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When Loved Ones Return From The Dead

Randy Skidmore

If someone you cared for died, you might be haunted by questions about how your life might be different had that person survived, about what you might say if you had one more chance to talk. Those questions are behind author Jason Mott's novel The Returned.

The book is now an ABC television series, Resurrection, which premieres Sunday.

Mott tells NPR's Michel Martin that the book was inspired by a dream about his mother returning to life, and how such a scenario would play out if it really happened.

"During the writing process, I didn't want it to be a sad book. I didn't want it to be a book about death, I wanted it to be a book about life," he says.

Interview Highlights

On the dream that inspired his book

I had this dream that I came home from work and found my mother sitting at the kitchen table waiting for me. So I came in and sat with her. And for what seemed like hours, we just talked about all the things that had happened in the years since she passed away. She gave me a hard time about not being married, 'cause that's what my mom used to do. It was just a really warm and cathartic dream where, for the first time in almost nine years, I was back with my mother as true as I had ever wanted to hope for.

On how reunions with the deceased can be complicated

If my mother returned somehow and showed up, she would come back looking for that 22-year-old boy that she left behind, and she would find a 35-year-old man in his place who has different opinions, who's evolved in a very different life from that point forward. So I wanted to really play on that dynamic of how this really would play out.

Once you got the hugging, and the crying and that wonderful moment of being back with the person, what happens when days turn to weeks, turn to months, and time marches forward? How does that dynamic play out at that time?

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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