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Author Interview: John W. Howell

February 26, 2017

This is the sixth interview in my series of Author Interviews.

Pull up a chair, sit back and relax. Enjoy reading.

Introducing John W. Howell, author of My GRL, His Revenge and Our Justice


my-grl-front hisrevenge our-justice-front

Imagine if you will a gorgeously sunny afternoon. The sun is beginning to drop into the ocean. A soft wind is drawing fluffy white streaks into mesmerizing pictures. Ships bob in the nearby dock. There is a little table outside a beach side café. I drop into the seat opposite my next guest.

Hi John, it’s so good of you to give me a little of your time. First up, tell me a bit about yourself.


My day starts in the morning with a big cup of coffee and a few e-mails. Then it is off to the beach with the two boxers and my wife. Depending on the day of the week, next it is either an eight-mile bike ride or 1000 words on my WIP. Then the rest of the day includes writing and an occasional chore until it is time to walk the dogs before their dinner. I love to cook and usually prepare the people dinner. After serving up my latest creation and a glass of wine, my wife and I watch an hour of television. We record our shows and skip the commercials. This recording schedule leaves time for 15 minutes of news. Free time is at a premium. When I can find time away from writing, I enjoy walking on the beach and some beach activities up to and including a frosty IPA. I read in my spare time, so the beach affords some opportunity to kill two items at a time. I also cook as I mentioned and love to do home repairs and yard work. As you can see I’m a full-time writer and have been since 2012 when I escaped from being held captive of organized commerce.

Now, tell me about your writing… What age were you when you started?

I was a pretty old guy when I started writing back in 1993. I decided to write a book after hours as I was working full time. It took me until 2003 to finish what is now holding my laundry door open. I decided I had to either devote full time to writing or give it up. I finally began in earnest in 2012 when I retired from a business career.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

That is hard to answer. I just knew it. I would tinker with stories just for the fun of it and even wrote a screenplay. None of these things were published, and I didn’t care. It was the love of putting words together that gave me enjoyment.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I read some adult books when I was only ten years old. I also read the classics, and I think my favorite child’s story was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Fynn. I think the adventures of Tom and Huck were those that a young boy living in Detroit could build dreams around and escape what was a challenging environment.

Favorite book as an adult?

I still come back to On the Beach by Neville Shute. This was a book that did not even pretend to craft a happy ending but kept pursuing a theme of life for life’s sake. I was mesmerized by the characters and the story. I was also a child of “duck and cover” exercises in school, so the premise of nuclear devastation was a very real concept.


Tell me a bit about My GRL? (Wow, check out that new cover!)

How did you come up with the idea?

My sister and I were touring the aircraft carrier Lexington to see where our naval aviator father served during World War II. While on the massive flight deck it occurred to me that this symbol of American victory was venerable to an attack by terrorists since it was not guarded and devoid of any weapons. On the way home I thought about how I would attack the Lexington and then how to defend her. My GRL is not about the Lexington, but the story grew from the experience.

Tell me about John? Is he based on anyone you know?

John Cannon is a combination of the personality that I have always wanted to have plus some traits of various men I have known in my life. He is not based on anyone I knew when I started writing the stories about him. He is now someone I would like to have as a friend.

How did you come up with John’s story?

John is a San Francisco attorney. He is specifically a litigation attorney. The reason I chose that specialty is I could see myself practicing law as that kind of lawyer. The idea of being the victor in a case of one individual seeking justice against a predator is very appealing to me. The protagonist in the John Cannon trilogy is a predator, and it gave me pleasure to see John prevail in a case against him. John’s story is a matter of being a regular guy caught up in abnormal circumstances. I think we all see ourselves as normal and some of the bad stuff that happens to us as abnormal. I wanted John’s story to represent the ability of the average person to overcome the challenges of life. I picked San Francisco since I love the city and used to live in the area.

Have you always wanted to write contemporary thrillers?

I guess I have. When I started My GRL, I didn’t give the genre a thought. I just finished the manuscript and then had to figure out where it fit. I loved the idea of twists in the story and wanted the reader to come along on the adventure. I guess early on I ruled out the mystery as my cup of tea because quite honestly I couldn’t keep secrets that well. What I mean is every good mystery has a moment where everything comes together, and the case is resolved. Usually, in a thriller, the reader knows right away who done it and the idea is to see what is going to happen next. This is the kind of story I like to write.

What is your writing process?

I write at least 1000 words a day. I don’t leave the computer until I have done that. The 1000 words are dedicated to my current novel and do not include words written for my blog, short stories or social media. Once I finish the 1000 words, I am free to do other things for the day.

How long did it take you to write My GRL?

I began the first draft on April 1st of 2012. I was finished with the first draft by August 8th, 2012. So I would say 120 days.

Now, onto book two – His Revenge (which I have just bought!)


Tell me a bit about it?

The characters from My GRL continue to His Revenge and on to Our Justice. In his Revenge, John seeks to atone the killing of Gerry Starnes, the woman who sold him My GRL. The action moves from Port Aransas to California and on to Ecuador. His enemy, Matt Jacobs, has a twisted idea that John would make an excellent spokesperson for the terrorist group. He figures out a way to get John to cooperate on a plan that is designed to embarrass the President and wreak havoc on the oil industry. John must pretend to go along, hoping he can create a way to get revenge. The question remains who will get the revenge?

And book three – Our Justice


Recently released, tell me a bit about that?

Our Justice is the final story in the trilogy. John has been keen on bringing Matt Jacobs to justice. Matt has been keen on getting John to help him in a plot to assassinate the President. He plans to use John’s hero status to get close to the President to do his duty work. Both Matt and John feel their cause is right and both want justice extracted in their favor. We have to see who in fact achieves Justice, Matt, John or neither.

Is there a book four coming?

There won’t be another John Cannon book, but there is a fourth book titled Circumstances of Childhood which is s scheduled for the fall of 2016. Here is a blurb: A full ride to college on an athletic scholarship leads to a pro career for Greg Petros. He and his best friend Keith had planned this since high school, but Keith fell short. After football, Greg goes on to a sports broadcasting career and an equity fund on Wall Street. Greg’s life is content and prosperous until someone hacks into the firm through his personal account and helps themselves to twenty million dollars. The amount of money is not significant, but the fact that an audit uncovered the break-in raises questions at the Justice Department. Although not guilty, all evidence indicates Greg misused shareholder funds and is facing mounting Federal charges. Greg needs the help of his old friend Keith to try and establish his innocence. Keith holds the key that could save Greg from twenty years in prison. Will Keith be able to help his friend or will his current situation prohibit intervention?

Well, gosh, I will be keeping an eye out for that.


Finally, what advice would you give to someone wanting to write a book?

My advice is twofold. 1. Write the damn book and don’t stop. Don’t edit, don’t second guess what you are doing. Finish the manuscript, and then you can toy with it all you want. 2. Don’t show anyone the document or parts of it until the whole thing is finished. A writer does not need anyone to approve the work or to give feedback on the quality. In fact, writer confidence tends to shrink in the face of feedback. I have seen many promising writers give up because someone they value decided the work was not good enough. A writer must write for the readers and themselves. No one else can help that process. Once the manuscript is finished, you can show it to anyone you wish and get the feedback needed.

Well said, John!


Thank you, John, it has been so good to talk to you. I cannot wait to read book two!!

I step away from the table (making sure to pop inside to pay for our coffees “My shout, John!” and decide to go for a walk along the beach. The sand is warm when I kick off my shoes. I swirl patterns as I walk. Behind me is a ruckus, I turn… The table has been upended. Ah… I think it’s time to go.


About My GRL

John J. Cannon, a successful San Francisco lawyer, takes a leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. John is unaware his boat has been targeted by a terrorist group to be used to destroy a symbol of America’s greatness. John’s first inkling of trouble is when he wakes up in the hospital and learns he was found unconscious next to the body of the young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John now is the only one standing between the terrorists and the success of their mission.


About John W. Howell

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories.  His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016.  All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

You can find John at any of the following.

And hey… There is a sale going on at the moment – If you haven’t, you should jump in and buy John’s book while it’s .99!

Blog Fiction Favorites,

Facebook –

Twitter –

Authors db –

LinkedIn –

Google +

Goodreads –

Amazon Author’s page –


You can read my review of My GRL  via this link here

  1. It was wonderful sitting and having a coffee, Laurie. Thanks for the shout and the terrific interview. I hope to come back again. Sorry about my quick exit but you know how these things go.

  2. Reblogged this on Fiction Favorites and commented:
    Laurie Bell was kind enough to interview me this week. She has an interesting series of interviews and other features on her blog titled Rambles, Writing and Amusing Musings. Her subheading is “Smile! Laugh Out Loud! Enjoy the Following” so you know a visit is worthwhile.

  3. John Fioravanti permalink

    Reblogged this on Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti and commented:
    I thoroughly enjoyed this interview of Author, John W. Howell who writes thrillers that will keep you on the edge of your seat!

  4. Thanks Lauire — this is a lovely interview with John. Always nice to learn a little more about him. Hugs all around.

  5. Mark Twain was a favorite of mine growing up.

    Great interview!

  6. Great interview. 🙂 — Suzanne

  7. Gwen Plano permalink

    What a fantastic interview! Kudos to Laurie and “thumbs up” to John.

  8. Reblogged this on Julian Froment's Blog and commented:
    Another great interview with John Howell

  9. This is by far my most favorite interview with John. Thank you both. I learned so much more about him…he rocks!
    “Don’t show anyone the document or parts of it until the whole thing is finished. A writer does not need anyone to approve the work or to give feedback on the quality. In fact, writer confidence tends to shrink in the face of feedback.” This is the best advice I’ve ever heard. I agree!

  10. Laurie, so sorry I was not back yesterday. A couple of things came up and ate the day. Thank you again so much for the interview.

  11. And I learned something new about you – cooking. Good luck with the re-launch this week, John!

  12. Great article. Nice to hear how you started and thanks for the writing advice. I find it difficult not to rework a section rather than go forward but… I’m learning! Thanks John and Lauire.

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