1) How and why have you started to write? Were there something or someone that gave you an impulse?
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 dialogue and narration for my first novel 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 and started my first chapter. A friend of mine, Gail, agreed to read it and encouraged me to keep going. So I guess you could say that she, along with my husband and my first editor, Heather, inspired me.
2) Tell me something about your book Replacing Gentry.
One of my favorite books is Rebecca so I decided to blend my story with DuMaurier’s, make it modern and Southern, and voila, Replacing Gentry was born. Marlie, the main character, is curious and tenacious to a fault. Gets her into all kinds of trouble. When she starts digging into matters she shouldn’t, she unwittingly unearths a dangerous conspiracy she fears her husband might kill to keep secret. And then there’s the handsome Johnny Hutchinson who seems to show up at all the wrong times, conveniently with a snarky comment hanging on his perfect lips. What’s his deal anyway? And where has Marlie seen him before?
I think the message in this book is that whether we want to call it fate or God’s will, life has way of directing us down the proper path. If we’re able to learn from, and trust in the power’s that be, and allow a source greater than ourselves to lead us, sooner or later, we’ll end up right where we belong.
3) While youre writing, have you discovered a character that you where developing feelings of love for? And was there a character that gave you headaches?
As I said earlier, Marlie is curious and tenacious to a fault. And as you can imagine, this combination gets her into a heap of trouble. She’s in over her head and still, she keeps digging. I love this about her and see these characteristics in myself sometimes.
I don’t think any of the characters gave me a hard time. I really enjoyed writing them all, even the evil ones. I did have a hard time finding the right name for Marlie’s sister though. I wanted to name her after my sister Marnie but my publisher thought that sounded too much like Marlie. I changed her name a few times but none felt right. Then I finally settled on Maureen, my sister’s given name.
4) How have you done your research for this novel?
I do most of my research on the Internet. This novel is set here in Nashville so I was able to visit the cemeteries and other locations to get a feel for the scene setting.
5) Is there a book that inspired your writings?
The inspiration for Replacing Gentry was ignited by a question my daughter asked regarding spirits. The paranormal elements I’d originally intended for this text were eventually edited out but still, the plot originated with her inquiry. Then, one of my favorite books is Rebecca. I decided to blend my story with DuMaurier’s, make it modern and Southern, and voila, Replacing Gentry was born.
6) In the end, would you like say some words to your fans from Romania?
Hey y’all! I’m very excited to meet you all. If you have any question please feel free to contact me through my web site JulieNFord.com. I’d also be interested in hearing what you think about American writing and how it differs and/or is similar to Romanian/European/Eastern European styles of writing.