I’m always intrigued to meet new authors, and today is another mysterious day as I open the floor to Julianna Deering!
What made you interested in writing Christian Historical Fiction? Do you write any other genres?
I’ve always enjoyed reading historical fiction. Contemporary doesn’t interest me as much, because contemporary life is all around me all the time. Historical takes me somewhere else, away from my daily life. I remember how happy I was when I first found out that there was historical fiction with a Christian worldview. It was only natural for me to write what I enjoyed most.
I do write contemporary cozy mystery, too, for Annie’s Attic and under my real name, DeAnna Julie Dodson. I enjoy this particular series because it centers around a group of ladies who do various types of needlework (quilting, cross stitch, knitting, crochet, etc.) and I’ve always enjoyed needlecraft. I mostly do quilting and cross stitch, but I’d love to learn to knit.
Are there any other Christian Historical Fiction authors that you think your readers would enjoy?
I really haven’t seen any Christian authors make an attempt at an Agatha Christie type cozy mystery, but if there are, I’d love to hear about them. However, there are a lot of CBA historical authors I enjoy very much: Stephanie Grace Whitson, Karen Witemeyer, Tamera Alexander and Carol Umberger to name a few. I enjoy fiction from a lot of different time periods.
Are there bits and pieces that were cut in editing that you might ever share with your readers?
Oh, I wish I had some deleted scenes to have as bonus material! But for Rules of Murder and its sequel, Death by the Book, the editors went pretty easy on me. Any cuts were very light and very surgical, just a few words here and there. No actual deleted scenes. We’ll see what they say about book three, Murder at the Mikado when they give me their notes.
What is your favorite scene from Rules of Murder?
Picking a favorite scene is like trying to pick a favorite child. I like them all for one reason or another. But one of my favorites is the opening of Chapter Eleven. Madeline has swiped one of Drew’s new Agatha Christie books, Peril at End House, before he’s had a chance to even see it and refuses to give it back to him.
“Be fair,” he protests. “At least tell me what it’s about.”
“I’ve read only a few pages,” she says, “but according to the dust jacket, it’s about a girl who lives in a rundown old house on the coast, and someone is trying to kill her.”
“Probably because she goes about taking other people’s books.”
There’s a playfulness between Drew and Madeline throughout most of the book that I really enjoyed exploring. I wanted to harken back to the Thin Man movies of the 1930s and ‘40s and the repartee between Nick and Nora Charles, delightfully played by William Powell and Myrna Loy.
How would you relate your writing experience and research to some Creative Madness?
I think I did most of my research through many years of reading classic mysteries of the 1920s and ‘30s (Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, Dorothy L. Sayers and so on) and watching movies from the 1930s and ‘40s before I had any idea I would write this kind of book. There is no better way to really absorb the entire feel of the period. Plus it’s a whole lot of fun. I have a friend who always says that God is a God of economy. I think she’s right. All that entertainment ended up being priceless research for this book.
What is something that you have never told anyone in an author interview?
I have the biggest crush on Richard Armitage, especially in North and South. Oh, goodness! He looks amazing, but what always gets me most is his voice. It just melts my spine. I guess that’s pretty fangirly of me, but there it is. Now everybody knows.
What is the one thing that you want to leave readers of Rules of Murder pondering over?
The faith element in the book is fairly light, but it’s definitely there. Drew has always been rather carefree and privileged. He’s handsome and intelligent and rich and well placed in society, so he hasn’t really given his spiritual life much attention. But, as the events of the book progress, he begins to realize that all his worldly advantages don’t fill up that place in his life that’s meant to be filled by God. I hope readers will realize as he does that it doesn’t matter how or when we come to God, just that we eventually do come.
Please, please tell us about your next planned project…
What I’d like to work on is a complete departure from cozy mystery or anything else I’ve done before. It’s a fantasy adventure about a teenaged girl who finds herself in another world and goes to rescue a prince. Whether or not I’ll ever actually finish it and find a publisher for it, I don’t know. But it’s a story I want to write, time and other contracts permitting. I like to take archetypal stories and put my own spin on them, which is what I did with Rules of Murder. Of course, if the Drew books are a big success, I imagine I’ll be figuring out more adventures for Drew and Madeline and Nick, and Wynter will have to wait.
Tell us about your blog and participation in other blogs…
I have a blog on my websites (www.deannajuliedodson.com and www.juliannadeering.com), but I don’t update them often. I am more active on my group blog, www.inkwellinspirations.com, with some really wonderful people who write a variety of styles of books. I have learned a lot from them and am thrilled that they let me join them. We blog a lot about writing and reading and about life in general. It’s a lot of fun.