Romance Novel Giveaways - Freebies and Giveaways of All Things Romance Romance Novel Giveaways: Mona Lisas and Little White Lies by John Herrick 💕 Behind the Scenes, Book Tour & Gift Card Giveaway 💕 (Romantic Comedy)

Friday, March 22, 2019

Mona Lisas and Little White Lies by John Herrick 💕 Behind the Scenes, Book Tour & Gift Card Giveaway 💕 (Romantic Comedy)

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.

Journeying into the Unknown

When crafting your first novel, “Write what you know” is a great piece of advice. As a teenager, I had taught myself songwriting, so when I wrote my first novel, The Landing, which was my second book released, I created a protagonist who wrote music. I modeled the setting after a beach I’d loved to visit while growing up. I wrote about what I knew. And it worked well.

However, one of the biggest joys I’ve discovered as a writer is found in the research, and in creating characters who are not like me, and putting them in worlds or scenarios I haven’t visited. I’ve grown to love research and the challenge of writing something believable based on what I learn.

Mona Lisas and Little White Lies, my latest novel, was a first for me. It marked my first attempt to write a novel from a female point of view. Although the points of view shift between Lily and Ryder, Mona Lisa is ultimately Lily’s story. She’s the modern Mona Lisa. And it was her little white lies that got her into trouble.

Years ago, I needed work done on my car. Please don’t take this as sexist, but this was 15-20 years ago. Every auto shop I had patronized was 100 percent male. So when I entered the shop and saw a woman in her 20s at the counter, my mind began to spin: How would it feel to be the only female at your workplace? How would you fit in? How would you not fit in? Would people judge you?

I don’t remember the woman’s name, but she shuttled me from the shop to where I needed to go. We talked along the way. And on that day, my character Lily Machara was born. Her story would unfold years later. I created a character along with her hopes, her fears, her insecurities, her independence, and her strengths—and Lily is a very strong woman. And to make her personality shine, I gave her a roommate who is her complete opposite.

Lest you think I presume to know the female psyche, I always ask women to read my drafts, to point out my flaws, to tell me, “A woman would never say that!” It’s part of the process. But I’ve learned something new, and like I said, I’ve grown to love the journey!

Thank you for letting me stop by the blog. If you enjoy romantic comedies with female leads who hold their ground and male leads who are confident with a proper dose of humility, you will enjoy Mona Lisas and Little White Lies.

And when you’re done reading, please let me know what you think. Feedback is part of the journey!

The Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, located in downtown Cleveland, served as my original inspiration for the hotel setting. However, I created a different floor plan for the novel. The last time I stepped foot there was in 1990, when it was owned by Stouffer.

Chapter 1
Lily’s character came to me after dropping off my car for some work. The girl behind the counter looked 20 years old. She also shuttled me to where I needed to go next. I wondered how it must feel for her, surrounded by an otherwise all-male staff, and how she might have held her own. I also wondered if she was aware of her beauty or if she had grown immune to it during her career. The novel was born that day—but I wouldn’t write it until years later.

I tried to give Lily a strong sense of humor. It would become her defense mechanism on the job when she needed to stand her ground. In truth, though, it had served as her defense mechanism her entire life, protecting her from opening herself up to others.

Chapter 10
Ryder’s art resembles much of the movie poster art that seemed to disappear after the 1980s. Some of the more recent examples include posters for Back to the Future, Beetlejuice, the Star Wars films, and James Bond films from the Roger Moore era.

Chapter 13
When I started planning the novel in 2008 and wrote the first draft in 2011, MP3 use was on the rise, but CDs remained prevalent. By the time I made my final revision to the draft, CD purchases were all but obsolete—but Evan needed a tangible gift. So during the final rewrite, I needed to make an excuse for why Evan would tote around a CD. I don’t think technology has ever changed as fast as it does today.

Chapter 21
Montelle Winery in Augusta, Missouri, served as the location inspiration for Lily and Evan’s afternoon date. It features a multi-tiered deck, occasional live entertainment, and has a sweeping view of the Missouri countryside, including a single road that winds around hills. The winery sits high above, and from that vantage point, you can see for a couple of miles. Gorgeous.

Chapter 31
Despite being a native of St. Louis, I find minimal inspiration there. Perhaps I’ve spent so much time there, familiarity has washed away any dose of idealism for me. So I took advantage of this novel’s setting and tried to weave as much of Missouri into the book as possible, since I don’t foresee setting another story there. Hence locations like the rural winery, the Ozarks, and Hannibal, Missouri, which was Mark Twain’s home. The Hannibal chapters are my nod to a fellow writer from my home state.

Chapter 37
I had to rewrite some of the location details in the Ozarks. The area had expanded and the road system had changed since I wrote the first draft years ago.

Chapter 44-46
Mona Lisas is a romantic comedy, but it wouldn’t be a John Herrick novel without a dark side to the protagonist. Hence, the backstory to Lily’s love life, which, in her eyes, confirmed her own lack of beauty.

Chapter 62
I’m gonna say it: Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of my all-time favorite films. My mom lived in Manhattan in the mid-1960s, when the film took place. At only 19 years old, she was an independent, free-spirited, single woman living in the city, working as an airline attendant, making ends meet. She went on dates so she could eat. She spent half of her time in other locations due to her job. At her apartment, she had orange crates for furniture, a mattress on the floor, and a fur coat—a gift from her sister—for a blanket. With a chuckle, she says, “But we had a doorman.” Beyond the film’s complex characters and the gorgeous cinematography, the reason I love the film so much is because when I see it, I know that’s the way Manhattan looked when Mom lived there. It’s my comfort film—and a rare case in which the film is even better than the book.

Lily considered the man handsome with his firm jaw and wavy, brown hair. In fact, he had one of those faces which could, with one glance, render you at ease. She sensed instant comfort in his presence. He also had the sort of appearance that made you feel as if you had met him before.

And Brooke was right. The woman looked exactly like Lily. Her hair color, complexion, nuances in her face and fingers—Lily recognized them all.

Brook leaned over her shoulder. “See what I mean?”

“Yeah…” Stunned, Lily examined the woman closer but couldn’t find the words to speak. An honest-to-goodness lookalike! Yet somehow, that red dress and fancy environment had transformed her into a different person altogether. The change had escorted her into another world!

Even though this woman was a fictional character, Lily tried to imagine her background and what she did for a living. The superficial differences between Lily and this woman were obvious, but Lily knew something else must have come into play between a couple like this. What did this woman have that Lily didn’t? What would draw this particular man to this particular woman?

A hint of jealousy stabbed Lily’s heart, but she shoved the feeling aside.

Before she knew it, Lily pictured herself in the woman’s place—which wasn’t difficult, given the similarities.

She imagined the floral scent of that wine…

The brush of the red dress against her thighs…

His arm around her waist…

What am I doing?!

Lily snapped the magazine shut and tossed it on the dining room table.

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"Wow! Mona lisas and Little White Lies by John Herrick was the perfect book to read by the fire this weekend. Herrick has a way with characters." - Jill W.

"The premise is unique, and the story is engaging, entertaining and well written. I recommend for a fun light read." - Jamie B.

"The writing was so beautiful that I went back and read many paragraphs again and again. ... Perfect read for a warm summer day!" - Peachygirl

"Well this was unexpected. I read this book expecting to love it, but I FELL in love with it." - Adrianna A.

"A delightful romantic comedy develops and would be popular for fans of Nora Roberts, Kristan Higgins and Nicholas Sparks." - Michelle S.

"Lily and Ryder are the year's rom-com. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Fun and sweet." - Edna G.

"I would recommend this book to those readers who enjoy romantic comedy, romance, and chick-lit novels." - Yolimari G.

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.
Visit his website at


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  1. My family and I all appreciate you bringing to our attention the book description of another great book to read. Thanks so much!

  2. Replies
    1. A pleasure having you back! Have a fantastic Friday!

  3. What a fun idea! I love how you found your heroine, Lily!

  4. Have you ever read a book more than once? Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  5. Love the cover! Red hair is so beautiful.


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