Friday, September 02, 2011

Author Julie N. Ford Q&A and Giveaway (US residents)

Meet Author Julie Ford:

Julie has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in English Literature from San Diego State University. In addition, she earned a Masters in Social Work from the University of Alabama. She has worked in teaching, childbirth education and family therapy. Besides writing, she spends many hours working along side her husband at their UPS Store franchise, but hopes to re-enter the Social Work field someday.

She is the author of three women’s fiction novels, the first two due out in March and November 2011, published by Whiskey Creek Press. The third due for release in May 2011, published by Cedar Fort Inc.

Currently, she lives in Nashville, TN with her husband, two daughters

Book Description:

Abandoned at the altar, Kelly Grace Pickens finds herself left holding not only the bouquet but also the exorbitant bill for an A-list wedding. Homeless, a once promising singing career floundering, and her life bearing an uncanny resemblance to one of her country music ballads, she reluctantly accepts a last minute offer to appear on a reality TV show akin to The Bachelor. Pitted against silicon-enhanced supermodels in four-inch heels, Kelly feels confident that she will be among the first would-be fiancĂ©es to be excused. Only, when the mysterious bachelor from New York City, Dillon Black, invites her to stay, Kelly finds herself thrust into the vortex of a game she doesn’t have the first idea how to play. Nursing her hopelessly broken heart while avoiding the foils of her fellow contestants, Kelly is oblivious to Dillon’s affections as she wades through hurt and betrayal to discover, in the end, that she has landed firmly on both feet.

Leaving behind Nashville’s Music Row for the majestic Grand Teton Mountains, Count Down To Love takes readers on a journey from duplicity to sincerity as Kelly discovers that being true to finding happiness and love.

Julie, welcome Julie to Romance Author Buzz. Is there a back story to Count Down to Love?

Not any that the reader needs to know ahead of time. I feel like the relevant back story is woven into the first chapter. The book is about Kelly discovering who she is and what she wants from life, so the plot focuses more on moving forward than looking back.

How long have you been writing and what was your call story?

I’ve been writing for nearly five years. About eighteen months ago, my first “call” came in the form an email from a publisher that I had queried some time prior. I had already received about twenty rejections, so before even opening the correspondence I went straight to the notebook where I recorded my manuscript submissions and promptly scratched this publisher’s name from the list. Boy, was I surprised when I opened the email and it was not rejecting my submission, but accepting it.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? Have you had other jobs along the way?

I’ve always had stories in my head that I would play around with, but never considered turning any of them into a novel. About five years ago, I had just finished chemotherapy treatments for Lymphoma when we moved to a new state. I didn’t know anyone, my girls were in school, and I was at home waiting for my hair to grow back when the dialog and narration for my first novel just started coming to me—insistent, almost, that I let it out. I thought I might as well go ahead and write some, so one day I sat down at the computer and started my first chapter. One chapter turned into twenty, and three months later, I had my first novel. Then, before I’d even finished the first novel, I already had the follow-up brewing in my mind and was anxious to get started on the next one. Now I have a backlog of stories waiting to be told.

As far as other jobs, I’ve done some family therapy as well as working alongside my husband at our franchise business.

Do you plot your stories or let your characters lead you?

I do a little of both. When I start a novel, I will experiment with the characters during the first few chapters, see how they develop, what they become. Then, as the plot begins to grow, I’ll write down a rough outline just to keep myself on track. But even with an outline, my plot often changes as I’m writing and I have to readjust the direction of the book. Long explanation short, I use a loose structure that keeps me focused without frustrating the creative process.

Of all of your characters, do you have a favorite you identify with and why?

I can’t say that I do. This question sort of feels like trying to decide which of my daughters I love most. I like, and identify with, all of my characters equally, but for different reasons. Having said that, while writing my first two novels, I thought Brian was the ultimate in male characters—the perfect man—but then I developed Dillon and wow! Who wouldn’t absolutely fall for a soft-spoken, cowboy/millionaire? So, no, I guess I still don’t have a favorite.

What are you currently working on?

I have a fourth novel in the works—The Cadaver Ball. It’s sort of a sci-fi/women’s fiction/suspense about a woman who meets the man of her dreams at Vanderbilt Medical School’s Cadaver Ball. Two weeks later, she finds herself saying, “I do,” in a room full of strangers to a man she barely knows. From there, she gets caught up in the mystery of what really happened to her husband’s late wife. Throw in a few evil clones and maybe some end-of-the-world stuff, and we’ll see what happens.

What is the best thing about your job as an author? What is the hardest thing?

The best part about writing for me is when the plot and/or words just seem to flow effortlessly as if being sent from a special place I have yet to discover. It truly feels like my own little miracle.

The hardest part is time. With two teenaged daughters, a husband and a job outside of the home, finding even just a few hours together to sit down and write is a challenge.

If you were invited to appear on a talk show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?

Who I Am was the original title of the book and I think would be an appropriate theme. In a society where we as women can be anything from a stay-at-home-mom to the Secretary of State, it’s sometimes hard for us to find our own individual places in this world. When Kelly loses the love of her life and, at the same time, her direction for the future, she’s forced to discover what she really wants from life—who she wants to become—not just professionally but personally as well.

Describe a day in the life of Julie Ford.

Exercise, email, blog, manage children/home/business, yard work, church, and somewhere in there find a few hours to sit down to write. And if all goes well, squeeze in a little reading. I wish I could say I have a daily routine, but right now I can’t. Every day holds its own surprises and challenges. For now, I’m just trying to hang on and enjoy the ride.

What are you currently reading?

Currently I’m reading a youth fantasy, but I have a mystery/suspense and a romance on my nightstand ready to go. I read mostly women’s fiction, but I like to diversify every now and then.

Do you have a favorite author?

No, I can’t say that I do. I really like to read Jodi Picoult because she creates the most vivid characters and plots. I really feel like I’ve stepped into someone else’s life when I read her books. I also like Kristin Hannah because her writing flows with the perfect amount of creative description that doesn’t bog down the pacing. Mary Kay Andrews for Southern Fiction and Sophie Kinsella for British humor always have me laughing out loud. Sheryl J Anderson is my favorite chick-lit/mystery. Michael Crichton, Clive Cussler and Greg Iles are my favorite male writers. And there are more, too many, in fact, to mention them all.

What is something you definitely want readers to know about you?

I want readers to know that I write books because it’s fun, because the creative process makes me happy. Sure, it’d be great if a whole lot of folks decided they loved my stories as much as I do, but as long as even a few of you enjoy my novels I’ll keep writing.

Before I let you go is there anything I forgot to ask that you want the readers and fans to know?

Just that all of your readers should feel free to email me from my website or blog at any time with any further questions and/or comments.

Julie, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me!

You’re welcome! And thank you for allowing me to talk about my novel(s).

Where you can find Juilie:

Other: Queries2Reviews

Visit Julie's blog and leave a comment mentioning that they saw this book on Romance Author Buzz. I’ll hold a drawing specifically for your readers fourteen days after the interview is posted. US residents only.

Comment on this interview here as well, leave your email address so that you may be contacted.  Contest ends Sept 30th.

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