Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Story Time with DeAnna Julie Dodson - Interview and Giveaway
You guys are in for a special treat this week! Author DeAnna Julie Dodson is going to be with us both today and Friday--today to chat about her contemporary mystery, and on Friday to introduce us to her historical trilogy. So be sure and check out both interviews!
Today's giveaway will be for Letters in the Attic, book four Annie's Attic Mysteries. Leave a comment with email address for a chance to win, and be sure to let me know if you're a follower!
About Letters in the Attic
Up in her grandmother’s attic in Stony Point, Maine, Annie Dawson finds a stack of old letters from her childhood friend Susan Morris. Annie remembers Susan fondly and would like to get back in touch, but nobody seems to know what’s become of her. Her friends at The Hook and Needle Club aren’t much help either. All they remember is that Susan left town more than twenty years ago to marry a very wealthy man, but none of them is quite sure who he was. And Annie can find no record of any marriage.
The more Annie searches, the more she begins to wonder if something has happened to Susan. Something bad.
About DeAnna Dodson
DeAnna Julie Dodson is the author of In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered, a trilogy of medieval romances, and Letters in the Attic, a contemporary mystery in the Annie’s Attic series. She is currently working on The Drew Farthering Mysteries, a new series of books set in 1930s England. A graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas, she currently lives in North Texas with four spoiled cats and, when not writing, enjoys quilting, cross stitch and NHL hockey.
Tell us about your latest book.
I’m very excited about the release of Letters in the Attic, an Annie’s Attic Mystery. Letters is the fourth book in this new series about Annie Dawson, a widow from Texas who goes up to clean out and sell her late grandmother’s Victorian house in Maine only to find a whole attic full of intriguing and sometimes mysterious objects. The series particularly interested me because Annie and her friends are all needleworkers – knitters, crocheters, quilters, cross-stitchers – and I’ve been interested in needlework for as long as I can remember.
Letters in the Attic is scheduled to come out this summer from DRG.
Congrats! What's your favorite part of the story?
I think I enjoyed writing Officer Roy Hamilton the most. I actually didn’t think much about him at first. He was meant to be a very minor character who was there just to take fingerprints. Soon, though, he let me know that that was not going to be enough for him. He put on his mirrored sunglasses and sauntered up to me and said he just knew I had something more important for him to do. And darned if he wasn’t right!
LOL. I love it when characters tell us how it is! What do you hope your readers will get out of the story?
I think the most important thing is that there is freedom in truth. Hiding from it only weighs you down and keeps you prisoner. Facing the truth breaks those chains and breaks the hold of those who would use the fear of that truth against you. Once it’s in the light of day, whatever it is you’re hiding from, it loses its power.
Wow, great message! Tell us a little about your writing. Is there any one thing or reference you keep handy when writing? Anything you kept around for this particular book?
Of course, the greatest reference tool these days is the internet. It’s made research so much easier, though you do have to be careful of which sources you trust. Still, I like to have some actual reference books handy when I’m writing. I especially like The Well-Tempered Sentence by Karen Elizabeth Gordon and Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss for solving those thorny grammar and usage questions. They’re both extremely practical while appealing to my sometimes-off-the-wall sense of humor.
For Letters in the Attic, of course, my best friend was the packet of series information the publisher gave me so my book would mesh with the others in the series. Since writing this kind of book was new to me, this packet was really a life saver.
I bet! Having never written such a series, I didn't know publishers did that—makes total sense, and would definitely be handy. So, on a more personal writing note, are there any people (family, writing group, editors) who you rely on when writing?
Writing can be a very lonely and isolated job. And the worst part of it is that, once you’ve written something, you can never see it the way a new reader will see it. Obviously, you know what you meant to say when you wrote it, but does it really say that? Really? You just have to have a pre-reader look it over, someone who will speak the truth in love and tell you honestly what works and what doesn’t.
I met author Robin Hardy (The Chataine’s Guardian and many, many more) when I took a “Writing Christian Fiction” class at the local community college. At that point, I didn’t imagine I would ever actually be published. She was so gracious and so kind to this very green wannabe writer. She actually read through my 250,000-word manuscript (the one that became In Honor Bound) and showed me how to improve it and, more importantly, how I could cut it down to a manageable length. Now, years later, she’s still my first and best pre-reader and a terrific friend. She catches inconsistencies and stupid mistakes and tells me when something just falls flat. I would so much rather hear it from her than from my editor or, worst of all, from my readers. I’m so blessed to know her!
Aw, three cheers for Robin! (And I've got a couple 250K monstrosities still waiting to be cut down to size too, LOL.) Aside from writing, what takes up most of your time?
I’m addicted to cross-stitch and quilting. I have just a ton of projects yet to be done because I want to do everything. That’s one of the reasons I have enjoyed working on this series so much. I can relate to the ladies in the Annie’s Attic Mysteries who love to make beautiful things by hand.
How cool! I pieced a quilt for my wedding but then never did the finish work. Sigh. Okay, fun question. If someone were to give you $5,000 to spend on anything you wanted, what would you buy? (No saving of gifts to charities allowed!)
Oh, my, it would have to be a Tin Lizzie! No, not Model T Ford, but a quilting machine. I’ve tried them in the store and they’re wonderful. I’d love to be able to do some really fancy quilting!
LOL. Gotta say, I was thinking the car and wondering if you get a decent on for 5K. =)
Thanks for visiting, DeAnna! Readers, check out her website at http://www.deannajuliedodson.com/index.php. You can find links to purchase at www.anniesmysteries.com/learn_more.php.
Void where prohibited. Entry into the contest is considered verification of eligibility based on your local laws. Contest ends 8/16/10. Winner will have two weeks to claim book.