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 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), Murder on the Moor and Death at Thorburn Hall (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 several contemporary mysteries for Annie’s Fiction and Guideposts. She is represented by Wendy Lawton of the Books & Such Literary Agency (www.booksandsuch.biz). Find out more about Julianna by visiting her website.
What made you decide to be a writer in the first place?
I think it’s what I was created to do. I never even thought about writing when I was growing up, though I always loved to read. But I got to the point where I wasn’t finding the kind of stories I was looking for on the bookstore shelves. I wanted something romantic and set in a historical time period as well as something that didn’t go against my Christian principles. At the time, I particularly wanted something medieval, and I just couldn’t find it, so I began writing it myself. That eventually became my first book, In Honor Bound (written as DeAnna Julie Dodson). I haven’t stopped writing since.
What is the hardest part about writing?
Thinking of new things for my characters to do and new places for them to go. Readers (and publishers) usually want something brand new but just like what you’ve done before. Yes, I know that seems contradictory, but it’s true. They want something just as entertaining as your previous books, something that involves the characters they’ve come to love, but something new and different, but not too different. It’s quite a task to keep figuring out what to do, but it’s also a challenge I enjoy.
Which author’s work do you admire most?
Oh, there are so many! But I’ll narrow it down to just the cozy mystery shelf and choose Dame Agatha Christie, the writer of my most favorite mystery books: And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express. I can never decide which one is my favorite, so I always choose both. My favorite mystery series would have to be Margery Allingham’s Albert Campion books. They’re all so amazingly plotted. I want to write like her when I grow up!
Why did you choose to write about a male main character?
I like to read historical romance and historical mystery with a Christian worldview. For some reason, that seems to almost always mean a female main character. I like doing something a little different. Plus, if I create a swoon-worthy main character, then I get to swoon over him as a reader. And, since I created him, he’ll be just the kind of guy I want to spend time with. Jackpot!
I do love Drew Farthering. He’s handsome and charming and has an Oxford education and the lovely British accent to go with it. He loves to read, especially mysteries, and has a natural interest in solving puzzles, namely the unsolved murders he’s always running into. He has a good sense of humor and sometimes uses it to help him find the truth, but he’s also humble enough to admit when he’s wrong and that he has a deep need for God. I wish I could meet him in real life.
If you weren’t writing historical cozy mystery, what would you write?
I think, at least for now, it would be Regency romance. I’m a great fan of Georgette Heyer’s Regencies (with a few exceptions), and I’d like to try my hand at one. I have a brief outline done, and I plan to start work on it as soon as I have time. I also have plans for a fantasy, too, but that has to wait as well. For now, I have contracts that will keep me busy until the spring of 2019.
Do you ever think about quitting the writing business?
All the time. Not because I don’t love it (or, at least, I love having written), but because I am such a slow writer. There are so many things I’d love to write and read and watch and sew and experience, but it seems I’m always rushing just to meet my deadlines. I could never quit writing though. All I need are paper and pencil to create any kind of world I want to visit and any kind of person I want to visit it with. How fun is that?
DEATH AT THORBURN HALL
Drew Farthering arrives in idyllic Scotland for the 1935 British Open at Muirfield hoping for a relaxing holiday, but he soon finds a mystery on his hands. Lord Rainsby, his host at Thorburn Hall, fears his business partner may be embezzling and asks Drew to quietly investigate. Before Drew can uncover anything, Rainsby is killed in a suspicious riding accident.
Thorburn Hall is filled with guests, and as Drew continues to dig, he realizes that each might have had a motive. Together with Madeline and Nick, he must sort through shady business dealings, international intrigue, and family tensions to find a killer who always seems to be one step ahead.
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