A little bit about Julianna...
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 series of Drew Farthering mysteries set in 1930s England debuted from Bethany House with Rules of Murder (2013) and is followed by Death by the Book and Murder at the Mikado (2014), Dressed for Death (2016), Murder on the Moor (2017) and Death at Thorburn Hall (Coming Fall 2017). Also, as DeAnna Julie Dodson, she has written a trilogy of medieval romances (In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered) and six contemporary mysteries for Annie’s Fiction. She is represented by Wendy Lawton of the Books & Such Literary Agency (www.booksandsuch.biz).
Connect with Julianna...
On the web:
On Twitter: @DeAnnaJulDodson
On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6565151.Julianna_Deering
Purchase: Murder on the Moor
Get to know Julianna...
You and Writing
Tell us a little bit about you and writing...
I started writing because I was bored in one of my accounting classes in college. I’ve always loved to read, but I never saw myself as a writer. I certainly never thought I’d be published. Still, I always loved drama and stories. I think I’m a wannabe director, but since paper and pencil are so much cheaper than costumes and sets and actors, I ended up writing novels. Why do I keep writing? It’s just what I do. I can’t imagine not working on something, even if it’s just a fun takeoff on a classic book or movie. I absolutely love having finished a project, especially when I hold a “real” book in my hands. Murder on the Moor is my fourteenth published book, and it just never gets old.
Tell us a little bit about your book....
Why did you write it?
I wrote Murder on the Moor to continue Drew and Madeline’s sleuthing adventures. Each book in this series has a literary inspiration, and for this one I used the moody and atmospheric works of the Brontes with just a touch of Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles for spice.
Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
I love Drew, Madeline and Nick the very best in the series. But for this particular book, I have to admit that Rhys Delwyn, the Welsh gamekeeper, is my favorite. It doesn’t hurt that he just happens to look like Aidan Turner in Poldark either. Of course, that doesn’t mean he’s not a murderer. Just sayin’.
What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
One of the major themes of the book is that only God knows what’s inside a person’s heart. No matter how things look, we can’t see what’s really inside. Drew has to be especially careful this time out and not jump to conclusions based on his own prejudices.
What was a challenge you faced while writing it?
I wanted very much to get the sound and the feel and the look of the Yorkshire moor right for this book. I was fortunate to have someone who lives in that part of the world describe for me the little things that don’t come up in the usual descriptions in books or on websites. And she sent me some very helpful photos that added a whole new dimension to the plot. I am forever grateful for her help.
We're your characters easy to pin down or did you discover them along the way as you wrote the book?
When I start planning a story, the characters are just placeholders. I know what function I want each of them to serve (murderer, victim, innocent suspect, etc.), but it’s only as I write that I get to know them and really add the details that makes each of them unique.
What made you choose the setting for the book?
I don’t know how I could have a Bronte-inspired book without setting at least most of it on the moor, especially if I was going to add a spectral hound to the story.
What's the most random thing you had to Google for the story?
I was looking for an animal that might kill sheep out on the moor, and I found out that there are no wolves in England anymore. At least there weren’t in Drew’s time. I think they might be reintroducing them now.
What was one thing (or character) that surprised you while writing this book?
One of the characters is blind. I hadn’t planned on that, but it worked out really great for the story. They’re always throwing me little curve balls like that, and it makes for some interesting writing.
What’s your favorite snack while writing?
Chocolate, hands down. But not white chocolate.
Let’s talk about your writing life...
What’s your encouragement for younger writers aside from “keep writing”?
Don’t dismiss constructive criticism. That’s not to say a writer should make every change a reader mentions. It’s your book. You have the last say on what is in it. But don’t be so in love with each and every one of your words that you miss the opportunity to tell your story in the best way possible. (tweet this -quote abbreviated-) No one, no matter how talented or experienced, can see his own writing with the same eyes as a first-time reader. Listen. Listen, listen, listen. Then decide what changes will make your story stronger and still be true to the vision you have for it.
How many rejection letters did you get before being accepted by a publisher?
I was accepted on my third query, but that was a total surprise and a total miracle. I really never expected to be published at all.
Are you a Panster or Plotter?
I guess you could call me a hiker. I know where I’m starting and I know where I need to end up and I know a few major stops along the way. Other than that, I walk along and see what happens.
What does your writing process look like?
It seems to be different with every book. Sometimes I write from front to back. Sometimes I write the middle and then figure out what leads up to that and what happens afterward. Lately though I seem to have settled on using the fourteen plot points outlined in James Scott Bell’s excellent craft book, Write Your Novel from the Middle. It keeps me from having structural problems as I’m growing my plot.
Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters?
Everywhere. Everybody and everything has some kind of story. Wherever you are, you can look around you and play “what if.”
Do you listen to music when you write? If so, have a favorite artist or playlist to share?
I almost never listen to music when I write. If I do, it’s probably some sort of movie soundtrack or even water or rain sounds. Songs with words interfere with the words I need to be hearing in my head.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
Read, read, read, especially in the genre you want to write. Read wonderfully written books, and you’ll know what good writing looks and sounds like. (tweet this) Then you’ll know what to aspire to.
Are there any books or resources you could recommend to younger writers looking to grow in their craft?
Just about anything by James Scott Bell, especially the aforementioned Write Your Novel from the Middle. He’s an excellent teacher and gets right to the point.
How do you balance your writing life with “real” life? Any tips or tricks to share?
I find it’s too easy to get distracted. It’s too easy to lose a day or a week by letting non-writing interests or problems steal my attention. Some of that is inevitable, of course, but if I’m going to meet my deadlines (and often I have several deadlines at once), I have to have a schedule. I make sure to build in some “life happens” time, but I do my best to stay on track. It’s amazing how the words add up over time.
All right, let’s keep things real: Flowers or chocolate? …Or books?
Flowers are too short lived and, while sending them is a sweet and thoughtful gesture, they’re just not my thing. You can’t go wrong with chocolate and books.
What are you currently reading?
I’ve just started The Captivating Lady Charlotte by Carolyn Miller. I’m not far into it yet, but I enjoyed her first book, The Elusive Miss Ellison, so much, I’m sure this one will be a delight, too.
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