Drew Farthering loves a good mystery, although he generally expects to find it in the pages of a novel, not on the grounds of his country estate. When a weekend party at Farthering Place is ruined by murder and the police seem flummoxed, Drew decides to look into the crime himself. With the help of his best friend, Nick Dennison, an avid mystery reader, and Madeline Parker, a beautiful and whip-smart American debutante staying as a guest, the three try to solve the mystery as a lark, using the methods from their favorite novels.
Soon, financial irregularities at Drew's stepfather's company come to light and it's clear that all who remain at Farthering Place could be in danger. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer--and trying harder to impress Madeline--Drew must decide how far to take this game.
INTERVIEW WITH JULIANNA DEERING
S.S: How long have you been writing?
The earliest I can remember writing for fun was when I was about fifteen or sixteen. I would write episodes of TV shows I liked. Then, when I was in college, I would write to amuse myself during boring classes. I never suspected at that time I would ever be published or that I would ever let anyone see what I wrote. I’ve been writing for publication since about 1994.
S.S: Do you write full time? If the answer is no, what else do you do? If you are a full time author, what other jobs did you have in the past?
I do have a full-time job as a legal secretary, but my job is unusual in that I get to do almost all of my work from home via the internet. Being a night owl, I love having the flexibility to do my work and my writing during my peak hours and not early in the day. My degree is in business. I was a CPA and worked for a number of years as an accountant. It took a leap of faith to quit accounting and take a less lucrative job so I would have more opportunities and time to focus on writing. I am amazed how God has provided for me since that time.
S.S: Tell us about the moment you finally felt like a “real author”?
I’m not quite sure I’m there yet. But I have great hopes that Walmart and Target will carry my book in their stores (since they already have it on their websites). When I see that with my own eyes, then I think I’ll feel like a real author.
S.S.: Who has been your greatest supporter as an author?
Oh, definitely my dad. He loves all of my books even before I write them. There has never been a time when he’s told me I wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything I wanted to.
S.S: Would you call Rules of Murder suspense or mystery? Do you write in any other genres? If so, what?
I suppose Rules of Murder is really more mystery than suspense, though there is a bit of suspense in there as well. I think I enjoy mystery because it’s fun to set up a puzzle and see if you can take readers to end of the story before they really figure out what’s going on. Plus I enjoy the genre, especially the historical aspects of it, and just had to try writing it myself.
I have written a trilogy of medieval romances and four contemporary mysteries, too. I really hope to get back to romance someday, but I’ve been playing with a fantasy story, too. I like so many different kinds of stories, I hate to think I can only write one type.
S.S: How does your faith play into your writing?
It is the entire framework for how I see the world. I couldn’t write outside a biblical worldview, and I wouldn’t want to. Obviously, I write characters who are not Christians, but I can’t present as truth anything contrary to what I believe. So, whether it’s just a part of a character’s daily life or something central to the plot, faith is always part of the story.
S.S: If you couldn’t write, what else would you want to do?
Sew. I love to quilt and cross stitch. I need that tactile sort of creative expression, the feel of fabric and thread and beads and buttons, to balance out the purely mental activity of writing. I think, if I absolutely couldn’t write, I would start singing and playing the piano again. I miss that.
S.S: Tell us about your current release.
Rules of Murder is an Agatha Christie-type cozy mystery with a touch of William Powell and Myrna Loy’s Nick and Nora Charles. Drew Farthering is a charming young playboy who comes home to find his mother is having a grand weekend party at the old family manor. Also visiting is his stepfather’s niece, American debutante Madeline Parker. When Drew and Madeline find a body where it shouldn’t be, they and Drew’s best friend, Nick Dennison, try to figure out whodunit with the help of Father Knox’s famous Ten Commandments of what should and should not be in a proper mystery.
S.S: Where did you get your inspiration for this book?
I’ve always loved the classic mysteries of the 1920s and ‘30s as well as the romantic comedies and dramas of the ’30s and ‘40s. I really wanted to do something that would more or less mix the two together. Obviously, some of the most famous mystery writers like Christie and Sayers and Allingham were English. And my favorite old movies are American. So I came up with an English hero and an American heroine. That also let me have a little bit of fun with the differences in British English and American English.
S.S: What is the main thing you hope readers remember from your story?
First off, I want them to have had a good time reading it and look forward to more. More importantly though, I want them to realize, as Drew eventually does, that it is never too late to turn to God. He doesn’t care when we come to Him, as long as we do come.
S.S: Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
Oh, I think it has to be Drew. He was just fun to write. He doesn’t take himself too seriously for the most part, but there is definitely a serious side to him. He loses some people close to him during the story, and he also finds out something about himself that he never would have suspected. Those things make him reassess his priorities and consider that he might not have life quite as neatly figured out as he once thought. Plus he’s awfully handsome.
S.S: What are you working on now?
I just got the notes from my editor on the third book in the series, Murder at the Mikado. That should keep me busy for a while, and I would like to do some plotting on book number four, too. Plus I’ve been doing a lot of things to promote the first book as well as toy with that fantasy story I mentioned.
S.S: A tough question: Where do you want to be career-wise in five years? Ten years?
I would really love to be able to support myself with my writing in the next few years, but as they say, man plans, God laughs. I have a lot of stories waiting for me to write them, so I expect I will still be doing that for the foreseeable future. I know writers have a lot of options these days, so who knows what is up ahead? Only God.
S.S: Now let’s get a little personal. Name two things on your “bucket list” that you haven’t done yet.
I’d love to go to Canada. I’m a great fan of NHL hockey, and I’d love to see some games up there in real hockey country. Plus it looks so beautiful. I’d especially love to see Vancouver and Prince Edward Island.
I’d also like to go to Disneyland. I’ve been to Disney World twice, but that was several years ago. I’ve never been to California. I wouldn’t want to live out there, but I would certainly like to see it. It looks glorious.
S.S: What is the silliest thing you have ever done?
Oh boy. Got all day? Okay, one of the silliest was when I was going down the back hall in my old church after a service and I told someone I could do the splits. I could tell she didn’t believe me, so I did it right there. I was wearing a mid-calf-length full skirt, so it wasn’t revealing or anything, but it was a very silly thing to do just then.
S.S: What is the hardest thing you have ever done?
I’m an animal lover, particularly cats. I love mine as if they were my children. The hardest thing, but the kindest thing, is to make the decision to have one put to sleep when there is nothing more the vet can do for it.
S.S.: Where can readers find you on the internet?
I’m at www.juliannadeering.com, www.deannajuliedodson.com, @deannajuldodson on Twitter and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJuliannaDeering .
S.S.: Anything else you’d like to tell or share with us?
Just that I very much enjoyed visiting and I hope that you’ll invite me back when the second book in the series, Death by the Book, comes out this spring. Thanks for having me!
Julianna is giving away a copy of RULES OF MURDER! Just leave a comment, along with your contact information, and you could win this wonderful novel!