Eternal Road – by: John W. Howell

It’s the road trip of a deathtime.

I’d say lifetime, but both lead characters, James and Samantha, have already passed. Where are they going? I can’t tell you. However, a few brief glimpses of their journey are in order.

Of course I was keen on knowing why John had picked this particular car.

Resa – Why did you pick the 1965 Oldsmobile? Why turquoise and white?

John – The 1965 Oldsmobile was selected since it represents my awakening in high school. I was born in Detroit and when I was 15 moved to the suburbs. During high school I used to wash and wax a neighbors 1965 Oldsmobile coupe. Yes, it was turquoise and white and had fancy hubs and white wall tires. The car represents the suburbs since the real item very seldom got very dirty and existed without the inner city grime, pings, and nicks. It always struck me as a symbol of innocence and purity. No one in the city would drive a car like that. If they did it probably would have been stolen or at least vandalized.

So, I hopped in the car. First stop I remember was the wild west.

Resa – Were you enthralled by tales of the wild west when you were a kid? Did you watch all the westerns on TV?

John – Yes I loved westerns when I was a kid. I used to watch the old shows. Hoppalong Cassidy and Roy Rogers were my favorites.

John – I should also add I held a history minor in College so my learning about the old west never stopped.

So crazy how John wove everything together in this story. In terms of suspension of disbelief; I was there, as John took me hither and yon.

Yon… the devil, evil, trickery and punishment can take on any and many forms. So it does in this saga.

He’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere, so beware! He’s even in Las Vegas!

I loved when we were with the horses. They are gorgeous creatures and have helped mankind immensely.

Then the devil….AGAIN! In the form of War!!

We go back to the horses. Why? Mmm that would be a spoiler. Where do we go after that. Again, spoiler.

Resa – I used the search tool. I was systematic and careful. Eyes are mentioned on almost every page, mostly due to travelling, but I could not find the colour of Sam’s eyes. I also searched brown, blue, hair…no luck. Thing is, I was thinking of drawing Sam as an angel, maybe no wings. This way I could do a gown.

John – You are not crazy. You won’t find a color of Sam’s eyes since I very seldom describe the characters in terms of physical attributes. My reason for doing this is I would rather the reader form an image in their mind of what the characters look like. So you can make her eye color whatever pleases you. She is more your character than mine since you invested your time reading the book. You can do whatever you wish.

Resa – I see her with light brown hair, and green eyes.
I know she and James look totally human, not like angels for sure. I’m looking for a reason to draw her in a gown. I’m sure I’ll think of one.

John – Since she died when she was seven I think she would be thrilled to be dressed in a gown just like a princess she dreamed of being when she was little.

Resa – Okay first drawing is along the lines of a Disney Princess. If Sam was murdered in 2003 … then Belle from Beauty and the Beast (1991) and Aurora, and Cinderella, would all be an influence.

John – Sam was murdered in 2003 when she was 7. She certainly would have been influenced by Belle, Aurora, and Cinderella .

Did you ever look up the meaning of the name Samantha?

John – The name Samantha in Hebrew means “As told by God.” When my daughter was born we looked up a bunch of names and we selected another. I always liked the name and I wanted to use it. Also in this story and the next one Sam seems to be constantly telling James the rules of Eternity. I think she comes by being the mouthpiece of God quite naturally.

Resa – This second drawing, more straight from my imagination is partly based on one of the lesser known meanings of Samantha. My search yielded Flower. Another is Listener. “As told by God.” is the most listed. Sam has grown up, as has her idea of a princess.
I think both interpretations are valid.

John –  I agree with your statement that the interpretations are valid. Thank you for sharing these beautiful drawings.

Resa – My pleasure! John, thank you for writing this book!

Click on the cover of Eternal Road, and go to John’s Amazon page.

Visit John on his blog!

Pics taken by Resa – 2013 to 2021

Toronto & Winnipeg

The artists:

Horses – Mandy Van Leeuwen, War – Charlie Johnson, Horse & Cart – John Kuna, Devil Dude – Len Lone Child, Cowboy silhouettes – Joe Viera

206 thoughts on “Eternal Road – by: John W. Howell

    1. Dahling Marina!
      Yay! So glad you like this! I’m getting good at doing “different” style book reviews.
      It was a lot of fun going on a road trip w/ John and his characters.
      The ending was a total surprise to me. I don’t know why I couldn’t see it coming.

  1. Great article and interview. I like the idea that Mr Howell wrote the story with a vague relaxed description of each character’s appearance, leaving it to the reader to add the details themselves. Now I understand if a character such as Philip Marlowe for example in The Singing Detective has a medical condition (Psoriasis) then obviously they are going to have a certain look, but it is nice to see that some leeway is given to non afflicted character s’ looks. My mother used to be a big Catherine Cookson fan and read all her novels during which time in the UK a TV series was filmed based on the books. As soon as she saw clips of the show my mother complained “Mr X doesn’t look like that….and Mrs B has darker hair!” etc because she had adopted her own interpretations of their looks.
    And a ’65 Oldsmobile to me is a classic and just screams Americana (from a Brit’s point of view).
    Thanks both of you.

    1. Ohh, thanks Merril!
      John’s book was a great escape during this crazy time.
      Escaping into sewing the new Art Gown a lot.
      I’ll be drawing more once I pick up the paper Tim sent me. Supply problems here.

      Anyway, another sunflower post coming along soon.

    1. Yay!!!! Quirky package….. Dave thank you!
      I like being eccentric.
      Anyway, I never saw the ending coming. Yet, thinking back on everything, all the clues were there. It’s just that they were well buried in the road trip.
      Thank you for reading this!

    1. Thank you, Liz! It was a lot of fun doing it.
      I like how John helped me figure out a gown to draw Sam in.
      I think John didn’t know he was being interviewed.

    1. My pleasure all around!
      I was a bit concerned about my opening line, “the road trip of a deathtime”, but it seems to have gone down okay.
      Opening lines are so important.
      Drawing characters from books is quite the experience. It started with Shey’s books, all the women wear gowns.
      I’m thrilled you like drawings of Sam.

  2. Reblogged this on Fiction Favorites and commented:
    Resa McConaghy at Graffiti Lux Art and More has written a fascinating post for Eternal Road. Resa is a talented artist and has created beautiful drawings to interpret how she sees Sam, her favorite character. She has also taken photos of murals she has found and placed them into the post to describe the book further. If you haven’t visited Resa before, now is the time. Prepare to be overwhelmed by her talent as I have been. Thank you, Resa.

  3. A wonderful interview. Always great to learn where the author gets their ideas from. I loved this book and didn´t even realize John had not actually described the physical appearance of the main characters. I had a clear picture in my mind. That is excellent writing! I loved this book.

    1. Crazy, and I agree! Although I had a vision of Sam, when I went through the book to confirm my vision there was no back up.
      I never saw the ending coming, either. Darlene, thank you so much for your lovely comment!

  4. Gwen M. Plano

    Wonderful interview, Resa, and like you, I thoroughly enjoyed Eternal Road. It’s a pleasure to read the backstory and more. Congratulations to John!

    1. Thanks Tim!
      I started taking pics of murals/street art about 8 years ago. I was overwhelmed by my photo files.
      The book caused me to see certain works that suited it. Finding them was an interesrting experience.

      SO, it iced, little pellets of ice creating a dangerous sheet everywhere.
      Tomorrow will be pick up day!!!!!!!

      1. Timothy Price

        I know about finding photos in an archive. I have photos pretty well organized, but with 20 years of digital photos from multiple cameras, remembering the year, month and camera I used for a photo I’m looking for can be challenging.

        So the Iceman cameth? ¡Mañana!

        1. I’m sure you have an epic amount of photos. Just visiting your blog is a myriad of gorgeous images. That’s why I started grabbing pics when I see them. I already had the experience of trying to find specific pics on your blog

          Yeah.. the ICEMAN cameth. He cameths and goeths today. It’s a skating rink out there.
          Crazy, but it will be +15C Mañana!

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed John’s book Eternal Road. What a great interview and showcase for it. I especially liked learning why John chose a 1965 Oldsmobile. I bet that was some car in real life! And your drawings of Sam are beautiful, Resa. Fabulous post, you two! 🙂

    1. Mae, it’s fabulous when someone who has read the book sees a review I did.
      You know what I’m talking about.
      The reviews may be “quirky” as someone said, and I’m happy with that.
      Drawing gowns is one of my joys. Drawing Sam in these gowns was a fab exercise for my imagination.

  6. Resa your interviews are works of pure legend. You bring the whole book to life in the few questions you ask an author. Then THEN you bring in the gowns. And It gives us itchy fingers now to find out more.

    1. Thank you for the lovely comment Shehanne. I agree with you that Resa creates masterful interviews and beautiful art. It was so much fun doing this and I never realized it was an interview. That is how good Resa is. My grandparents came to the US from Scotland. Mckay and Sharp clan.

      1. She’s epic and you are so right that you don’t realise it is an interview. You genuinely think there’s just a point about the book she wants to clear up! This is another wonderful one and yes the gowns bring your book even more to life. Ah, my brother-in-law is a Sharp originally from Aberdeenshire way.

    2. Ahh, my dear Shey!
      I can hardly wait for your new book.
      It is because of you I came up with the most memorable saying – “Never judge a book by its cover, unless there’s a gown on it!”
      Bring in the gowns… you say. Beats bring in the clowns!
      Can hardly wait to do the post with all the AGMs as vampires in gowns. What a hoot! xoxoxoxoxo

          1. I have a n image, I just need to get it to my designer but he does a quick turnaround, like within 48 hours so… Right now just putting the final touches on the ball scene. It’s a difficult scene, just getting in her skin at the first bit. The second bit is fine!!! But she is a difficult skin to inhabit!!!

  7. Another amazing interview, Resa. It’s always fun to learn the backstory behind the novel. I truly enjoyed Eternal Road, so the way in which you spotlight John’s book is fabulous. Congrats to you both! 💕

  8. What a wonderful interview! My daughter (Samantha) got her name primarily because of its meaning.

    I love all the drawings. And I enjoyed hearing about the car. (My first was also an Olds, but it wasn’t nearly as sexy.)

    One last thing… I really enjoyed Eternal Road and look forward to the sequel. Thank you both for such an engaging post today.

    1. Thank you, Staci. I just love the name Samantha and I’m sure your daughter is pleased you named her Samantha as well. I think Resa did such a nice job with this post. She is so very talented. Thanks again for the visit and lovely words.

  9. I love all of these questions and love the answers even more. John certainly went above and beyond with research and personal knowledge to write this story. Interesting, I never even noticed the color of Sam’s eyes wasn’t mentioned. 🙂 I too pictured her with green eyes and brown hair, Resa. 🙂 Great post!!

    1. Thank you, Jan. I guess you and Resa are on the same page concerning Sam’s eyes. I think she would be pleased with your selection as well. Thank you for the support and kind words. 😊

  10. What a fabulous interview, Sorceress and John! I loved the book and feel you have done such wonderful justice between your words, the photos and your beautiful drawings.

            1. D.L. Finn, Author

              What a great interview! This is a favorite story of mine. I love the drawings and imaging what Sam would look like in princess attire.

              1. Thank you!
                It takes me a long time to read a book. Usually 1 chapter a day with morning coffee. I call it turtle reading. Then the post is turtle posting. Drawing the gowns is the fast part.
                I’m finding it intriguing to draw characters in books. This was a unique challenge.

    1. Dear Thunder!
      Thank you!!!!! xoxoxo John wrote a most intriguing book.
      He may not have noticed I was interviewing him. It’s better that way.
      It was like the most fun homework ever, when John made the suggestion for where to draw the inspiration from; in regards to drawing Sam in a gown. All in all, a satisfying experience.

        1. Yeah… otherwise I would have drawn her in an angel gown. Not nearly the stretch of imagination as I used here.
          I did all the AGMs as vampires in gowns. What a hoot! I can hardly wait to put the story together. ⚡️💥

  11. Dear Resa and John, such a wonderful interview and review of this amazing book. I enjoyed learning about the book, I’m captivated by the subject and the cover is one of the best I’ve seen John. Resa, as always your art is beautiful and is a wonderful addition to this interview. Thank you both, this is truly special! xoxoxo

    1. Thank you for the lovely words, Holly. Resa did a marvelous job on Sam’s gowns and positioning the murals in the post. I thought her questions were wonderful as well. I’m glad you like the cover. My cover designer is one of the best. Thanks again for the visit and lift.

    2. Dear Dahling Meece!
      The cover is fab. That’s why I had to ask John about why he chose the car he did.
      It’s a crazy road trip, so I didn’t see where John was taking me. The end was a big surprise.
      Lol, I just had to get a couple of gowns in!
      Special…. thank you! It takes one to know one.

  12. Your creative reviews are amazing, Resa, and I loved your questions for John. Your discussion of eye color and physical descriptions was particularly fascinating. As well as what Sam would have wanted for a gown as a young child. Awesome drawings and great finds for artwork. Congrats, John, on landing a Resa review for your wonderful book. 🙂 ❤

    1. Diana!
      The eye colour… and what about the hair? I love that I developed an image of Sam in my mind, without any physical information. I also have an image of James, but he would not look so hot in a gown.
      I’m so happy you found this review/interview.
      I know it takes me forever, what with my turtle reading and all, but I will eventually get to your Sea Witch book. Thank you for your kind words!

      1. Hi Resa, I’m so sorry to be late to reply to your comment. I love your reviews, and I do think it’s cool that John let’s our imaginations “design” the look of the characters. And no pressure reading. Follow your muse, my friend. Hugs.

        1. Yayay! Hugs to you too.
          Yeah, it was interesting to find out that John let’s us make our own image. I had a very clear image of Sam, but when I went to check colours, there were none there.
          I’m sure you are writing a new book as I type!
          Be well and you follow your muse too! x

    1. Thank you, GP!
      Not sure which of John’s books I’ll read next. I have time to decide, as I have a few books ready to read at this time. Perhaps I’ll take your advice and read My Grl.

  13. A wonderful interview. John W. Howell is such an interesting soul. I love his take on letting the reader build what his characters look like. And the story of why a 1965 Oldsmobile is humorous and thoughtful. I’ve read this book. I loved it. Thanks for sharing John, his work, and his thoughts here.

  14. I really enjoyed this interview. The idea of adding pictures is a new one for me, but certainly appreciated. I agree with Resa about leaving the physical appearance up to the reader. Well done, Resa and John.

    1. Thanks Gi!
      I started sewing again this week. The new Art Gown is back in action. It’s a crazy thing how the war slowed me down.
      Reading John’s book was a great escape.
      I don’t read as much as you do, but it is a wonderful experience when I do. xo

  15. Resa and John – a brilliant interview. The questions were spot on, Resa! I have just purchased Eternal Road and am looking forward to the read. Many thanks to you both – you just made my day pure sunshine!

  16. What a fun post!! It’s so wonderful seeing John highlighted in such a lovely way. Thank you for sharing your site with us, Resa. You two gave us quite an interview! And I love the artwork and depictions!

  17. Really enjoyed the interview and the artistic renderings of Sam. I never noticed the color of her eyes wasn’t mentioned, but I always form pics of characters in my mind anyway. Looking forward to continuing James’s and Sam’s story!

      1. Memories of times when the good guys were the good guys and the bad guys were the bad guys, and no matter what the good guys always won, doing the right thing… 😉
        (I am getting old…)

        1. The good guys always won. They still do in most movies &TV. Even when guys are bad, the have a good reason. LOL!
          I’m getting old, too! xo

      1. MIght be a matter of time. We only got a TV when I was 13 or 14. Hopalong was gone. I think I may have seen one two episodes somewhere, don’t recall. My time was Bonanza, The Virginian, Star Trek, FBI (Efren Zinmbalist Jr. Great) Intouchables etc.

  18. Wow, Resa, what a fabulous review of John’s book. I love your artworks and I found his comments about not describing his characters in detail fascinating. Most authors do describe their characters, including me. That is a very novel idea.

    1. Thing is I saw James and Sam clearly in my mind. Then I could find no references to what I was seeing. John has something there. I totally enjoyed reading his book, and doing one of my unusual review/interviews.

      Hahahaha! A novel idea for a novel!

  19. I love this story and your drawings, hum I do realized I did miss a few good ones over the last few years, will try to catch up on some of these, on lazy days like today…:)

Speak your art mind!

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