An Interview with Deanna Raybourn

raybourn_031_bw.jpgI’ve raved about Deanna Raybourn’s books, Silent in the Grave and Silent in the Sanctuary, and I’ll talk anyone’s ear off who’ll listen about how fantastic her blog is. I simply cannot overstate the fabulousness that is Ms. Raybourn. And so, one day, I thought I’d drop her an email, letting her know these things. At that time I might have mentioned that we’d love to host her here at Read This!, and she graciously agreed to an interview. So, here it is; enjoy!

You blog with a dedication I’ve seen in few other authors. What effect, if any, do you think your blog has on your readership?

DR: I’m always surprised when people say that they read it-pleasantly surprised! Somehow I’ve gotten in the habit of thinking that only the people who comment on it read it, which is insane because I see the stats and I know that there are many, MANY more people just reading it. And that’s fine. People are welcome to drop by and peruse the blog-I just love hearing from them!

And speaking of your blog, you mentioned in a recent post that you’re working on a book set in Transylvania in 1898. From England to Dracula’s hometown…How did that happen?

DR: I got the idea for this book a few years ago, but I just now have the chance to sit down and write it. I love the fact that I’m scared to write this book! I adore the Julia Grey series, and I dearly hope there are lots more books to come with those characters, but it will be such a thrill to explore new characters and a new setting.

Research for the Lady Julia Grey mystery series took you to England for several weeks. Conceptually, how much of the first novel/series did you have worked out prior to the trip? What did your time there bring to your writing?

DR: The novel was completely worked out before I went to England. I decided literally the week before the trip to chance the chronological setting from 1816 to 1886, so I was able to stock up on Victorian reference materials while I was there. I also got to walk the street where Julia lives and sit in Hyde Park. Cities change enormously, of course, but there are some things that are always there – the quality of the light, for instance. It’s nice to have that tucked away when you’re writing, even if you don’t actually use it in the book.

Every review I’ve read for the Silent in the Grave and Silent in the Sanctuary has lingered on Nicholas Brisbane and, indeed, he is incredibly faceted and grows more intriguing by the page. One aspect of his character that came across with intense realism was his migraine suffering; do you have experience with migraines? Or was that malady a plausible by-product for another piece of his puzzle?

DR: No migraines personally, except the occasional ophtalmic one. (I get the halos and distorted vision, but no pain. And I usually go four or five years between them.) The migraines were a logical manifestation for a man under tremendous stress, I thought. He refuses to reconcile different facets of his nature, and so his body fights back. I wanted him to have something that would be occasionally debilitating, but I didn’t want to give him a hardcore addiction or anything of that variety. Migraines seemed much more interesting. I’ve been surprised at how many readers identify with that.

Some authors who tackle series have firm endings in mind before they begin the first book; is that the case for you?

DR: I don’t have a series ending in mind, and I don’t have any idea when it will end! That decision is up to my publisher. We have discussed more Julia Grey books, and it seems pretty likely that I will go back to the series after the Transylvania book.

Do you have any writing rituals or quirks? What is a writing day like for you?

DR: When I’m writing, I work every day, without fail. I like to write early because I’m a morning person, and I generally get started as soon as my daughter leaves for school and the house is quiet. I will write for an hour or two only. I usually write about ten pages in that time, and I will print it out to read later. By the next morning, I’ve marked anything that needs changing and I start with those corrections. I spend a good part of the day thinking about the book, so when it comes time to write the next scene, I have a very good idea of where I’m going with it.

I’ll admit it: I cannot wait for Silent on the Moor to be released. Can you tell us anything about it? Anything at all?

DR: I wish! The manuscript is finished, but I do not know the pub date. Readers can e-mail me at to sign up for my e-mail update list. As soon as I know, you will!

You’re a fan of Tasha Alexander, right? What is it about her writing that you enjoy? Is there a particular novel of hers that you would recommend to someone new to her work?

DR: I just received three of her books – a gracious gift from the lady herself! I haven’t had a chance to read them yet, but I’ve heard fabulous things, and I am saving them as a special treat when I finish the first round of research for the Transylvania book.


I’d like to thank Deanna Raybourn for taking the time to answer these questions! I hope you will all go forth and read her books {and her blog!} If you are a patron of our library, stop by – we will soon be hosting a raffle for a Deanna Raybourn prize package, which will include a copy of Silent in the Grave.

One thought on “An Interview with Deanna Raybourn

  1. Thanks for sharing your interview. I’m a fan of her mysteries as well, and I’m one of those lurkers on her blog (reads but doesn’t comment). I hate to wish the year away, but I am looking forward to the next lady Julia instalment, too (maybe they’ll release it sooner in the year rather than later!

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