Where do you dream of traveling to and why?
I would love to see all of Great Britain—England, Ireland, and Scotland. Why? I don’t know exactly. Going back to my roots, I guess. I’ve always been fascinated by the history. I took a government of England class during undergrad and since then, have been curious to see parliament, 10 Downing Street, etc.
Who is your favorite author?
Kristin Hannah. She is my favorite women’s fiction author. I love her stories, characters and writing style. Second would be Sophie Kinsella. Mostly Kinsella’s earlier writing. I think her novels, Can You Keep a Secret, and, The Undomestic Goddess, are so funny. I like to mix these two styles when I write. Heartfelt stories about women with pops of humor.
What do you think makes a good story?
First, a story needs to have some element of romance. Not necessarily clothes ripping, up against the wall kind of heat, but at least a thread of romantic tension. Then, I want some suspense and/or intrigue—what’s going on? A clear, definable goal—why am I taking the time to read this book?—even if that goal changes as the plot unfolds. Next, I want witty, well-written dialogue. And last, I want humor. I’m the kind of person who laughs/jokes all the time. Even in the midst of the worst situations, I find that there is always something ironic to smile about J
What songs are most played on your Ipod?
Lately, I’ve been really into Dashboard Confessional, Mindy Smith and Missy Higgins. Then there are always the classics like The Fray, Lifehouse, Howey Day, Counting Crows and Five For Fighting. And don’t forget my all time favorite, Elvis Costello. Just for fun, I slip a Costello song/reference into every novel.
What makes you happy?
Dark chocolate, a freshly mowed lawn, quesadilla Fridays, having all of my immediate family home, Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday), buying a new book, getting a positive review, gerbera daisies, when I’m mentally deep into drafting and the words are flowing effortlessly, seeing my cover art for the first time (even if I don’t like it all that much), thunderstorms and lightning bugs.
Is there a piece of advice that you have received that has really stuck with you? If so, what was it?
Show the story from the character’s perspective. Sometimes we writer’s have a tendency to narrate too much. But if we can get into the character’s head and stay there, the story will be rich till the end. Easier said then done, but always in the back of my mind when I’m writing.
If I came to visit early in the morning would you impress me as being more like a chirpy bird or a grumpy bear?
Neither. I’m what my mother used to call “slow to thaw” in the morning. I’m a bit groggy and don’t remember much from around the time I woke up. Sometimes it takes me a good hour or two to come all the way to life. As one might imagine, the morning is not a good time for me to respond to emails or update my status on Facebook or Twitter. First, I often don’t remember what I said. Second, I tend to say/write random thoughts that don’t make complete sense.
What would we find under your bed?
Nothing but dust bunnies. I read once that it’s bad feng shui to have anything under one’s bed. I need all the positive cosmic help I can get, so there’s nothing but wide-open possibilities under my bed when I sleep. Downside, there’s more room for monsters. But I try not to dwell.
When Marlie agrees to attend a cadaver ball at Vanderbilt Medical School, she did not expect to actually see any cadavers. Or, that a strange apparition would issue her a chilling message.
Despite the cadaver's warning, Marlie is married a year later to Tennessee State Senator, Daniel Cannon, and living in a plantation-style mansion with two step sons. Add to the mix her growing suspicion that something is amiss with the death of Daniel’s first wife, Gentry; and newlywed Marlie is definitely in over her pretty Yankee head.
What begins as an innocent inquiry into her new husband’s clouded past, ends with Marlie in the midst of a dangerous conspiracy.
A modern twist on the classic Gothic romance novels of Rebecca and Jane Eyre, Replacing Gentry follows Marlie’s precarious journey as she learns the truth about the man she married.
Replacing Gentry was released on April 9th
In my opinion, one of the best aspects of this book is the atmosphere – a mysterious, rather dark foreboding prevails. This eerie feeling is usually subtle but is an integral component of the story. For me, it certainly helped define and set this story apart from similar books. The gothic element is constant, its intensity shifting according to the action occurring within a specific scene. It is difficult to maintain this sort of creepy uncertainty with such singular creativity but Ms. Ford did just that, with exceptional aplomb.
The story moves along quickly; the characters, be they benign or villainous, are intriguing. As I read, I often wondered about specific allegiances. Often the reader is kept in the dark, or fooled into believing something, only to be surprised later. I did not always appreciate the subterfuge, but it did keep me wholly engaged and reading.
Marlie is a likeable and tenacious heroine. I never particularly warmed up much to Daniel; some of his decisions seemed too easily swayed, and I disliked his frequent absenteeism. However, Marlie does her best with his two teenage sons. She is ferociously protective and supportive of her new family. I liked her all the more because of that. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys gothic suspense, and for mystery buffs who like decrypting convoluted puzzles that involve secret cabals with hidden agendas.
This book was provided to me in exchange for my honest review.
Reviewed by Laurie-J
Author Julie N. Ford
Julie N. Ford graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in Political Science and a minor in English Literature. In addition, she has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Alabama. Professionally, she has worked in teaching and as a Marriage & Family Counselor. She is the author of two women’s fiction novels, The Woman He Married and No Holly for Christmas, published in 2011. In addition, she wrote a romance/chick-lit novel, Count Down to Love, also published in 2011. Count Down to Love was a 2011 Whitney Award finalist. Her next novel, Replacing Gentry, is due for release April 9th, 2013.
Currently, she lives in Nashville, TN with her husband, two daughters and one hedgehog.
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