Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Straight from the Mouth of John Herrick, Author of 'Beautiful Mess'

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.”

Find out more on Amazon.


Thanks for letting us interrogate you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author? 

Thanks for letting me stop by! Why am I an author? As a kid, I stumbled upon it and fell in love. As an adult, I die a slow death if I don’t write.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands? 

I can’t deny it’s hard work. It demands patience, because writing is slow, waiting is slow. And the reality is, writing is a job. Some days you feel like showing up to your job, other days you don’t—but you show up anyway and see it through, and you get stronger along the way. But I love this job, so it’s like Mark Twain said: If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. And the perks are such a reward: relationships with your readers and camaraderie with other writers. Plus, you get to birth creative babies. You get to watch something come from nothing, which is a fascinating process.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you? 

I’m a single guy, so writing doesn’t harm anyone dependent on me. In fact, I often say I’m married to my books. It’s just the way God worked it out for me, I suppose. He knows the balance I need and how to achieve it. So my family members—parents, siblings—understand the process. That said, it’s the content that stretches their understanding. Sometimes my characters or subject matter take them by surprise, because they have no idea some of those things have gone through my head until they see them in print!

This is for plant lovers.  If you don’t own a plant, skip this question, but if you do, are they actually still alive? 

Plants die in my care! Maybe I don’t talk to them enough…

In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late? 

I need to establish a routine. Once the routine is in place, momentum builds. These days, I show up at Starbucks before sunrise and work until it’s time to transition to the full-time job, before my body has a chance to get lazy and relax.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process? 

The fact that I receive replies from people who have nothing to gain by replying to me. And some friendships have formed along the way. The field is filled with gracious people. I want to maintain that standard toward others, too.

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid? 

Being an author and serving your base of readers is all about relationships, being genuine with your readers, so whatever enables you to develop that relationship only seems to help. I’m an introvert, and despite my former life in IT, I’m not a die-hard techie, so social networks aren’t strong suit, and talking about myself feels so phony! But social media is a give-and-take, which gives me a chance to celebrate with my readers when good things come their way. If you want to see my lack of social media talent on display, you can find my network links at www.johnherrick.net. ;-)

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you? 

Hey, you do your best! I’ve learned that you need to earn every dollar you make in book sales—and I mean every single dollar! But the ultimate joy rests in the relationships with readers and bloggers, and in creating the art itself.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about? 

People are worth your kindness! And they’re worth the five seconds it takes to say hello. There’s something to be said for class, and class has nothing to do with money or stature.

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above don’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way? 

I love the interaction, and that’s the truth. So feel free to get in touch at www.johnherrick.net! I love interacting through words on the page, but more than that, when someone writes to tell you they related to a character in a touch situation or that my words helped them press forward in life—the rewards don’t get better than that. In those moments, what goes through my mind is, “This is what it’s about. That’s why you do what you do. That’s who you write for.” When I die, I can’t take my books with me. They’ll stay here on earth. So when I reach heaven, my books won’t be there, but the people will. And the impact we make on people—regardless of our career—can resonate throughout eternity. And so, for me, my writing is about the people, and the books are the channel God happened to choose for me to use.

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