Marilyn, Music, and Top Tens by John Herrick – Guest Blog and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. 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. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Marilyn, Music and Top Tens

Although Beautiful Mess is a romantic comedy centered around a modern-day ensemble cast, my main character, Del Corwyn, is an aging actor who shared a close friendship with Marilyn Monroe. Her backstory triggers much of the novel’s action.

Despite her persona as a dumb blonde bombshell, Marilyn was a driven, thinking individual. Her third husband was Arthur Miller, playwright of Death of a Salesman and The Crucible. Like you, she was a frequent reader. And she helped break down racism in the arts. She worked behind the scenes to gain entry for Ella Fitzgerald to perform at the Mocambo, a popular Hollywood venue. Prior to Marilyn’s intervention, Fitzgerald was denied the opportunity to perform because of segregation.

I’m a music fan. To prepare myself to write the novel’s flashback scenes, I checked Billboard magazine’s archives for August 5, 1962—the day Marilyn passed away. So to get you into the mood for Beautiful Mess, here’s a list of the Top 10 songs on that day:

  1. “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” – Neil Sedaka
  2.  “Roses are Red (My Love)” – Bobby Vinton
  3.  “The Wah Watusi” – The Orions
  4.  “The Loco-Motion” – Little Eva
  5.  “Ahab, the Arab” – Ray Stevens
  6.  “Speedy Gonzales” – Pat Boone
  7.  “Sealed with a Kiss” – Brian Hyland
  8.  “You’ll Lose a Good Thing” – Barbara Lynn
  9.  “Things” – Bobby Darin
  10.  “The Stripper” – David Rose and His Orchestra

I often get asked what music inspires me as a writer. So to personalize this guest post—and at the risk of embarrassing myself—I’ll post my personal Top 10 album list here, greatest hits collections excluded, in no particular order:

Automatic for the People – R.E.M.

What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye

One More Story – Peter Cetera

Rumours – Fleetwood Mac

August and Everything After – Counting Crows

Wilson Phillips – Wilson Phillips

World Falling Down – Peter Cetera

Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette

Rhythm Nation 1814 – Janet Jackson

Listen Without Prejudice – George Michael

If you’re in the mood for a laugh with a twist of pop-culture history and a group of modern misfits, check out Beautiful Mess. Of all the novels I’ve written, this one was, by far, the most fun to write.

Thanks for letting me stop by for a visit!

 

 

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.

Enjoy an Excerpt

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.

“That’s right.”

“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.”

About the Author:

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.”

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Comments

  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Thanks for letting me stop by, readers! (And host too! 😊)

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