Today I am interviewing Joseph Helmreich, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Return.
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DJ: Hey Joseph! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Joseph Helmreich: Sure! I’m a New York-based writer and The Return is my first novel. When not writing, I work in film distribution and play with an alternative folk band called Honeybrick.
DJ: What is The Return about?
Joseph: The Return is about a washed-up physicist who gets abducted by an alien ship during a live TV broadcast. Years later, he turns up in the desert and claims the whole thing never happened. The story focuses on the physics grad student who tries to track him down and get to the bottom of it.
DJ: What were some of your influences for The Return?
Joseph: Quite a few writers were influential for me while I was writing, among them Harlan Coben, Lee Child, David Mitchell, Bruce Coville and, though it might not be obvious, Tom Wolfe. Also, the great sci fi Spielberg movies of the 70’s and 80’s were always on my mind. And music played a huge role, especially Arcade Fire, Okkervil River, and Joseph Arthur.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
Joseph: I think my favorite character is Andrew Leland, the physicist at the center of the story. There’s an ambiguity to him and to his motives where you’re kind of always left guessing.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing The Return?
Joseph: Everything about writing the book was exhilarating, but I especially enjoyed all the research it entailed. I got to learn about many fascinating topics that were entirely new to me.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from The Return that you can share with us?
Joseph: I like the first line of the book a lot: “If the conspiracy theorists are right and it never happened, then the day it didn’t happen began innocently enough.”
DJ: Now that The Return is released, what is next for you?
Joseph: I’d love to adapt The Return into a screenplay. That’s probably my main goal right now.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about The Return that we haven’t talked about yet?
Joseph: Any reader who orders a copy of the book within 48 hours of this interview and sends me the confirmation at josephhelmreichATgmail.com, will get an emailed drawing of them being abducted by aliens.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Joseph: My pleasure!
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*** The Return is published by Thomas Dunne Books and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
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Years after a scientist is abducted on live TV, a graduate student tracks down the mysteriously returned, yet reclusive man, ultimately uncovering a global conspiracy.
During a live television broadcast on the night of a lunar eclipse, renowned astrophysicist Andrew Leland is suddenly lifted into the sky by a giant spacecraft and taken away for all to see. Six years later, he turns up, wandering in a South American desert, denying ever having been abducted and disappears from the public eye.
Meanwhile, he inspires legions of cultish devotees, including a young physics graduate student named Shawn Ferris who is obsessed with finding out what really happened to him. When Shawn finally tracks Leland down, he discovers that he’s been on the run for years, continuously hunted by a secret organization that has pursued him across multiple continents, determined to force him into revealing what he knows.
Shawn soon joins Leland on the run. Though Leland is at first reluctant to reveal anything, Shawn will soon learn the truth about his abduction, the real reason for his return, and will find himself caught up in a global conspiracy that puts more than just one planet in danger.
Equal parts science-fiction and globe-hopping thriller, The Return will appeal to fans of both, and to anyone who has ever wondered… what’s out there?