Friday, March 14, 2014

Interview and Book Giveaway with Julianna Deering

by Jeff Reynolds


Is there something not normal about a guy who enjoys cozy mysteries? Well, normal is not the normal adjective used to describe me, but I digress. While I like several genres, nothing beats a cozy, like Hercule Poirot or one of Donna Fletcher Crow's Monastary Murders or a Drew Farthering Mystery. To my delight, Julianna Deering has released Death By The Book, the follow-up to Rules Of Murder. So of course I had to bring her back for another interview.

After the interview, you can find out how to win a copy of Death By The Book.

Jeff Reynolds: Julianna, welcome back to Sleuths and Suspects. It's hard to believe it's just been six months since you've been here previously! Anything interesting happen in that time?

Julianna Deering:
Pretty much business as usual. I've been pretty busy trying to keep up with everything involved with this new release and I've been working on the edits for Murder at the Mikado, the third book in the series.

JR: Death by the Book, the second installment of the Drew Farthering Mysteries, has just hit the shelves. What inspired the series and the main character?

I've always loved the classic mysteries written in the 1920s and '30s, Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham and Dorothy L. Sayers especially. And I love the BBC adaptations of them, especially Poirot, Campion and Wimsey. And, being a writer, I couldn't help trying my hand at something in this genre. My main character, Drew Farthering, pretty much popped into my head and said, "Oh, I say, wouldn't it be smashing if you let me solve some cracking good mysteries?" I suppose he's the hero-sleuth I just wanted to read about. He's handsome and wealthy, stylish and very British. He's got just a touch of angst about his past, but not enough to keep him from being great fun.

JR: Please tell us about Death By The Book.

It begins about two months after the end of Rules of Murder. Drew has solved that case and just wants to spend the end of the summer with his sweetheart Madeline. If he has his way about it, he'd like to convince her to marry him, too. Instead, he ends up with a fresh string of murders, a confounding American rival and Madeline's formidable maiden aunt who wants to whisk Madeline back to the States. Poor Drew.

JR: One thing I like is how light hearted this series is. How do you manage to keep it fun when dealing with heavy subjects like murder, infidelity, etc.?

I think a lot of that has to do with the time period of the book. The 1930s saw a lot of social and financial upheaval, worldwide depression, and the events that would eventually lead up to WW II. But the entertainment of the time, movies and music especially, tended to be fast and funny and lighthearted, something people really needed at the time. One of the things that attracts Drew and Madeline to each other is their sense of humor and ability to deal with problems without falling apart.

JR: I'm curious. Are you familiar with an author named DeAnna Julie Dodson? The two of you look like you could be sisters, maybe even twins. Should you know her, how would you contrast your styles?

Actually, yes, she is my evil twin. How would I contrast our styles? I write mysteries with lots of suspects and lots of victims and lots of red herrings. She prefers angsty historical romances with moody heroes, lots of pageantry and tragic family rifts. But she has written some contemporary mysteries that have no murders at all. Where's the fun in that?

JR: What do you have coming up? Anything due out under either of your names?

Yes, Murder at the Mikado, the third Drew Farthering mystery, is due out on July 1st. I just turned in the galleys on it, so it's fairly much done besides final page proofs. It's so exciting to see a manuscript finally become a real book, and Bethany House is just fabulous to work with. In case you haven't noticed, the book covers for this series are fabulous, so perfect for the stories and for the period. The cover for Mikado is my absolute favorite. Drew in white tie? Be still my heart!

JR: It sounds like you're pretty busy. How do you handle the other priorities in your life, like hockey? More importantly, how does your spiritual life survive all the deadlines?

Well, one must always make time for hockey. And, because I like to try to multi-task as much as possible, I always sew while I watch. That way I don't feel I've just frittered away three hours at a stretch, and I end up actually getting some projects finished. The deadlines for any working author can be pretty tough, especially for the things you don't usually consider when scheduling your time. Yes, you can usually count on X-amount of time to finish the book and turn it in, but then there's editing and other questions related to the book itself. Beyond that there are interviews and book signings and blog tours and all those little things that I enjoy doing, but which can add up to a big time investment. The only way I can survive those deadlines is with God. In fact, my favorite verse is Isaiah 41:13 which says: "For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, 'Do not fear. I will help you.'" And He has.

JR: Thank you for your time. How can we keep in touch with you?

I'm on Facebook at Author Julianna Deering, Twitter @deannajuldodson, and my websites:, and I love to chat with my readers. And Bethany House has printed up some wonderful bookmarks for each of the books and some great bookplates with Drew's hat logo on them, which I autograph for readers to put in their books. So if they would like bookmarks and/or bookplates, they just need to send a self-addressed, stamped envelope (at least 7" long for bookmarks) to me at P. O. Box 375, Aubrey, Texas 76223. I'd love to hear from you, readers! And thank you, Jeff, for letting me visit again. It's always a pleasure.

Jeff to reader: It's time to give away a copy of Death By The Book. All you have to do is follow three simple steps:
  1. Leave a comment on this blog.
  2. Leave your e-mail address. You can spell it out, like AuntDotKahm(at)Ant(dot)com.
  3. Finally, a challenge for you: create your own mini-mystery. In a room, there's a sci-fi writer, a TV journalist, a women's basketball coach, a clergyman, a soccer-mom, a used car salesman, and a classical pianist. The lights go out for one minute, and when they come on someone has been murdered. Who died? Who's the killer and why? And who solves the crime?


  1. Thank you for the great interview. I learned a lot about the author. Julianna, your favorite verse is one that probably helps many of us. One of my favorites is similar--Joshua 1:9...Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

    The mini mystery: the soccer mom kills the used car salesman because he sold her a faulty car that caused the death of her daughter. The TV journalist solves the mystery.

  2. I LOVE this series! And it is such a unique concept in Christian fiction. Wonderful to learn more about you.

    The lights go off as the classical pianist plays Beethoven's fifth for the tenth time. When they come back on, the women's basketball coach is dead. The soccer mom is sitting on the sofa, pretending to read Murder By The Book. The clergyman notices a streak of blood on her shirt and confronts her. She confesses she murdered the women's basketball coach because she didn't offer her a scholarship ten years ago. Not being able to go to college forced her into a loveless marriage with the used car salesman. And tonight, when she saw her true live, the struggling sci-fi writer, she knew she couldn't stand it another day.


  3. Thanks, Jeff, for letting me visit again. I love your mystery question.

    Hi, Kay and Terri! Your solutions are great. Isn't this fun?

    Thanks for reading.

    Julianna Deering

  4. Great interview and what a challenge.

    Here's my mini-mystery:

    When the light comes back on the journalist is dead. The soccer mom accuses the basketball coach because journalist blasted the coach in Sunday paper. Clergyman accuses coach because his congregation leaves early on game days. Turns out the used care salesman is killer because journalist was about to publish an article on the only thing they sell are lemons. The pianist knew the truth because she was dating the journalist.

    Have a great day!

  5. Loved the first book in this series.

    When the lights come on the pianist is slumped over the piano, obviously suffocated. The TV journalist and the clergyman, both aspiring mystery writers carefully interview all in the room and quickly learn that both the college soccer mom and girl's basketball coach were furious over the college's decision to sink 5 million dollars into a revamped music program. By interviewing the coach and the soccer mom separately, the two investigators were able to pinpoint the coach (a man) as the killer.

    rwendt001 at centurytel dot net

  6. I just discovered you, Julianna Deering!. I am an aspiring historical mystery author and I plan on reading your books!

    The clergyman turns the lights on and everyone screams "Happy Birthday!" except for the used car salesman who is sitting as stiff as a board on the couch, his face contorted in a state of fear. The soccer mom checks his pulse. He is dead. The piano player finally stops playing happy birthday on the piano and everyone looks at each other as a suspect. "What made the used car salesman's face look so fearful?" asked the journalist. Everyone looks around and notices that the Sci-fi author is no longer in the room. The women's basketball coach calls a huddle and they all discuss their next plan of action. The huddle breaks, lightening flashes through the windows as the sound of a thunder storm draws near. The sci-fi author appears in the doorway. "I know what happened to Henry (the used car salesman). He saw my true identity. My true identity is.....
    Tune in next week for part 2 of the "Mini Mystery"

    Eve Grant

  7. This sounds like a great book. marcydyer(at)grandecom(dot)net

    The lights flicker then come back on. The soccer-mom screams. Her husband, the used car salesman is lying on the floor next to a basketball trophy. Blood has pooled around his head.

    The clergyman kneels down and checks the man's pulse. "He's dead."

    Everyone turns to the basketball coach, and the pianist points to him. "You did it. It's your trophy."

    "Why would I kill him? I just met him."

    The television journalist walks over. "No, the basketball coach didn't do this." She points to the soccer mom. "You did."

    "What? Why would you say that? I loved my husband."

    "You found out about his secret life." The journalist dashes at tears that form. "With me."

    The Sci-Fi author looks around the room. "No, his wife was too far away from him to kill him, but I know who did." He turns and points to the pianist. "You stopped playing just before the lights went out, and you were near the body when they came back on. Why don't you tell us why you killed him?"

    The pianist's face blanched. "He...he was a liar and a cheat. The louse got what he deserved after what he did to my sister."

  8. The clergyman kills the journalist because he knows the journalist has found out he's been embezzling money from the church. He's afraid the journalist will leak the story. The used-car salesman solves the crime after he accidentally picks up the clergyman's briefcase instead of his own. As the clergyman realizes what's happening and lunges for the salesman, the salesman trips. The briefcase spills open, revealing a gun with a silencer. The women's basketball coach tackles the clergyman and holds him to the ground until the police arrive.

    1. Email address is jennismith1983(at)gmail(dot)com.