J. J. Hebert’s debut novel, Unconventional (paperback), became an Amazon.com best-seller in three categories on July 19, 2009. The Kindle version has been the #1 Inspirational Book in the Kindle Store numerous times. Mr. Hebert is also the founder of MindStir Media, a self-publishing and book marketing company. Currently, he lives in New England, where he’s at work on his latest novel as well as a children’s book.
Please tell us a bit about your book, Unconventional, and what you hope readers take away from reading it.
Unconventional centers on a young janitor-turned-author and his journey of becoming a published author. I hope the book will continue to inspire readers to follow their own dreams despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Who are your favorite characters in the story?
My favorite characters from Unconventional are James Frost—a young janitor/would-be author—and Meranda Erickson—an alcoholic, renowned author. James, the central character, represents hope and perseverance while Meranda represents, for many, the consequences of addiction. Both characters offer valuable lessons.
Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your book?
“The greatest and most inspiring achievements are not produced by those who conform to society’s idea of normal, but by those who courageously adopt the unconventional.”
If your current release were to be turned into a movie, who would you love to see play what characters and why?
I can see Matt Damon as James Frost because of Damon’s fantastic performance as a janitor/whiz kid in Good Will Hunting. Maybe Maggie Smith as Meranda Erickson. Maggie is an extremely well-rounded actress with tons of experience in all sorts of roles. Linda Cardellini could be Leigh, James’s love interest. Linda has the right look as a brunette.
What are your favorite aspects of writing?
The freedom to create anything I want. Creative writing is so freeing.
Your least favorite aspects of writing?
Deadlines, which seem to steal some of the joy and sometimes hinder creativity.
Who are some of your favorite authors/books?
I enjoy all books written by Karen Kingsbury and Mitch Albom.
What are you reading right now?
I’m not reading any books at the moment. Right now I’m focusing on writing and marketing.
If you could have a dinner party and invite five authors—dead or alive—who would they be and what would you serve them?
J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Robert Frost, C.S. Lewis, and James Patterson. Instead of food, I’d serve them Unconventional (to read, not eat) just to see their reactions.
What is a book that you wish you could say that you had written and why?
I wish I could find a time machine, go back in time, and write the Harry Potter series myself. For financial reasons, of course. Just kidding.
What is the greatest piece of advice (for writing and/or just living) that you have heard?
Stephen King on writing: “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.”