Friday, September 13, 2013

Interview with Amazing and Talented debut author Jason Mott - The Returned

Today I'm so pleased to bring you an interview with an author whose debut novel and short story prequels have been stirring quite the Frenzy and whose novel has been optioned by Bradd Pitt's production company and is slated to begin production for an ongoing television series starting in 2014 Titled Ressurection. When I asked Jason where the idea for the story came from he says––"...The story began with a dream I had about my mother. Both of my parents have passed away—my mother in 2001, and my father in 2007. In the summer of 2010 I had a dream that I came home from work and found my mother sitting at the kitchen table waiting for me..." 

See the complete interview below


  • ISBN-13: 9780778315339
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 8/27/2013
  • Series: Returned Series
  • Pages: 352


"Jacob was time out of sync, time more perfect than it had been. He was life the way it was supposed to be all those years ago. That's what all the Returned were."
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
"The Returned transforms a brilliant premise into an extraordinary and beautifully realized novel. My spine is still shivering from the memory of this haunting story. Wow." -Douglas Preston, #1 bestselling author of The Monster of Florence
"White-hot debut."
-Entertainment Weekly, Summer Must List
"In his exceptional debut novel, poet Mott brings drama, pathos, joy, horror, and redemption to a riveting tale." -Publishers Weekly, starred review
"This book offers a beautifully written and emotionally astute lens at our world gone awry....Poet and debut author Mott has written a breathtaking novel that navigates emotional minefields with realism and grace."
-Kirkus, starred review
"Mott brings a singularly eloquent voice to this elegiac novel, which not only fearlessly tackles larger questions about mortality but also insightfully captures life's simpler moments....A beautiful meditation on what it means to be human."
-Booklist, starred review
"A wondrous surprise. With fine craftsmanship and a deep understanding of the human condition, Jason Mott has woven a tale that is in turns tragic and humorous and terrifying. Surely this will spark many a fabulous book club discussion." -Eowyn Ivey, New York Times bestselling author of The Snow Child
"A deft meditation on loss that plays out levels of consequence on both personal and international stages. Mott allows the magic of his story to unearth a full range of feelings about grief and connection." -Aimee Bender, New York Times bestselling author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
"This is a masterly first novel for speaks to many aspects of the human condition....Highly recommended for those who love a strong story that makes them think."
-Library Journal (starred review
"Thought-provoking, occasionally dreamlike...Mott's story of literal life after death will catch readers by their hearts and capture their imaginations....Grab this book as soon as you possibly can."
-Shelf Awareness

Please welcome debut author and award winning poet Jason Mott to The Reading Frenzy!

Jason, welcome, tell us about The Returned.

I absolutely love the cover of the novel.
What kind of input did you have in the choosing?
My publisher actually did most of the heavy lifting with the cover.  The amount of energy and care that went into it was pretty amazing.  It was one of those cases where as soon as I saw the first draft of the cover, I was in love with it.

How does it enhance the story, or does it?
It does a wonderful job of representing the tone of the novel.  The world of The Returned in a world in which one of the most fundamental laws—that death is permanent—has been broken.  The inverted image on the cover does a wonderful job of reflecting the dissonance created by that.

Where did the idea for The Returned come from?
The story began with a dream I had about my mother.  Both of my parents have passed away—my mother in 2001, and my father in 2007.  In the summer of 2010 I had a dream that I came home from work and found my mother sitting at the kitchen table waiting for me.  It was one of those really vivid dreams, the ones that blur the lines between reality and imagination.  For me, it was a very special and cathartic encounter.  After almost a decade, I was able to sit with my mother again.  We talked about all the things that have happened in the time since her death.  She even nagged me about not being married yet.  Haha. 

I came away from that dream with a desire to cling to it, to the feeling of warmth and comfort it gave me.  Not long after, I was discussing this with a friend who said “What if that really happened?  And what if it wasn’t just her?”  And that was where The Returned began.

Jason, the premise is interesting and a bit macabre.
What in your opinion sets it apart?
I actually feel that The Returned is set apart by the fact that, hopefully, readers won’t feel that the book is macabre.  While death is, obviously, a massive part of the narrative, I like to think that the book is more about life than death.  It’s a book about relationships, about the many connections that occur between people and how those endure over time, and even extend beyond death.  For me, The Returned is a book about the celebration of life, and I hope that sets it apart from what some people might expect of it.

You have received rave critical praise for this your debut novel, congratulations!
What would be more important to you a critical review or a heart felt reader review?
Honestly, both reviews are pretty important to me, so it’s hard to say which would be more important.  As writers, anytime someone—whether professional critic or everyday reader—is positively impacted by something we write, it’s difficult to describe how wonderful that feeling is.  But while I can’t quite say which is more important, I will definitely say that I love hearing from readers.  Those can be very special connections, so I always look forward to them.

Jason you’re also a published poet and in fact have written some prequel pieces to The Returned;
The Choice
The Sparrow
The First
Do you suggest we read these before The Returned?
Everyone is welcome to read them, of course.  But they are by no means a prerequisite.  The prequels were designed to stand alone, simply as expansions of the world of The Returned.  Still, a lot of love and care went into those pieces, so I hope readers find them and enjoy them.

Jason I just learned that The Returned has been optioned by Brad Pitt’s Plan B Production Company in association with ABC as a TV drama series.
First Congratulations!
Second will you have any role in the production?
I do a little consultation now and again, but Plan B has assembled a wonderful team of producers, writers, and actors.  I have full confidence in them and, just like everyone else, I’m excited to see where they take things.

Jason are you a reader?
Fiction or non-fiction?
What authors are you favorites?
I am a reader and fiction is my primary realm.  I’m a big fan of the classics (Beowulf, The Odyssey, The Iliad, etc.).  My two favorite writers are John Gardner and William Golding.  Their works—particularly John Gardner’s Grendel and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies—have become the stars by which my writing is guided. 
Of the more contemporary writers, I’m a big fan of Eowyn Ivey, Karen Thompson-Walker, Toni Morrison, Neil Gaiman, John Irving, and many others.

Jason is there another novel in your future?
Definitely.  I’m actually pretty close to completing a new manuscript—it’s been a busy year!  I can’t go into much detail about it, but I will say that it is another magical realism novel set in the South.

Jason in accord with your novel.
If you could bring someone back whom would it be and why?
My mother.  Even if it was only for a little while.  She was always a supporter of my dream of becoming a writer, but passed before I really found myself as a writer.  I’d love it if she could see that I turned out okay in the end.  But, in my heart, I feel that she knows.

Jason thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.
Good luck with the new novel and congratulations for the early kudos!
Thank you so much for having me!

Connect with Jason – WebsiteFacebookTwitter

For up to date events/signings check out Jason’s website

The Returned Book Trailer



  1. Oh I totally want to read this, and will be DVRing this show!

    1. Me too Kim. thanks for commenting
      Have a great weekend