This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. John Herrick will be awarding a Kindle version of Beautiful Mess, plus free Kindle versions of entire John Herrick backlist to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
John Herrick, thanks so much for stopping by. How did you get started writing?
Thanks for letting me stop by! As a third grader, after finishing a class assignment one day, I looked over at a friend and asked what she was working on. She said she was writing a short story. It sounded like fun, so I gave it a try. I became a writer that day. I fell in love with storytelling. Later, I fell in love with emotion and character psychology.
What was the inspiration for your book?
Seven years ago, I read a biography about Marilyn Monroe and learned authorities had locked her away in a mental institution, against her will, for a brief period. Questions struck me: How would that trauma change her life? Would it ignite fear or paranoia toward what others would think of her from that point on? That piece of trivia planted the seed for Beautiful Mess.
Then there’s the inspiration for my protagonist, Del Corwyn: For some actors/actresses, an Academy Award nomination or win seems to launch their career into a new, enhanced phase. But others, especially in the supporting actor/actress categories, seem to fade from the forefront in a year or two. I’ve often wondered about that second group of people. What made their situation different from the first group? Do they simply pursue other avenues? Do they pursue those avenues by choice, or just to survive? Did a poor choice for their next project torpedo their career? Or did they lack better options because of weak agent? Del is an Oscar-nominated actor who made an unsuccessful choice for his next project, which dealt a fatal blow to his career. He’s spent the next 40 years facing the consequences of that choice.
So those two fascinations merged in my head to provide the inspiration for Beautiful Mess.
What’s the one genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?
I’m aching to delve into suspense! That was always my goal as an author, but human heart stories have arisen to the surface, probably because character development and emotion seem to be my strongest suits. Meanwhile, I’ve partially developed several suspense concepts. And I do have a short suspense story available, called Hit and Run. Currently, it’s available in standalone form only as a Kindle exclusive. (However, if you’re a physical book reader, it’s included in the paperback version of Beautiful Mess!)
Are there any genres you won’t read or write in? Why?
Horror. It just creeps me out. The farthest I’ve tiptoed into horror is Stephen King’s Under the Dome, and that was more like horror-lite, if anything at all.
What are you up to right now? Do you have any releases planned, or are you still writing?
I have another romantic comedy ready to go, scheduled for late 2018. Beyond that, I’m in the process of landing on the next idea. A combination of research and trial-and-error. It’s important for the concept to resonate with my heart, if possible.
Alright, now for some totally random, fun questions. Favorite color?
Book that inspired you to become an author?
The Firm by John Grisham. With that book, I fell back in love with novels.
You have one superpower. What is it?
Time travel! (That said, a magic wand to make problematic people disappear would also be nice!)
You can have dinner with any 3 people, dead, alive, fictitious, etc. Who are they?
Jesus, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Candy.
Last question: Which of your characters are you most like and how/why?
You saved the toughest question for last! I believe a piece of the author finds its way into the book, whether as a character, or as an aspect of its mind, or maybe its struggle symbolizes one of the author’s struggles. I’m an self-psychoanalytical guy—whether that’s good or bad, I don’t know—so rather than my characters resembling me, I tend to channel my self-analysis into their struggles and they become a symbol for me. When I wrote The Landing, I was frustrated and felt trapped in my career. My protagonist was frustrated and felt trapped by unrequited love. Two completely different struggles, but that character’s struggle became a symbol for me. But if you want to know how bad that personal psychoanalysis can get, if you want a glimpse inside my mind, you’ll find an excellent example with Hunter Carlisle, my main character from Between These Walls. Hunter and I torment ourselves in similar ways.
That’s all from me, thanks so much for taking the time to stop by!
Thank YOU for the chance to spend time with you and your readers!
And the Marilyn Monroe you only thought you knew.
Del Corwyn is an aging relic. An actor who advanced from errand boy to Academy Award nominee, Del kept company with the elite of Hollywood’s golden era and shared a close friendship with Marilyn Monroe. Today, however, he faces bankruptcy.
Humiliated, Del is forced to downgrade his lifestyle, sell the home he's long cherished, and fade into a history of forgotten legends—unless he can revive his career. All he needs is one last chance. While searching through memorabilia from his beloved past, Del rediscovers a mysterious envelope, dated 1962, containing an original screenplay by Marilyn Monroe—and proof that she named him its legal guardian.
Del surges to the top of Hollywood’s A-list overnight. But the opportunity to reclaim his fame and fortune brings a choice: Is Del willing to sacrifice newfound love, self-respect and his most cherished friendship to achieve his greatest dream?
A story of warmth, humor and honesty, Beautiful Mess follows one man's journey toward love and relevance where he least expects it—and proves coming-of-age isn't just for the young.
Read an excerpt:
“I have an intriguing prospect for a new film,” Del replied as he took a seat. He tapped the manila envelope tucked under his arm, which contained Marilyn’s script.
He could’ve sworn he caught Arnie in the onset of an eye roll brought to a sudden halt.
“What kind of project?”
“A pop-culture type of thing. You could say it has a retro feel to it.”
Arnie sighed. “Del, I realize you like to relive the past—”
“This is a winner, Arnie. I guarantee it.”
“And what does this winning project involve?”
“Marilyn Monroe. It’s a screenplay.”
“With all due respect, isn’t that a bit clichéd? This would need to be an angle no one else has covered. Many people have done films about Marilyn Monroe, not to mention books and memorabilia and everything else under the sun.”
“You don’t understand. This isn’t about Marilyn Monroe.” Del felt a surge of adrenaline and couldn’t contain himself. He leaned forward and, with great pomp, planted the thick package on Arnie’s desk. It landed with a thump. “It’s by Marilyn Monroe.”
Arnie sat open-mouthed as he tried to follow along. His eyes widened in perplexity. “By Marilyn Monroe,” he repeated.
“Del, what the hell are you talking about?”
With a lighthearted laugh, Del eased back into the chair. “Last night, I rummaged through some boxes I’d stored away long ago. Hadn’t looked through them in years. Relics from my heyday. Things I’d forgotten I’d saved. And at the bottom of one of those boxes, I found this.”
He patted the envelope, which crinkled at his touch.
“It’s a script, given to me in 1962.” Del caught Arnie’s eye to make sure the man paid full attention. “Written by Marilyn Monroe.”
About the Author:
Herrick graduated from the University of Missouri—Columbia. Rejected for every writing position he sought, he turned to information technology and fund development, where he cultivated analytical and project management skills that helped shape his novel-writing process. He seized unpaid opportunities writing radio commercial copy and ghostwriting for two nationally syndicated radio preachers.
The Akron Beacon Journal hailed Herrick's From the Dead as “a solid debut novel.” Published in 2010, it became an Amazon bestseller. The Landing, a semifinalist in the inaugural Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, followed. Publishers Weekly predicted “Herrick will make waves” with his novel Between These Walls.
Herrick's nonfiction book 8 Reasons Your Life Matters introduced him to new readers worldwide. The free e-book surpassed 150,000 downloads and hit #1 on Amazon's Motivational Self-Help and Christian Inspiration bestseller lists. Reader response prompted a trade paperback.
His latest novel, Beautiful Mess, folds the legend of Marilyn Monroe into an ensemble romantic-comedy.
Herrick admits his journey felt disconnected. “It was a challenge but also a growth process,” he acknowledges. “But in retrospect, I can see God's fingerprints all over it.”
Buy the book at Amazon.
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