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Interview with the Creators of the Pretender, Craig W Van Sickle and Steven Long Mitchell Russian Annex An exclusive interview from the Pretender creators Steven Long Mitchell and Craig V. Van Sickle
Unexpected questions and even more unexpected answers. 

Q: You’ve spent most of your career writing TV-scripts. Was it difficult for you to adjust and become novelist?
A:  It wasn’t difficult, but it was challenging.  In TV you have actors and directors and many, many other artists to interpret your words and transfer those thoughts to film.   In a book,you have to do the acting and directing and set design, etc., with your words.  The exciting part is being able delve deeper into the minds and emotions of the characters.  
 
Q: Can you say that you have your own style or favorite stylistic means as writers? Maybe some of that came from the Pretender TV-show?
A: The best storytellers we have ever known always have a way of hooking you into their story in an emotional way,and then keeping you on the edge of your seat as the rest of the tale unfolds. 
We love to write in that way as well.  It is what defined The Pretender on television and what  continues to define it as we move into novels and graphic novels. 

Q:  Do you write together or do you split up the tasks? If so, who is more responsible for Jarod and who is more responsible for Miss P?
A:We come up with ,and break the stories together.  Then ,when we feel we have a clear outline of the story and character arcs ,we spilt it up.  Sometimes the split will be along story lines so one of us is writing the Miss Parker line as another writes the Jarod line – and other time we just split it up by chapters ,or in television, by acts.
We then rewrite each other and continue the process over and over until we cant tell who wrote what.  It is in the rewriting stage where the stories really seem to come alive. 

Q:  You have already made us more than happy when you promised that our dear Brootsie will come back. What other fan favorites might return – Angelo, Lyle, Mr. Raines, Brigitte, Mr. Cox?
A: You don’t really expect a straight answer out of us about that, do you? 
Just like we mentioned above about hooking the reader into the story and keeping them on the edge of their seats,we are going to do the same with the overall story arc of the novels ,and who returns and when.   
But, if you were happy about seeing Broots…stick around…there’s more to come. 

Q: How would you describe your characters? 
A:  They are all real people in real pain in an unreal situation that is their lives.  

Q: Is the reality of the Pretender black and white or does it include a lot of grey areas?
A: As in life for all of us, we know there is black and white, light and darkness, things that are positive and negative -yet we live in the grey area in between ,  always being pulled to the extremes.  It is the same for mythology of The Pretender. 
 
Q:  Are there any characters who do not deserve redemption? Or those who can never become evil?
A:  It would be difficult to find areas of redemption for Mr. Parker and Mr. Raines considering what they have done with children (though we did see a glimpse of humanity in Mr. R.  once – in Once in Blue Moon.)   Mr. Zane is also a character that may or may not be redeemable.  But redeemable or not it is important to us to find the ways in which they are complicated, real and in some ways understandable in the actions they have taken.
As for those who can never become evil – it would be hard to see Broots defined that way or Jarod – but in the world of The Pretender, anything is possible…

Q: Let’s have some fun now! You might have noticed that there are a lot of cat-people among the Pretender fans… Is it just a coincidence? And what would Jarod and Miss Parker choose as their pets?
A: Nothing in the Pretender Universe is a coincidence… including the surprise in Saving Luke about a pet in the Centre itself. 
As for pets,J and MP would pick – having been a lab rat most of his life, Jarod doesn’t believe in the concept of pets – or that one creature can ever really own another. In fact, Jarod explains his philosophy about that in regard to his relationship to Oscar the Harlem Rat. 
Miss Parker on the other hand has a very distinctive POV about animals – the ones she likes and the ones she loathes.  At the end of the day though,she will always have a special place in her hearts for bunnies. 
 
Q: What would Jarod and Miss Parker do if they made a trip to Russia?
A:  In the near term, if Miss Parker was chasing Jarod through Russia,she would be one step behind him as he traveled around experiencing some of the incredible history Russia has to share with the world.  She would just miss him at places like the Cathedral on Blood, and she might just find a ‘Jarod was here’ near the base of the The Bronze Horseman monument on Senatskaia Ploschad.
But, in the long term, after he has opened her eyes to the truth of her upbringing, if they were to find themselves together alone walking along side the Moskva River in Groky Park  someone passing by may overhear Miss Parker whispering “MoyA lyubOv’ ne znAyet granIts”. 

Q: Could you give us a couple of hints as to what countries Jarod has visited as a child or might visit in the nearest future?
A: We will soon be able to do even better – we’ll be able to show you.
One of our amazing fans is building an interactive map that will soon be up on our website https://www.thepretenderlives.com that will pinpoint everywhere Jarod has been in both the TV show and the novels.
Including some destinations no one yet knows about  – like the time Jarod made a secret trip to the Ukraine as a child.   Original interview can be found here.

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