The Pretender: Virtual Book Tour
Editor’s Note: Over the past several weeks, I was approached by publicist Mallory Johnson about the possibility of The Cutting Room acting as stop on a virtual book tour for authors Steven Long Mitchell and Craig W. Van Sickle. If those names sound familiar to you, then you were probably a fan “The Pretender” – a very popular television series that they both created which ran from 1996-2000 and later spawned two TV movies. Steven and Craig recently brought back “The Pretender” in the form of two novels called “Rebirth” and the much anticipated follow-up “Saving Luke”. Below, the authors chat about the journey to revive the series and the reactions they got from fans. You can also look for a follow-up interview to be broadcast on my radio show in early June…
CJR Q: For those who are not familiar with the Pretender novels can you give us a brief description of the series?
SLM: Sure. Rebirth and Saving Luke are mystery thrillers about Jarod, a child prodigy, who was stolen as a child and raised by a clandestine organization that exploited his gift for their nefarious activities. After his escape, this ‘ingenious Jason Bourne,’ a human chameleon that can literally become anyone he wants to be, rejoins the world that was denied to him for 30 years. While attempting to find his own family, Jarod uses his brilliance to save a young boy kidnapped by terrorists and return him safely to his parents.
CVS: Jarod does this while staying one step ahead of Miss Parker, the “sexiest woman on the planet” who is hell-bent on capturing and returning him to the organization that took him as a child. They have a multifaceted, love-hate relationship that fuels a very heated chase. You can find out more about both novels and read sample chapters at : thepretenderlives.com
Q: Why did you decide to bring The Pretender back at this particular point in time? C
VS: As luck and having amazing lawyers would have it, the rights to the Pretender recently reverted back to us, and we are excited to be able to bring the Pretender back now in a variety of exciting ways. SLM: As all too often happens, when the Pretender was unexpectedly cancelled, the loyal fan base was left with a series of unanswered questions that we’d always intended to answer for them. The fans around the globe have always been loyal to us and we’re thrilled to be able to return that faithfulness by reinventing the Pretender in a way that will give the answers they deserve, while at the same time embracing new fans, who will get the saga from a fresh perspective.
Q: Why did you bring the concept back as a novel first as opposed to another TV series?
SLM: We wanted to give the fans a much more in-depth look at the characters than we were able to explore in a television series – and also give them an opportunity to not only just read the books or passively watch the TV show, but to actively get involved and become part of the Pretender Universe, themselves.
Q: Where does the plot line pick up in terms of a timeline?
CVS: The plot line doesn’t pick up, per se, it slides. Just like in the TV pilot, Jarod is 30ish when he escapes the Centre, and so is Miss Parker as she begins her pursuit of him. In essence, it is a brand new story with all of the intrinsic elements of the old story, updated for the modern world.
Q: What is your strategy for retaining old fans while still attracting new ones?
SLM: All of the story elements of the original series are there with contemporary twists that allow for new fans- and old-to be equally satisfied as the mythology takes them on a thrill ride. And there is even more to experience at https://www.thepretenderlives.com/. We’ll soon be offering interactive ways to explore the mythology, story lines, characters, and even the physical Centre itself, something no other fandom or series of novels is doing (as far was we know).
Q: I also understand that you’re launching an innovative series of graphic novels in tandem with the books?
CVS:Yes. The first fleshes out the mythology of the Pretender Universe by exploring the mysterious history of the Centre.
Q: What is the most surprising piece of feedback that you’ve received since you’ve brought The Pretender back?
SLM: First, was the overwhelming support from the Pretender fandom.It is global, fervent, multi-generational, and we are proud to be a part of it.
CVS: There are so many – but one that really stands out to me is the outpouring of involvement of the fan base –something we greatly embrace. Our fans have designed the covers of the novels, some have become characters within them, we even have a winner of a fan-fiction contest writing a short story for us that we will publish as canon. We think she could be a star writer one day and are overjoyed to give her the first shot.
Q: Where can people go to keep up with the latest news around the books or graphic novels?
SLM: We love corresponding with our fans and look forward to hearing from them at anytime.
CVS:Below are all of the other links to connect with us.
Saving Luke: Links to follow when available Original Interview can be found here.