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VBT Stop #7 Digital Book Today

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Author Interview #274: The Pretender: Rebirth

April 23, 2014

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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 websitehttps://www.thepretenderlives.com 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 www.thepretenderlives.com. 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: http://digitalbooktoday.com/2014/04/23/author-interview-274-pretender-rebirth/ 

VBT Day#2: Coffee and a Keyboard

VBT: SciFiChick

scifichick_slSteven Long Mitchell and Craig W Van Sickle joins SciFiChick.com today for a Q&A! They are Emmy Nominated writers, producers and/or directors of over two hundred hours of TV programing, including cult classic The Pretender and the Syfy mini seriesTin Man – the reimagining of the Wizard of Oz that remains the highest rated program in the history of the network. Huge Sci Fi fans, they got their start in TV writing on staff for Alien Nation and The Flash.

They are the authors of The Pretender: Rebirth and the upcoming sequel The Pretender: Saving Luke(available April 2014).

Q: For those who are not familiar with the Pretender novels can you give us a brief description of the series?

A: Sure. Rebirth and Saving Luke are edge-of-your-seat mystery thrillers about Jarod, a child prodigy, stolen as a four-year-old and raised by a Halliburton-like organization that exploited his gift for their disreputable activities. After his escape, this ‘ingenious Jason Bourne’ – a human chameleon that 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 to protect the weak and abused, those who can’t protect themselves.

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 they share, continues to fuel a heated chase, pitting a cunning predator against a brilliant prey.

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.

Q: The books are based upon the international, cult hit television show, that your two created and produced. Do you need to have been a fan of the TV series The Pretender to enjoy the novels?

A: Not at all. In fact, former fans and new fans seem to like the novels equally if not more. We designed the story telling of the books in a way that there is nothing to ‘catch up’ to. The novels start at the beginning – but it is a new beginning – so the new fans are there from the start, and the old fans get additional information that fills in the blanks from their interpretation of the past.

Overall we think the stories have been so successful and entertaining because of the timelessness of the very compelling characters at the center of the mythology and their human connections to each other and to the readers.

Q: Who are the novels written for?

A: For anyone who likes a great story that will make them laugh, have them on the edge of their seat one minute, then sitting back and saying ‘what if…’ the next. We have said many times that 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 enjoy great adventures with engaging characters that will mean something to your heart, we think you’ll really enjoy Rebirth & Saving Luke and the many more sequels to come from The Pretender Universe.

Q: How did you dream up the concept for The Pretender?

The Pretender 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 program in the 50s and 60s called the Genius Project where 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.

Q: 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.

Q: What can you tell us about your main character, Jarod?

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, 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.

Q: Is it true that you guys spent two weeks at Skywalker Ranch working every day, personally with George Lucas?

A: Yes. Being invited to do that was one of the most amazing experiences ever. If it is something your fans would like to know more about invites us back and we’ll tell you all about it.

Q: I read somewhere that you guys are planning on changing the world of entertainment – especially when it comes to reading – and that you have designed your books to work in a transmedia environment. What does that mean?

A: 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. The Pretender Universe isn’t just about the overall stories – but about the fans themselves.

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 https://www.thepretenderlives.com 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, several characters in the novel actually are fans – our fans designed the cover of the novel – they exploring and building out the ThePretenderUniverse within the website. A very talented young fan that sent us some fan fiction – that was excellent – may even be invited to writing cannon of the mythology. The Pretender Universe is always expanding and we invite everyone to come be a part of it.https://www.thepretenderlives.com

In fact by reading this you already are. In all the novels and in the website and the emails and extras we send there are always hidden meaning and Easter Eggs. Including in the interview you just read.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

A: Yes. 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 https://www.thepretenderlives.com.

Thank you, Angela, for hosting our interview. We love SciFiChick.com and really appreciate this opportunity to connect with your readers.

Oh, and both novels are available in print and e-book through Amazon and other major retailers.

Original interview here.

APRIL IS THE MONTH

april_is_the_month

 

In addition to the release of SAVING LUKE, April is going to be a HUGE month for the Pretender. Throughout the month of April, we will be embarking upon a Virtual Book Tour, making stops around the web, participating in podcasts and videos, answering questions, and hosting contests! Check back this website for updates. We will even be leaving some easter egg clues along the way! Finally, be prepared for the launch of a few new and exciting endeavors that will change the face of the Pretender. Be prepared to be amazed! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news… and remember, April is the month! See you then! Steven and Craig #ThePretenderLives

Any idea how this got out?

Saving Luke Billboard

To: Steve Mitchell From: Craig Van Sickle Re: The Saving Luke Poster Any idea how this got out?     To: Craig Van Sickle From: Steve Mitchell Re: The Saving Luke Poster No! And hopefully this is just a one shot. If we start seeing this in other spots we will have to release Saving Luke much sooner than we thought.

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