THE PREVAILING narrative about Jason Mott is that he's an overnight success. Mott's debut novel, The Returned - about people who mysteriously return from the dead and the reaction to their reappearance - was adapted into the hit ABC TV series "Resurrection."
But that story doesn't include the five manuscripts Mott shopped around before The Returned hit it big, or Mott's tenure as a Verizon customer-service rep after graduating from the creative-writing program at the University of North Carolina, which allowed him to work days and write at night.
Mott will chat about and sign copies of The Returned at the African American Museum in Philadelphia (701 Arch St.) from 6 to 7:30 tonight.
While Mott's work is firmly based in the magical-realism genre, he deals with issues like the dead returning to Earth or a girl who can mysteriously heal the wounded (as in his next book, The Wonder of All Things, due out in October), through the lens of the family unit, especially through the parent-child relationship, even though Mott doesn't have any children himself.
"I have nieces and nephews, which is awesome, because you can send them home when they are bad," Mott said, laughing. "And I can spoil them."
But his experience extends beyond just being a fun uncle, partially raising a young nephew who lived with him and his parents. "Even though I'm not a parent, I've had the job," Mott said. "It's a very rich field to work in."
Director M. Night Shyamalan held a wrap party for his under-the-radar thriller "Sundowning," starring Kathryn Hahn ("Anchorman," "Step Brothers"), at the Hotel Monaco (433 Chestnut St.) on Thursday night.
The movie, which Shyamalan tweeted yesterday was his "favorite shoot," features Hahn as a single mom who takes her two little ones to visit their grandparents in Pennsylvania, but all does not go as planned.
Although it would be pretty great if the twist in this Shyamalan movie was that everything went peachy keen, and mom and her kiddies left happy and intact.
"Bachelor" Juan Pablo Galavis and his lady not-yet-love Nikki Ferrell traveled to Philadelphia this weekend for a little beisbol, visiting Citizen's Bank Park on Saturday. Alas, the exhibition game scheduled for that day was rained out. The couple still toured the facility.
Galavis and the Phillies are becoming fast friends. He visited the team while they were playing in Clearwater last week.
* In other Phils news, James Palmer, a reporter/anchor at CSN Houston, made his first live hometown appearance last week while doing a report with John Clark. Palmer may have sounded familiar: His pops is former 6ABC sportscaster (and current Phillies director of public affairs) Scott Palmer.
Patti LaBelle stopped by Keven Parker's Soul Food Cafe on Friday at the Reading Terminal Market (1115-1141 Market St.) to celebrate the first anniversary of Parker's stand. LaBelle sang "If Only You Knew" to Parker and sipped on some lemonade.
Entertainers Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, Lloyd Price and Stewie Stone joined their old pal Jerry Blavat on Thursday night at the Chart House (555 S. Columbus Blvd.), where the Golden Nugget threw a party to celebrate the Geator's new dance party at the Atlantic City hotel. Geator Gold Dance Parties will be held Thursdays through Labor Day. Pierre Robert of 93.3 WMMR was also among Blavat's friends partying at the waterfront restaurant.
Celeste DiNucci, manager of corporate and foundation relations at Settlement Music School, will compete in the high pantheon of "Jeopardy" greatness: the Battle of the Decades Tournament, in which the best of the '00s will go head-to-head to determine quizzing superiority. Check DiNucci out tonight at 7 on 6ABC.
* Marc Summers dined at Legal Seafoods' King of Prussia location (680 W. Dekalb Pike) on Saturday. Summers' next trick? He'll guest-host "Good Day Philadelphia" with Mike Jerrick and Co., filling in for the recently departed Sheinelle Jones.
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