We are thrilled to have bestselling author Deanna Raybourn with us today at MissDemeanors. Deanna is the award winning author of fifteen novels and novellas including the wildly popular Lady Julia Grey and Veronica Speedwell series.
Tracee de Hahn: Deanna, You are prolific! When you start a new project do you have in mind that it will be series or does that evolve? How does that impact the project and character creation?
Deanna Raybourn: I always know before I even begin the actual writing if I’m creating a series or a stand-alone. It means that the character development is a bit different and how I relate the backstory changes. In a series, I can let out bits of the past over a much longer period of time because the arc is much broader. In a stand-alone, I have to be ruthless about deciding what matters and whether it makes the cut of what goes in because I only have so much space to work with.
TdeH: I’ve dipped back into your books recently and the trip down memory lane makes me wonder if we’ll ever see Ryder again?
DR: He was a fun character to write, but Ryder’s day is done! He got a happy-for-this-moment ending which I think suits him very well.
TdeH: I certainly agree that Ryder had a happy-for-the-moment ending! He can enjoy his sunset.
Speaking of Ryder and sunsets and airplanes, in all of your books the setting, context, clothing and language are spot on. Talk a bit about the particularities of writing historical fiction. How do you avoid the rabbit hole of research? Have you been inspired by place and decided to set a book there, or has the idea for the book suggested the place?
DR: I live in the rabbit hole! Research is an ongoing joy. I write about things I would have been reading anyway, so I am always building on what I already know. Most of my books are set in Victorian London, but very occasionally I venture further afield. Sometimes—as with A DANGEROUS COLLABORATION—I know what kind of mystery I want to explore. In that case, it was a murder committed in isolation so that meant I had to go looking for a specific kind of setting. It might have been a snowbound country house or a remote estate cut off by a flooded river, but I chose an island because it was the most inaccessible option. Then it became a matter of choosing where to place it. I went with Cornwall because I loved the folklore and the climate and was able to incorporate both into the book. For other books, I might choose a setting because I simply want to read more about it.
TdeH: Your own background involves Shakespearian literature. What made you decide to write primarily in the late 19th-early 20th centuries?
DR: I love the comfortable exoticism of the Victorians. They are just far enough removed from us to be different, but they are so relatable! They worried about how to integrate technology, how to deal with a world that was becoming more connected by the day, how to take care of the most vulnerable members of society—all things we are still dealing with now. There were questions about how to reconcile science and religion, what the role of women should be, how to treat and cure diseases and improve public health, what to do with leisure time. The more I delve into their lives, the more I realize how significant the similarities are, and that’s fun to explore.
TdeH: The Veronica Speedwell series is having a good year! The third book A TREACHEROUS CURSE was nominated for an Edgar Award for best novel. And now your most recent book, A DANGEROUS COLLABORATION is a USA Today bestseller. Congratulations!
As readers prepare to crack open the latest Veronica Speedwell adventure, A DANGEROUS COLLABORATION, is there anything in particular you’d like to say?
DR: I hope readers enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it!
TdeH: Well said, and thanks so much for joining us.
Readers who want to learn more about Deanna or order her books can link to her website here. https://deannaraybourn.com/booklist.html