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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

BBAW: Blog Tour, Day 2: Interview with Author John Herrick + CONTEST!

Hello again!
Welcome back to the BBAW celebration/rebellion here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!  We're celebrating the goodness of this event with promotions and all things bookish (the celebration), but going against the grain with the posts of choice each day (the rebellion) be sure to check back each day for more fun.  Speaking of fun...

Today we play host to day two of a blog tour stop over from author John Herrick and his debut novel From the Dead.  It was a rather interesting read giving you much more to think about than your average fly by night title, so be sure to check out yesterday's post for my review.  For day two, we are featuring an interview with the author himself plus a little contest fun for you let's get started!

Please welcome today's guest, author John Herrick....


Author Interview
John Herrick
Author of From the Dead

Where did the idea for this story come from?  What inspired it?

It boiled down to a what-if scenario. Driving home from work one evening, Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man” came on the radio. I never cared much for the song, but for the first time I paid attention to the lyrics about a straight-laced preacher’s son who falls in love with a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Questions rose up inside me: “What if it were the opposite situation? What if the preacher’s son had hit rock bottom?”  Details started to pour forth, and by the time I got home, I spent 30 minutes trying to get them on paper. The story grew from there, usually with scene ideas coming to me in the car. (Have you ever noticed when you actually want to get stopped at a red light to write something down, you’ll get nothing but green lights all the way to your destination?)

Obviously, the story and song ended up with nothing in common!


Jesse left to become a star and yet by his very nature he seems to be a private person.  If you were to reconsider giving Jesse his shot at stardom, do you think he would have made it?

Absolutely. Jesse lacked opportunity, but he never gave up. In From The Dead, he hits a dry period and reaches the end of his rope. A year later, he’d look back and realize he’s grown stronger. In the meantime, Jesse desires to make a change. As an actor, Jesse tries on various masks. His ultimate dream is to figure out his own identity, outside his father’s shadow.


Even though Jesse had a rough time of things, some due to circumstances he created and others through no fault of his own, at his core, he was still a good person.  Do you believe in the innate goodness of others? 

Interesting you asked about this.
I do. Actually, I look at it as, “How many of us haven’t made our share of mistakes?”
In the novel, I wanted to provide a contrast between two women in Jesse’s life:  Caitlyn and Jada. When I wrote the first draft, I wanted readers to dislike Jada, so I didn’t give her any redeeming characteristics. As I walked through the manuscript with my editor, she offered advice I’ll never forget: No matter how terrible a character is intended to be, everyone holds a good quality somewhere within, something that makes them human. So I had to be nice to Jada here and there! In Jada’s case, she remains a child at heart. This is why, in Chapter 3, you’ll discover Jada’s secret stash of TV episodes from her days as a child actress.


Chuck's dad, the minister, intrigued me.  Though not a main character per se, I found the way his character was written in direct contrast to most of the religious figures I knew growing up.  What made you decide to paint him as a modernized figure head in this time old calling?

Jesse and Chuck each crave freedom. But while Chuck has found a way to live comfortably in his freedom, Jesse has spent his life searching for a freedom he can call his own.

Chuck wasn’t raised in a religious home. His path to the ministry was somewhat radical. So Chuck sees his role as a minister in a radical way. He’s evaluated his life and said, “’A’ is important; ‘B’ isn’t. ‘A’ impacts the heart; ‘B’ only goes skin deep.” To relate to other people, he must remain true to himself. Deep down, despite his modern exterior, Chuck’s convictions still line up with those held by traditional figure heads.


I have to say that I guessed parts of the ending as I was moving through the story, but nothing prepared me for the emotion shown in the final chapters.  Did you always intend to end things this way or were the twists and turns something that developed while in the editing process?

The final scene (prior to the Epilogue) was the first or second scene to come to the surface in my heart. At that point, I didn’t know how the story would get there. Each time I thought of it, though, I felt tears well up in my eyes. It was one of my favorite scenes to write, the one I most looked forward to. As an author, I’ve learned when scenes affect me on an emotional level, they tend to affect the reader as well and become a memorable scene. Scenes like this form a special connection between author and reader—readers can sense when an author writes from the heart. Knowing how that final scene would unfold, I stepped inside Jesse’s head and tried to imagine the emotional bombardment he would face.


It mentions on your site that From the Dead is actually the second book you've written, yet the first that has seen the light of publication.  Whatever happened to that first novel?  Any chance we'll get to see it soon?

The first novel is called The Landing. No plans for it yet, but I do want to see it in print down the road! Technically, it’s a novella, about half the length of From The Dead. It’s a modern love story about the ramifications of yielding—or not—to destiny, and how our decisions affect others. Because The Landing was my first, I discovered areas I wanted to grow as a writer and flesh out my next novel. I had the opportunity to incorporate those goals into From The Dead.


Authors tend to write what they know to a certain degree.  Any characters pick up shades of "John" in your novel?

You know, I think a piece of the writer finds itself into every novel, whether intended or not! Several characters possess a familiar trait or background detail. But more than any other character, I relate to Jesse. Although I haven’t faced his specific circumstances, I relate to what resides in his soul: An artist at heart, he has a dream. He endures a dry season with no end in sight. His passion burns, but he hasn’t found the right channel for it. I spent many years in a similar struggle with destiny and wanted to use it to add fuel to Jesse’s character.


A few quid pro quo questions....
I decided to become a writer burns like fire inside me.

If I wasn't a writer, I would have been...involved in politics, with the understanding that an officeholder is a servant to his or her constituents.

When not practicing my craft, I can be found...reading at Starbucks or Panera Bread. I’m officially addicted to my e-reader!

On my nightstand is...The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood, and I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe.  I’m also reading a very old young-adult novel I bought when I was 12 but never finished—talk about procrastination!

One of my favorite authors is...John Grisham—I can’t wait for his new novel this fall.  Also, I wish I had time to read everything by Charles Dickens.

One of my favorite books is....The Great Gatsby.  I re-read it as an adult and fell in love.

One thing I know now, that I wish I knew then is....the most valuable things in life take much longer than I think they will.

Parting words for YOU....
Thanks for adopting me for the last five minutes! I love to hear from readers, so feel free to drop me a message at If you give From The Dead a read (I hope you do!), let me know what you think.


Wasn't that interesting?
I love the passion with which he answered the simplest of questions and can definitely agree with the traffic light comment (seriously, it's like they KNOW when you need a red or green and give you the opposite).  Special thanks to author John Herrick for the opportunity to participate in this tour as well as the time for the interview and this next bit of fun....  (THANKS!)  For more information on his work, be sure to visit his site as invited!  Now, to keep the fun going, it's contest time!  Here are the details...

The prize:

(1) copy of From the Dead by John Herrick

How to enter:
We'll keep it simple, just subit your contct information via this FORM.

The rules:
*Open to US/Canada mailing addresses only!  No P. O. Boxes please.
* Entries will be accepted from Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 through Saturday, September 25th, 2010 at midnight CST.  The entries will be tallied and entered into the randomizer, after which a random number will be picked by their number generator.
* All entries must be submitted using the form accessible through this post.  You MUST include your email address in order to be counted as well as contacted should you be chosen as the winner!
*The winner will be announced and contacted via email by Monday, September 27th, 2010 and will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address.  Should they fail to respond in the given time frame, a new winner will be chosen.  If you choose to include your address in your entry, no worries...the time frame issue is removed.
*Winners name and address will be forwarded to author John Herrick for prize send out only and then discarded.


Good luck to everyone!
Until next time...happy reading!


....Petty Witter said...

What an interesting man - to be so very pasionate about his writing that it burns like a fire.

GMR said...

Petty Witter: Yes, that line struck me as well!

dor said...


debbie said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I just wanted to let you know my computer acted up, and somehow submitted before I was done typing in my address.

GMR said...

Debbie: No worries! The winner is contacted via email I can always get any missing information then. Thanks for the heads up tho!

Meredith said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

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