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 heals, Kelly feels confident that she will be among the first would-be fiancés 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.
I loved this book! Yes, I know that I am getting straight to the point, but I really did! I have to admit I watch the Bachelor, but it is like being drawn to a train wreck and not being able to take my eyes off of it. This book is not a train wreck by any means. I gave it five stars on goodreads.com. It is a book that has Christian values. The main characters' father is a preacher who runs his own country church. Here are some of the many reasons I loved this book.
-It is a very funny book. I was LOL through most of the book. My children kept asking me why/what I was laughing at. This is a sign of a good book to me. I am calling this book the "Must Read" romance of the Summer!!!
-This book is engaging from the start; from the beginning where Kelly is dumped at the alter, to the end where you are wondering if she will end up with the Bachelor. I never once lost my interest in the story. In fact, I stayed up until almost 3:00 a.m. to finish the book because I HAD to see how it ended.
-Great Characters: I really liked the main characters of Kelly and Dillon. You can't help but love Kelly from the beginning. She is cute, down-to-earth, and very believable. I was cheering her on from the start. In some ways she can be very gullible, trusting some people too much. I am not going to bash her for that though, it is how the reader can relate to Kelly. It will take a few chapters before you fall for Dillon. The reader gets to know Dillon at the same time Kelly does. It didn't take even half way through the book before I really loved Dillon.
-This is a clean romance. There is no sex, but plenty of toe-tingling kisses. The main character is a virgin and proudly lets others know about it. This is a great message for today's youth. Though this isn't a YA book, I think that Mothers would feel very good about reading this book with their teen daughters.
After reading this fun book, I wanted to interview the author, Julie N. Ford. I hope that you will enjoy reading it.
Q: I know where you got the idea to write Count Down to Love, but describe the moment you realized this book needed to be written?
A: It was the summer before last and I had been toying with the idea in my mind. One day I was swimming at a friend’s pool and talking to my sister-in-law. She asked me what I was working on and I started telling her about the idea I had for Count Down to Love. She seemed really interested so I kept talking. The more I talked about it, the more excited I got, and then the ideas just flowing. I went home and started writing.
Q: Who were the inspirations for your main characters Kelly and Dillon?
A: For Kelly, I interviewed a few aspiring country artists here in Nashville about what it was like to write a song and perform, and then looked to music artist like Kelly Pickler and Carrie Underwood for her physical description. Her last name, Pickens, came from James Pickens. I have no idea who the man is but when we first moved to Nashville we used to get calls for him all the time.
Dillon’s character sprung from my secret affinity for cowboys. Then, reality dating shows always choose handsome men with money, someone they think women will swoon over like that’s all we care about—as if. 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.
Q: Did you do some research behind how a reality show, like the Bachelor, works?
A: Yes. Luckily a season of the Bachelorette was airing at the time. Much to my husband’s chagrin, I never missed a show including, the “behind the scenes” and “after the final rose” episodes. In addition, I read every tabloid article about the contestants (something I don’t normally do), watched a documentary on the making of a reality show and searched the Internet for interviews from former contestants.
Q: Count Down to Love is the first book I have ever read of yours. Is this your first Romance? What other books have you written?
A: Count Down to Love is the only one that is primarily a romance. My first novel, The Woman He Married, was a women’s fiction with elements of romance. The second, No Holly for Christmas, was more of a romantic/suspense. Although No Holly for Christmas was my second novel, it hasn’t been released yet. It comes out in November.
Q: I was impressed with the humor found in your novel. I was LOL so many times as I read. How did you decide on your characters and which women would be in the house? There were many that were written humorously. How hard was it writing so many different characters?
A: First, thank you for that incredible compliment. I’m so glad my characters seemed real enough to have you laughing.
Actually, I only had to reach back to my junior high school days to come up with the individual women in the house. There always seems to be one who places herself at the top of the heap (Jessica) and every vixen needs an evil accomplice (Zhan). I started with those two and then worked my way down. Being a social worker/therapist means I’m used to watching people—analyzing their idiosyncrasies—and after forty-something years of living, I have a lot of material to draw from. Plus, we tend to laugh a lot in our house and pretty much every subject is far game.
Q: What book do you have coming out next? What are you working on right now?
A: I have a romantic/suspense coming out in November titled, No Holly for Christmas. I took one of the sub-characters, Brian, from the first novel and built the plot around him. Then, I added an atypical heroine and topped it off with a nice dose of the holidays. Essentially, all my favorite genres rolled together in one novel.
Right now I’m working on a novel titled, 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 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 have to see what happens. Wink, wink.
Q: What is your best advice for aspiring writers? How can they keep up the excitement amidst disappointments along the way?
A: Write because you love it, because the voices in your head won’t let you rest until you free them onto the page (or computer screen), because to stop is not an option. Keep writing when you get discouraged because, even if you never make a dime off your work, the journey was well worth the effort.
Sheila, I would like to say one thing if I may regarding the banter between Kelly and Patrice in this novel. I want everyone to know that I sincerely meant no disrespect. I was simply having a little fun at the expense of silly modern stereotypes. Just because Kelly wears a Confederate Flag doesn’t make her a bigot. Likewise, because Patrice is African American doesn’t necessarily mean she’s good at sports and knows how to fry chicken. They were both equally wrong in their misguided assumptions just as many of us are at times.
Thank you for allowing me to do this interview!
There you have it! I know that this has been a long book review, but I hoped that I have hooked you into reading this book. I know that I will go back and re-read this book. If you go to Julie's website, you can enter(Before July 31, 2011) to win a copy of this book. So don't delay and go and enter to win a copy or go and purchase a copy of the book. Happy reading friends!!
Here is the purchase link: http://www.amazon.com/Count-Down-Love-Julie-Ford/dp/1599555166/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1310107854&sr=8-1
About the Author:
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 womens' 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 and one very feisty fish.