Friday, March 7, 2014
INTERVIEW WITH JULIANNA DEERING
JULIANNA DEERING has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching NHL hockey. Her new series of Drew Farthering mysteries set in 1930s England debuted with Rules of Murder (Bethany House, 2013) and is followed by Death by the Book and Murder at the Mikado (Bethany House, 2014). Also, as DeAnna Julie Dodson, she has written a trilogy of medieval romances (In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered) and four contemporary mysteries for the Annie's Attic series. She is represented by Wendy Lawton of the Books & Such Literary Agency (www.booksandsuch.biz).
INTERVIEW WITH JULIANNA DEERING
S.S: Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm a pretty average person. I live in a very small town northwest of Dallas, Texas, where there are a lot of horse farms. There are new foals everywhere right now, and they are so cute. I have three outrageously spoiled cats who are the delight of my life. My degree is in business, and for a time I was a tax accountant and a CPA, but I decided life was too short to do something I didn't love, so I quit that job and took a less-demanding one so I could follow my creative passion and write.
S.S: Have you always written mysteries?
My first books, written as DeAnna Julie Dodson, were a trio of medieval romances. Then, after real life got in the way of my writing for a while, I wrote four contemporary mysteries for the Annie’s Attic series. But during that time and even during my break from publishing, I wrote the first two books of my Drew Farthering series. These are truly the books of my heart.
S.S: Tell us about your current release.
It begins about two months after the end of Rules of Murder. My amateur sleuth, Drew Farthering, has solved that case and just wants to spend the end of the summer with his sweetheart, Madeline Parker. If he has his way about it, he'd like to convince her to marry him, too. Instead, he ends up with a fresh string of murders, a confounding American rival and Madeline's formidable maiden aunt who wants to whisk Madeline back to the States. Poor Drew.
S.S: Where did you get your inspiration for this series?
I love the classic mysteries of the 1920s and '30s, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham especially. And I have for many years enjoyed the adaptations of their work, usually from the BBC. After enjoying these stories for so long, I couldn't help trying my hand at writing some. Drew Farthering, name and all, just appeared in my head one day, and I knew he was my amateur sleuth. All I had to do after that was provide the mysteries for him to solve.
S.S: What is the main thing you hope readers remember from your story?
Mostly that they had a ripping good time! Yes, there are some serious themes and some grim moments. And I always want to leave my readers a sense of hope and redemption and the knowledge of God's goodness and love, but mostly I want them to feel they've been entertained, amused and given a good mystery to solve without having to filter out some things they would rather not read.
S.S: Who is your favorite new character in this book and why?
I have to admit I really enjoyed writing Madeline's formidable maiden aunt, Miss Ruth Jansen. She has already decided, even before she sets foot in England, that Drew is up to no good and she has to rescue Madeline from him. Besides having no use for foreigners in general, she's sure he's going to get himself or Madeline or both of them killed. But as determined as she is to whisk Madeline away to America, Drew is just as determined to win over Aunt Ruth and convince her that he and Madeline are meant for each other.
S.S: Who is your least favorite character in this book? Why?
Well, as a writer, I have no least favorites. All of them are necessary to tell the story, even the most self-centered, diabolical villain. To tell the truth, I love writing villains. If they’re doing their jobs properly, they are the protagonists’ equals in intelligence and power, and that’s what makes the story work.
S.S: What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to sew, mostly quilting and cross-stitch, though I'm just made a stuffed elephant, which was quite a challenge. I love to read, especially the classic crime novels of the 1920s and '30s, Christie, Sayers, Allingham and their contemporaries and almost anything historical. I adore NHL hockey, especially my Dallas Stars, and never miss a game.
S.S: Any writing goals you still hope to achieve?
I don’t think there is ever a finish line with writing. My goal now is what it has been from the start: to write entertaining books in a God-honoring way. There is always more to learn and new things to try. I want to improve as a writer, of course, and there’s always room for that, but mostly I just want to enjoy doing what I do. I don’t want to stress so much over the end product that I don’t enjoy the time I spent creating it.
S.S: What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?
There is something ingrained in human nature that makes people receptive to story. Oftentimes, Jesus did not preach his message. He told stories about a prodigal son or a rich young ruler. Stories don't tell us what to think, at least the good ones don't, but they let us experience, they let us draw our own conclusions, and that is often more powerful than the greatest sermon. Nathan could have reprimanded King David for his adultery and murder. Instead he told David a story, a story of a poor man with one pet lamb. He made David see and feel from that poor man's point of view, let him feel outraged on that wronged man's behalf, let him feel indignant towards the rich man who stole and killed that precious lamb. Then and only then did Nathan tell him he had done as that rich man had, only worse. Only then did he say, "You are the man." Only then did David clearly and utterly see his wrong and repent. Story is so powerful. And we who write with a Christian message, even just a Christian world view, have enormous potential for speaking God's truth.
S.S.: Where can readers find you on the internet?
I’m at www.juliannadeering.com, www.drewfarthering.com and www.deannajuliedodson.com. I’m also on Twitter @deannajuldodson and Facebook as Author Julianna Deering.
S.S.: Anything else you’d like to share with us?
I love to hear from my readers. Bethany House has designed some wonderful bookmarks and bookplates for Rules of Murder and Death by the Book. Just send me a self-addressed, stamped envelope (at least 7” long), and I’ll be happy to send them out to you, autographed if you like. My address is P. O. Box 375, Aubrey, Texas 76227.
Thanks so much for letting me visit!
If you'd like a chance to win a copy of DEATH BY THE BOOK, leave a comment, along with your contact information. We'll draw a winner on Monday! (United States only, please.)
Posted by Nancy Mehl at 1:00 AM