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Friday, 4 August 2017

ℚ♫ Beautiful Mess - John Herrick

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Beautiful Mess (, Segue Blue, 295 pages), a Mainstream fiction (romantic comedy with a multigenerational ensemble cast).

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.

A creative and fresh romp through one of pop culture's most notorious tales. John Herrick's characters become your best friends. His world is keen, compelling and excessively alive.” — Jeffrey James Keyes, New York Times bestselling author

Beautiful Mess is an engaging work of fiction, a compelling and delicious ‘what if’ about one of the most celebrated and tragic figures in Hollywood history.” – Foreword Reviews magazine


|| Synopsis || Trailer || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||


A very warm welcome to John Herrick; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

Here at BooksChatter we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in Beautiful Mess, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"For the most part, I was into film scores this time around. Since Beautiful Mess is a light-hearted romantic comedy, I sought scores that made me feel light."
What was the inspiration for Beautiful Mess?
"Several years ago, I read a Marilyn Monroe biography and learned a close acquaintance betrayed her trust, which forced Marilyn into a mental institution against her will.

I had never heard about that. So Marilyn struggled alone, imprisoned in a place she knew she didn’t belong, with no chance to escape and no one to believe her when she insisted she was sane. How frightening! But Joe DiMaggio, her ex-husband and baseball legend, kept his faith in her. He worked behind the scenes and helped secure her release.

Nonetheless, I figured that experience must have left its scars. It must have changed her. That piece of trivia—and the way it jolted me—was the inspirational seed for Beautiful Mess."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"I’m an eternal optimist. I have a hard time drawing a line and saying, “It’s time to give up.” That little voice in me says, “What if it works this time? What if you’re one day away from succeeding, and you choose this moment to stop fighting for it?” In that respect, I’m a lot like my protagonist, Del Corwyn. He was once an Oscar-nominated actor, a hot commodity in Hollywood, but after one box office failure, his career never recovered. He’s spent the last 40 years never giving up, ready for the opportunity that will launch him back into the spotlight. And eventually, that opportunity comes—but readers need to read the book to find out what happens and how! ;-)"
Why should we read Beautiful Mess and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"We all know Marilyn Monroe’s public persona. We see it in her films. She embodied it in her photos. And yes, she helped perpetuate it. But most people do not realize she craved to be perceived the opposite way. She wanted her peers to accept her as a serious artist. She wanted the public to see her as an independent, thinking individual. The blonde bombshell persona was simply the vehicle she used to try to reach her destination which, unfortunately, she never reached. Instead of feeding on her public persona, Beautiful Mess attempts to present her the way she truly was, the way she wanted us to see her. And like Marilyn, the characters are all misfits in some manner.

Beyond the romantic comedy aspect and the what-if element behind Del’s discovery, readers will find much Marilyn trivia tucked into the pages. Readers looking for a fun, contemporary romantic comedy will find it in Beautiful Mess. People who seek a historical quality will find that. The novel takes place today and focuses, first and foremost, on the major characters. But it’s also predicated on history, and Marilyn’s biography parallels and foreshadows the contemporary action."
Can you tell us something quirky about Beautiful Mess, its story and characters?
"With every novel, I incorporate symbolism into my major characters’ first names and surnames. For Beautiful Mess, you can find them all in the book’s trivia section at www.johnherrick.net/beautiful-mess/.

One of these major characters is Nora Jumelle, a hot new actress and a modern-day parallel of Marilyn Monroe. Nora’s name embodies a framework which, in turn, fuels her psychology and her role in the novel. Nora means “bright,” which is how she appears to the public—but like Marilyn Monroe, she’s in the midst of a dark inner struggle. Also, Marilyn’s birth name was Norma Jeane Mortenson, so “Nora” is one letter short of “Norma”.

Nora’s surname by birth is Tasmyn, which means “twin”, which hints to the reader Nora is a parallel/twin of Marilyn Monroe. However, Nora chose the stage surname Jumelle because it sounded glamorous—but unbeknownst to Nora, “Jumelle” also means “twin”, just like her birth surname! Those twin names symbolize that, regardless of how Nora tries to escape herself, she cannot change who she truly is."
Who would you recommend Beautiful Mess to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"I believe the book will satisfy a broad array of readers, ranging from fans of Nicholas Sparks to fans of Jane Green and Emily Giffin. If Beautiful Mess were a movie, it would be similar to The Holiday, Valentine’s Day, or Pretty Woman. But I tried to craft a novel that will appeal to both men and women, and I have gotten good responses from both."
If you could / wished to turn Beautiful Mess into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"This is always a fun question to answer!

For Del, my aging Hollywood protagonist, I’d pick Craig T. Nelson, hands down.
For Tristan, the online wellness coach with questionable credentials, Hunter Parrish would be perfect.
For Felicia, the female minister and former hippie, Vera Farmiga—though she’s only 44 (!!), so perhaps Frances McDormand.
And I’d love to see a newcomer play Nora, because in the book, she’s a newly discovered talent on the rise. The film version would be a great vehicle for one of those “And introducing...” credits.

For director, it seems like an ideal vehicle for Garry Marshall if he were still alive. So maybe Nancy Meyers or—for the fun of seeing what he would do with a romantic comedy—Clint Eastwood."
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"My novels tend to explore hidden corners of the human heart, the dark corners where characters struggle to breathe amidst their inner torment. However, Beautiful Mess is a departure from that. Although it still focuses on those deep cravings, it’s a light-hearted romantic comedy with some darker moments sprinkled in. I have a hard time finding romantic comedies that appeal to men as well as women, so I tried to strike that balance with Beautiful Mess.

In terms of my personal reading, I try to expose myself to various types of stories and study what other writers do well. But left to my own devices, I gravitate toward legal, corporate and political thrillers. John Grisham and Joseph Finder are two of my favourite authors."
What is your writing process?
"Routine is key for me. I need to form a habit and repeat it daily until the book is finished. I write in the mornings while watching the sunrise.

Another key of mine is to plan everything in advance. EVERYTHING. I need a road map. I attribute that to my former career in the IT field, doing computer programming and software-related project management. That experience helped me develop self-discipline, attention to detail, troubleshooting skills, and the structure I needed to complete a long-term project like a novel. Tech work was the opposite of my skill set and made me restless, but I’m so grateful to God for the years I spent in that field. I learned things I never would have learned in a creative writing course. It proves no matter where you are in life, no experience needs to go to waste—including the uncomfortable ones!"
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"My first opportunity to write for the general public occurred writing ad copy for a St. Louis radio station in 1996. After the first ads were recorded, the station put them on a cassette for me, and this is it. Haven’t listened to it in years and need to transfer it to MP3. The tracks were all digital back then, but CD burners weren’t common in computers yet, so a cassette it was!"
Love it! Yes, I remember the times and them well! However, do convert it soon - they degrade!!!!!

Thank you so much for sharing :-)

"Thanks for the opportunity to visit the blog! Feel free to reach out to me at my website, www.johnherrick.net, or on my socials. I love to hear from readers and would-be readers, too!"

Beautiful Mess
Available NOW!

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3 comments:

  1. Hello from across the pond! :-) Thank you again for having me here!

    ReplyDelete
  2. P.S. I'll need to take your advice. Forgot about the cassette degrading! Lol.

    ReplyDelete