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.
“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.”
Interview with the Author:
- How long have you been writing?
At eight years old, after completing a class assignment, I looked over at what a friend was doing to pass the time. She was writing a short story. It looked like fun, so I decided to give it a try—and fell in love with it. I’ve been a writer ever since. I still remember that day. How many moments in our lives look and feel ordinary, but turn out to be milestones? You never know what a day will contain. It’s worth getting up every day and giving it your best.
- How long have you been a published author?
That came much later! I was 29 when I wrote my first novel, The Landing, which ended up being my second book release. Before I could write a novel, I needed a variety of life experiences, including years in the IT field, where I developed discipline, as well as experience in analysis, project management, identifying holes in logic, and other skills necessary for me to harness my creative impulses. Left unchecked, creativity will tug you in many directions, and you end up accomplishing nothing, or perhaps accomplishing nothing well. The blessing in waiting so long for a dream to manifest is how much more you appreciate it.
- What titles do you have available?
Here they are, in order of release:
From the Dead
8 Reasons Your Life Matters – nonfiction, and you can find the e-book version free!
Between These Walls
Hit and Run
- What made you choose the subject of this book?
Beautiful Mess is my first novel to feature a historical person. I’m a fan of Marilyn Monroe’s films. I can never get enough of The Seven-Year Itch! But long before I ever watched her films, I wondered what tragedy must have existed beneath her public persona. Years ago, I read a biography of her and learned that a close acquaintance betrayed her trust, which forced Marilyn into a mental institution against her will. She was trapped, all alone, unable to end it. She was at the mercy of others. I thought to myself, “That experience must have left scars. Nobody could escape it unchanged.” I couldn’t shake it. I sensed a story there, so I tucked the idea away. Five years later, it became the impetus for Beautiful Mess.
- Do you have any new titles coming soon?
I have another romantic comedy set for release late next year. Similar in tone to Beautiful Mess, but with characters on the opposite end of the age spectrum from Beautiful Mess’s Del. It’s a fun read! I’ve had it in the works for years, tinkering with it.
- What is your favourite genre and why?
When it comes to personal reading, my go-to genre is suspense, particularly legal and political. For some reason, politics and history have always fascinated me. At the risk of exposing what a nerd I was, when I was about 10 years old, I bought a set of flashcards that highlighted all the American presidents, with their image on the front and facts on the back. I plastered them on my wall the way other kids put up posters! I pored over those facts.
And ever since reading John Grisham in my late teens, I’ve gravitated toward legal fiction. My favorite class at university was a business law course. Loved it so much, I was tempted to go to law school—until I asked myself Why?, since I never want to be a lawyer!
- What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process?
The most exciting part is the part that DOESN’T involve writing—it’s hearing the impact that a book has made on someone’s life. When someone tells me they enjoyed the book or that it helped pull them through a painful time, it means the world to me. People are more important than things, including book “things.”
In terms of the writing process itself, I love delving into the psychological aspects of my characters. I drop them into uncomfortable scenarios, then watch them react. To do that, I need to consider their personalities, backgrounds, insecurities, and so forth, because those motivate their actions. For me, it’s critical to keep my stories plausible. That means I can’t force my characters to do what I want them to do; I need to give them the same freedom I have in my own life. How often do we picture how a real-life event will unfold, only to discover people didn’t behave the way we expected? It’s because they respond according to their personality, not ours. So the challenge is to create a compelling story without interfering more than necessary.
- If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why?
Oh, my! To be honest, I think I would work with someone who has a lot of talent but who doesn’t yet have a novel under their belt, or who has only one. A writer can identify story talent in the raw, before anyone else can. I seem to be able to identify raw talent in individuals, too, in creative fields and also standard professional fields. I’d love to find someone who has extraordinary talent in seed form, mentor that person, help them find their voice, and help them discover the thrill of achieving a long-term goal. The one requirement is that the person realizes nothing substantive in life comes easy—I’ve noticed a shortage of people who understand that.
If I had to select a published author, I’d want to consider it an opportunity to learn from them, so I’d pick someone who is a master at what they do. My unique strength seems to be in character development and bringing emotions to life, so perhaps I’d work with someone who wants to add an extra dose of it to what they do—a win-win situation for both of us. James Patterson is a master at crafting a story with nonstop suspense and solid commercial appeal. So if he wanted to increase the emotional side of a character, maybe I could bring that to the table, if that were his goal. But John Grisham would be another, since he’s the reason I fell back in love with books.
- Where can readers find you on the web?
You can always connect with me at my website, www.johnherrick.net. I read all my messages and try to reply to everything. Check out the Beautiful Mess book trailer while you’re there! Beyond that, here’s the rundown of my socials…
Thanks so much for being my guest.
Thank you for letting me stop by. It’s always a pleasure to chat!
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.”
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.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: