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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Count Down to Love Blog Tour

I'm happy to help celebrate the one-year anniversary of Count Down to Love by being a stop on its 2012 Blog Tour (visit The Book Bug for the rest of the tour stops). Today we have a couple of treats: an author interview AND a giveaway!

Interview with Julie N. Ford

Count Down to Love has quite a few similarities to the TV show The Bachelor. Are you a big fan of the show? If so, do you prefer The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, and do you have a favorite season?

Though I watch sporadically, I’ve never been a huge fan of reality shows. Then while doing my research for CDto L, I learned how producers cut and paste conversations and facial expressions to manipulate “reality” in order to make the show more compelling. Now I find myself second-guessing everything I see. That’s why I chose to focus the story more on Kelly’s journey than on the show. Originally, I had a chapter in the book that showed Kelly watching some of the episodes and comparing what was televised with what had really happened. Unfortunately, my publisher has word count limitations and this scene, along with a few others, were cut. Mostly, I prefer the Bachelorette to the Bachelor. As far as a favorite season, I liked Allie’s the best because she seemed more like a regular girl (no plastic surgery/didn’t appear to have an eating disorder) than most of the other bachelorettes.

Have you ever had a desire to be a contestant on a reality TV show? If so, which one, and what type of contestant do you think you'd be?

Oh good gracious, no. I can make a fool of myself just fine in privacy of my own community; I don’t see the benefit of extending the depth of my idiosyncrasies to national viewers as well. But I have thought it might be interesting to have a reality show where writers are all locked in a house, competing to write a short story or novella. They would have to endure critique groups, one-on-one’s with editors, etc. One contestant gets sent home every episode if their writing is not up to par. Writers often take their work so incredibly, emotionally personal that there would be no need for producers to create any drama. With fellow authors and editors ripping each contestant writer’s work to pieces, there would plenty of drama to go around. Winner gets a national publishing contract.
 
What do you like best about writing and having your books published?


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. I enjoy working with an editor and then how neat and clean the text looks when the process is done. It’s fun to see my book on the shelf at the store. But the best part is when a novel is complete, and off to press, because then it’s time for me to sink into another one ☺

Who is your favorite character in Count Down to Love, and why?

Dillon. His character sprung from my secret affinity for cowboys. Then the fact that reality dating shows often choose handsome and wealthy men, someone they think women will swoon over like money and physical appearance are all we ladies care about—as if—made me want to add another dimension. So, I made him a self-made millionaire with a mysterious past that would also give him some depth and an upbringing similar to Kelly’s.

What do you hope that readers will take from your books?

With Count Down to Love I hope my readers will be entertained and maybe even laugh a little. And by taking Kelly’s journey with her, every woman will see that she too can find her true self.

How do you pick the locations for your books?

I usually choose to take readers to places I’ve been, and enjoyed, like the skydiving scene. Except when I jumped, I did it alone, without being attached to an instructor. Very exciting! Or places I’ve always dreamed of going, or living as the case may be, like Dillon’s ranch in Wyoming.

What is your favorite book?

Just about everything written by Kristin Hannah. She is my favorite author. In fact, if I could die and come back as any author, it would be her. I tried to emulate her while writing my first two novels but in the end, both books just sounded like me. I guess that’s okay too.

Do you have any unusual habits while you write?

Hmmm, not really. I usually listen to music while I’m writing. Right now I’m listening to Thriving Ivory, Angels on the Moon. Tapping my foot seems to help me maintain a good writing rhythm. When I get stuck on a difficult scene, or plot-snag, and need to think, I’ll either go for a walk, do some yoga or head out my office door where I have a hammock.

Thank you Julie!

Count Down to Love was a 2011 Whitney Award Finalist in the Romance category. You can read my review here.
GIVEAWAY

One lucky Literary Time Out follower will win an eBook copy of Count Down to Love. To enter, just make sure you are publicly following Literary Time Out (via Google Friend Connect). Then, comment below answering this question by September 5th:

If you had to be on a reality TV show (or TV gameshow), which one would it be and why?

You can earn extra entries by sharing the giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, and/or your blog. Leave a comment for each extra entry with the link(s) to your post(s).

The winner will be posted on September 6th.

You can up your chances of winning Count Down to Love by entering the Grand Prize Giveaway too!

Grand Prize Giveaway

As part of the tour, Julie is generously offering a grand prize giveaway of a hard copy of Count Down to Love, a CD of the band Due West, and a copy of the single, “Who I Am”, which Julie and Due West wrote and recorded specifically for the book. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post or any of the other stops on the tour. (Visit the tour page for the full tour schedule.) The more stops you comment on, the more entries you have into the contest!

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 fianc├ęs 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 oneself is the first step in finding happiness and everlasting love.

Author Bio

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 Woman He Married (March 2011) and No Holly for Christmas (November 2011), published by Whiskey Creek Press. The third, Count Down to Love (July 2011), published by Bonneville Books.

Currently, she lives in Nashville, TN with her husband, two daughters and one very feisty fish.

You can follow Julie on her website, her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

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