Today I am meeting John Howell for breakfast at the award-winning Elmo’s Diner in Durham, North Carolina, so he can tell me about his new book, The Last Drive, the sequel to Eternal Road – The Final Stop. I loved Eternal Road, which cleverly meshed time-travel, adventure, mystery, justice, and the supernatural. The new book does the same – what’s not to like?

Elmo’s Diner opened in the spring of 1997 in the Ninth Street shopping district of Old West Durham. Large windows, wooden floors, high ceilings, and old red brick grace the Durham location, and give a warm and casual feel. The restaurant also is located in an old building with lots of history, having been a former taxi cab garage, beauty college, and bakery at various times.

Since John offers us wonderful Sunday menus to go along with his Views of the Neighborhood blog post, I thought it only fair to turn the tables on him and offer him the menu from Elmo’s. My recommendation is the baked French toast stuffed with cream cheese and apples, topped with cinnamon apples and whipped cream. It tastes like a breakfast bread pudding and is served with two eggs and bacon, sausage or ham.

After placing two orders for this French toast, plus some eye-opener coffee, I start to pepper John with questions.

NG: John, can you tell me a little about The Last Drive and how it differs from Eternal Road?

JH: Eternal Road and The Last Drive differ in how nasty Lucifer gets in trying to grab off souls that have already been destined for eternal grace. In Eternal Road he sends Sam and James into situations that are dangerous but less evil. In the Last Drive he pulls out all the stops.

NG: Well, that gives me goose bumps. I’ve just started reading the book and I’m already nervous!

NG: Where did the ideas for these two books come from?

JH: When I was ten years old my dad passed away. I had a hard time coming to grips with the loss so I started making up what I thought heaven should be. It came down to heaven is whatever you want it to be which is the theme of both books.

NG: I also think when you get to a certain age, the concept of heaven is on your mind a lot. It’s hard to get your mind around, but I do like your version.

At this point, our breakfast arrives, and we dose our waffles with maple syrup and dig into the eggs.

In between mouthfuls, I ask: What is your favorite breakfast food?

JH: Our local food chain private label Raisin Bran Crunch with bananas and 2% milk.

NG:  Do you live on coffee?

JH: I have an espresso machine that makes excellent coffee, but I only have two cups a day.

NG: That’s pretty modest compared to some writers I know, who main line it. My next question is:  When do you write and where?

JH: I usually try to write in the morning. I sit on the couch with Twiggy my dog. I have an office, but Twiggy won’t let me write in there. She makes a fuss until I sit on the couch.

At this point, I need to tell our readers that John is the owner of two dogs, the wise older Lucy, who is a boxer, and the irrepressible younger Twiggy, who is a French bulldog. Twiggy thinks that their yard is occasionally inhabited by water buffalo and pumas. Their adventures appear regularly on John’s blog.

NG:  Does Twiggy interrupt your writing?

JH: Absolutely.

NG: Do you listen to music when you write?

JH:  No. I used to but stopped. My first three books were written to Queen’s Greatest Hits.

NG: I would be totally distracted by anything Queen and would want to sing along. Are you a pantser or a plotter?

JH: A pantser from the get-go. When I started writing I didn’t know how to plot. I do know how now but still prefer sitting in front of the computer with the characters and let them run off with the story.

I stop to take a good gulp of my coffee and let John get on with his breakfast. Then I ask a couple of off the wall questions.  Where did you grow up, John?

JH: I grew up physically in the Detroit area. Once I left for college I never went back. Mentally I’m still a kid.

NG:  What was your first car? Not a 1956 Oldsmobile like the one in Eternal Road, by any chance?

JH (smiling): No but this sounds like you are going to hack into my financial accounts with secret questions. My first car was a Ford Club Coupe. Being a Detroit kid, I naturally had to squeeze every bit of horsepower from it. So, I installed a duel set of carburetors, dual exhaust, souped-up ignition, and floor shifter. It was the fastest thing on Woodward Avenue, the local drag strip.

1946 Ford Super Deluxe Club Coupe - 1 - Thumbnail

NG: My first was a 1930 Model A phaeton, and I’ve missed it for all these years. Definitely not a roadster – I think its top speed was maybe 40 mph. Before we finish I have to ask you: Is there another book in the works?

JH: I have two. One is a memoir and the other is a collection of my Top Ten Things Not to Do posts incorporated into a book

NG: Well, I’m looking forward to both! I really enjoy your Ten Top Things Not to Do, since I’ve so often made the mistake of actually doing them.

I call for another cup of coffee…..

So here is the blurb for The Last Drive, John’s new book.

‘In the sequel to Eternal Road – The Final Stop, Sam and James (who are both dead souls and are trying to find their way to heaven) are reunited to look for two other souls, Ryan and Eddie. Ryan was killed in Afghanistan, trying to avoid a schoolyard with his crippled plane. Eddie Rickenbacker, Ryan’s hero, is to guide Ryan to his Eternal Home, and now both are missing.
The higher-ups believe that there has been some interference in Ryan and Eddie’s journey by Lucifer, so Sam and James have the task of finding Ryan and Eddie to get them back on the road despite the evil interference. Unfortunately, the machinations designed to prevent Ryan and Eddy from completing their journey takes the pair to horrifying testing grounds. The places visited represent the best work of the Devil. They are the trenches of World War I in France, gladiators at the Roman Coliseum, the sinking Titanic in 1912, Hiroshima 45 minutes before the bomb, and the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943.

This book is for you if you like plenty of action, strong characters, time travel, and a touch of spiritual and historical fiction. So, join Sam and James as they try to find the missing souls while staying one step ahead of the Prince of Darkness, who is determined to destroy all that is good.”

About the author:

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 tension. The final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016 concludes the thriller series. John’s fourth book Circumstances of Childhood, launched in October of 2017 tells a different thriller story of riches to rags, football, Wall Street, brotherly love, redemption, and inspiration with a touch of paranormal to keep you riveted. The fifth book is a collaboration with the ​award-winning author, Gwen Plano titled The Contract. Heavenly bodies become concerned about the stability of the Earth and send two of their own to risk eternal salvation in order to save the planet. The Contract achieved number one status in its genre. John’s next book is titled Eternal Road – The Final Stop and launched in September 2020. In search of their eternal home, Sam and James discover a threat to human existence. They also encounter the prince of darkness. The question is; can they save humankind and their eternal souls. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

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

You can find John

On twitter at: @HowellWave

On Facebook:

On his website:

The Last Drive is available on Amazon:


  1. What a great interview! John, I bet that car of yours was amazing!
    Thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with the two of you during breakfast. Thanks for hosting, Noelle, and all the best to John. I loved The Last Drive!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I so enjoyed the interview and the delicious breakfast, Noelle. Thank you so much for having me. I don’t think I’m going to eat for a week. Discussing the books and telling a little about myself was an absolute pleasure. You are a great host, and I appreciate your help spreading the word about The Last Drive.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Such great questions and answers, Noelle and John. And breakfast looks yummy! Definitely not low-calorie. 🙂 I did like that Lucifer upped the ante in this new book. He’s losing his grip and getting desperate. I like to think that’s happening in the real world as well. Best wishes to John, and thank you, Noelle, for hosting today!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Great interview! I had to laugh about Twiggy not letting you write in your office, John. Funny how our pets rule the house. That dining is so charming, and I’m drooling over the French toast. Thanks for hosting, Noelle!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great interview, Noelle! It’s nice to learn more about John, who is a really good guy. It’s sure good to see Last Drive being honored. For me, it was so absorbing and thought-provoking that I stayed up very late while reading it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Gwen M. Plano

    What a great interview, Noelle! I laughed as I traveled with you and John–food, pets, books, future –you covered a lot of territory and made it fun for all of us. Bravo to John and a big affirmation of his plans for future books. Can’t wait! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I loved this interview and I’ve learned more about John. We have a lot in common. I’m also a pantser and even though I have a perfectly good writing desk (with a computer purchased last year as a retirement gift to myself), I’m most often on the sofa with my laptop. Instead of a dog, one of my cats is always nearby to “help.”

    Loved The Last Drive and I highly recommend it. Thanks for hosting today, Keith. (And those waffles look delicious.)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Noelle, your tour-hosting posts are so fun! I love that you took John out to breakfast and wow, did you have a good one. And great questions. It was wonderful learning more about you, John, the inspiration for the books, Twiggy helping you write, your first car, and the books in the works. As you know, I enjoyed The Last Drive. It was a great read. Enjoy your breakfast, you two. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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