Today's interview is with Julie N. Ford, author of Count Down to Love.
Julie N. Ford: I have an author page on both Amazon and Goodreads, a blog, Queries2Reviews.wordpress.com, and a website, JulieNFord.com. My book(s) are available on Amazon and in select bookstores.
Jennifer Walker: Tell us about your book.
Julie N. Ford: Count Down to Love is a story about a washed-up country singer, Kelly Grace Pickens, who is deserted at the altar by her manager/fiancé and then ends up going on a reality show akin to the Bachelor. Heartbroken, she barely notices the bachelor, Dillon Black, at first, but as he offers her one invitation after another to stay, she slowly starts to see him and her future in a different light.
Jennifer Walker: Where did you get the idea for the story?
Julie N. Ford: The idea for this story began as most of my ideas do, with a dream. Often I’ll wakeup in the morning with a story brewing. If I’m intrigued by the premise I’ll mull it over some more, allowing it to mushroom until I have a basic concept—characters, plot, central conflict. Then, living in Nashville, around all the struggling music artists, I was inspired to make Kelly a jilted signer/song writer. Since I’m completely tone deaf, I decided to take the opportunity to live vicariously through her.
Jennifer Walker: What is your greatest writing challenge?
Julie N. Ford: That’s an easy one—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. I have a backlog of stories in the recesses of my brain clamoring to be freed if only I didn’t have so many distractions. However, having said that, I do love my “distractions” and wouldn’t trade them even if it meant clearing my brain of all those pesky potential plot lines.
Jennifer Walker: What do you find most rewarding in writing a book?
Julie N. Ford: I love it 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.
Jennifer Walker: Tell us about your previous work.
Julie N. Ford: My first novel, The Woman He Married, is about a stay-at-home-mom struggling to find balance, not just with regards to her busy schedule, but also between the expectations she’d always had for her life and the reality she now finds herself living.
Jennifer Walker: What other projects do you have coming up?
Julie N. Ford: My second novel, No Holly for Christmas, comes out in November and is a follow-up to the first. I took one of the sub-characters, Brian, who turned out to be my favorite, and built the plot around him. Then, I added some romance, suspense, an atypical heroine and topped it all off with a nice dose of the holidays. Essentially, all my favorite genres rolled together in one novel. My first two novels have a different publisher from Count Down to Love, which means the third novel is coming out in between the first and the second. It’s confusing, I know, but we all just have to go with it.
In addition, 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, you guessed it, 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 here 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 have to see what happens. Stay tuned to my blog for more one this one. It’s going to be interesting—wink, wink.
Julie N. Ford: In the beginning I’ll simply allow a plot to stew in my head until I have a good idea of the beginning, middle and end. Then, I sit down and write a synopsis that will likely change, but it gives me some direction and I think helps me feel like I actually have a feasible concept. Next, I’m usually anxious to sit down and start writing, so I will. I’ll write a few chapters until the plot builds enough for me to need some concrete direction in the form of an outline. Usually the outline is rough, just handwritten in a notebook kept by the side of my bed. At this point, I will go ahead and write the end. It always changes a little too, but I like to have it written—settled—and then I can just relax and let the rest flow as I fill in the blanks.
Jennifer Walker: When and why did you decided to become a writer?
Julie N. Ford: I never “decided” to become a writer, per se. I’ve always had stories in my head that I would play around with but never really 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 city. 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 for a few hours and started my first chapter. One chapter turned into twenty and three months later I had my first novel.
Jennifer Walker If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would it be, and with whom?
Julie N. Ford: I would love to see all of Great Britain—England, Ireland, and Scotland. The only person I could possibly fathom taking such a trip with would be my husband, Tracy.