After High School I packed up and moved to California – to pursue a future in medicine.

But (and as BD taught me there’s always a ‘but’ that turns every good story in an unexpected direction) while waiting for college to begin, I started doing standup comedy and decided to 86 medical school and pursue a career in show biz.

That same summer two other great things happened to me. I met my writing partner of about 30 years and I got the greatest job that any 17 year-old boy on the planet earth ever had.

I was hired to be a valet at the Playboy Mansion.

Yes – that one.

Let your imagination run wild and you’ll conjure up about half of what mine still calls upon for amazing anecdotes.

My Big Daddy wasn’t crazy about my foregoing medical school – but he was all for me working with Heff. Ah, the stories I could have told him.

But even dreams like that one finally end and I had to move on.

As the years passed, like everyone else, I lived through the gas lines of the late ‘70s, the mourning in America of the Reagan years; I crossed the Bridge to Tomorrow with Bill and Hill. And just like most of you, I watched our collective innocence collapse along with the Twin Towers at the beginning of the new millennium and its rebirth in the decade since.

Oh, and while experiencing all of that life, I also wrote and produced a lot of really cool television with the second greatest partner in the world.

But the most important thing I’ve done, the best things I produced, are my three incredible daughters and a very loving family with the first greatest partner in the real world.

We are still writing that tale together.

From wherever Big Daddy looks down at me, I hope he is proud of the man he taught me to become and the story of my life – so far.

Steven Long Mitchell


Steven Long Mitchell, author, producer and writer. Steven has become a trailblazer in Trans-media.



Star Wars: The Clone Wars (TV Series) (written by – 3 episodes)

– Nomad Droids

– Hunt for Ziro

– Evil Plans

Tin Man (TV Mini-Series) (story – 3 episodes, 2007) (teleplay – 3 episodes, 2007)

– Tin Man

– Search for the Emerald

– Into the Storm


24 (TV Series) (written by – 1 episode)

– Day 5: 1:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m.


Medical Investigation (TV Series) (written by – 3 episodes, 2004 – 2005) (story – 1 episode, 2005)

– Mission La Roca: Part 2

– Mission La Roca: Part 1

– Mousetrap

– Little Girl


NCIS (TV Series) (story – 1 episode, 2004) (teleplay – 1 episode, 2004)

– Lt. Jane Doe


She Spies (TV Series) (39 episodes, 2002 – 2004) (written by – 1 episode, 2002)

– Remember When

– Wedding of the Century

– Witness Protection

– Stranded

– London Calling

– The Gift

– Family Reunion

– Leotards and Lies

– White Chollima

– Spies Gone Wild

– Message from Kassar

– Off with Her Head

– Love Kills

– Cover Me

– Crossed Out

– Date to Mate

– Gone Bad

– Manhunt

– Last Man Standing

– Rane of Terror

– We’ll Be Right Back

– Learning to Fly

– Damsels in De-Stress

– The Replacement

– Daze of Future Past

– While You Were Out

– First Date

– You Don’t Know Jack

– The Girl with the Broken Heart

– Betrayal

– Perilyzed

– Spies vs. Spy

– Trap

– Three Women and a Baby

– Ice Man

– Fondles

– Daddy’s Girl

– Poster Girl

– The Martini Shot

– First Episode


The Pretender: Island of the Haunted (TV Movie)

The Pretender 2001 (TV Movie)


The Pretender (TV Series) (37 episodes, 1996 – 1999) (writer – 17 episodes, 1996 – 2000) (written by – 4 episodes, 1996 – 2000) (created by – 1 episode, 1997)


Cobra (TV Series) (11 episodes, 1993 – 1994) (created by – 7 episodes, 1993) (written by – 4 episodes, 1993) (writer – 3 episodes, 1993 – 1994)

– Aces and Eights

– Precious

– Lorinda

– Haunted Lives

– A Few Dead Men

– Caged Fury

– Death Dive

– Blast from the Past

– Lost in Cyberspace

– Diamond in the Rough

– Death on the Line

– Playing with Fire

– Something in the Air

– I’d Die for You

– Hostage Hearts

– Mr. Chapman, I Presume

– The Gnome

– Nowhere to Run

– Honeymoon Hideaway

– Push It

– Pilot: Part 2

– Pilot: Part 1


Street Justice (TV Series)


Alien Nation (TV Series) (writer – 5 episodes)

– The Touch

– Crossing the Line

– The Red Room

– The Game

– Fifteen with Wanda


Ski Patrol (screenplay) / (story)


Class Cruise (TV Movie) (written by)


Disneyland (TV Series) (1 episode)

– Double Agent


Murder, She Wrote (TV Series) (written by – 2 episodes)

– The Bottom Line Is Murder

– Crossed Up


Love Boat (TV Series) (writer – 1 episode)

– Aerobic April/The Wager/Story of the Century



Love Shack (Video) (producer)


Tin Man  (TV Mini-Series) (executive producer – 3 episodes)

– Tin Man

– Search for the Emerald

– Into the Storm


A.M.P.E.D. (TV Movie) (executive producer)


Medical Investigation (TV Series) (executive producer – 13 episodes)

– Mission La Roca: Part 2

– Mission La Roca: Part 1

– Black Book

– Half Life

– Survivor

– Mousetrap

– Ice Station

– Tribe

– Spiked

– The Unclean

– Price of Pleasure

– Little Girl

– Mutation


The Pretender: Island of the Haunted (TV Movie) (executive producer)

The Pretender 2001 (TV Movie) (executive producer)


The Pretender (TV Series) (executive producer – 58 episodes)


Cobra (TV Series) (executive producer – 22 episodes)


Street Justice (TV Series) (supervising producer)


The Flash (TV Series) (producer – 4 episodes)

– Honor Among Thieves

– Watching the Detectives

– Out of Control

– Pilot

Miscellaneous Crew


Pacific Blue (TV Series) (executive consultant – 1 episode)

– Captive Audience


Alien Nation (TV Series) (executive story editor – 21 episodes)

– Green Eyes

– The Touch

– Gimme, Gimme

– Rebirth

– Crossing the Line

– Real Men

– Partners

– Eyewitness News

– Generation to Generation

– Spirit of ’95

– The Red Room

– Chains of Love

– The Game

– Three to Tango

– Contact

– The Night of the Screams

– The First Cigar

– The Takeover

– Fifteen with Wanda

– Little Lost Lamb

– Fountain of Youth


The Law and Harry McGraw (TV Series) (story editor)



The Pretender (TV Series) (5 episodes)

– Corn Man

– Cold Dick

– At the Hour of Our Death

– Mr. Lee

– Amnesia



Filmnut (TV Series)

Meet My Family!

Email Steven Long Mitchell

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Follow Us

Friday the 13th Series

Friday the 13th Series

When people hear Friday The 13 they immediately think 80’s slasher exploitation movies; a madman with a machete chasing girls in crop tops. And that’s what we thought when we were approached about reimagining the series of movies into a televisions show.   And yes, –...

Meet Craig and Our Guest Authors!

Craig Van Sickle
Craig Van Sickle
Katie Mitchell
Katie Mitchell
Mark Dodson
Mark Dodson

About the Creators

The Authors

Meet the Pretender Creators and the guest authors too.


For us, many of these bio things come off as self-serving smoke blown up the skirts of the artists whose names are atop the page. They usually entail the what we have done – the accomplishments, awards, blah, blah, blah (and yes, we’ve put that in here too, ‘cause we are proud of it and a little smoke up the skirt always feels good), but more importantly for us is the why we do it.

We love to entertain – been doing it our whole lives – and for the past 30 years have made it our passion, our career path.

Nothing we have done has reflected that passion more than The Pretender.

Some people say, we do weird. Which is true – but the weird we do is from our hearts to yours and we have so much fun doing it. We write for thinkers, creators, innovators and the curious who love to unravel a tale and enjoy the odd and unexpected, people who, like Jarod, know that ‘life is a gift’ and we are lucky to share it with one another – the Miss Parkers of the world be damned.

If you are reading this you are one of them – you are one of us – and we are truly thankful to be a part of this club with you.

Okay, enough of the why – now for the what.

Steve Mitchell and Craig Van Sickle have written, produced and/or directed over 200 hours of prime network programming. From situation comedy to drama, from comic books to mystery, sci-fi to action-adventure, their career has covered a broad imaginative spectrum. Together they have created numerous television series, most notably, NBC’s The Pretender, on which they served as Executive Producers for its entire four-year run of episodes, as well as a series of two-hour movies.

In addition to series television, Mitchell and Van Sickle have also written and produced numerous long-form productions – both mini series and MOWs, as well as feature films.

In 2008 they were nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Mini-Series as the Writers/Executive Producers on the SyFy Channel’s, Tin Man, an updated reimagining of The Wizard of Oz that, in addition to its critical acclaim, broke SyFy’s ratings records both domestically and internationally and as of this date, remains its highest rated program ever.

Most recently the team has completed work on a one-hour primetime pilot script for A&E and are currently developing Stephen King’s Insomnia for television.

read the creators’ biographies! click the pic to read them.



Just as I was leaving to Trick or Treat on Halloween when I was 3 years old, we got the call.  I had a baby brother and his name would be Steven. My grandmother, whom we called ‘Mom’ (which would prove to be confusing to say the least to have both a mother and a grandmother called Mom, but that is a story for later on…) had gotten me outfitted in my black cat/ballerina costume.   The tradition to dress as a mash up of two things was born the same day as Steve.   Daddy’d had called earlier to say that the baby was coming, but I didn’t know exactly what that meant.  All I knew was that ‘the baby’ was taking its sweet time about it.  If it didn’t time its arrival properly, my whole Halloween might be ruined.  The skies had turned grey in the east and were an explosion of purples and red as the phone that hung on the wood paneled wall next to the bar between our kitchen and den, rang.  The ring was the music of the settings we have now on our smartphones known as Old Phone.  But it should just be known as Phone, since that’s what all phones sounded like.  Old phones, actually sounded different.  But whatever.  My grandmother was wearing capri pants and a red sweater.  I remember everything about the moment.  My friend Tammy’s father, who was to be my candy gathering escort that evening had just arrived to get me.  He stood on the back patio just outside our sliding glass door waiting, while I physically straddled the doorway caught between the two moments.  I had one foot on the bricks ready to go, and one foot on the grey speckled formica watching my grandmother as she cooed and laughed into the phone receiver.  She was reclining, one butt cheek on the barstool as she looked into my eyes but spoke into the phone, “Well that is just mighty good news.”  After she’d said goodbye to my Daddy we jumped up and down to celebrate.  I went out into the world filled with the feeling of possibility.  Somewhere inside I knew I was forever altered  and welcomed the change. In fact, I  was so excited that I told people at each house I went to that night.  “I just got a baby brother for Halloween!”  And at door after door I was given extra treats for sharing the good news.  I didn’t yet know it, but that was to be the last Halloween where I was center of attention.  From there forward, it was Steve’s day.

The picture above is from his 2nd birthday.  It was taken just before he tried to eat the wax candles.

Happy Birthday Pretender Steve.  Love you so much!!

Podcast interview: Cyrus Webb Presents

Listen to our interview to Cyrus, which has been featured on Today’s Best Podcasts on Blog Talk Radio.This was a great interview, where we chat about our passion, our journey and, of course, the Pretender.

Thanks for having us Cyrus!


blog_talkLink: CyrusWebb Conversations LIVE

Katie’s First Pretender Blog Post!



Ok.  So.  The first time I fell in love with a boy, I was three and a half years old, in the front seat of my daddy’s white Chevrolet, and my 2-day-old baby brother was placed into my lap.  It was love at first sight!  I was allowed to hold him in my lap for the entire ride from the hospital to our house.  Were my parents crazy??  There weren’t even seatbelts in the car!  But I held him tight and talked to him and cooed at him all the way home, and decided he was a keeper.  I was going to boss him around (some things haven’t changed), he was going to worship me and do everything I told him (not exactly how it went) and we would get along forever (ish).   Steven Long Mitchell, or “Shot,” as he was called when we were little, is a writer/producer/director, yes.  He is also a champion barbequer, woodworking fool, bourbon connoisseur, baker of fruit cobblers, and a pretty damn good brother (now that we are adults, anyway).  As a kid…well, that’s another story… and one that I will tell here on this blog as I go along.  Believe me, I am going to tell some stories about Steve from childhood, and I feel pretty confident that I don’t have to worry about retaliation, because, as I understand it, he is technologically challenged and just this side of hopeless when it comes to figuring out how to work his own blog site here. He has to have others spoonfeed him every step of the way, and he has blocked most of the memories from those years.   Also, fun fact– I went to high school in Lexington, Kentucky with Pretender guest author, Mark Dodson, back when he had a gigantic blond afro. And I started my acting career with Craig Van Sickle in an improv group in Los Angeles many years ago, so these guys are family to me.  I love family.  Part of what I love so much about being an actor is the family aspect.  With every TV show, film, commercial or theater piece, a family is created.   Family is a big reason that I am so excited to be writing the young Miss Parker series.   I’m thrilled to have been invited into the greater Pretender family and hope you guys will welcome me.   The first book, entitled, Shattered Doll, is set in France where an eighteen-year-old Miss Parker is attending the Centre university known as CIT.  You’ll get to watch her develop from the young girl in Blue Cove, Delaware who lost her mom, into the brilliant, sexy, wünderkind operative that she became.   Sydney has a line in Rebirth (and in the Pretender Pilot) that he says to Miss Parker,  “You were such a happy little girl.  What happened to you?”  That question (and many more!) will be answered in these books.  Questions like…who was her first lover?  Did she ever let anyone into her heart?  What did she see the day her mother, Catherine, died?  Who taught her about eyeliner and stilettos?  And what about Jarod?  What new things will we learn about the relationship between Miss Parker and Jarod?  And most importantly, I welcome your input!!!  If there are any questions you would like to see addressed, let me know.  And if you catch me misquoting or misrepresenting something, call me out.  I will post things here as I go along.  And I look so forward to getting to know y’all.

May 6, 2014

Reddit AMA April 26, 2014

Reddit AMA with Steven Long Mitchell

April 26, 2014, 11am PST

newt0nlol LMAO 99 percent of peope asking the questions are brand new fake users lol wierd
marie-l-yesthatone So, between you, me and the internet, what really took so long to bring tP back?
Craig_Van_Sickle Mostly legal stuff. Fortunately the rights came back to Steve and I. It just took a lot longer than anticipated. We’re grateful the fans didn’t forget us.
Steven_Long_Mitchell The Powers That Be.
Actually through an act of fate – and good lawyers – the rights reverted back to us and we are here to stay.
ChuckEye It’s been 14 years since I’ve watched the Pretender, so forgive me if I’ve forgotten where the mythology was going when it ended. Will the books pick up after the 2001 movie?
marie-l-yesthatone The first book is already out. It’s a reboot.
Steven_Long_Mitchell Actually it is a reboot in that the story time has slid forward – Jarod and Miss Parker et all are the same ages as they were in the show but with new technology and outlook to the world. This way the old fans are completely back i the mythology and new fans can join from a starting point that allows them to be equally entertained.
ChuckEye When will the next volume in the series be published? How large an arc are you considering for the novels?
It would be a shame if we didn’t eventually get closure or answers this go around either.
Steven_Long_Mitchell The second book will be out in the next few weeks – and we will give the fans ultimate closure. It is one of the things we are committed to doing. As for the arc – we plan o a long one – several novels and spin off novels with some of the main characters. A young Miss Parker novel will come out covering hr time in college training to be a Centre operative.
noargumenthere No proof? Are you pretending to be part of the team that made The Pretender?
Steven_Long_Mitchell I have been Pretending that since 1196 – but don’t tell anyone.
finfyr What is your weirdest sex story?
Steven_Long_Mitchell See the episode – ‘Cold Dick’ and you will be able to experience it for yourself.
StudMuffin11235 What do you have to say about TV versus movies as a storytelling medium in the next decade or so?
Steven_Long_Mitchell The world of entertainment is changing is such a huge way – that I’m not sure what TV really is. House of Cards has broken all of the rules. Is it really a TV show? An enormously long feature? It is amazing and I love where it leads the medium.
It think whatever ‘it’ is is the future.
vaniaaraujo Hey! Any advice for people starting off on the TV business?
Steven_Long_Mitchell WRITE! Writing is the gasoline that makes the engine run. WIthout good stories and great scripts all those pretty actors just stand around wondering what to do.
Hypnoweb Hello^ do you have a date for french translation of Rebirth then Saving Luke ?
Steven_Long_Mitchell The date is not set – but the translation is 90% completed. We will be launching it and an exclusive French website in the next few months.
marie-l-yesthatone From narrative standpoint, what can you show in the books that wasn’t possible on TV? What makes the Pretender story different in book format?
Steven_Long_Mitchell We can get into the minds of the characters and really delve into what makes them tick.
Miss Parker has some interesting thoughts to say the least.
And as for Jarod – well we never we able i the TV format to really explore his childhood and relationship to Sydney and Miss Parker et all.
Its a great way to tell the audience a much more involved story.
markmdodson I am Mark Dodson, one of the writers and producers of “The Pretender”
Steven_Long_Mitchell And Mark is also writing another of our spin off Novels – Patterns – which follows a man who hunts serial killers using a technique taught to him by a very unique Pretender.
markmdodson Couldn’t have said it better myself.
JimBeyer A serial serial killer?
Steven_Long_Mitchell You will see soon enough.
vaniaaraujo welcome Mark
MissMallory10 Welcome Mark!
Steven_Long_Mitchell Mark – can you tell everyone a little bout about Patterns and the first mystery?
chickadeejune Hi Steve & Craig, Might you have some Saving Luke news to share with us today by chance?
Steven_Long_Mitchell Yes – the publisher sent us the final corrections to be checked this morning – so if we weren’t on Redditt right now we could okay them and they could print this thing and get it to you.
shadowKate Could you give us any details on the release dates of the Pretender graphic novels and Young Miss P novels?
Steven_Long_Mitchell The Graphic novel is taking longer than we anticipated – but we had no idea they took so long! We will send out a realize date on it as soon as we know.
As for the Young Miss Parker novel and the other spin off they should begin rolling out in the fall.
Frenchick10 Hi Steve & Craig. Any release date for Saving Luke?
Steven_Long_Mitchell Sooooooooon. In the next couple weeks at the latest. Maybe soooooner…
Guadsquad There are so many questions left unanswered, are they answered in the novels?
Steven_Long_Mitchell Re: Answers – answers will begin to be revealed in Saving Luke – in each book there will be new ones answered – as well as segments within the website.
For example, in SL one of real names of one of the main characters will be revealed.
In a short story coming up on the website the answer to ‘What happened to Baby Parker?’ will be revealed.
marie-l-yesthatone Any hope of seeing Jarod in his mid-twenties? That was an age difficult to show on the show, given the real-life ages of the actors. I always thought it was tricky age, how did the Centre convince adult J not to run away before he did?
Steven_Long_Mitchell Great questions – and the answer is yes we will. We will explore Jarod’s entire life at the Centre – we ill reveal things no one ever knew – for example – what makes you think Jarod only ran away once…
marie-l-yesthatone Book or TV? We did spot the allusion to running away as a kid in the book, heh.
Steven_Long_Mitchell You will find out more in Saving Luke…
MissBougainvillea Broots wasn’t in the first novel “Rebirth”, can you please confirm that he will be back soon?
Steven_Long_Mitchell I can confirm that one of our favorite characters will be back in the Centre in Saving Luke.
But I can’t confirm that he is one that we loved – or one we loved to hate.
Frenchick10 Can you be more cryptic? ?
Steven_Long_Mitchell I can try…
But I don’t want to spoil anything for the readers. But they will smile…
MissMallory10 What is one of the craziest stories that came out of writing the Pretender novels?
Steven_Long_Mitchell We have and remain to have no idea what we are doing.
What I mean by that is when we began writing we had no concept of the outpouring of affection from the fandom and are thrilled and humbled and terrified by it all. All of a sudden we have thousands of people wanting more and more and its wonderfully overwhelming.
vaniaaraujo Do you enjoy all the attention you get from the fans and do you get approached often on the streets?
Steven_Long_Mitchell I’m humbled by the fact the fans are so involved with the pretender and feel a great responsibility to not let them down –
Networks cancel shows when fans love them and leave those fans hanging. Craig and I want to reinvent that relationship with the fan in a way where they know we won’t let them down and we will answer all of their questions.
And no one recognizes me – my kids wouldn’t put up with it.
vaniaaraujo :) True. I’m so glad you’re picking up the Pretender! It’s a great story that should have never been canceled so soon. It’s great that you answer all the fans’ emails and interact with them. Not a lot of Hollywood people do that.
Steven_Long_Mitchell We love the interaction with the fans. Send us an email and we will
Guadsquad I know a fan designed the cover of Rebirth, are you planning to have other fans help with future books.
Steven_Long_Mitchell We value the fans more than anything and we want them involved in everything from The Pretender Universe.
We are very inclusive within our website and fandom – to the point that several fans have become characters in the books. That the fans not only chose the cover of the book by vote – but as you mentioned that a fan actually designed it – and the new one for the Revised Rebirth – and for Saving Luke. (she is a school teacher in a tiny village in Australia.)
We have a fan (a 20 yr old college student also from France) who won a fan fic writing contest – who is now writing a short story for us that we will publish and make part of Pretender Cannon.
We love the fans and are doing lots of very unique things that I don’t think anyone else is doing in books etc. to make them part of this larger community.
dramacraft How close were you to really being able to finish The Pretender in form of movie or short series in the last 13 years?
How has the reaction been from yourself, actors and staff on show, to having a cult following from all over the world since the show ended and still going now?
Steven_Long_Mitchell Great questions – we are closer today than we were yesterday and we will be closer tomorrow. The industry has taken note of the rise of the pretender and its fandom and nothing makes them salivate like rabid fans who want something.
As for the actors – etc they are as thrilled as we are.
ANd to break a little news here – one of them MTW wrote us a forward for rebirth and it will be published in the revised version of Rebirth (with the brand new bright blue fan designed cover) – which is available now on Amazon.
shadowKate What can you tell us about the relationship between Jarod and Miss Parker?
Steven_Long_Mitchell That we have only scratched the surface and there are revelations coming that will blow you mind and make you crazy wanting to know more.
Hypnoweb Jarod will find his family^ ? … at the end ^ ?
Steven_Long_Mitchell Jarod has to find his family – doesn’t he?
Hypnoweb not really… really. OK … When Jarod could celebrate Christmas with all his family ? Together around the table :) With Emily too ? Where she is ?^
Steven_Long_Mitchell It would be a great Christmas for Jarod to be with his entire family – those we know and those…
Guyinpa I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVED THE PRETENDER. I was sooooo sad to see it end. ;(((((( I really wanted to see what happened with it but never reasd any of the series.
Steven_Long_Mitchell May I recommend that you try Rebirth and see if you don’t get hooked all over again.
Guyinpa Rebirth
Absolutely will pick it up. I’ve just been swamped with residency. Sometimes these things just go under the radar for great shows and fans don’t know there’s more. Where did the idea of pretender originate from for you?
Steven_Long_Mitchell It was inspired from the movie and book The Great Imposter as well as our fascination with child geniuses.
Guyinpa did the story of jarods past evolve as the show continued or did it start off with certain key elements in mind.
Steven_Long_Mitchell Both. We knew where he came from and where we wanted to take him – the key elements you mentioned – but along the way we ‘discovered’ other aspects of his character we wanted to explore.
JimBeyer So, how did you travel to the future to steal The Pretender idea from James Cameron’s “Dark Angel”?
Steven_Long_Mitchell Funny I always wanted to ask JC the same question in reverse. Not to mention the guys from Kyle- XY and even our friends at Believe.
Actually there are similarities in lots of works and that we had some with other shows that came after us is as it should be. I’m sure we had some that came from shows before us.
chickadeejune Believe, first ep asked myself if they had come to you for plot, parallels too eerily similar. Do you have other non tP ideas or projects in the works or is your collaborative time limited with the rise of tP back to the forefront?
Guadsquad I love the Centre Employees newsletter. Do you and Craig come up with the quirky stories?
Steven_Long_Mitchell Yes – but the Newsletter isn’t just for fun. There are clues in the CEN’s that come to play in the novels.
vaniaaraujo Besides the Centre Employee Newsletter at, can we expect more easter eggs, content or any funny stories about the Pretender in there?
Steven_Long_Mitchell As mentioned above – the answer is yes.
In fact to reiterate the Centre Employee Newsletter that is sent out to fans and posted on the website each month with all the going ons inside The Centre is not for silly fun. Things like the new chef from Belgium who Sydney loves. (as well as the new menu) – The Centre is Green environmental groups getting together to clean up Blue Cove etc.
They seem fun and maybe a bit silly – BUT – as the fans who follow this will see in Saving Luke – THEY ARE ALL PART OF THE ENTERTAINMENT. You see in Saving Luke – the chefs new menu comes into play (as a clue/foreshadowing in the plot of SL) – and Sydney is actually reading the same Centre Employee’s newsletter that the fans received. Etc.
As mentioned above, my point is we are doing lots of very unique things that I don’t think anyone else is doing in books etc. Essentially the entertainment/mythology never ends.
chickadeejune Will you go into depth more about Jarod’s very beginning? Parents at genetics clinic pre Jarod and…Kyle… The why and how of Jarod’s origin and having that secret divulged at some point (besides the scrolls, a genetic predetermination from the start and Centre PTB’s stealing him away?).
Steven_Long_Mitchell Yes we will. Much more in-depth.
Frenchick10 Do you plan on organizing a Pretender Convention?
Steven_Long_Mitchell I hope we have a huge convention. I know the actors are interested – and Craig and I would be there as well. There have been on again off again discussions that are now in a wait a see mode – so we are waiting to see.
But our hope and goal is to have one in Paris.
MissBougainvillea Would you mind revealing us which actors exactly?
Steven_Long_Mitchell The ones form the show… A guy named Michael T Weiss, a lady named Andrea something or other. And a bald guy name Johan Griess (or maybe it was Jon).
Frenchick10 Yeah Johan… I know this guy!
shadowKate Now that you’ve become writers, which medium (TV or books) do you like better and why?
Steven_Long_Mitchell They feel different.
We love TV – but are being seduced into novels more and more mainly because of the depth to which we can explore the characters. Not having time or mont or production constraints frees you to delve much deeper into the characters we love so much.
shadowKate It was really unexpected to see Jarod worrying about his pretend working out, I mean the Norwood procedure one. And the ideas behind Miss Parker’s behavior, too. So getting into the characters heads is real fun!
vaniaaraujo What about the scrolls mentioned in Island of the Haunted? Are you planning to approach that subject in any future novels or the graphic novels?
Steven_Long_Mitchell We have a secret plan for that and think we will explore them in both GN and in another medium TBA.
angelpretend Are you planning other translations for the books? For example in Italian.
Steven_Long_Mitchell We hope to have the books in many languages in the not too distant future. Do you think the Italians would like it?
MissBougainvillea When will the newly redesigned website be launched?
Steven_Long_Mitchell It will be up in the next week or two – and there will be a ton of interactive things for the fandom to come and and enjoy and get involved with.
We want to build the site as a place for the fandom to come in an interactive community. We hope you all will join us and together we can all make something great.
vaniaaraujo Before you go (when are you leaving this AMA, btw?), you mentioned a fanfiction contest earlier, can we expect more of those in the future and were you happy with the contest in December?
Steven_Long_Mitchell We were thrilled with the contest and there will be many more in the future.
TheSlurpeeKid Other than Tin Man, what are your favourite re-imaginings of The Wizard of Oz? Why do you think this movie has been adapted into so many different stories?
Steven_Long_Mitchell It is a universal story we all know – and I mean everyone.
I loved Wicked. Not as crazy about Oz The Great and Powerful. I thought it was technology over character.
Steven_Long_Mitchell Thank you all for your questions. Saving Luke awaits our final ‘okay’. We look forward continuing this conversation. You can always reach us for all the latest news and check out the 2nd edition of Rebirth on Amazon.
vaniaaraujo Thank you for the AMA, Steve!
Frenchick10 Thank you Steve!
shadowKate thank you so much!
chickadeejune Had wonderful time, lots of wonderful tidbits revealed, thank you!
Hypnoweb merci beaucoup ! :)



Original Reddit AMA can be found here.


The Books

Saving Luke

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VBT Stop #7 Digital Book Today


Author Interview #274: The Pretender: Rebirth

April 23, 2014


dbt_rebirth Our interview today is with Steven Long Mitchell and Craig W Van SickleEmmy Nominated writers, producers and/or directors of over two hundred hours of TV programming, and authors of The Pretender: Rebirth (mystery thriller, 4.5 stars, 86 reviews) and the upcoming sequel The Pretender: Saving Luke  (to be released – available April 2014). Before we get to the interview, here is a brief description of the series. Written by the creators of the international, cult hit television showthe first two novels in The Pretenderbook series, Rebirth and Saving Luke, are edge-of-your-seat, mystery thrillers about Jarod, a child prodigy, stolen and raised by a Haliburton-like organization that exploited his gift for their disreputable activities. After his escape, this ‘ingenious Jason Bourne’ – a human chameleon who can literally become anyone he wants to be – rejoins the world that has been denied him for 30 years. While attempting to find his family, he uses his brilliance as an avenging angel for those being taken advantage of by the powerful among us. He does this while staying just one step ahead of his nemesis, Miss Parker, the sexiest woman on the planet who is hell bent on tracking him down and returning him to her masters.   Their multifaceted, love/hate relationship, driven by the emotional secrets at the core of who they are, fuels a cunning predator/brilliant prey, chase of epic proportions. Rebirth and Saving Luke are intricate, suspenseful and enthralling mysteries about one man’s exploration of life and love and the truth that captures and reignites the hit TV series for both loyal fans and new readers alike.
AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH Steven Long Mitchell and Craig W Van Sickle
After having written for, and received accolades from personal heroes ranging from George Lucas to Larry Gelbart to Stan Lee, and privileged to collaborate with varied and amazing talents from Stephen King to Vince Gilligan, Mitchell and Van Sickle have now taken their creative talents to the world of novels.  Their first two Pretender books have received rave reviews for their originality, humor, humanity and intrigue.  SCI FI CHICK SAYS… I thoroughly enjoyed this first novel in the series. The mystery and suspense build to an exciting and dramatic cliffhanger ending that left me wanting more. Fans of the show will definitely want to check this one out. And I’ll certainly be following this fascinating series. Both novels are available in print and e-book through Amazon and other major retailers. From Mitchell and Van Sickle:  We write for thinkers, creators, innovators and the curious who love to unravel a tale and enjoy the odd and unexpected, those who know life is a gift and want to share that in community with one another.  If you are intrigued by this you are one of them, one of us, and we are excited to be part of this global experience with you.
1. When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so? We both grew up sharing a passion for books and movies and television – any venue in which we could find a great story we were there. After college we met up and something clicked in.  We found we had the ability to read each other’s mind when it came to telling stories and exploring great characters. We have spent years honing that craft and everyday learn new ways to do it that we never dreamed possible.
2. What inspired you to write the Pretender Series of Novels? The Pretender was and remains the most passionate expression of our life’s work. We hope our feelings have been reflected in the stories so far — and the ones yet to come. It was inspired by two different stories we heard growing up.  One was the life of Ferdinand Demara a real life human chameleon who slipped form one identity and occupation to another staying one step ahead of the authorities.  The other was a CIA progam in the 50s and 60’s called the Genius Projectwhere the agency ran a special school for exceptionally bright children who in the morning had regular classes and in the afternoon were given problems to solve regarding things like ‘Strategies of Thermo Nuclear War.’ We loved the concept of a child who was so brilliant that he could combine both of the above ‘gifts’ – a hero whose super power was his brain and his heart. We also felt at that time, and still do, that in society no one likes to go out on a limb to change wrongs that are done to people.  No one steps up to do something to right those wrongs.  We wanted to infuse a heroic character with that drive to ‘help the little guy done wrong’ and hence,  Jarod.
3. What’s The Pretender series about? They are thrillers about the search for identity.  About who we are and what ties us together as human beings and at the same time, in many ways, rips us apart. If you enjoy great adventures with engaging characters that will mean something to your heart we hope you will consider reading Rebirth Saving Luke and the many more sequels to come fromThe Pretender Universe.
4. Tell us a little about your main character. Jarod is a genius prodigy stolen from his parents as a 4 year old, isolated from the world and raised in a controlled environment to best harness his incredible talent as a Pretender.  A Pretender is a genius with the physical, intellectual, psychological and emotional ability to literally become anyone they want to be.  A Pretender can read a book on neurosurgical techniques one night and the morning day suit up in scrubs and walk into an operating room and perform the technique flawlessly, without guilt, fear or apprehension.  They can do the same with a fighter jet, a nuclear reactor and anything else you can dream of. As a virtual ‘living computer’ Jarod performed simulation scenarios for events as diverse of how to prevent an airborne terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, how to prevent an accident on a space shuttle, or a teenage shooting rampage in a Colorado high school. After 30 years of captivity by the Centre, the Haliburton-like corporation that held him, Jarod discovered some of his simulations were turned inside out and the exact scenarios he had designed as preventative measures, were sold to the highest bidder and used for harm in the real world. Fueled by this guilt and determined to right those wrongs, Jarod escaped and now the chase is on.
5. What do you enjoy the most about writing? We love the creative process.  We love to tell stories and then put them into words and see them spring to life.  What we especially find so rewarding about the novel process is how it allows you go so much deeper into the characters minds and motivations.  With a character as unique and intriguing as Jarod and Miss Parker, it is an incredibly liberating experience. They surprise us everyday and we think they will surprise the readers as well. Our readers have described our novels as action movies, thrill rides full of heart and humor and humanity – which is not only a huge acknowledgement but one we strive to build upon and be worthy of everyday.
6. What was the hardest part about writing your book? The international fan base has been fervent and excited and can’t seem to wait for the next novel and the next novel after that one to come out and continue the series.  So we’d say keeping up with the demand for the stories within the Pretender Universe.   That and trying to find all of our typos (LOL).
7. Where do you get the inspiration to write? When it comes to the Pretender our inspiration comes from the fans and the characters themselves.  Miss Parker and Jarod have been waking us up in the middle of the night for years, whispering in our minds what they are up to and the stories of their journeys yet to be told. We were also inspired at an early age by some very strong influences; The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock, Star Wars.  Genres and stories that turn real life on its ear have always appealed to us and with these influences and other, we liked that the quality bar was set so high.
8. Who are some of your favorite authors and why?  Robert Crais for his blend of humor, humanity, cleverness and style.   Stephen King, for being an inventive genius and his underuse of adverbs.  Dan Brown for his intelligent intrigue and puzzle-solving prowess.  Chuck Palahniuk for his bold creativity and great style.  John Locke for his prolificness and generosity with his knowledge regarding self-publishing.
9. What do you like to do when you are not writing? SLM – I love to cook and I also make wooden furniture. CVS – I love photography, to explore other writing forms, auto racing, and golf.
10. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? Yes.  We plan to change the world of entertainment especially when it comes to the realm of reading. You see, our goal isn’t just to write incredibly great novels, but also to bring the concept of fandom to a whole new level in a global way. We are building a Global Integrated Fandom where The Pretender entertainment experience doesn’t end when the books do but continues between novels on our website and through social media that connects readers and fans together in a larger community of like minded people. Our website is the hub that serves as a an ever growing global community of fans that have come together not only to share about the stories, but to get involved in them, and in ThePretenderUniverse. We love to hear from readers, so feel free to drop us a note via any of our social media links and be sure and come and see everything we are doing at Thank you, Anthony, for hosting our interview on Digital Book Today.  We really appreciate this opportunity to connect with your readers.
Social media and buy links:
Connect with Steven Long MitchellBlog / Facebook / Twitter
Connect with Craig W Van SickleBlog / Facebook / Twitter
Rebirth: Amazon / Amazon UK / Smashwords / Barnes &Noble
Original interview posted: 
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