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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 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.
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!
What made you decide to become a writer?
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. Then, 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 of it. 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.
Who inspires you?
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.
What would you like your readers to get out of your writing?
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.
Where did this idea come from?
The idea for this story began as most of my ideas do, with a dream. Every now and then I’ll wake up 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 many struggling music artists, I was inspired to make Kelly a jilted signer/song writer.
Who was your favorite character to develop?
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 looks 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.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
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.
What can we expect next from you?
My next novel is titled The Cadaver Ball and will be coming out sometime in 2013. It’s a women’s fiction/mystery about a woman from Southern California who meets the man of her dreams when she attends Vanderbilt Medical School’s, Cadaver Ball, with her college roommate. A year later she is married and living in Nashville with two step sons and has a sneaky suspicion that something doesn’t feel right regarding her husband’s first wife’s death. Being the curious person that she is, she just can’t help but go poking into the past, which lands her right in the middle of a dangerous conspiracy. The story is sort of a modern twist on the Rebecca and Jane Eyre novels.
Where can we purchase your book?