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Interview with Jason Mott, author of The Returned - August 29, 2013


Please welcome Jason Mott to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Returned was published on August 27, 2013 by Harlequin MIRA. You may read Jason's Guest Blog - The Power of Third Person - here.








TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Jason:  Thank you very much! Really excited to be doing this.



TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

Jason:  I started when I was around thirteen or fourteen. I grew up loving the classic heroic tales such as BEOWULF, THE ODYSSEY, etc. Then, one day, I came across an excerpt from John Gardner’s book GRENDEL. I hadn’t imagined that writers were allowed to take pre-existing stories and build something new and unique from them the way John Gardner did. Well, it was a watershed moment for me. Not long after that, I started scratching out my first stories—most of them were alternate adventures for characters in The Odyssey or Beowulf. They were a lot of fun.



TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Jason:   I love writing with really, really bad movies playing in the background. I love B movies. They’re just so much fun. And, when I’m writing, I’ll often put one on to serve as background noise.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Jason:  When it comes to novel manuscripts, I’m a plotter. For me, they’re just too large or an endeavor for me to fly blind. So whenever I want to start a novel, I draw up an outline first. That helps me keep a general heading when I’m writing.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Jason:  Overcoming that voice inside me that says whatever I’m working on is a terrible waste of time. It happens with every project at some point. I start hating the idea, the writing, the characters. I lose faith in everything eventually and just want to walk away. But I’ve learned to push through that. I just keep writing, even if I think I’m writing badly. A bad day writing is always better than a good day not writing.



TQ:  Describe The Returned in 140 characters or less.

Jason:  What happens when those we have lost to death are suddenly thrust back into our lives?



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Returned?

Jason:  It all started with a dream. My parents have both passed away, and in the summer of 2010 I had a dream that I’d come home from work and found my mother sitting at the kitchen table, waiting for me. For the rest of the dream she and I simply sat and talked. I told her about all the things that have happened in my life since her passing—she even gave me a hard time for not being married yet…as mothers do. Haha. Well, it was one of those very vivid dreams, the kind that, when you wake, you’re uncertain of whether it was a dream of reality.


That dream stayed with me for weeks. I talked about it with a good friend and he said “What if that really happened? And what if it wasn’t just her?” That was the very beginning of The Returned.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Returned?

Jason:  I spent a little time talking to people about loved ones they’d lost. I posed the hypothetical question “How would you feel if they suddenly showed up at your door one day?” The responses were interesting. The initial answer was that they would be elated. Everyone talked about how much they’d love to see these people again. But then I followed it up with a second question: “Imagine it’s six months later and this person is still ‘back,’ does that change anything?”

This was when the answers got more complicated. People began talking about how their lives have changed since the passing of their loved one. In many cases, they’ve changed. I’m not the same person I was when my mother passed away in 2001, so if she returned today, she’d be meeting a different version of her son. There are many things that we may have agreed up back then that, now, I feel differently about. Lots of the people I talked to about this had similar responses.



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Jason:  The easiest character to write was Harold. He’s one of the central characters and he was just pure fun to write. He’s an ornery old man and, frankly, I hope I grow up to be just like him.

The hardest character to write was Agent Bellamy. He became my proxy character and there was a great amount of my personal story wrapped up in him. Watching him deal with certain things dredged up personal memories of my mother’s death. Those made for tough writing days sometimes. But, in the end, it helped me work through some things.


TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in The Returned?

Jason:  Haha. This is going to be tough because my favorite seen is a bit of a “spoiler,” so I can’t go into too much detail. But I will say that it occurs near the very end of the book and, for one of the characters, it’s a bit of a revelations about their motives. I really enjoyed writing that scene and seeing that character come to a better understanding of themselves.



TQ:  What's next?

Jason:  Right now I’m working on my next manuscript. I’m always working on something. I’ve got another novel due to my publisher soon and, after that, I’ve got a couple of other projects I’m chopping away at as well. I’d love to get my feet wet in the realms of graphic novels and screenwriting if I can.

Also, the big thing for me right now is watching the production of the upcoming television series. Television rights for The Returned were picked up last year and, over the winter, a pilot was shot. Well, in May ABC picked up the pilot and it will become an ongoing series titled RESURRECTION beginning early next year. They’re actually just about to go into production on season 1. I’m thoroughly excited about that!



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Jason:  Thanks so much for having me!






The Returned

The Returned
Harlequin MIRA, August 27, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Harold and Lucille Hargrave's lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they've settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time…. Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep—flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old.

All over the world, people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he's their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.

With spare, elegant prose and searing emotional depth, award-winning poet Jason Mott explores timeless questions of faith and morality, love and responsibility. A spellbinding and stunning debut, The Returned is an unforgettable story that marks the arrival of an important new voice in contemporary fiction.





The eBook Prequels

The First
The Returned Prequel 1
Harlequin MIRA, June 1, 2013
eBook

In Jason Mott's haunting and unforgettable debut novel, The Returned, an impossible miracle is occurring all across the globe. Read how it all begins in this short story, The First.

It's been just over a year since Edmund Blithe died, and just over a month since his fiancée, Emily, stopped wearing her engagement ring. Emily has finally begun to move on... Until Edmund mysteriously and inexplicably returns, sending the world--and Emily--into a tailspin.

Edmund is only just the beginning. Around the world, people's loved ones are returning from beyond, seeking only to reenter the lives they left behind. As the world dives deep into uncertainty, Emily and Edmund are determined to find their way back to one another...even if it means risking everything.

The reappearances continue in The Sparrow, and look for The Returned from Harlequin MIRA, a moving tale of a family given a second chance at life and a world where nothing--not even death--is certain.


The Sparrow
The Returned Prequel 2
Harlequin MIRA, July 1, 2013
eBook

In this short story by Jason Mott, author of The Returned, one determined couple seeks to reunite a young girl with the father who thought he had lost her forever...

When Heather and Matt Campbell find ten-year-old Tatiana Rusesa on the side of the highway, she is thousands of miles away from her village in Sierra Leone. She hasn't seen her family in almost two decades, not since she and her mother were killed by rebel soldiers. Now Tatiana has inexplicably returned, a lost orphan with no place to call home.

As the world dives deeper into uncertainty and chaos, Heather is determined to save Tatiana and help her find her way back to her family. But how much is she willing to lose to protect a girl she doesn't even know?

Learn how the mysterious reappearances begin in The First, and don't miss Jason Mott's unforgettable debut novel, The Returned, from Harlequin MIRA, a moving tale of a family navigating this unusual new reality and given a second chance at life.


The Choice
The Returned Prequel 3
Harlequin MIRA, August 1, 2013
eBook

In this short story by Jason Mott, author of The Returned, a man is forced to choose between the life he has now, and the one he thought was gone forever….

Peter Galvin was just seventeen when Tracy Whitland,— the love of his life—, vanished without a trace. In the years after her death, he had finally moved on, gotten married, started a family. He is content with his life now—happy, even…. Until Tracy suddenly and inexplicably returns.

For weeks, Peter and his wife, Samantha, have been watching mysterious reports of people's loved ones returning from beyond, the world spinning into uncertainty and chaos. But they never imagined it would happen to them. With Tracy's unusual homecoming, Peter and Samantha must decide where they can possibly go from here, and whether their family can survive….

Read more stories of the Returned in The First and The Sparrow. And don't miss Jason Mott's haunting debut novel, The Returned, a story of one family given an extraordinary second chance.


Note: The 3 Prequels are presently free at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iTunes. The Audible editions of the 3 Prequels are presently free at Amazon.





About Jason

Jason Mott lives in southeastern North Carolina. He has a BFA in Fiction and an MFA in Poetry, both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His poetry and fiction has appeared in various. He was nominated for a 2009 Pushcart Prize award. He is the author of two poetry collections: We Call This Thing Between Us Love and “…hide behind me…The Returned is his first novel.

The Returned has also been optioned by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, in association with Brillstein Entertainment and ABC. It will air on the ABC network early next year under the title “Resurrection.”

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @JasonMott




The View From Monday - August 26, 2013


Happy Monday!  Summer is over for us as the kids go back to school on Tuesday. This makes me unhappy. I really like having them here. It's not that I won't see them both after school, but life will be much more hectic for everyone. On the other hand I should get a lot more reading and writing done. My reading has been very light since the end of January for RL reasons. Hopefully I will begin to catch up on everything soon.



The View From Monday - August 26, 2013



August is ending with 5 debuts!

Twilight Hunter (The Execution Underground 1) by Kait Ballenger;

Saxon's Bane by Geoffrey Gudgion (I highly recommended you read this.);

Children of Fire (The Chaos Born 1) by Drew Karpyshyn;

Billy Moon by Douglas Lain; and

The Returned by Jason Mott.


And from formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors:

The Exodus Towers (The Dire Earth Cycle 2) by Jason M. Hough.  The first novel in The Dire Earth Cycle, The Darwin Elevator, came out last month. It's an excellent read and a very, very self-assured debut so pick that up along with The Exodus Towers. The third novel in the series, The Plague Forge, will be out on September 24, 2013 so you won't have too long to wait because you will want the next book right away.

Chosen (Alex Verus 4) by Benedict Jacka. This is a terrific UF series featuring Alex Verus, a mage who can see possible futures. Alex is fantastic and the books are great fun and very well written.



August 26, 2013
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Demon's Desire (e) Kendra Leigh Castle PNR - Hearts of the Fallen 2
The Awakening: Liam (e) Abby Niles PNR - The Awakening 2



August 27, 2013
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Perdition Ann Aguirre SF - Dred Chronicles 1
Hearts in Darkness (ri) Keri Arthur UF - Nikki and Michael 2
Twilight Hunter (D) Kait Ballenger PNR - Execution Underground 1
Only Superhuman (h2mm) Christopher L. Bennett SF
Deception Cove Jayne Castle PNR - Rainshadow 2
For the Love of Magic Janet Chapman PNR - Spellbound Falls 5
Heaven and Hellsbane Paige Cuccaro PNR - Hellsbane 3
Heavy Metal Natalie J. Damschroder PNR - Goddesses Rising 2
Heart of Venom Jennifer Estep UF - Elemental Assassin 9
Shadows of the New Sun: Stories in Honor of Gene Wolfe Bill Fawcett (ed) Anthology
Dark Storm (h2tp) Christine Feehan PNR - Dark 23
1635: Papal Stakes (ri) (h2mm) Eric Flint
Charles E. Gannon
AH - Ring of Fire 15
Immortally Ever After Angie Fox PNR - Monster M*A*S*H 3
Spirits From Beyond Simon R. Green UF - Ghostfinders 4
Saxon's Bane (D) Geoffrey Gudgion UF/H
Transcendental James Gunn SF
The Exodus Towers Jason M. Hough SF - The Dire Earth Cycle 2
Star Trek: The Fall: Revelation and Dust David R. George III SF - Star Trek
Chosen Benedict Jacka UF - Alex Verus 4
Children of Fire (D) Drew Karpyshyn F - The Chaos Born 1
A Thousand Perfect Things Kay Kenyon AH
Crown of Vengeance (h2mm) Mercedes Lackey
James Mallory
F - Dragon Prophecy 1
Billy Moon (D) Douglas Lain F/AH
Dragon Ship (h2mm) Sharon Lee
Steve Miller
SF - New Liaden Universe 5
Age of Godpunk: Collecting Age of Anansi, Age of Satan and Age of Gaia James Lovegrove F - Collection
The Gemini Virus (h2mm) Wil Mara S/Th
Songs of the Dying Earth (tp2mm) George R.R. Martin (ed)
Gardner Dozois (ed)
SF - Anthology
Too Many Curses (tp2mm) A. Lee Martinez F
Kenobi John Jackson Miller SF - Star Wars
They Also Serve (e) (ri) Mike Moscoe SF - Jump Universe 3
The Returned (D) Jason Mott F
Crux Ramez Naam SF - Nexus 2
The Five Deaths of Roxanne Love Erin Quinn PNR
Cast in Sorrow Michelle Sagara PNR - Chronicles of Elantra 9
The Time of Contempt Andrzej Sapkowski F - Saga of Wiedzminie 4
Must Love Fangs Jessica Sims PNR - Midnight Liaisons 3
The Vampire With the Dragon Tattoo Kerrelyn Sparks PNR - Love at Stake 14
Blood Bond Jeanne C. Stein UF - Anna Strong 9
Red Rain (h2mm) R.L. Stine H
SideQuest Adventures Mark Teppo
Angus Trim
Michael Tinker Pearce
Linda Pearce
AH/F - Foreworld Saga
The Sorority Tamara Thorne H
The Thursday War (tp2mm) Karen Traviss SF - HALO
Kiss of Night (tp2mm) Debbie Viguie PNR - Kiss 1
The Blinding Knife (h2tp) Brent Weeks F - Lightbringer 2



August 31, 2013
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Minority Report (Deluxe) Philip K. Dick SF
Hot Times in Magma City (Deluxe) Robert Silverberg SF



e - eBook
D - Debut
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint
tp2mm - Trade to Mass Market Paperback


AH - Alternate History
F - Fantasy
H - Horror
PNR - Paranormal Romance
SF - Science Fiction
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy

2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2013


It's time for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars for August 2013!

2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2013



Since Cover Wars was so much fun as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge, we're doing it again for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge. Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from each month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2013 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released in the US. Cover artist/illustrator information is provided when I have it.



Vote for your Favorite August 2013 Debut Novel Cover!
  
pollcode.com free polls 

Voting will close on August 31, 2013.

(Please note that when you click "View" above it will take you to the PollCode site. Please click "Back" there to come back to this post. Leave any comments below.)






2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2013





2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2013





2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2013





2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2013





2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2013





2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2013





2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2013





2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2013




Guest Blog by Jason Mott, author of The Returned - The Power of Third Person - July 25, 2013


Please welcome Jason Mott to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. The Returned will be published on August 27, 2013 by Harlequin MIRA.  I also have it on good authority that today is Jason's birthday. Please join The Qwillery in wishing a very Happy Birthday to Jason!







The Power of Third Person

Just before I started my novel, I had a planning session with a very good friend. He and I met almost ten years ago in an undergraduate writing class and we’ve been partners in crime ever since. I always go to him when I want to solve, or just explore, some element of writing. One of the things we talked about was whether or not THE RETURNED would most benefit from being written in first-person or third-person, and that simple question led to a very long discussion on the art of both writing and learning to write.

When we start writing, we almost immediately realize how tough it is. There are so many things to consider, so many tasks to achieve in order to create a story. It can be overwhelming to say the least. And, at some point, we invariably try our hand at both first-person and third-person narration. In my experience, first-person is the one that captures our imagination the most in the beginning. From a writing standpoint—for me, at least—I still remember the excitement of creating an intriguing narrative voice and watching that character make their way through the plot points. I was always waiting to hear what this character had to say next. They became an alternate version of myself. I would say something to someone and immediately think “That’s what my character would say!”

And that was incredibly fun and exciting.

However, as time went on and I wrote more and more stories, I began to notice that, while each voice I wrote in was interesting to me, they began to share many elements. Yes, the stories they inhabited were different and, for the most part, even the voices of the narrators were different…but, still, they were beginning to overlap. More than that: theme, pacing, scene construction…all of these things took a backseat to the voice of first-person. If I ever needed something done, the easiest way was to use the character’s voice to do it. It was a little like being fast-tracked in my writing. My friends would read my stories and give me lots of compliments, but they also began to say “The story was a little off…but the voice was so interesting I just kept reading.”

That was the catch. I was creating good voices, but bad stories. Ultimately, I was focusing so much of my writing energy on these voices was distracting me from so many of the other elements of writing that help create good writers. So I made the hard decision to writer fewer first-person stories and to really focus on third-person writing.

I’d consider myself a “classical writer” now, in the sense that I’ve become a bit devoted to third-person narration—both as a writer and as a reader. Even though a couple of my favorite books are written in first-person, overall, I deeply believe that, as a writer seeking to further their craft and ability, first-person can be a trap. A good voice will do a great deal of the “heavy lifting” for a writer, which may lead to speedier publication, but in the long run, it’s like training just one muscle group and not the entire body.

Writing is tough. And the writing market is hyper-competitive. A writer needs to be skilled in as many aspects of writing as possible if they want to be successful. A good writer has to be capable not only in voice, but also in tone, scene, setting, transitions, they have to be able to both be concise or expansive when needed, and many, many more things. And while first-person narration does require these elements, I believe that writers can learn more from working in third-person.

And while I am IN NO WAY saying that first-person narration is a bad thing (Please, please, don’t come away thinking that) I do feel that, pound for pound, third-person is the best training ground for any writer. So when the time came for me to begin writing THE RETURNED, the choice was clear.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! What narration point-of-view do you think works best? And why?






The Returned

The Returned
Harlequin MIRA, August 27, 2013
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Harold and Lucille Hargrave's lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they've settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time…. Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep—flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old.

All over the world, people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he's their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.

With spare, elegant prose and searing emotional depth, award-winning poet Jason Mott explores timeless questions of faith and morality, love and responsibility. A spellbinding and stunning debut, The Returned is an unforgettable story that marks the arrival of an important new voice in contemporary fiction.






The eBook Prequels

The First
The Returned Prequel 1
Harlequin MIRA, June 1, 2013
eBook

In Jason Mott's haunting and unforgettable debut novel, The Returned, an impossible miracle is occurring all across the globe. Read how it all begins in this short story, The First.

It's been just over a year since Edmund Blithe died, and just over a month since his fiancée, Emily, stopped wearing her engagement ring. Emily has finally begun to move on... Until Edmund mysteriously and inexplicably returns, sending the world--and Emily--into a tailspin.

Edmund is only just the beginning. Around the world, people's loved ones are returning from beyond, seeking only to reenter the lives they left behind. As the world dives deep into uncertainty, Emily and Edmund are determined to find their way back to one another...even if it means risking everything.

The reappearances continue in The Sparrow, and look for The Returned from Harlequin MIRA, a moving tale of a family given a second chance at life and a world where nothing--not even death--is certain.


The Sparrow
The Returned Prequel 2
Harlequin MIRA, July 1, 2013
eBook

In this short story by Jason Mott, author of The Returned, one determined couple seeks to reunite a young girl with the father who thought he had lost her forever...

When Heather and Matt Campbell find ten-year-old Tatiana Rusesa on the side of the highway, she is thousands of miles away from her village in Sierra Leone. She hasn't seen her family in almost two decades, not since she and her mother were killed by rebel soldiers. Now Tatiana has inexplicably returned, a lost orphan with no place to call home.

As the world dives deeper into uncertainty and chaos, Heather is determined to save Tatiana and help her find her way back to her family. But how much is she willing to lose to protect a girl she doesn't even know?

Learn how the mysterious reappearances begin in The First, and don't miss Jason Mott's unforgettable debut novel, The Returned, from Harlequin MIRA, a moving tale of a family navigating this unusual new reality and given a second chance at life.



The Choice
The Returned Prequel 3
Harlequin MIRA, August 1, 2013
eBook

In this short story by Jason Mott, author of The Returned, a man is forced to choose between the life he has now, and the one he thought was gone forever….

Peter Galvin was just seventeen when Tracy Whitland,— the love of his life—, vanished without a trace. In the years after her death, he had finally moved on, gotten married, started a family. He is content with his life now—happy, even…. Until Tracy suddenly and inexplicably returns.

For weeks, Peter and his wife, Samantha, have been watching mysterious reports of people's loved ones returning from beyond, the world spinning into uncertainty and chaos. But they never imagined it would happen to them. With Tracy's unusual homecoming, Peter and Samantha must decide where they can possibly go from here, and whether their family can survive….

Read more stories of the Returned in The First and The Sparrow. And don't miss Jason Mott's haunting debut novel, The Returned, a story of one family given an extraordinary second chance.


Note: The 3 Prequels are presently free at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.





About Jason

Jason Mott lives in southeastern North Carolina. He has a BFA in Fiction and an MFA in Poetry, both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His poetry and fiction has appeared in various. He was nominated for a 2009 Pushcart Prize award. He is the author of two poetry collections: We Call This Thing Between Us Love and “…hide behind me…The Returned is his first novel.

The Returned has also been optioned by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, in association with Brillstein Entertainment and ABC. It will air on the ABC network early next year under the title “Resurrection.”

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @JasonMott




Interview with Jason Mott, author of The Returned - August 29, 2013The View From Monday - August 26, 20132013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2013Guest Blog by Jason Mott, author of The Returned - The Power of Third Person - July 25, 2013

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