Greetings and salutations! Today I am bringing you another author interview, but am also including my review of the book. If you’re looking for a different kind of celebrity romance, this is one you absolutely have to check out. There’s also an excerpt to enjoy, plus a great giveaway. Please leave the author more questions and comments here and as you follow the tour. We all love that!
Describe your book in one sentence or fewer than 25 words.
Love, art and accidental celebrity collide with hilarious results in an addictive new romantic comedy.
What kind of research did you have to do for it?
I visited an artist’s studio. His name was Bill Vann—he passed away four months later—and the guy was a legend in the world of commercial art in the United States. He also happened to be a family friend. I had known him for almost 30 years, but that was my first and only visit to his studio. He had a solid professional reputation but had a passion for helping artists succeed, including “word artists” like me. Sweet guy.
Who would be your dream narrator for the audio book version?
Believe it or not, I have a radio voice and have done some voiceover work in the past. My dream is to narrate my own books, to have “As Read by the Author” on the audio book cover. I wish I had the time. But that isn’t an ego thing. It’s a heart desire, so I’ve clung to it for years.
How do you make yourself stand out in this genre?
Years ago, I taught myself songwriting by studying writers who had mastered the craft of writing commercial songs. Diane Warren is the foremost. I learned how to capture emotion and paint a picture in two verses and a chorus. I’d given up my dream of writing novels back then, and even called the dream dead. Somehow, that dream never departed. And as it turns out, all those years of practice writing emotional lyrics have become one key behind one of my strengths as a writer. When people review my books, one of the things they say they love about them is the depth and emotion they found in the characters and prose. I owe that to songwriters like Diane Warren.
Tell us about your other published works.
At this point, all of my novels are standalones. You’ll find rich character development in each one, but their topics and emotional components range from the depths of struggle to moments that will make you laugh. From the Dead and Between These Walls capture dark journeys in the midst of a spiritual journey. Beautiful Mess is an ensemble romantic comedy similar in tone to Mona Lisas and Little White Lies. Beautiful Mess is about an aging, forgotten actor who rediscovers a screenplay written by his old friend Marilyn Monroe—and he skyrockets to the A-List. He becomes a kingmaker as Hollywood tries to get its hands on Marilyn Monroe’s true final project. You can find details and excerpts at www.johnherrick.net.
What are you currently reading? Up next on your TBR?
For some reason, I’ve had an unusual craving for nonfiction about businesses. Recently I finished reading The Real Coke, The Real Story, about how Coca-Cola rose to power and the story behind its New Coke debacle in 1986—which I’m old enough to remember! The next book I picked up was Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. Loved reading both books. I’m looking forward to reading a memoir by Michael Ovitz, the former Hollywood superagent.
What book and/or author changed your life?
Authors like Howard Roughan, Doug Wead, and Jeffrey James Keyes, who have been kind to me even though they had nothing to gain from me. Authors like that have changed my life because they took time with me when they probably didn’t have time to spare. (And if you’re looking to binge on a TV series, check out Instinct on CBS. It’s based on one of Howard’s collaborations with James Patterson!)
In 1993, I read The Firm by John Grisham and fell in love with reading all over again.
When not writing, what can we find you doing?
I love to hit the interstate and drive for an hour or two and back, with music playing on the stereo. The scenery, the feel of the tires rumbling, the calming effect as my mind settles—it clears my head and makes me feel like anything is possible.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
People tell me I’m effective at writing about love, but the truth is, in real life, I’m just not very good at it. I don’t read signals well. So if I had the power to read minds, it would make the process much easier!
What would you do if you won the lottery?
I would give a lot of it away. I would move to the Carolinas, two hours inland, and write even more. And I would finance projects by other artists—I tend to identify talent in the raw, and I always wish I had the means to help them reach their full potential.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you for letting me stop by. If you enjoy romantic comedies that even a guy could enjoy, you’ll enjoy Mona Lisas and Little White Lies.
Mona Lisas and Little White Lies
She’s America’s hottest new celebrity. But her identity remains a secret.
Lily Machara is a wisecracking auto mechanic. She’s never cared for glitz or drama. But when Ryder Flynn, a rising star in the world of commercial art, adopts Lily as his muse after a random sighting, Lily discovers herself painted into his hot new pieces … and becomes America’s newest — anonymous — celebrity.
The only problem: The woman Ryder imagines isn’t the true Lily.
Or is it?
Now, as Lily and Ryder give in to mutual curiosity and a budding romance, Lily’s life — secrets and all — fall victim to a pop culture with one question on its mind: Who is the woman in Ryder Flynn’s art?
In the spirit of Cyrano de Bergerac and Pretty Woman, MONA LISAS AND LITTLE WHITE LIES is a delightful new romantic comedy from John Herrick, bestselling author of Beautiful Mess.
Read an excerpt:
Lily considered the man handsome with his firm jaw and wavy, brown hair. In fact, he had one of those faces which could, with one glance, render you at ease. She sensed instant comfort in his presence. He also had the sort of appearance that made you feel as if you had met him before.
And Brooke was right. The woman looked exactly like Lily. Her hair color, complexion, nuances in her face and fingers—Lily recognized them all.
Brook leaned over her shoulder. “See what I mean?”
“Yeah…” Stunned, Lily examined the woman closer but couldn’t find the words to speak. An honest-to-goodness lookalike! Yet somehow, that red dress and fancy environment had transformed her into a different person altogether. The change had escorted her into another world!
Even though this woman was a fictional character, Lily tried to imagine her background and what she did for a living. The superficial differences between Lily and this woman were obvious, but Lily knew something else must have come into play between a couple like this. What did this woman have that Lily didn’t? What would draw this particular man to this particular woman?
A hint of jealousy stabbed Lily’s heart, but she shoved the feeling aside.
Before she knew it, Lily pictured herself in the woman’s place—which wasn’t difficult, given the similarities.
She imagined the floral scent of that wine…
The brush of the red dress against her thighs…
His arm around her waist…
What am I doing?!
Lily snapped the magazine shut and tossed it on the dining room table.
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I fell for Lily immediately. She’s a girl who marches to the beat of her own drummer and has been somewhat comfortable in her own skin. And yet at the same time, within her comfort zone hanging out with the guys with whom she works, she also wants to know what she is missing when compared to the other girls. I get it. It’s not easy to be the girl who gets along with the boys but at the same time doesn’t seem like dating material to a lot of them. You don’t want to do the fake girly thing, and yet…
When she ran into Ryder all those years ago following the wedding in Cleveland, he saw something in Lily that she hasn’t been able to see in herself. And she became his great muse. A small voice in my head was saying it was kind of creepy that this man kept painting her picture over and over again, even though they didn’t know each other. And yet at the same time, my artistic side understands the muse and my romantic side finds it somewhat endearing. It isn’t like he stalked her for years. I don’t think he ever expected to actually run into her again, let alone reach the levels of recognition that he did.
And when the two of them finally meet in person, they just click. But Lily doesn’t want to shatter the illusion of herself that Ryder has created in all of his paintings. He depicts her as someone more feminine and worldly than she thinks she is as a non-girly girl mechanic. And she doesn’t know how to handle the new spotlight into which she is unwittingly thrown. So now Ryder has to figure out how he feels about the “real” Lily. And Lily has to come to terms with who she really is.
There’s just something so real about these characters, in spite of their extraordinary meeting that isn’t so likely to happen in real life. But I loved every second of reading their story. And while the full book title says that this is the 7th book in a series, I truly think this is a standalone and now I need to check out more of John Herrick’s books.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
About John Herrick
In addition to novels such as BEAUTIFUL MESS and FROM THE DEAD, he authored the nonfiction bestseller, 8 REASONS YOUR LIFE MATTERS.
Visit his website at www.johnherrick.net.