Friday, February 26, 2016
Author Interview: Julianna Deering
HUZZAH! I had the opportunity to chat with the amazing Julianna Deering about the most recent mystery in her super popular, amazing Drew Farthering series: Dressed for Death
1.) You previously wrote Medieval romances. What jump-started the idea of Drew and your pursuit of finding him a publishing home?
I have for years (and years and years and years) loved Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham. And the BBC series that are (mostly) faithful to their books just added fuel to the fire. After I wrote my medieval series (The Chastelayne Trilogy), I let life get in the way for a while and didn’t write at all. When I was ready to go at it again, I so much wanted to try my hand at my own mystery series. Of course, being the Anglophile I am, my amateur sleuth had to be a wealthy, stylish and witty young Englishman.
And who could I pair him with better than an equally wealthy, stylish and witty American girl? Even before my discovery of Agatha Christie, I enjoyed William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles, the fashionable sleuthing couple from The Thin Man. There’s more than a little of them in Drew and Madeline. And I love including the subtle differences between British and American English in their dialogue.
I wasn’t sure if the manuscript for the first book in the series would ever find a publisher, but my agent loved it and was determined to sell it. It’s mostly due to her determination that Drew and Madeline ever made it to the bookstore shelf.
2.) Drew’s covers are amazing! Everyone knows and loves them. They’re especially revolutionary in the CBA: where live cover models are often used. Did you have any input on the design or is this the genius of Bethany ?
Bethany House was great about asking for my input on the covers. I love the style of them. It’s so very 1930s! But, besides a mention of this style early in the process, I didn’t come up with the idea at all. Bethany House brilliantly selected Faceout Studio and illustrator John Mattos to do the covers. In fact, my favorite one so far, Murder at the Mikado, won the 2014 ECPA Top Shelf award, the only novel on their list that year. I was so proud for them!
3.) You are such a prolific historical writer! Is there an era of history you would like to fictionally explore in the future?
Oh, man, nearly all of them! Right now, I’m leaning a little bit toward Regency or Gothic romance. I haven’t really written romance since my Chastelayne days, and I miss it. Being a big fan of Georgette Heyer (especially the audiobooks read by Richard Armitage (swoon!)), I’d love to give Regency a try. And I tend to want to make angsty heroes with tragic pasts have a happy ending, so Gothic seems a perfect fit, too. I think I want to do everything.
4.) I assume you are quite comfortable with Drew’s period now, having four books published that well-establish his historic world. Did any particular fun facts jump out at you when you were preparing to write Dressed for Death?
I always learn new things with every book. This time I learned a lot about what was eaten and worn and played during the Regency period, because the host of the party Drew and Madeline attend is very strict about not allowing anything modern. I also had to research the effects of an overdose of cocaine and how it might occur. That wasn’t nearly as fun, but it was necessary.
5.) The Mikado was a favourite of many and here we are with a Regency flavour! Beau Brummel, move over! What inspired you to add some Regency to Drew’s world?
I like to have a literary inspiration for each of Drew’s adventures. For Mikado, it was obviously Gilbert and Sullivan. For Dressed for Death, it’s the works of Jane Austen. Since Drew and Madeline are great readers, it’s very natural to have them quote a line or two from a favorite book that applies to whatever case they’re investigating. Plus, come on, Drew in Regency kit? I mean!
6.) Can you give us a hint as to where we might find Drew and Madeline next?
I’m just doing edits on Book Five, Murder on the Moor. This one is inspired by the Brontes with a touch of The Hound of the Baskervilles thrown in for good measure. Drew and Madeline go up to Yorkshire to investigate the murder of the local vicar and other strange happenings on the moor. I have a special fondness for this one because the rakish gamekeeper who may or may not be involved in the goings on just happens to look amazingly like Aidan Turner.
7.) I have such a crush on Drew! Who would play him in the BBC series ?
That’s a tough one for me, because I have this idea of what he looks like that isn’t anyone else. I certainly wouldn’t say no to Orlando Bloom or Richard Armitage in their younger days.