Reviewed by Faridah Nassozi for Readers’ Favorite – Rating – Five Stars
My GRL by John W. Howell is a fast-paced thriller that shows how your life can be turned upside down in the blink of an eye. John J. Cannon was looking forward to a long island vacation but instead ended up chasing and hiding from the bad guys. From losing Gerry who he was getting close to calling a friend, to discovering the real truth behind her death, to discovering who Sarah, Gerry’s friend really was. It is a well-written story that kept me glued, page after page.
Anonymous Amazon Customer-Rating 5 star The author John W Howell has constructed his thriller very cleverly and created a truly pleasurable reading experience. I found myself suspecting just about everyone of something and being right only about half the time, which is probably in itself one of the marks of a very good thriller.
RW: John, what is your background in writing, what makes you a writer other than your ability to hold a pencil, type a writer or in some other way make words appear on a page?
JOHN: What really makes me a writer is I do it every day. Besides that, I have studied the craft and have written four books now. One published, one at the publisher for release (heaven knows when) and one just completed. The other one? Holding the laundry room door open in a breeze. (yes it is that bad)
RW: Where do you live and that will tell us how big that laundry room book needs to be?
JOHN: I was born in Detroit Michigan but have lived in Illinois, Indiana, Connecticut, Ohio, and California. I currently reside in Texas on a barrier island off the coast of South Texas
RW: So you write all the time and live on an island. I always ask what an author does to get away from writing when they need a break from it, when it’s just frustrating them for the moment, I think I can guess yours but tell us anyway.
JOHN: I usually don’t take a break from writing. I do take a break from novel writing by doing short stories. When I really need to get away for a few I take a walk on the beach
RW: Okay now into the real reason people are here. What is the title of your book and why did you choose that name?
JOHN: The title of the published book is My GRL. I choose the title since the story is about a guy who buys a boat and he names it My GRL.
RW: What genre does your book fall into?
JOHN: My GRL is a thriller.
RW: Why do you write thrillers?
JOHN: I find the Thriller genre open enough to allow me to create the kinds of situations that are interesting to the reader while challenging myself to insert the kinds to twists, turns and excitement the reader is looking for.
RW: Tell us a little about My GRL and what inspired the idea.
JOHN: John Cannon is a San Francisco Lawyer who wants to take a leave of absence from the firm. He buys a boat he names My GRL unaware a group of terrorists want to use his boat to destroy a symbol of America’s greatness. His first hint of trouble is when he wakes up in the hospital and learns he was found unconscious next to the young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. The only one standing between the terrorists and the successful completion of their mission is John Cannon.
I was on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Lexington which is moored in Corpus Christi. My sister and I were touring the boat since our father had served on her as a naval aviator during World War II. I was struck to see all the armament was no longer in place. This symbol of America’s military might was defenseless to any attack. After leaving the boat, I constructed a story on how to attack the Lexington and then a story on how to prevent such a thing. The story of My GRL fell into place.
RW: Tell us about your John Cannon and also who you envision playing him in a movie.
JOHN: I think I would like to see Bradly Cooper play John. He has the kind of seriousness coupled with humor that is the essence of John’s personality. John J. Cannon is a normal person caught up in extraordinary circumstances. He is a guy who wants to become a charter captain and ends up having to deal with a bunch of pretty bad characters. John is not a superhero nor does he possess secret abilities that allow him to overcome his adversaries. He is slightly OCD and is worried about many of the same things that we all are. He has a dry sense of humor and his legal training allows him to keep a fairly even disposition while things around him become increasingly complex. He loves good food and is especially fond of a Tanqueray martini on the rocks
RW: What message do you think your book delivers to the reader?
JOHN: The basic message is people with a cause are convinced righteousness is on their side. The terrorists are firmly convinced that because of past offenses, their current plan to kill innocent people is just. So we cannot hope to convince these terrorists to give up their cause simply because we don’t think it is lawful. I would hope anyone reading this book would come away with the feeling that military solutions are not always the way to stop hostilities. It might take a deeper understanding of the motivation of the adversary to successfully come to a peaceful solution.
RW: Describe your book in one word.
RW: What did you learn about yourself from writing this book?
JOHN: The first thing I learned was I could, in fact, finish a book that was readable. Up to this point my efforts were not what I would describe as stellar. The second was I could write about a subject that I knew little about. People who don’t know me think I have been around boats. I really had to research all aspects of the book since none of the hardware and software related items were in my experience profile.
RW: How did you end up with MSP?
JOHN: I did a number of queries and for whatever reason never connected. I then went and did some research on publishers who would accept a first-time author who did not have an agent and found Martin Sisters Publishing
RW: What is your biggest tip for someone to getting published?
JOHN: Too often, authors rush to get a book published with some disastrous results. The author must do the research necessary to find out how they want to be published. If they want to self-publish that carries one set of responsibilities. Traditional publish is another option but does have certain requirements. So my tip is to take the time necessary to determine the path that is right for the person. There is no real right path, but a path chosen that is done in haste could be very disappointing.
RW: When you’re not writing who are you reading?
JOHN: I am reading Allure of the GypsieS by Charles Yallowitz. It is his third story in the Legends of Windemere series. He has actually published five books, but I’m a little behind since my TBR pile gets higher by the day.
RW: Who are your favorite authors?
JOHN: I have three current favorites, Charles Yallowitz author of the Legends of Windemere series, Kevin Brennan Author of Yesterday Road and Occasional Soulmates and Andra Watkins author of Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace and To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis.
RW: How do you like to keep hydrated?
JOHN: I love to drink water while working and a margarita after.
RW: What are you working on right now?
JOHN: I have finished the third book in the John Cannon trilogy and it has a working title of Our Justice. The next book explores the daughter father conflict in a world filled with bad choices. We’ll have to see how it works.
My second book in the John J. Cannon Trilogy is titled His Revenge. It is the story of John’s efforts to bring the terrorist leader to justice with the help of the FBI. The title is a little bit confusing in that we are not sure whose revenge is eventually satisfied Johns or the Terrorist leader? When the book is launched the answer will be apparent to the reader.
RW: What is your favorite word?
JOHN: Impecunious.(poor) I loved the word ever since studying for the GMAT. I used to love to say “In my current state of impecunity ….” I could then beg off anything.
Acquire My GRL at:
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Living on an island, writing and walking on a beach? John, you’ll have a visitor soon. Ah, the dream life. And John, I have plenty of door holders so pick that one up, dust it off and get to revising it.
As always . . .
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Relating to John’s suggestion about knowing your path and role in traditional and self-publishing, check out Choose Your Publishing Option. Free for ebook or pdf at Smashwords here.
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