Today it’s a privilege to be chatting with Julianna Deering (aka DeAnna Dodson) about fall, Marjory Allingham, and a character’s unexpected daughter! Be sure to enter the giveaway below for your chance to win Murder on the Moor!
Please describe yourself in three words (ask your best friend or family if you are struggling!)
One of my friends says, “kind, imaginative and fun.” (She’s being generous.) My dad says, “talented, brilliant and determined.” (He might just be a little biased.) I’d say, “tenacious, dramatic and blessed.” (I’m leaving out the bad stuff.)
What’s your favourite season, and why?
I absolutely love fall. Summer in Texas is brutal most years and lasts pretty much from April through September. When we get that first cool fall day, it’s absolutely delicious. And our falls and winters are generally so mild, they’re a delight. Spring lasts only two or three weeks it seems, and then we’re back to a blistering summer. So, yeah, fall is my favorite.
What is the best part of your day?
It would have to be when I wake up with my three cats snuggled with me in bed and realize I don’t have to fight rush hour traffic to go to a nine-to-five job. I love working at home, even if it does mean I work all night and weekends sometimes. Totally worth it.
What do you miss most about your childhood?
I miss feeling like the world made sense. It seemed a lot less scary then. Probably because I was too young to know what was going on, and because I had parents who always took care of me.
Which TV talk show host would you like to be interviewed by? Why?
I don’t know how many people will recognize the name Steve Allen anymore. He was definitely before my time, but watching a little bit of what his show was like (he was the original host of The Tonight Show), I think it would be fun to be interviewed by him and be around all the eventually famous comedians who got their start on his show and managed to be funny without being obscene.
You are at a fruit market – what do you reach for first?
Green grapes!! I love most kinds of fruits, especially if they’re chilled, but not melons. No, no, no.
What was the first Christian Fiction novel you read?
I don’t think it was called Christian fiction at the time, and this book is decades older than I am, but someone gave me a copy of Grace Livingston Hill’s April Gold when I was about fifteen. I remember being a little bit amazed to read a romance book that was not only clean but that mentioned God in a positive way. Not a profound book by any means, but I’ve always remembered it and been grateful to her for writing books that upheld Christian values rather than attacking them. It is my goal to always do the same.
What is one author and/or book you always recommend?
I think it’s a tossup between Marjory Allingham, who writes the most amazing mystery plots, and Georgette Heyer, who writes absolutely delightful and well-researched Regency romances. I’d hate to do without either.
What book character has stuck in your mind from a book you have read this year?
I hate to admit it, but I’ve been so busy since the first of the year with book deadlines and edits and proposals for new books, that I haven’t had much time to read. I’ve just started Carolyn Miller’s second book, The Captivating Lady Charlotte. If it’s anything like her first, The Elusive Miss Ellison, it will be a delight.
At the urgent request of an old school friend, Drew and Madeline Farthering come to Bloodworth Park Lodge in the midst of the Yorkshire moors, a place as moody and mysterious as a BrontE hero. There have been several worrisome incidents out on the moor–property destroyed, fires started, sheep and cattle scattered–and worst of all, the vicar has been found dead on the steps of the church.
Drew’s friend is obviously smitten with his bride of eight months, though it’s hard to imagine what she sees in the awkward man. Drew can’t help wondering if her affections lie more with the man’s money and estate, while her romantic interests focus on their fiery Welsh gamekeeper. As the danger grows ever closer, it’s up to Drew to look past his own prejudices, determine what is really going on, and find the killer before it’s too late.
What was the working title?
It was always Murder on the Moor. Bethany House usually asks for some alternate title suggestions for all of my books, but I don’t remember that they did for this one. They’ve been really nice about keeping my original titles, although they declined Civil as an Orange. They didn’t think readers would find it appealing, even if it is a Shakespeare quote. I’m sure they were right.
Describe your book in 5 adjectives.
Oooh, that’s kind of hard. Okay, I’d say “mysterious, amusing, authentic, touching and exciting.”
Which character took you by surprise?
Iris Midgely, the poacher’s daughter, was quite unexpected. When I started out, I didn’t even know he had a daughter. I certainly didn’t know she had a particular problem to overcome. Even though she’s had some very difficult things to deal with in her life, she still manages to be strong and self-sufficient.
What was the latest you stayed up working on this story?
I know I had a few nights that ended at five or six in the morning. I’m a night owl, but those were definitely a challenge. Still, I never want to miss a deadline if I can possibly help it.
Which character’s name was the hardest to choose? Why?
I think it took me a while to settle on a name for the mysterious Mr. Selden. He needed something that would harken back to the book’s literary inspiration. Once I settled on the name Selden, having a Mr. Stapleton was a natural.
What’s something that didn’t make it into the final copy?
There really weren’t any scenes or characters that were cut on this one. Bethany House usually doesn’t ask for really major changes, though they did cut out a conversation in one of the earlier books where Drew was telling Madeline that, if they were to open their own private detective agency, she would have to be his secretary and take typewriting classes in the evenings and carry on a torrid affair with the boss. I thought it was cute, but I suppose it didn’t actually further the story. I might figure out a way to slip it into a later book.
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 (2017) and Death at Thorburn Hall (coming Fall 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).