Q&A: Julianna Deering (Death by the Book)
THIS BOOK IS THE SECOND IN YOUR 'DREW FARTHERING' SERIES. CAN YOU TELL US WHERE THE STORY PICKS UP?
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.
YOU'VE SAID THAT YOU'RE A FAN OF CLASSIC MYSTERY STORIES. DOES YOUR SERIES FIT INTO THAT CATEGORY?
I think my stories are a bit of a tribute to writers like Agatha Christie and Margery Allingham. I like to take some of the classic elements and maybe turn them on their heads just a bit. But I try my best to stay true to the genre and to the period. I usually write what I like to read, and since I love the classic mysteries so much, I couldn't help trying my hand at a few myself. I wanted to give my series the same feel: the family manor on the old estate, the cozy little village, neighbors who know everyone and their business, the social conventions and the way of speaking. It's a lot of fun to play in that world.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE READERS TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR NOVELS?
Mostly a ripping good time! Yes, there are some serious themes and some grim moments. And I always want to leave my readers a sense of hope and redemption and the knowledge of God's goodness and love, but mostly I want them to feel they've been entertained, amused and given a good mystery to solve without having to filter out some things they would rather not read.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR MAIN CHARACTER AND WHY HE INSPIRED A SERIES?
I love Drew. He's handsome and charming and very British. He loves mystery novels, so solving real crime is irresistible to him. Of course he's very well off, so nothing as mundane as a real job gets in the way of any cases that come along. He doesn't take life too seriously and is definitely fond of lighthearted banter, but he's very passionate about finding the truth and seeing justice done.
WHERE DID THE PLOT FROM THIS NOVEL COME FROM PARTICULARLY?
I wanted to continue with Drew and Madeline's romance and, of course, put some obstacles in their way. And for this book I wanted the villain to have a particular "signature." There is something fascinating about hat pins. They're not used anymore, so they're definitely period pieces, some of them are incredibly elegant and beautiful, and they could definitely be lethal. So, keeping those two very different elements in mind (plus a third that I won't mention because it is key to the mystery), I came up with my plot.