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Today, as part of the Virtual Tour of Deanna Raybourn with her latest novel A Spear of Summer Grass, I’m fortunate and very happy to interview Deanna.

reading bug

Hello Deanna,

As your book A Spear of Summer Grass is featured on France Book Tours, I would love to ask you a few questions related to your book AND to France.

1. Your novel opens with your heroin living in Paris. Why did you chose this city? How important do you think it is for the development and future of your character?

Deanna Raybourn

Hi Emma,

Delilah is living in Paris because she is very much a creature of glamour and there frankly wasn’t any city more glamorous than Paris in the 1920s! She has spent a lot of time in New York and London, but Paris is a city she adores for its style and sophistication.

Also, much of her formative life was spent in New Orleans and her mother’s family is of French descent,
so there is a sense for her that this is where her people come from, a connection to the pulse of Paris.

2. How does Delilah fit in the Parisian society?

As in London, Delilah makes a splash in Parisian society.

She is frequently written up in the newspapers and often finds herself the subject of outrageous gossip, but since she’s usually guilty of whatever she’s being accused of,
she’s quite accustomed to it!

3. In her eyes, how does Paris compare to her new African setting?

Paris is in a sense her spiritual home, but in an odd way, Africa becomes a spiritual home as well.

The settings could not be more different, and yet Delilah is comfortable in both. She responds to the elegance of Paris, but she also finds elegance in Africa as well. After all, Parisians appreciate sophisticated pleasures–such as the fashion shows and ballets and nightclubs Delilah frequents–but they also have a keen enjoyment of simpler things like excellent conversations and good food and love, all of which can be enjoyed in Africa as well.

4. Is there an area of Paris she/you like most?Why?

I loved the Ile de la Cite–the sense of being right at the heart of Paris in the middle of the Seine is incredible.

I am not Catholic, but I found Notre Dame to be very moving, and lighting a candle there gave me a few minutes of serenity in the midst of a sightseeing whirlwind.

5. Any out of the beaten path place you would recommend to a tourist going for the first time to Paris?

The gardens at Versailles. The chateau itself is so magnificent, it’s overwhelming! But walking the paths that wind through the woods is almost like wandering into a fairy tale.

There are surprises around every corner, and the atmosphere is magical.

 Thanks so much Deanna!

And now more about the book:

Spear of Summer Grass384 pages,
ISBN 978-0778314394
Release date: April 30, 2013 by Harlequin MIRA
Available in trade paperback at Amazon, B&N,
Indiebound, Books-A-Million
or digitally for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, or from iBooks

Synopsis

[sex and violence present but not graphic]

Paris, 1923

The daughter of a scandalous mother, Delilah Drummond is already notorious, even among Paris society. But her latest scandal is big enough to make even her oft-married mother blanch. Delilah is exiled to Kenya and her favorite stepfather’s savanna manor house until gossip subsides.

Fairlight is the crumbling, sun-bleached skeleton of a faded African dream, a world where dissolute expats are bolstered by gin and jazz records, cigarettes and safaris. As mistress of this wasted estate, Delilah falls into the decadent pleasures of society.

Against the frivolity of her peers, Ryder White stands in sharp contrast. As foreign to Delilah as Africa, Ryder becomes her guide to the complex beauty of this unknown world. Giraffes, buffalo, lions and elephants roam the shores of Lake Wanyama amid swirls of red dust. Here, life is lush and teeming—yet fleeting and often cheap.

Amidst the wonders—and dangers—of Africa, Delilah awakes to a land out of all proportion: extremes of heat, darkness, beauty and joy that cut to her very heart. Only when this sacred place is profaned by bloodshed does Delilah discover what is truly worth fighting for—and what she can no longer live without.

Author bio

Deanna RaybournAs a sixth-generation native Texan, I grew up in San Antonio, where I met my college sweetheart. I married him on graduation day and went on to teach high school English and history. During summer vacation when I was twenty-three, I wrote my first novel. After three years as a teacher, I left education to have a baby and pursue writing full-time.

Fourteen years and many, many rejections after my first novel, I signed two three-book deals with MIRA Books.

“Sex, lies and awesome clothing descriptions” is how one reader described my debut novel, Silent in the Grave, published in 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 enquiry agent Nicholas Brisbane. From the drawing rooms of the aristocracy to a Gypsy camp on Hampstead Heath, Silent in the Grave was my love letter to Victorian London.

The series continues with the second book, Silent in the Sanctuary (2008), a classic English country house murder mystery with a few twists and turns for Brisbane and Lady Julia along the way, while the third book, Silent on the Moor (2009), is set in a grim manor house on the Yorkshire moors. My favorite part of writing Moor was getting to spend time in Yorkshire, one of the most wildly beautiful places I have ever been.

March 2010 saw a departure from the series with the release of The Dead Travel Fast, a mid-Victorian Gothic thriller that chronicles the adventures of novelist Theodora Lestrange as she leaves the safety and security of her Edinburgh home for the dark woods and haunted castles of Transylvania. I returned to Lady Julia and her companions with Dark Road to Darjeeling (October 2010), this time delving into my most exotic setting yet in the foothills of the Himalayas. The fifth series book, New York Times bestseller The Dark Enquiry (July 2011) saw Lady Julia back in her beloved London again, while a digital holiday novella, Silent Night (November 2012) highlighted the March family festivities at Bellmont Abbey.

But 2013 introduces a new setting to my work—1920s British East Africa. In A Spear of Summer Grass (May 2013), disgraced flapper Delilah Drummond is sent to Africa to weather the storm of her latest scandal. There she meets Ryder White, a local legend for more reasons than one—and the perfect man to teach her about the continent he loves. Ryder was introduced to readers in the digital prequel novella Far in the Wilds (March 2013).

I am thrilled that 2014 will see another 1920s release, City of Jasmine (May 2014), and I am hard at work on my next project in my little pink study in Virginia with a doodle draped over my feet as I write.

You can find me blogging a few days a week at http://deannaraybourn.com/blog/. Be sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter, check out my contests and book trailer videos, and find me on Twitter and Facebook

Here you can read reviews about the book and enter giveaways:

VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, July 8
Review + Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, July 9
Interview+ Giveaway at Words And Peace

Wednesday, July 10
Giveaway at Vvb32 Reads

Thursday, July 11
Review at The Most Happy Reader
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Friday, July 12
Review + Giveaway at Caffeinatedlife.net
Review at Redlady’s Reading Room

 

Please enter the giveaway here below
for a chance to win 1 signed trade paperback copy!
US/Canada residents only


Note:

when you enter a giveaway, I keep your email address only until a winner has been chosen and has confirmed. After that, I delete the form where your answers were stored during the duration of the giveaway. If you win and you email me your mailing address, I delete this email and its information as soon as I have mailed you the book.

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