Wait, this isn't a sequel to "The Borrowers"...
The Returners by Mikey Neumann tells the story of historical figures returning for a second life on Earth, with all of their memories intact. Being released serially at Boz Publishing, the novel is currently at chapter 15, and is an action-packed page turner, filled with a memorable cast of characters, some great humor, and more historical references than you can shake a World History 101 syllabus at. Mr. Neumann, creative director at Gearbox Software, was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book and his process.
MD: How did you come about the concept?
MN: I was walking down Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood during the recording of Aliens: Colonial Marines and I had a free weekend. I knew that I wanted to write something while I was out there and I began a short story where we found out that the characters were historical figures that had returned. About halfway through writing the short, I knew this was going to be my next novel. It grew up from there.
MD: Why publish it online, and in installments as you have?
MN: I’m a huge Oliver Twist fan (as evidenced by the name of the website.) I love that there was a time where authors could publish serialized novels and people would keep coming back for more. I wanted to try my hand at the concept in a modern way — which turned into the site. Online just made sense. I wanted to talk directly to an audience in what is practically real time.
MD: I get the impression that this will be a multi-part series, is that correct, and if so, how many parts are you looking at it being?
MN: Yeah, this is only the first part of a three part novel, and that’s probably only the first novel. I broke it up into parts so that people could download eBook version to enjoy offline in their free time.
I want to wait and see how popular the concept gets before announcing a length of the entire thing. I know where the main story ends but there’s so many fun and interesting places to take the characters that I could imagine doing a lot of books with it.
MD: Is your writing process for a project like this different than something like Borderlands?
MN: Ha! Absolutely! A video game is a massive team effort where everyone helps spin a ton of plates in the air. I’m quite on my own with The Returners and it’s a refreshing change of pace from making a AAA video game (though, I obviously still love doing that as well.)
When not ranting about the current state of his favorite comics or working on L33t, Mark spends a majority of his time renovating his newly purchased, 120 year old Victorian house. Badly. He is very bad at talking about himself in the third person, as he thinks it make him sound pretentious.