Friday, January 16, 2015

Exclusive Giveaway: Between These Walls by John Herrick

The Landing
Between These Walls by John Herrick
Hunter is a Christian. Hunter is the man next door. Hunter Carlisle is gay.
At 26 years old, Hunter Carlisle has a successful sales career, a devoted girlfriend, and rock-solid faith. He also guards a secret torment: an attraction to other men. When a career plunge causes muscle tension, Hunter seeks relief through Gabe Hellman, a handsome massage therapist. What begins as friendship takes a sudden turn and forces the two friends to reconsider the boundaries of attraction. Along the road to self-discovery, Hunter’s secret is exposed to the community. Now Hunter must face the demons of his past and confront his long-held fears about reputation, sexual identity, and matters of soul.
A story of faith, fire and restoration, Between These Walls braves the crossroads of love and religion to question who we are and who we will become.


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--The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less.
Hunter is a secretly gay Christian. He develops feelings for Gabe and drops his guard. Now Hunter must reconcile faith, fear and identity.

--How did you get the idea for the story?
A few years ago, I caught a television news story about a high school student who had endured an onslaught of bullying because he was gay. He was on the verge of suicide—tired, desperate, filled with pain. The news story centered around a video the student had posted online. In the video, the only way he could express his hurt was to page through words he’d written in black marker on sheets of paper. Here sat a kid who looked like an average high school freshman, wiping tears from his eyes, seeking someone to hear his cry for help.
My heart broke for that kid. I’ll never forget the sight of him. I thought to myself, “Nobody that age should know what it’s like to feel that kind of pain.” By that point, a high-level concept for Between These Walls already resided in the back of my mind, but the heartbreak I felt for that kid was my catalyst for action. That evening, I resolved to pursue Between These Walls.
--Which character would you most/least like to have dinner with?
By the time I finished the novel, I felt as though I’d had a year’s worth of dinners with Hunter Carlisle, my main character. I appreciate people who are honest about their vulnerabilities, and my protagonists are honest and unguarded with me as I tell their stories.
I’d least like to have dinner with Tom, a high school student who initiates a humiliating bullying episode in Chapter 22.
--Do you have any other works in progress? Any teasers or release dates?
When I started working on Between These Walls, I’d already completed the first draft of another novel, a romantic comedy. I moved that other novel to the back burner, to which it’s been relegated many times! Now it’s in the revision phase. If all goes well, that next book will see the light of day in late 2016, but no guarantees, given my track record on it! But I love its concept. It makes me laugh out loud, and my early manuscript readers have enjoyed it. One of my quirks is paranoia about revealing a book’s premise until I can hold the final revision in my hands.
--What book(s) is your book’s “cousin”? (Similar kind of read, set-up or style)
Funny you ask that, because “cousin” is the description I’ve used when comparing Between These Walls to one of my prior novels, From The Dead. I set both novels in the same location, the community of Hudson, Ohio (which exists in real life). Some From The Dead characters make cameo appearances in Between These Walls to connect the stories. Both novels possess a similar tone, introspective protagonists who hide secrets, and examine how those protagonists wrestle with their secrets in the context of their faith. Between These Walls is a standalone story with common ties, but it’s not a sequel, so “cousin” seemed a perfect description.
As far as “cousins” by other authors go, I’d say Between These Walls finds a kindred spirit with the human-heart emphasis in Nicholas Sparks’s novels and the introspection in Jodi Picoult’s novels.
--What are some of your favorite books? Do you still have much time to read?
Yes, I’m a constant reader! What’s odd is my favorite books are the opposite of what I tend to write. I gravitate toward suspense novels about politics, corporations, or the legal process, so I’ve read almost everything by John Grisham and Joseph Finder. I also love American history, along with memoirs/biographies of political and entertainment leaders.
Currently on my bookshelf:  The War for Late Night by Bill Carter, the story behind NBC’s Jay Leno/Conan O’Brien transition. I’m also nibbling on Love Does, an inspirational book by Bob Goff (which a reader sent to me!). I just finished Hitmaker, a memoir by Tommy Mottola, the former president of Sony Music, who shaped the careers of Mariah Carey and others.

--If a fairy godmother told you could be put into the world of your favorite book for 24 hours, which book would you pick and why?
I’m a junkie for politics and American history. Although these aren’t my favorite books, I’d enter the worlds of Primary Colors by Anonymous (aka Joe Klein) or Richard North Patterson’s The Race.

--Do you need anything to write (music, coffee, etc)? Are there any songs on your playlist- songs that inspired you or that were playing while you wrote?
A hot beverage (preferably herbal tea) and music are essential. I’ve managed to horde about 20 flavors of tea in my cupboard. Ridiculous! As I plan and write each novel, a playlist emerges, songs that capture the essence of the story or a particular character’s perceptions. In fact, I’m such a big believer in music’s role, I posted my Between These Walls playlist on my website here:

--If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
The ability to select a destination and transport myself there in an instant.

--Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?
Coffee and a good book. Long drives on the interstate while music plays on the stereo. And anytime I get to be Uncle John to my niece and nephew, I’m riding on top of the world.
--What is one thing you would tell your 15 year old self?
Anything substantial takes years to come to fruition, but it does indeed happen, so hang in there. Don’t give up. Find your lane in life and career, improve your driving, and don’t worry about people who try to merge in—you’ve had much more experience navigating it than they have.

--Is there anything else you want to add or say to your readers?
Thanks for letting me stop by for a chat. I love to hear from readers! You can find me at, my blog, or Facebook and @JohnHerrick. And I invite you get to know Hunter Carlisle in Between These Walls—he’d love to meet you.

Lightning round: this or that?
Vanilla or chocolate? Anything else—whatever new flavor sounds the weirdest.
Video or Board Games? Board games.
Summer or Winter? Summer.
Edward or Jacob? Jacob. I love the underdog.
Hockey or soccer? Football or baseball.
Ebook or paper? Ebook.
Salty or sweet? Salty.
Beach or mountains? Beach.
Phone call or email? Email.
Early bird or night owl? Night owl evolving into an early bird—maybe.
Dog or cat? Dog. I’d love to put a dachshund into a hot dog bun and walk it around the park!
Messy or neat? Neat, but piles of paperwork and book work.
Ninjas or pirates? Pirates! They hang out in the tropics, and I’m all about warmth and beaches.

Giveaway is for: Between These Walls by John Herrick (ebook or paperback, US only)
If under 18, must have parent's permission.
No Purchase Necessary
Open: 1/16-2/13
The Sponsor: author
Winners will be chosen by giveaway host and notified by email. They will have 48 hours to respond.
Email addresses or physical addresses or any personal information will not be sold
Liability: Brandi Breathes Books is not responsible for lost or stolen packages
Brandi Breathes Books Giveaways are hosted in Holly Springs, NC USA
Void where prohibited by law
-If you win a review on your blog and/or amazon is appreciated but not required.

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  1. I think books like this are really important. It's getting better for some people but others still suffer from being tormented, it's awful. But I think so many just deny their true feelings because they think it's wrong and hopefully books like this will help them to be themselves.

  2. Nice interview. I really do think books like these are important, like Candace noted. Thanks for sharing- I just entered!!


  3. It is interesting to see that John reads suspense novels and wrote m/m romance book. Sounds like a fantastic read!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace


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