Agatha Christie and all the Golden Age English mystery writers are wonderful. But what do you do after you've read all the books and seen all the television adaptations 11 zillion times? I turn to some of the excellent contemporary writers such as Dolores Gordon-Smith who resurrect that age in delightful classic-style mysteries. That's why I've invited my friend Julianna Deering to be my guest today to tell us about Rules of Murder, her new Drew Farthing Mystery And to discuss why she was drawn to writing in this genre.
Over to you, Julianna. Tell us how you became a writer.
I didn't imagine being a writer from the time I was a little girl. Actually, I kind of had a hard time knowing what I wanted to do with my life, and took the path of least resistance (and most likely to lead to making a living): a degree in business. But even when I was studying to be an accountant and to eventually get my CPA certification, my imagination was tugging me in a different direction. When I was supposed to be listening to lectures on business law and stock splits and statistics, my mind was wandering around a medieval kingdom with a hero-prince whose loyalties and emotions were as divided as his father's kingdom.
But even when I was scribbling away on scenes of love and war and desperate angst, I never dreamed I'd ever let anyone actually read what I wrote. I never thought I would be a "real" writer. Then, once my medieval trilogy was published, I realized that I had a lot of eras and genres I wanted to explore. I wrote a novel set during and after the American Civil War. Then, because I loved to read the classic mysteries of the 1920s and '30s, the Agatha Christies and Margery Allinghams and Dorothy L. Sayerses, and because I especially loved watching them on Masterpiece Mystery, I decided I had to give their type of story a try.
I had come across the famous Decalogue of Father Knox, his ten commandments of what not to do in a properly written murder mystery, and I thought it would be great fun to write a story that breaks or at least bends all those rules. I wanted to include all the classic elements of this type of story: the old manor house with the stodgy butler, the young playboy who solves crime as a lark, the gung-ho best friend, the beautiful American girl who's in Europe on holiday, the society parties, the clothes, the cars, and of course, the much put upon police inspector.
I had a wonderful time playing with these characters and their attempts to solve the mystery. I loved figuring out how to include each of Father Knox's ten commandments in the story as well as exploring the differences between American English and British English and trying to get all the period details just right. I loved trying to fit all the pieces together so they wouldn't give away the perpetrator before the end but where the clues would still be there for anyone to pick up if they could. Mostly I just had fun.
So, how did a Texan with a degree in business who also writes medieval romance end up writing historical cozy mystery?
It was just my imagination.
And here's Drew:
Back Cover Blurb:
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. When a weekend party at Farthering Place is ruined by murder and the police seem flummoxed, Drew decides to look into the crime himself. With the help of his best friend, Nick Dennison, an avid mystery reader, and Madeline Parker, a beautiful and whip-smart American debutante staying as a guest, the three try to solve the mystery as a lark, using the methods from their favorite novels.
Soon, financial irregularities at Drew's stepfather's company come to light and it's clear that all who remain at Farthering Place could be in danger. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer--and trying harder to impress Madeline--Drew must decide how far to take this game.
Bethany House has more, including Author Q&A, discussion questions and an excerpt, here:
JULIANNA DEERING has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching NHL hockey. Her new series of Drew Farthering mysteries set in 1930s England debuts with Rules of Murder (Bethany House, Summer 2013) and will be followed by Death by the Book (Bethany House, Spring 2014) and Murder at the Mikado (Bethany House, Summer 2014). She is represented by Wendy Lawton of the Books & Such Literary Agency (www.booksandsuch.biz).
Books by Julianna Deering’s alter ego, DeAnna Julie Dodson:
The Chastelayne Trilogy:
In Honor Bound
By Love Redeemed
To Grace Surrendered
The Letter in the Attic
The Key in the Attic
The Diary in the Attic
The Legacy in the Attic
You can find Julianna and DeAnna on the web at:
Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History, has written more than 50 books specializing in British Christianity. These books include: The Monastery Murders, clerical mysteries; Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime; The Elizabeth and Richard series, literary suspense; and Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England. She loves research and sharing you-are-there experiences with her readers.