A native Texan, Julianna Deering has always been interested in storytelling and is keen on history, which is what inspired her latest series of books. The first novel in her new Bethany House series, Rules of Murder is on the shortlist in the mystery/thriller category. We welcome her today!
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
What do you do outside the world of books?
I have three mischievous cats that make me laugh all the time. My favorite hobbies, besides reading, are quilting and cross stitching and embroidery. I don’t watch much TV unless it’s NHL hockey. I love it, and I love my team. Go Stars!
What are the challenges or benefits of incorporating faith into your storyline?
I think the biggest challenge is incorporating faith in a natural way. You don’t want to be preachy. If you think of the stories Jesus told (the Prodigal son, for example) or the story Nathan told King David in the Old Testament (“YOU are the man!”), you’ll see they aren’t the least bit preachy. They tell a story that’s real and human and relatable. where the hearer feels for the characters and gets the message without being beaten over the head. I try to write the faith aspects of my stories that way.
What do you hope readers take away from Rules of Murder?
The message my main character gets is that it’s never too late to come to God and that He never turns us away, no matter what we’ve done or how long we take to come to Him. My main character, Drew Farthering, is Oxford educated and has a background of social Christianity, so it’s rather hard for him to take that leap of faith to real relationship with God until circumstances make him realize that he, too, needs a Savior. I hope my readers find the same truths. Mostly, though, I hope they have a cracking good time reading the story!
What were the challenges (literary, research, psychological, theological, or logistical) in bringing the book to life?
Mystery is always the prospect of writing two stories. The first story is what seems to be happening on the surface. The second is what’s really happening behind the scenes. Ideally those two meet seamlessly at the very end of the book when the sleuth reveals the solution. Getting everything timed right and putting in the perfect clues (and red herrings) is always a challenge. But it’s a ton of fun!
Thank you for joining us today, Julianna! It was a delight to feature you. Learn more about Julianna by visiting her website.