The Reading Habits of Julianna Deering (with giveaway)

rp_Julianna-Deering-238x300.jpgThe Reading Habits


Julianna Deering


Are you a re-reader? Why, or why not? And if you are, what are some of the books you have read over and over?

I’m definitely a re-reader. If I find a wonderful book, I want to enjoy it again and again. I want to spend time with the characters I love and in the places I love. And, don’t tell this to anyone, I want to try to figure out what makes them so delightful in the hope that I can improve my own writing. What have I read again and again? The Chronicles of Narnia, many of Agatha Christie’s best, like And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express. All of the Sherlock Holmes stories. A Christmas Carol. Lots of Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances. Pride and Prejudice. Umm, I’d better stop or I’ll fill up the internet.

When is your optimal time to read – do you prefer to read in one long block, or do you also read for five minutes here or there when you can?

I dearly love to sit and read for hours at a time. A whole book at once if I can. But usually I have to snatch a few minutes whenever I get them. Most of the time, that’s the last thing before I fall asleep at night, which means I usually end up with the book bonking me in the nose because I’ve fallen asleep. I’m a fast reader, but sometimes it takes me months to finish a book. This makes me sad.

I’d love your thoughts on novellas. Are you thumbs up or down? Or does it depend?!

Of course it depends. Good story is good story. Good writing is good writing. I counted the stack of novella collections I have on my to-read list. I have fifteen! But I’m really eager to read them. The length of a story doesn’t matter to me as long as it’s well told. I do find myself envying short-story writers. They somehow manage to say so much in just a few words. I’m not that accomplished.

Are you faithful to a genre, an author, or simply quality writing?

As I said above, good story is good story. However, once I’ve found someone who can give me a good story, I tend to go back to that source over and over again. I don’t know if you can call this an actual genre, but I like almost anything historical, preferably romance, preferably with a Christian worldview.

Which factors most influence your selection of a book?

Have I read anything by this author? Is it historical? Does the description sound interesting? Does the cover look intriguing? Are the main characters people I want to spend time with? Do I care about their problem? Do I really, really need to add to my already staggering to-be-read pile?

Your fiction pet peeve?

I get really annoyed when supposedly historical characters have twenty-first-century mindsets. Yes, twenty-first-century people should be able to relate to these characters, but the characters should still be believable as people of their own time. A woman in 1845 longing to be a doctor and being willing to face all the difficulties that choice would have caused her? Yes, I can see that. A woman in 1845 being outraged that people don’t just accept a woman doctor as “normal” without even a doubt? No, I don’t buy that at all. It wasn’t normal for that time, and a woman from that time would know that. She would know she would have to prove herself. She would expect it to be harder for her than for a man. She would, no doubt, think that was unfair, but she wouldn’t expect everyone to agree with her or trust in her until she showed that she was competent. Don’t get me started on anachronisms in dialogue.

What book have you read this year that you could not put down, and why?

I’ve been so busy, I haven’t read much of anything new this year. Besides trying to stay on schedule with my writing, I’ve been trying to read and re-read my Georgette Heyer books so I can soak up the time period and try to learn more about how to write about it. I have what I hope is an interesting plot for a Regency romance. We’ll see if anything ever comes of it.

How do you mark your spot – folded page corner, bookmark, dollar bill, whatever is at hand?

Absolutely NO folded corners. I would never treat my books that way. I’ve seen too many old books where the corner of a page has been turned back so many times that it just fell off. That makes me sad. I do keep bookmarks around in case I need them, but if I don’t have one I will use whatever is handy, usually a piece of paper or a used envelope.

Whose debut novel impressed you more than you anticipated?

Hands down, it would be The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller. I love Regency romance, and I was so impressed by Carolyn’s book. It was beautifully written and very true to the time period.


When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you?

Again, it’s the question of whether or not the characters are true to their time periods. If not, I’m done. If the story is didactic about some issue or other, I’m done. Story is a wonderful way to make people think about various issues, but it should be descriptive not prescriptive. Show how characters deal with situations in their lives. Let the reader think about whether or not that works for those characters. Don’t tell him what to think. Another huge turn off is the idea that female characters have to be strident, unfeminine, and stupidly unwilling to accept help in dire situations. There again, I’m done. No, I don’t want to read about doormats or perpetual victims, but I don’t think a strong woman has to be obnoxious about it. She knows who and what she is without having to announce it to the world.

What are some of your favourite CF reads from around 10 years ago, or further back?

There are so many! But I loved Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love and her Mark of the Lion series. And Liz Curtis Higgs’ Scottish novels are wonderful. I loved Mary Lu Tyndall’s pirate stories. I could just go on and on.


Snack/drink of choice while reading?

Ice cream. Chocolate. Any combination of the two.

What book cover has really caught your eye?

I am fascinated by the cover on The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright. The first thing I notice is the ethereal blue-green tint of the light that comes in through the upper windows. And then there is the intriguingly decayed elegance of that gorgeous staircase that curves down to the dilapidated piano. Who wouldn’t want to know what happened there?

Which author makes it easy to turn off your internal editor?

I have a really hard time turning off that darned editor. Even when I read books I love, I still notice weird commas or head hopping or whatever. But if I find really gorgeous prose, I can forget all that. Or if I find a character I love in a situation I love, I forget about anything else. I don’t know if there’s a specific author that does it for me.

What book do you wish you had written? Why?

An Then There Were None

I think it would have to be Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Unfortunately, I read the book after seeing the 1945 movie, so I already knew the story. Otherwise, I don’t think there was any way I could have second-guessed Dame Agatha and figured out what really happened. It’s an amazing plot.

Thanks Julianna!

Discover Julianna’s latest novel…

Death at Thorburn Hall

The Fartherings’ Scottish Vacation Takes a Dark Turn

Drew Farthering arrives in idyllic Scotland for the 1935 British Open at Muirfield hoping for a relaxing vacation, 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.

Julianna Deering is the creator of the acclaimed Drew Farthering Mystery series. She has always loved British history and is a particular fan of the writings of Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie. She graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in business administration and spent several years as a Certified Public Accountant. She lives outside Dallas, Texas. For more information visit

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Buy from Amazon: Death at Thorburn Hallor Koorong

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30 Responses to The Reading Habits of Julianna Deering (with giveaway)

  1. I would love to win this book. I just received her latest from Bethany to read and review.

  2. Love mysteries, so most likely will.

  3. I just wanted to say I am a huge fan of your mysteries and have thoroughly enjoyed the first five! I am holding onto number six for my Christmas break which comes in about three weeks. I hope there are more in this series to come or at least more historical mysteries to come.

  4. I love Agatha Christie, though I’m not sure if I’d see the movie when it releases.

    • I have mixed feelings about the Branagh version of Orient Express. I think he’s a wonderful actor, especially in Shakespeare, but there have been so many changes made to the original story, changes that appear to have no reason except change for change’s sake, I don’t know if I’ll see this movie or not. I’m so disappointed.

  5. I am currently reading Death At Thorburn Hall and loving it.

    I have read a few Agatha Christie books, but not nearly as many as I would like to.

  6. I would like to see Murder on the Orient Express. I realize it’s a terrible thing to admit, being as I do enjoy a good mystery and have read plenty of Dorothy Sayers and Sherlock Holmes (including spin-offs), but I have never actually read any of Agatha Christie’s novels. Someday I shall remedy it.

    • You have a treat in store! Pretty much anything with Poirot is good fun. Of course, David Suchet managed to film all of Poirot’s stories over twenty-five years. That’s such an accomplishment and they’re mostly great fun. (I’m sorry to say his version of Orient Express isn’t my favorite either. Somehow the delightful, humorous Poirot doesn’t come across.)

  7. I liked Agatha Christy at one time. I have not read mysteries for a while. My daughter loves mysteries. I would love to give this book a try. oh I did not know about the new movie, will have to check into it.

  8. No, I am not likely to see the movie, but I would love to win a copy of this book! 😊 Thanks for the chance!

  9. I have never read any of Agatha Christie’s books yet. I do plan on seeing Murder on the Orient Express and also read the book.

  10. I started reading Agatha Christie’s books when I was in high school, a very long time ago. I think I’ve read almost, if not all, of her books. I don’t plan to watch the new Murder on the Orient Express movie. The actor playing Poirot just doesn’t fit my image of him. I did see the 1974 movie long ago and liked it.

    • I love the 1974 version! So much fun. So many great stars!

      I agree that Branagh doesn’t quite seem to be right for short, egg-shaped Poirot. I have a lot of respect for him as an actor, but maybe he should have let someone else take the lead role. He could have been a great Ratchett! :)

  11. I’ve never read an Agatha Christie book! The poster for Murder on the Orient Express was on the wall at the theater when we went to see Wonder…..I think we might see it. Maybe when it’s on DVD.

  12. This book sounds so intriguing. I haven’t read many Agatha Christie books, and I probably won’t see Murder on the Orient Express until it comes out on DVD.

  13. Thanks for letting me visit the blog. I really appreciate your support of Drew and his adventures over the years. <3

  14. I have not read any of Agatha Christie’s books, but the movie looks like it has a great cast and might be good!

  15. I will most likely not see the new movie at the theater. I will probably watch it when it comes out on DVD. I am looking forward to reading Julianna’s series though. Thanks for the interview and the giveaway. :)

  16. I am enjoying this series!! I’ve read the first four so far.

    I plan to see the Agatha Christie movie when I can watch it from home. :-)

  17. We do plan to see the new Murder on the Orient Express movie. We live in a small town with no movie theater so it’s a matter of coordinate a day trip and having the time available at the same time.

  18. I enjoyed seeing Murder on the Orient Express!

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