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 from Bethany House with Rules of Murder (2013) and is followed by Death by the Book and Murder at the Mikado (2014), Dressed for Death (2016) and Murder on the Moor (Coming 2017). Also, as DeAnna Julie Dodson, she has written a trilogy of medieval romances (In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered) and six contemporary mysteries for Annie’s Fiction. She is represented by Wendy Lawton of the Books & Such Literary Agency (www.booksandsuch.biz). For more information about Julianna, visit her website!
If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?
I’m a work in progress.
What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies?
I love to do cross stitch and quilting. Applique is my special favorite. There’s something about handwork that’s very soothing. Plus it gives me something to do when I watch hockey so I’m not just sitting there in front of the television. Needless to say, I love to read, too. I’ll never catch up on my TBR pile!
What was your favorite book as a teen or child?
I’m not exactly sure why, but I loved “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” when I was a little girl. Even after I was old enough to read it for myself, I used to make my dad read it to me all the time.
Tell us three things about yourself that might surprise your readers.
1. I’m a die-hard Dallas Stars hockey fan.
2. I’m a native Texan, but I absolutely cannot drink sweet tea.
3. I used to write “episodes” of my favorite TV shows when I was growing up.
What genre did you start out writing? Have you changed course? Why or why not?
My first series was medieval romance. I still love the genre and would love to go back to it someday, but I also love mystery. Since I’m such a fan of the classics of the 1920s and 1930s, I couldn’t resist giving it a try myself.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
When I was still working on my very first book, I took a “Writing Christian Fiction” class at my local college. The teacher was kind enough to offer to read my manuscript and critique it. She very nicely told me a lot of hard things I needed to do to make the book work. The worst part was cutting the manuscript down by about a third. But she was absolutely right about what needed to be done. I doubt I would have ever gotten published without her invaluable help.
The greatest compliment I ever get is when a reader tells me he stayed up all night reading one of my books.
Any other genres you’d like to try? If yes, what and why?
There are so many I’d love to try! I think that must be because I enjoy reading so many different types of book . . . as long as they’re historical. I’d love to try some Regency or Gothic romance. I’d love to write about World War One or World War Two. I’d love to write more medieval stories.
If you could go back in time and do something differently at the start of your career, what would it be?
I think I would have started training to be a novelist in high school. Maybe even junior high. I would have taken writing classes and probably worked on the school paper and all that. Since I didn’t set out to be a writer, I missed all that good training. I’d still like to take some college courses on fiction writing. I’m sure I have a lot to learn.
What is the most important piece of advice you’d like to give to unpublished authors?
Read. Read more. The best way to learn to write is to read good writers.
A REGENCY-ERA COSTUME PARTY SHOULD BE NO MORE THAN AN AMUSING DIVERSION, BUT IT SEEMS, WHEREVER DREW FARTHERING GOES, MYSTERY—AND MURDER—ARE ON THE GUEST LIST
Drew and Madeline Farthering arrive at a Regency-Era house party at Winteroak House, excited to be reunited with old friends, including Drew’s former Oxford classmate Talbot Cummins. Tal is there with his fiancée, Alice Henley, and though many present seem worried about the couple, nobody is prepared when Alice dies from an apparent overdose. Tal refuses to believe she’d taken the drugs intentionally, and a dark question arises of whether the death is an accident or murder.
The police have their own information though, and Drew is shocked when they arrest someone he’s trusted and admired since his childhood—someone who’s been smuggling drugs into the country for years. Stunned by what has happened, Tal begs Drew to get to the bottom of everything, but Drew’s never felt more unsettled. Questioning his own ability to see people as they really are, Drew doesn’t know who to trust, and he’s not ready for the secrets he’s about to uncover—or the danger he’ll bring down on everyone he holds dear.
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