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Author Talk: March 2014

British literature aficionado Julianna Deering is back with the second installment in her Drew Farthering Mystery series following RULES OF MURDER. When the family lawyer is murdered and found with an unusual clue in DEATH BY THE BOOK, can Drew Farthering and Madeline Parker solve the case before the hatpin murderer strikes again? In this interview, Deering opens up about why she felt compelled to continue Drew and Madeline’s story --- and their budding, albeit whirlwind romance --- as well as who her favorite new character is. She also talks about not judging a book by its cover (literally and metaphorically, of course), what she would be doing if she wasn't an author, and what kind of trouble we can expect Drew to get into next.

Question: Why did you write DEATH BY THE BOOK?

Julianna Deering: I couldn’t help myself! I had so much fun with Drew and Madeline and Nick in RULES OF MURDER, I had to write more about them. Plus I really couldn’t leave Drew and Madeline’s romance in the lurch. They had really only started to get to know each other in the first book, even though they were both quickly smitten. I had a particularly good time writing the mystery/crime portion of this one. How can you go wrong with a Hatpin Murderer?

Q: Who is your favorite new character in this story?

JD: I have to admit I enjoyed writing Madeline’s formidable maiden aunt, Miss Ruth Jansen. She has already decided, even before she sets foot in England, that Drew is up to no good and she has to rescue Madeline from him. Besides having no use for foreigners in general, she’s sure he’s going to get himself or Madeline or both of them killed. But as determined as she is to whisk Madeline away to America, Drew is just as determined to win over Aunt Ruth and convince her that he and Madeline are meant for each other.

Q: What is the spiritual theme of the novel? 

JD: Forgiveness and reconciliation are always big themes in my books, but this one has the added theme of not judging others based on appearances. I don’t mean physical appearance, but the appearance of innocence or guilt based on circumstances. God knows each of our hearts, and we often make assumptions about other people that aren’t true.

Q: If you weren’t an author, what would you do?

JD: I would love to be a longarm quilter. The quilter I have doing my quilting now is a true artist. His quilting is not only beautifully done but it’s imaginative and suits the quilt perfectly. I would love to learn how to do this myself. My mother could draw and paint wonderfully, and if I couldn’t express myself in words, I would prefer thread and fabric. As much as I love piecing quilt tops, I’d like to be able to quilt them, too.

Q: What do you do when you’re not writing?

JD: I’m such a homebody. Most of my hobbies are very quiet: reading, cross-stitch, embroidery and quilting. But I’m also crazy about NHL hockey. My favorite team is the Dallas Stars, and I do my best to never miss a game, usually on TV. As you might guess from this book series, I also enjoy watching old movies. I love black-and-white cinematography, and I think the 1930s had some of the greatest romantic comedies ever produced. If you haven’t seen Bringing Up Baby with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, or the hysterical lost classic Midnight with John Barrymore, you’ve really missed out.

Q: What do you have coming up next?

JD: Up next is Drew Farthering’s newest adventure, MURDER AT THE MIKADO. The leading man in a Gilbert and Sullivan repertory company is murdered, and Drew’s old flame is the first suspect. She begs him to find the murderer and prove her innocence “for old times’ sake.” But he doesn’t remember those old times too fondly and doesn’t want any part of the case. He finds himself inexorably drawn into the mystery, surrounded by suspects, and he’s afraid Madeline is losing patience with his sleuthing ways. The novel releases on July 1, 2014. After that, we’ll have to see.