Julianna Deering: Inside Murder Mystery Writing & Giveaway

My guest today shJulianna-Deeringeds some light on the cozy mystery, so it’s no surprise she is the author of the intriguing Drew Farthering Mysteries series. The final book in her trilogy, Murder at the Mikado, has just released – don’t you love the cover?! So, without further mutterings from me, other than be sure to enter the givewaway below, here’s Julianna Deering!


Inside Murder Mystery Writing


Julianna Deering

If you’ve read any of my Drew Farthering books, you might guess that I’m a great fan of cozy mystery, and you’d be right. To me, nothing says “cozy” better than a good murder-mystery romp set in England in the Golden Age of Mystery, the 1920s and ’30s. Of course, before I could even begin to write them, I had to read a lot of them, to figure out how they work and what is expected of them. For that, I found nobody better than the Queens of that age, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham. Each of them has her own style and favorite methods, but they all deliver fascinating characters, witty dialogue and, as Drew would say, a cracking mystery to solve. I have particular admiration for Allingham’s plots. The pieces of each puzzle fit together like fine watch works.

Of course, writing this type of book has a lot of challenges, especially if it’s part of a continuing series. Finding new situations for my characters to deal with, new twists, new ways to hide my bad guy or girl in plain sight and make the perfectly innocent (or at least the not as guilty) look like the villain. Keeping things fresh but familiar can be a bit of a juggling act, but it’s very satisfying when it works.

Dame Agatha herself said she didn’t know “who dunnit” as she was writing, that she just wrote an interesting story and then went back and set up the least likely suspect as the killer. But I have to know the end first.  In mystery, you have two basic storylines.  One is what’s going on behind the scenes, what the bad guy is up to and how he’s hiding it.  The other is what seems to be going on, the crimes, the people who seem guilty but aren’t, the clues that seem to point to one thing but really mean something entirely different.  By the end, both of these storylines have to tie in together.  I couldn’t possibly make all that work out if I didn’t know from the start who the murderer is.

But I’m not a “plot to the last detail” person either.   I usually have a destination and a few planned stops along the way, but otherwise I like to let the characters take whatever roads they like in getting there.  They often surprise me.  And sometimes what I have carefully plotted just doesn’t work when I get down to the actual writing, so I have to fix it.  I really have to let the book grow its own way every time.  It’s always an interesting journey and never happens the same way twice.

That means that writing every book is as much an adventure to me as the final product is to my readers.  Who could ask for anything more?

[Tweet “Ever wondered about writing an Agatha Christie style cozy mystery? Julianna Deering did!”]


Relz Reviewz Extras
Julianna’s Pop Quiz
Character spotlight on Drew & Madeline
Visit Julianna’s website and blog
Buy from Amazon: Murder at the Mikado (A Drew Farthering Mystery) or Koorong

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37 Responses to Julianna Deering: Inside Murder Mystery Writing & Giveaway

  1. Of course! Cozy mysteries are the best. My first whodunit was Murder on the Orient Express when I was sixteen and two years later I have a whole Agatha Christie shelf on my bookcase.

  2. Only recently started reading cozy mysteries but I am already hooked on this genre!

    • Aren’t they great, Shelly? So much fun!

      Julianna Deering (DeAnna Julie Dodson)

      • Yes, they really are such fun reads! Sometimes it takes some effort on my part to deviate from my historical fictions but I am so glad I decided to broaden my view to a different genre. :)

        And yes, I love the book covers! :)

  3. Sounds like a great book!

  4. For some reason, I keep hearing Agatha Christie’s name recently so I finally decided to read one of her books (yes, latecomer I know). I’m currently listening to Murder at the Vicarage, enjoying it so far! I enjoyed the first two books in the Drew Farthering series. But will Nick ever get a girl, too?

    • Don’t worry, Lis. Madeline’s friend, Carrie, didn’t run off and marry a lord while she was in Europe, and Nick gets to see her again in “Murder at the Mikado.” So keep reading! 😀

      Julianna Deering (DeAnna Julie Dodson)

  5. Yes, I love playing Jessica Fletcher and cozy mysteries are the best!!

  6. Love Mystery stories, and love meeting and reading from new authors.

  7. i mostly read cozy murder mysteries…there is nothing else like them :)

  8. I have been wanting to read this series for awhile. I have purchased the first book and would be happy to win the third in the series. I have always been a fan of whodunit.

  9. I love mysteries! It’s my favorite genre :)

  10. I love reading cozy mysteries, especially the series, “Hometown Mysteries”. As for Agatha Christie my favorite character of her’s is Hercule Poirot.

    • Oh, I love Poirot! Absolutely my favorite. I can’t wait to finally see the last five episodes of the David Suchet version. We’ve been waiting so long, and now the first one is less than two weeks away!

      Julianna Deering (DeAnna Julie Dodson)

  11. Thanks for sharing this. I love a good mystery.

  12. I love reading mysteries! I grew up on the Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, the Mandie books, and Bloodhounds Inc. :) I’m currently reading Death by the Book (and loving it of course)! Can’t wait to read Murder at the Mikado!

  13. I love reading cozy mysteries. Thanks for the giveaway!

  14. But of course! Like Amy (above) I grew up on the Boxcar Children and Mandie mysteries, graduating to Sherlock Holmes in junior high. Then one of my college roommates introduced me to Dorothy Sayers and Laurie R. King’s Sherlock Holmes series, and now we have a CHRISTIAN cozy mystery series – what could be better? I have very much enjoyed reading the Drew Farthering novels – thanks for the chance to win one!

    • Oh, I love Sherlock Holmes. I have some of the King books, but sadly haven’t had time to read any of them yet. So glad you’re enjoying Drew and company. Thank you!

      Julianna Deering (DeAnna Julie Dodson)

  15. Yes, I love mystery and suspense.

  16. Cozy mysteries are delightful and unique.

  17. I’ve been totally into historical fiction for awhile (quote picky about the writing and the setting) and recently found the genre historical fiction mysteries! (I know, where have I been right?!) After downloading Drew’s first case, I realized these are also Christian books—absolutely in love! Can’t wait to finish this one and move on to the next book! Thank you Julianna!

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