Monday, August 7, 2017

VBT: Beautiful Mess by John Herrick

Beautiful Mess
by John Herrick


GENRE:   Mainstream fiction (romantic comedy) -- multigenerational ensemble cast



A fallen star. Four Los Angeles misfits.
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.


Excerpt Two:

“In that case, the first thing we need to do is establish its authenticity. I’ll get the proof lined up and we’ll keep it in our back pockets. Next, we’ll hold a press conference to announce the existence of the screenplay—but let the press speculate about whether it’s authentic. We’ll hem and haw for a while, tease them a bit, make them think they have us cornered.”
Del didn’t want to look like a fool in public, regardless of how temporary or intentional, but he was willing to hear the rest of the idea. He stroked his chin and clasped his hands upon his chest. “And what happens next?”

“Then, when attention is at its peak, we release the evidence. It’ll be good for another round of marketing. So instead of releasing the evidence at the first news conference, we’ll get twice the bang for our buck.”

“Makes sense to me.” Del felt much more at ease. He exhaled and took a swig of water. The bottle’s thin plastic crackled in his grip.

“We’ll need some time to strategize this while the thumbprints are verified. I know a guy who can get it done under the radar. Meanwhile—and I’m sure you know this, but I’ll stress it anyway—don’t breathe a word of this until the day of our big announcement. Not to the media, the studio people, producers—not even to the chef at your sushi restaurant. The element of surprise will strengthen our bargaining position. Agreed?”


Arnie exhaled, as though in relief, and scratched his bald head. His fingers left behind red streaks. “This is big, Del.”

Del’s pulse increased with anticipation, yet he maintained his composure. He finished his water and crumpled the bottle.

‘Big’ didn’t do it justice.

This wasn’t just Marilyn’s final chance.

It was Del Corwyn’s, too.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

A self-described “broken Christian,” John Herrick battled depression since childhood. In that context, however, he developed intuition for themes of spiritual journey and the human heart.
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.”

Interview with John Herrick
Where do you get inspiration for your stories?
More often than not, my stories begin as “What if?” questions. That’s not intentional. As a writer, I try to do whatever works. But the reason what-if scenarios work so well for me is because they take  people outside their comfort zones, or outside documented history, and requires them to adapt by changing their behavior. Oftentimes, it starts with my reading a news article and asking, “What if Person X hadn’t followed their hunch, or crossed paths with Person Y in a different environment? How would that have altered their interaction and, thus, tend result?” Or if I hear that a key piece of evidence enabled authorities to solve a crime, I’ll wonder, “Instead of finding Evidence X, what if they found Evidence Y? How would that have changed the course of their investigation, but still led to the same result?” Same plot, same resolution—but how we get there is a completely different. One small detail, one choice, can change the course of our lives.

How did you do research for your book?
The fact that I love Marilyn Monroe’s films allowed me to begin with a working knowledge of her. However, Beautiful Mess isn’t about her films or the Marilyn we see on screen. It’s about the Marilyn we don’t see on screen. In order to re-create her style of speech for dialogue purposes, I studied interview material. I came across what was allegedly her final interview, which was perfect. Over time, we change the nuances in how we speak, so that final interview showed me Marilyn at her most mature, when most of the flashback material takes place. In addition, to help create plausible dialogue and plot elements, I combed through a lot of her biographical material. That helped me understand her background and psyche, which are two drivers behind what someone says and does.

Do you have another profession besides writing?
Yes, have a full-time career in direct marketing for a nonprofit media syndicate. My work is a blend of writing, creative, analytics and technology. I’ve had the opportunity to glean from marketing professionals. It has helped me to develop a working knowledge of the roles my partners play in And being a novelist comes in handy when I need to ghostwrite—I’m used to stepping into a character’s shoes and crafting dialogue under their personality! That relegates my book work occurs to 2 or 3 hours in the morning, watching the sunrise, until it’s time to leave for the full-time profession. Discipline and time management are the keys for me. But my full-time profession sharpens my skills in multiple areas. It has become an important partner. Writing a novel, if you do it well, isn’t just about the words on a page. I’d argue that’s only half the job, at best. Novels are also about goals, structure, audience, balance, results. You need to market your ideas to media outlets, interact with readers and professionals, brainstorm with a publicist, and build a personal reputation. Find your lane, the one where your strengths shine, and find a way to do what you alone can do.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?
Oh wow, what a great question! Here’s something that has nagged at my brain for years, and I look forward to getting the answer in heaven: For those of you familiar with the Bible, you’ll know that it records the story of Jesus’ birth. The next time you see Him, He’s twelve years old. Then you don’t see him until he’s thirty and begins His ministry. The Bible offers few details about those undocumented years beyond some general facts. It tell us He was a carpenter. I picture Him working as a carpenter, knowing in His heart He was destined for something completely different, but He had to wait until the proper time. And while He waited, day in and day out, He built furniture or whatever. Perhaps He interacted with irate customers. Maybe He dealt with dishonest people like we do today—people who tried to rip Him off or lied to cover their mistakes. Probably some people who gave Him a lazy effort after He had given them His best. What lessons did He learn as He pressed through those headaches?

I started my career in IT doing computer programming, which was the opposite of my interests and skill set—but in that context, I developed the framework I needed to complete long-term projects like a novel. The experience was a turning point for me. So if I could go back in time, I would watch Jesus in action as a carpenter, talk to Him, and find out what skills He picked up during the daily grind that helped Him mature and prepared Him for ministry.

What is your next project?
I’ve finished another romantic-comedy. It’s in the can for a shelf date of late 2018. Meanwhile, I’m in the research and trial-and-error phase. It takes a while for me to land on a concept that grabs my heart, but once I find it, I marry myself to it for the next year or two. So I’ve had some false starts, including initial research or planning for five or so projects, some even fleshed out extensively. On a positive note, if I ever need an immediate project, I can return to one of those and hit the ground running. It’s happened before!

You can find out about my latest projects at my website,, and on my social networks. The links are on the site.

Thanks so much for letting me stop by for a visit!

From the author: 

my short story HIT AND RUN will be available as a free Kindle download on the following days:
August 6 & 7 - For those early readers who enjoyed Beautiful Mess, they can grab a free short story.


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.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hi to all the readers! Thanks for letting me stop by. Any questions, feel free to ask!

    1. Thanks for stopping by!! The books sounds amazing. Best wishes to you, the book, and the tour!!