Saturday, July 5, 2014

Featured Author Interview: DeAnna Julie Dodson

DeAnna Julie Dodson is the author of The Chastelayne Trilogy, and as Julianna Deering is the author of the Drew Farthering Mysteries.

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DeAnna is a Dallas native and has lived in North Texas all her life. Although her degree is in business, her real interest has always been in literature, music and the fine arts.

Medieval English history, Shakespeare, and cozy mysteries such as Agatha Christie are particular favorites of hers and, along with her Christian faith, have most influenced her medieval series The Chastelayne Trilogy and her English cozy series, The Drew Farthering Mysteries, as well as her contemporary mysteries for Annie's Attic.

DeAnna also loves cross stitch, quilting, Dallas Stars hockey, and her cats: Eloise and Elizabeth and her new baby boy, Petie.

The following is a June 2014 interview with DeAnna.

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ENTER THE 
GIVEAWAY
AT THE END 
OF 
THE INTERVIEW

Be in to win a copy of a DREW FARTHERING MYSTERY title
(Rules of Murder, Death By the Book OR Murder at the Mikado)
by Julianna Deering


Two copies to be won, winner's choice
Contest open to entrants worldwide.
Contest runs from 27 June - 11 July NZDT

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Tell us a little about yourself. 

I'm a pretty average person.  I live in a very small town northwest of Dallas, Texas, where there are a lot of horse farms.  I have three outrageously spoiled cats who are the delight of my life.  My degree is in business, and for a time I was a tax accountant and a CPA, but I decided life was too short to do something I didn't love, so I quit that job and took a less-demanding one so I could follow my creative passion and write.


How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write? 

Actually, being a writer was never something I thought I'd do.  It never even entered my mind.  I loved to read from a very early age, but I didn't think I had the creativity to be a "real writer."  But when I was growing up I started writing episodes to my favorite TV shows.  I guess it was early fan fiction.  Then, when I was in college and bored in class, I started writing scenes with original characters.  They were pretty random and I didn't have an overall plot or anything, just dramatic, angsty scenes.  After a while, I decided to make the scenes into an actual book.  I never showed it to anyone, and I certainly never thought it would be published.  But, after lots and lots of coaxing, I finally agreed to let a friend of mine see just one scene from it.  She really liked it and encouraged me to finish the book and try to get it published.  My third query got a positive response, and In Honor Bound, the first book of my medieval trilogy, was the result.


What do you think is significant about Christian fiction? 

There is something ingrained in human nature that makes people receptive to story.  Oftentimes, Jesus did not preach his message.  He told stories about a prodigal son or a rich young ruler.  Stories don't tell us what to think, at least the good ones don't, but they let us experience, they let us draw our own conclusions, and that is often more powerful than the greatest sermon.  Nathan could have reprimanded King David for his adultery and murder.  Instead he told David a story, a story of a poor man with one pet lamb.  He made David see and feel from that poor man's point of view, let him feel outraged on that wronged man's behalf, let him feel indignant towards the rich man who stole and killed that precious lamb.  Then and only then did Nathan tell him he had done as that rich man had, only worse.  Only then did he say, "You are the man."  Only then did David clearly and utterly see his wrong and repent.  Story is so powerful.  And we who write with a Christian message, even just a Christian world view, have enormous potential for speaking God's truth.

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How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write? 

I hope they enjoy them, first and foremost.  Some people write message novels or agenda novels, and certainly those are significant.  I tend to write stories to entertain.  They are always from a Christian world view, and since stories need conflict, they will generally have people in tough situations who realize their need for God's help.  My books will always show Jesus as the only way to Him.  But they will mostly be stories that take readers to another place and time and entertain them without offending their Christian beliefs.  Of course, some of my stories deal with gritty issues, but they will always be resolved to the best of my ability in a God-honoring way.


What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why? 

I absolutely love to hear from my readers.  My favorite comments have been when they tell me my books have touched their hearts.  I love to hear my stories have reminded someone of God's unwavering love and encouraged that person to show that love to someone else.  It always makes me happy when someone tells me that one of my books reminded her to treat her husband with patience and understanding or reinforced the idea of Christ as the loving Bridegroom.


How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ? 

It reminds me every day how much I need him in order to do what I've been called to do.  I have to lean on Him or nothing good comes out on the page.  Truly, it's a miracle that I get to be a novelist, and I thank Him daily for that privilege.  And I humbly ask Him to give me the words I need every day.  He is always faithful.

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Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life? 

I have an entire sewing room packed with quilting and cross-stitch projects I want to do.  I want to eventually be an appliqué expert, and I'd love to have (and be able to use) a longarm quilting machine.  I also have about a million books on my shelves that I would like to read.


What do you like to do in your spare time? 

I love to sew, mostly quilting and cross-stitch, though I'm about to make a stuffed elephant, which ought to be a challenge.  I love to read, especially the classic crime novels of the 1920s and '30s, Christie, Sayers, Allingham and their contemporaries and almost anything historical.  I adore NHL hockey, especially my Dallas Stars, and never miss a game.


What can you tell us about your latest novels? 

I am so excited about my new cozy series, the Drew Farthering Mysteries, which I'm writing as Julianna Deering.  As I mentioned above, I'm a big fan of novels from the Golden Age of Crime Fiction, so I couldn't help trying my hand at something in that vein.  I had a most wonderful time creating Drew Farthering and his sweetheart, Madeline Parker.  Drew is a wealthy and rather bored young Englishman.  Madeline is an American debutante.  They meet at a party at Drew's country estate and, of course, murder ensues.  The series follows their crime-solving adventures as well as their romantic ones.  Rules of Murder came out in the summer of 2013.  Death by the Book and Murder at the Mikado are scheduled for March and July of 2014.  They're great fun, and Bethany House has given them fabulous period covers.  If you like Agatha Christie, you might want to give these a try.

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What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead? 

I don't know what I might come up with in the future.  If Drew and Madeline are a success, then I will probably write more of their adventures.  I have at least three more in mind.  I want to finish a fantasy novel I've been imagining for a long time, too.  And, if I have time, I would love to write more medieval books.  My first trilogy will always be special to me, and it would be fun to revisit those characters.


What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide?

Oh, worldwide?  That's a lot of places!  But New Zealand?  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  I thought Switzerland was beautiful when I was there, but New Zealand may just take first prize.  I haven't visited there (yet), but I love the Narnia and Hobbit/Lord of the Rings movies, and the scenery is just fabulous.  It's so gorgeous, it doesn't even look real.  Anyway, thank you, Kiwis, for letting film makers into your lovely country.  If you want to demand that one of my books be made into a multi-million dollar movie filmed in New Zealand (In Honor Bound would be a great start!), I certainly wouldn't object.  Seriously, it is amazing to me that I have fans in such faraway places.


Do you have any parting words?

Thank you so much for letting me visit.  It's amazing how the internet has brought us closer to people, even those on the other side of the world.  May God bless and keep you all.


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Rules of Murder 
(Drew Farthering Mysteries #1) 
by Julianna Deering
  • Bethany House
  • Historical
  • August 2013
  • ISBN: 9780764210952

Purchase: 

[Kindle Amazon The Book Depository]


Introducing Drew Farthering

From The Tip of his black Homburg to the crease in his stylish cheviot trousers, he's the epitome of a stylish 1930s English gentleman. His only problem? The body he just discovered.

Drew Farthering loves a good mystery, although he generally expects to find it in the pages of a novel, not on the grounds of his country estate.

With the help of beautiful and whip-smart Madeline Parker, a guest from America, Drew proposes to use the lessons he's learned reading his mysteries to solve the crime. Before long, he realizes this is no lark, and no one at Farthering Place is who he or she appears to be—not the butler nor blackmailer, the chauffeur nor embezzler. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer—and trying harder to impress Madeline—Drew must decide how far to take this dangerous game.


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Death By the Book 
(Drew Farthering Mysteries #2) 
by Julianna Deering
  • Bethany House Publishers
  • Historical
  • March 2014
  • ISBN: 9780764210969

Purchase: 
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]


WHEN THE VILLAGE OF FARTHERING ST. JOHN IS STUNNED BY A SERIES OF MURDERS, DREW FARTHERING IS DRAWN AGAIN INTO THE SLEUTHING GAME.

Drew Farthering wanted nothing more than to end the summer of 1932 with the announcement of his engagement. Instead, he finds himself caught up in another mysterious case when the family solicitor is found murdered, an antique hatpin with a cryptic message, Advice to Jack, piercing his chest.

Evidence of secret meetings and a young girl's tearful confession point to the victim's double life, but what does the solicitor's murder have to do with the murder of a physician on the local golf course? Nothing, it would seem--except for another puzzling note, affixed with a similar-looking bloodied hatpin.

Soon the police make an arrest in connection with the murders, but Drew isn't at all certain they have the right suspect in custody. And why does his investigation seem to be drawing him closer and closer to home?


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Murder at the Mikado 
(Drew Farthering Mysteries #3) 
by Julianna Deering
  • Bethany House
  • Historical
  • July 2014
  • ISBN: 9780764210976

Purchase: 

[Kindle Amazon The Book Depository]


When a celebrated ACTOR IS FOUND MURDERED IN HIS DRESSING ROOM, all signs point to Drew's old flame. But behind the curtains nothing is what it seems and this quickly becomes his MOST puzzling case YET.
Just as Drew Farthering thinks his life has calmed down some, Fleur Landis, a former girlfriend, reappears, in dire need of his help. She's married now, no longer an actress—but the lead actor in her former troupe's production of The Mikado has been murdered, and Fleur is the police's number one suspect.

Drew would rather focus on his fiancée, Madeline Parker, and their upcoming wedding, but he can't leave Fleur and her family in the lurch—even if she did break his heart once. As Drew, Nick, and Madeline begin investigating, they discover more going on behind the scenes of the theater troupe than could ever have been imagined. It seems nearly everyone had a motive, and alibis are few and far between.

Both the murder case and the presence of the beautiful, exotic Fleur put a heavy strain on Drew and Madeline's relationship. Will their still-young romance survive the pressure?



Buy DeAnna's Books at The Book Depository

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

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Be in to win a copy of a DREW FARTHERING MYSTERY title
(Rules of Murder, Death By the Book OR Murder at the Mikado)
by Julianna Deering


Two copies to be won, winner's choice
Contest open to entrants worldwide.
Contest runs from 27 June - 11 July NZDT


Please comment about the interview, or leave a message for DeAnna Julie Dodson. 
Simply commenting about entering the draw or wanting to win the books does not qualify for valid entry into the draw. 
All entries must be made using the Rafflecopter contest to be eligible for drawing. 
Winning entries drawn will have their entry options validated before being accepted - if incomplete another entry will be drawn.

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