Wednesday, June 6, 2012

An Interview with our own DeAnna Julie Dodson!

If you haven't been around the Inkwell yet this week, then I'm pleased to announce a new release by our own DeAnna Julie Dodson. Today I have some questions about the book to whet your interest.

The Key in the Attic First, please give us all the vital statistics: title, genre, publishing company, and where to buy.

The book is called The Key in the Attic:  An Annie’s Attic Mystery.  It’s a contemporary mystery published by DRG.  All the information about buying the book is on their website at

Is this a stand alone book or part of a series?

Key is Book Sixteen in the Annie’s Attic Mystery series.  I also wrote Book Four, Letters in the Attic, and just signed on for Book Twenty-Five, The Diary in the Attic.  Even though these books are part of a series, readers will have no trouble following the story or getting to know the characters no matter where they start.

What inspired you to write this book?

I love historical fiction.  Even though Key is a contemporary mystery, there is also a historical element to it.  The clues Annie and her friends have to solve were left during the Civil War, 150 years before they are finally found.

How did writing this book compare to other writing experiences you’ve had?

All of my books have been very different to write.  The first one, In Honor Bound, took me 11 ½ years.  Key took a little over three months.  I guess I’ve learned something about efficiency over the last eight books.  Key has several puzzle-type clues that have to be solved, which is something I haven’t done before.  Those were a lot of fun.  It’s also very different to write about characters and situations that someone else has created.

I’ve only read one of your medieval novels. How does this one differ? Does it include any romance?

This book is different in just about every way from my medieval novels.  It’s down to earth and contemporary and a really light read, a world away from the angsty heartache, passion and pageantry of my Chastelayne Trilogy.  Key is more of a fun, puzzle-solving type book.  There really isn’t much romance in it at all, though Annie’s relationship with the town mayor is starting to build.

Tell us a little about your main character?

Annie Dawson is a young widow who has moved from Texas to Maine to settle her grandmother’s estate and clean out the attic in her old Victorian house.  She always manages to find something intriguing up in the attic, uncovering mysteries that she and her needlework group get together to solve.

What is the basic storyline of the book?

Annie finds a little key in her attic that leads to a series of clues left during the Civil War, clues that lead to an unexpected treasure.

What theme or message do you hope readers will walk away with?

The main message in Key is that God provides for those who trust in Him and foils those who try to get what is not due them.

Any last thoughts on this book and why we should read it?

I think Key is a fun book, a book you could share with your daughter or mom or grandmother.  If you want a light summer read with an enjoyable, puzzle-type mystery, this is the book for you!

What do you have coming up next?

As I mentioned, I just signed the contract for another Annie’s Attic Mystery, The Diary in the Attic, due out in the Spring of 2013. And I’m finishing up a proposal for another book in the series, The Legacy in the Attic.  We’ll see what happens with that one!

I’m also working on an original mystery series set in 1930s England, the Drew Farthering Mysteries.  The first book is scheduled to be released by Bethany House in the Summer of 2013.  I’m very excited!

Do you have any questions for DeAnna? Do you enjoy puzzle style mysteries? Be sure to leave your questions and thoughts in the comments below.


  1. Mystery is my favorite genre to read. Throw in history and romance and that's even better. I am definitely going to check out this one, ladies. I think it all boils down to solving a puzzle, right?

    Any chance it's available as an E book?

    I bet you are glad Annie's grandmother had such a big attic, DeAnna!

    Thanks for the interview,

  2. Yes, the mystery depends on solving the puzzle, but there is also some added intrigue when it turns out someone else knows about the puzzle, too, and is trying to beat them to the prize.

    I don't know if DRG has plans for e-books at this point, but it seems like an obvious choice, doesn't it?

    And, yes, evidently her grandmother's attic hold unlimited mysteries. Must be really, REALLY big! :D

  3. i love reading mysteries. devoured all the Nancy Drews and Hardy Boys (who said they were only for boys? *meh*)

    an attic doesn't have to be large to be crammed with oodles of mystery generating stuff. heck, i've a black hole of a room that is packed with "stuff" (which i'm dreading the purging process, small room that it is...*sigh*)

    so many wonderful authors/books, so little time...*heavy sigh*

  4. Ooh, a "stuff" room full of treasures! Sounds like great fun! :D

  5. What? Mrs Sleiman you have only read one of the Chastelayne Trilogy? IMO you absolutely must read the other 2. I have not read the last one yet as I am saving it and have a lot of other things to read first but I personally think this series is incredible. Read it. Go on go on go on go on go on go go on.

  6. Oh, DeAnna, if they ever release these to e-books, you'll be sure to let me know, right?

    And I'm looking forward to your Drew Farthering series as well.

  7. This sounds wonderful! I think it's something my daughter and I could enjoy together, too. What a treat.

    I enjoyed learning more about the story, DeAnna! Thanks for the interview, Dina.

  8. History, mystery and romance - my favorite combo.

    DeAnna, I think it must be cool to be part of a series like this. Where/how did the Annie series originate?

    How much leeway do you have with her character?

    Does it get confusing since there are other authors?

    How did you become involved with the series?

  9. Barb-- I'll be sure to let you know. I'm not certain what they have in mind, but I think e-books would be a great addition to their print versions.

    Susanne-- Yes, I think these are books you don't have to worry about sharing with just about anyone. They are very gentle reads (not like my grittier original stuff), but I hope they're fun, too. :)

    Suz-- Actually, Annie's Attic is a needlework supply catalogue. Some brilliant person decided that they would start a fiction line based on a needleworking group that solved mysteries. And, of course, the MC HAD to be an Annie with an attic! Voila! Obviously, I have to keep the character IN character from book to book and within the vision the publisher has for her. But it's kinda cool, because she is from the area I've lived in all my life and she moves to an area neither she nor I know anything about, so I can identify with her a lot. It does get a bit confusing with other authors because I haven't had time to read all their stories. (I'm up to book nine, but this one is book sixteen). However, the publisher is good about answering questions about what's happened in other books and letting me know where they want things to go. I got involved when my agent told me about the opportunity. I "auditioned" for a spot and that was that. :D

  10. Very cool, DeAnna. I would say 1) clever marketing as they have their own unique market in those already loyal to the needlecraft products, and b) it makes the entire series that much more collectable. I wonder of they'll ever make them available on Amazon and B &N? That would grow their market even more. Very nice, DeAnna. :-)

  11. I think you can get them on Amazon, but only used from individual sellers.

    I would like to see them sold in more places, but so far they've been pretty much sticking to subscriptions for the series.


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