-Antony and Cleopatra
The Bard's words open Deanna Raybourn's luscious website, http://www.deannaraybourn.com/, where I learned about her Lady Julia Grey series,
“Sex, lies and awesome clothing descriptions” is how one reader described Deanna’s debut novel, Silent in the Grave, published in January 2007. The first in the Silent series, the book follows Lady Julia Grey as she investigates the mysterious death of her husband with the help of the enigmatic private inquiry agent Nicholas Brisbane. From the drawing rooms of the aristocracy to a Gypsy camp on Hampstead Heath, Silent in the Grave deftly captures the lush ambiance of Victorian London. Silent in the Grave won the 2008 RITA for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements.
|Silent in the Grave|
|Silent in the Sanctuary|
|Silent on the Moor|
|Dark Road to Darjeeling|
Kim: If you life was a book, what would be the back cover synopsis? *
Deanna: Funny, but I don't think of my life as a book. It's a movie, complete with the voice-over guy from the film trailers narrating and lots of overly-dramatic music. You know, "One woman...determined to make a life for herself doing what she loved..."
* I borrowed this question from Sarah Simas, http://www.thelovestrucknovice.blogspot.com/
Kim: Who would write the front cover blurb and what would it be?
Deanna: My mother, and she would say, "I told her to expect the unexpected." It's gotten to be a huge family joke that just when I think I have a handle on everything, the universe likes to exercise its pitching arm and throw me a curve ball. Usually they're fantastic curve balls, but I don't seem to have much of a comfort zone left these days. I'm always getting pushed out of it by new opportunities.
Deanna: I'm Texan on my mother's side, but my father is only a first-generation American on his mother's. She is English, and I grew up reading loads of English kids' books, watching English television programs on PBS, that sort of thing. I always knew I was going to be a novelist, so majoring in history and English just made sense, and I gravitated towards Shakespeare because my university didn't offer a degree program in Jane Austen.
Kim: Does your Texas drawl come out when quoting the Bard?
Deanna: Yes, but I have to be careful. 'Y'all' doesn't fit very well into iambic pentameter.
Kim: Do you attend Medieval Fairs? If yes, do you dress up?
Deanna: I haven't been in years! There's a great renaissance fair--sorry, Renaissance Faire--in east Texas, and we went a few times before we moved to Virginia. I never dressed up, though. The Renaissance isn't my pet time period. I am a Victorian girl with a dash of Regency flair.
|Cornwall's Lanhydrock - a Victorian Country House |
owned by the National Trust, http://www.nationaltrust.co.uk/
Kim: What inspires the settings in your books?
Deanna: My passionate and unabashed love for England. I have been several times and never seem to see everything I want. I am always very, very happy when I'm there, as if a part of me has come home again. I love the food, the weather, the geography, the architecture, and most of all, the sense of humor. I try to incorporate all of that in my work.
Editor's Note: Learn more about Deanna's Brit-envy at her blog dated September 26, 2010,
http://www.deannaraybourn.com/blog/content/which-i-have-brit-envy. I would accompany Deanna on the search for cream teas and umbrella stands.
Kim: How much of you is in Lady Julia Grey?
Deanna: Julia is hugely autobiographical, if I were a Victorian aristocrat with pots of money. We were born in different times, but I like to think we look at the world from similar perspectives.
Deanna: She peers down at me from the bookshelf opposite my desk when I work.
Warning: Make sure you watch Sabrina Jeffries closely in your house!
(A joke from the RWA Awards Ceremony)
Kim: What's next for Deanna Raybourn and/or Lady Julia?
Deanna: Dark Road to Darjeeling, the fourth installment of the series, is hitting bookstores now, and I am just wrapping up the fifth--due out in July of next year. After that, we'll see, but I would certainly love to write more of her adventures!
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Join us tomorrow as we recap last night's Hawaii Five-O episode, "Ohana."
Kim in Hawaii