Thursday, March 28, 2019

Interview, Excerpt & Giveaway ~ MONA LISAS AND LITTLE WHITE LIES by John Herrick

Mona Lisas and Little White Lies
by: John Herrick
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: March 19, 2019
Publisher: Segue Blue
Amazon | Paperback | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

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.

Hi John. Welcome to Read Your Writes Book Reviews. How are you?
I’m excited. The year looks great so far! Thanks for letting me stop by.

You’re welcome. Congratulations on the release of Mona Lisas and Little White Lies. Tell me about the story and what readers can expect from it.
Thank you. Mona Lisas is a modern-day fairytale. Ryder, a commercial artist, encounters Lily at random one night … and can’t forget her. He sketches her that night—his version of a photo and the only way he can remember her—and she ends up becoming his muse. Because he knows nothing about her, he creates a fictional world, painting her into different scenarios, each one of them beautiful. Meanwhile, Lily, a wisecracking auto mechanic, starts seeing herself painted into scenarios that seem the opposite from her reality. What happens next? It’s all in the novel!

Tell me about the characters of Lily Machara and Ryder Flynn, and what it is you like most about them.
Ryder is an artist who fell in love at first sight. He encountered Lily for five minutes, then never saw her again. Yet she continues to burn inside him. He’d do anything to find out who she is, but he has no place to begin searching for her. So he accomplishes the next-best thing: He paints Lily and himself into his art together, as a romantic couple.

Lily is an auto mechanic. She’s independent, stands her ground. She manages without a man in her life, but deep down, she wants to be loved. She wonders how it feels to be considered beautiful. When she begins showing up in Ryder’s art, she gets a glimpse into what her life could be, if she were truly the woman in his paintings.

I know you came up with Lily’s character years and years ago, but how did the spark of her character evolve into the story we have today?
Writers have different methods. For me, characters tend to marinate in the back of my mind until their time arrives. I'm drawn to a character but don't have the right situation to drop them into. Such was the case with Lily, but even more so When the first idea of Lily came along, I hadn't even written my first novel. At that point, I wondered if, maybe one day, my dream of writing a book might come to pass. Once I was officially in novelist mode, I still didn't have her story, but in real life, I'd look at the types of paintings that Ryder, her love interest, paints. Those paintings looked halfway between a painting and a photograph. Anytime I saw that type of painting, I wanted to write. They inspired me, so they inspired the character of Ryder. Lily inspired Ryder, too--but he knows nothing about her when the novel opens. And that triggered a modern fairytale scenario. I married the two concepts and the result was Mona Lisas and Little White Lies.

How did you come up with the title for the book?
Of all my novels, this was the toughest to find a title for. I brainstormed through so many possibilities, but nothing tugged at my gut. Then I took the “modern Mona Lisa” aspect of the story, considered the little white lies Lily began to tell to try to fit the image Ryder had created of her, and soon I had a title that was so much fun for me, it made me grin every time I said it.

That’s nice. Generally, books tend to surprise authors in some way. What surprised you about Mona Lisas and Little White Lies?
I anticipated Lily’s depth, because that was the crux of the entire story. But her story took a dark turn, an event from her past, which I hadn’t expected until I was well into the planning process. She lacks self-esteem and self-confidence, and that wouldn’t have come from simple self-perception. Someone in her shoes would have been burned by somebody in her past.

However, I didn’t realize Ryder’s soul would be so deep until I delved into who he was. The more I modeled his character, the further I developed the story, the deeper I stepped into his sadness without this woman—this destiny, as far as he was aware. And the Thailand aspect was something I added later. I wanted to add something special to Ryder’s past and the way he perceives the world, and that emerged at the right time.

John, thank you for answering some questions for me. Congratulations again.
Thank you again. Thanks to your readers, too! If you’re in the mood for a romantic comedy and also enjoy books by Nicholas Sparks and Emily Giffin, Mona Lisas and Little White Lies might be the perfect fit for you!

By three in the morning, Ryder had left Lily with her relatives and parted ways with her. The thought of never seeing her again chafed his heart as he walked down the hotel’s ninth-floor hallway and stuck his key card into the electronic lock of his own room. As he walked inside, his eyes moved toward one side, where a table lamp kept everything aglow.

He wouldn’t sleep at all tonight. He couldn’t. The thought of Lily lingered in his mind and swayed within his soul. Even at her low point that evening, as dismal as she’d appeared, Ryder had seen an angel when he’d gazed into her eyes.

In his room, he plunged into a sea of plush cushions on the sofa and grabbed a tiny, five-dollar bottle of mineral water from the mini bar. As the carbonated liquid tickled his throat and settled into his belly, its bubbles danced and brought a grin to his face. An unexpected end to the evening. Ryder hadn’t stepped foot in his room since morning and noticed he’d left the curtains open. From his vantage point on the sofa, he gazed out the window at the Cleveland skyline, where he noticed lights glowing from a nearby office tower.

Something stirred in his soul, but he couldn’t identify its source. Invigoration, perhaps? No, on second thought, he felt…alive. Alive, fueled by the memory of her.

Something about her had created in him a longing.

The stirring wouldn’t cease. An artist’s vulnerability. An abstract impression that begged manifestation.

She had disappeared from his life. Dejected at the realization, Ryder sought to keep her memory alive.

With a beckoning in his heart, he moved to the writing desk. From his satchel, which he’d placed beside the desk when he’d arrived that morning, he retrieved a small sketchbook and his favorite pencil. After flipping through the book in a hurry, he found a crisp, white page and focused his attention. With soft, careful strokes, he sketched a figure on the paper.


Purchase Mona Lisas and Little White Lies from:

John Herrick is best known as a chronicler of the human heart. His complex characters and earnest tone prompted Publishers Weekly to write, "Herrick will make waves." When he is not writing, he loves long drives on the interstate. He is a sucker for 1990s music. Herrick lives in St. Louis.

In addition to novels such as BEAUTIFUL MESS and FROM THE DEAD, he authored the nonfiction bestseller, 8 REASONS YOUR LIFE MATTERS.

Places to find John Herrick:

You can follow the Mona Lisas and Little White Lies Blog Tour here.

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  1. Thanks for introducing us to another great book and this giveaway also.

  2. Are there any sublots that you wished you could have added or explored more in your book? Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

    1. Hi there! I make an extra effort to avoid running into situations like that as part of my planning process. So, thankfully, I wouldn't say I wish I had added or explored more. However, we never stop growing and improving in life. So as I look at my books 10 years later, having gained those 10 extra years of experience, I'm always able to see my own weak areas at that point in time. But each of us tends to be our own worst critic, don't we!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Replies
    1. You're welcome. I really liked the sound of the book. I might have just one-clicked it. Okay fine. I one-clicked it. I'm looking forward to reading it.

  5. I loved the excerpt, and can't wait to read the book.

  6. Thanks for the book recommendation

  7. I really like the cover. Congrats on the release!

  8. Thanks for this post! Another great book recommendation!!


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