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Episode 48: Discussing A Most Agreeable Murder with Author Julia Seales

What if you could join a tea party with Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, and Arthur Conan Doyle? Tune in to this riveting episode where author and screenwriter Julia Seals reveals the inspiration behind her latest work, A Most Agreeable Murder. We chat about how her novel masterfully intertwines Austen's elegant narrative style with an enigmatic murder mystery set in a swampy small town. Julia opens up about her unique journey to becoming a Jane Austen devotee and the profound impact of various literary influences on her writing style. This podcast is about Janeites coming together, discussing Jane Austen's work, and having a few laughs along the way.

We really enjoyed making this episode and we hope you like it!

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Where can you find Julia? Instagram: @juliamaeseales Book:

Audible | 30 day free trial Izzy's recommendation: The Jane Austen Collection: An Audible Original Drama

Where can you find your host (Izzy)? Website: Podcast Instagram: @whattheausten Personal Instagram: @izzy_meakin



Hi Janeites, and welcome back to the what the Austin podcast. Today I have an exciting guest joining me, and that is the author and screenwriter Julia Seals. Julia's book, a Most Agreeable Murder, came out in June this year and it's been such a massive hit with both Jane Austen fans and Merza Mystery fans alike. So welcome Julia, it's such a pleasure to have you on the podcast and congrats on the new book.


Thank you so much, and thank you so much for having me. It's an honor to be on the podcast.


Yeah, I'm so excited to do this. So your book, honestly, is such a wonderful mashup of both Jane Austen and a lot of kind of Agatha Christie vibes is what I got from it. But the story follows Beatrice Steele, who is a young lady who lives in the fictional town of Swampshire and, yeah, she's basically like an avid follower of the London detective and through reading his crime-solving adventures she kind of nurtures her own detective skills and then when a murder hits her hometown she finds her own opportunity to prove her skills, which I just loved it. Honestly, it was just, it was such a fun book.


Well, thank you so much. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. It was truly so fun to write, so I'm always happy to hear if people had a fun experience reading it. Because that was really my intention was just to take all of my favorite things Jane Austen, agatha Christie, a lot of humor and just put them together into a very escapist, fun book. So I'm glad to hear when people have just. I just wanted people to have fun.


Yeah, absolutely, and I definitely did have a lot of fun reading this book. But it'd be great to know kind of what got you into Jane Austen originally, because it's clearly it's obviously inspired a lot of your writing. So, yeah, it'd be good to know what got you into Jane Austen.


I very weirdly read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies before reading any Jane Austen and I really loved it. And I think I had a misconception of Jane Austen growing up where I thought like, oh, it's just, it's very boring romance, it's not really my thing. And then when I finally did read it, I write Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and then was like I'm just going to read regular Pride and Prejudice and I was so pleasantly surprised at the wit and the sharp social commentary and, of course, like it is very romantic and I loved that part of things. But I just never knew how funny her work was. And so then of course I completely fell in love with her works and read all of them and studied them in college. So I came into Jane Austen in a bit of a strange way. But I think you know, however, whatever your way in is, you're going to end up falling in love.


Yeah, absolutely. I kind of love that, though that I think that's the first time it's been a Pride and Prejudice Zombies angle, so I love that. I love getting a different story on here. You know a lot of the times it's like my mom got me into it or I watched the film. Well, I'm sorry. Yeah, I like that. That was a different, different way to Austen.


Yes, and of course I I love all of the film adaptations. I took a Pride and Prejudice class in college and we read more works than just Pride and Prejudice, but we watched almost every film adaptation of it, which was such a fun experience because they're all so different and worth the watch in their own, in their own way, I agree.


Absolutely. And yeah, of course, because I mean you're a screenwriter as well. So I suppose, like enjoying both the the bookside and the film side of things is, like, important to you.


Yes, and I find it really interesting, just you know, with adaptations and how screen writers have chosen to adapt the different works, because I think some of them kind of lend themselves to an adaptation more easily than others. Like, I think that for a lot of screenwriters persuasion feels like this sort of white whale, but I think it's so internal and it's so much about her personal journey that's, you know, very little looks being interpreted and I think that interiority is just really challenging to translate to screen, whereas something like Pride and Prejudice, there's a little bit more like banter and dialogue that's happening between Mr Darcy and Elizabeth. That, I think, lends itself to the screen, which is probably why that's the one that becomes a movie over and over again.


Yeah, no, definitely. I did an episode covering the new persuasion and that's exactly like the thoughts we had on it as well. I think Pride and Prejudice benefits from being adapted because it's so plot driven compared to persuasion, like you said, that it's so internal, it's, you know, it's so emotional and it's all about those like small moments of looks and you know, it kind of is what's not said as opposed to what is, but that's very hard to put to the screen.


Great for a book, not great for a movie. So I feel like that one movie is just meant to be enough.


It's so true, but it's not just Jane Austen, right, that inspired the book. Definitely Agatha Christie influence. I kind of felt a bit of bronze here as well. At one point I was feeling a bit Jane there and a bit of Sherlock. So I'd love to hear about, like the other influences that you took when you were writing this.


Definitely all of those. I love Agatha Christie. I read her book since I was a kid. I have always been a huge fan of mysteries and it was my school librarian in middle school who gave me a copy of Agatha Christie. I think I don't remember which one I read first, but I remember reading and then there were none as like a 13 year old and staying up all night, freaked out reading it, and so that was definitely a huge. I love just sort of the golden age of mysteries and those cozy mysteries and the detectives like Paul Rowe and Miss Marple. And Miss Marple was definitely a big influence for Beatrice Steele, of the sort of nosy woman in the neighborhood who just can't help herself. She's interested in people's business. And then definitely Sherlock Holmes. I think that was sort of an inspiration in terms of what Beatrice sees in the London investigator and what she thinks that being an investigator is like, which I think a lot of us feel that way. When you think of a detective it's hard not to think about Sherlock Holmes. And then definitely I love Jane Eyre. I'm a huge fan of Jane Eyre and I also have a huge fan of Daphne Dumaurier, so I love gothics and I wanted to really include that kind of gothic element in the book. So I had a lot of fun really just taking pieces of some of my favorite favorite classic books and mashing them up into a sort of pastiche.


Yeah, I think that shines through and I think for, like a fellow book lover, when you're reading it and you can pick up on all these like, oh my gosh, that reminds me of this or that, I feel like that just translates so well because, as a reader, you can really feel your passion for different literature, which I just love. That, the one that can happen and even though, like your book stands on its own if that makes sense, it's kind of it stands on its own and the characters are very much that like their own in their own world and everything it's still. Yeah, it's nice when you can see the influence of other texts and you can be like I love that book too, and you can just fight with you for a moment.


Yes, I had so much fun with that because I think you know all of all of those books, when you love something like that, it just becomes part of you. But for me I'm like I'm very much a person where I, when I really love something, I will make fun of it like that's it's fun because it's like it's loving you know, and there are so many ridiculous things in those books and I think it's fun to be like look, I love this thing and it's also funny, and that was another one of my intents. But I also enjoyed kind of starting from that as a jumping-off point. A lot of the characters obviously are based on Agatha Christie characters or Jane Austen characters, but then I wanted to bring in elements that were unexpected or kind of Start there and then see where it went and have them come into their own.


Yeah, and I can see that with character names as well. But I was really surprised that you chose steel, like I'd love to know like your thoughts behind that, because obviously Lucy steel from sense Sensibility isn't everybody's favorite character, so it's like it's so funny that you use that second name for your protagonist.


Yes, I Well, I wanted all of the names to be obviously Regency. Well, most of them are names that could have potentially been a Regency era name or surname, and so that when I was like, okay, I like that it's in Jane Austen. But to be honest, I think that part of it Probably came from I was listening to a lot of my dad wrote a porno at the time and I think I accidentally just thought of, like steals, pots and pans. I don't know if you've listened to that. That's so funny. I love that, but I feel like it was just in my brain. But I also just I liked steel because I wanted Beatrice to be like, you know, nerves of steel. She's a really Brave person and I wanted that to come in there. But I'm like, did I actually name her after the steel spots and fans?


I Love that so much. And you know what, like I know Lucy steals kind of in Obviously, in sense, sensibility isn't the nicest of characters but she's not messing around. She's also, you know, very bold and she knows what she wants and she goes after it. Very much like Beatrice, you know she knows what she wants and when the green lights there she's, she's very determined. Like I love how quickly she jumped into crime. So I'm like as soon as the opportunity came up, she was like right on in there, which I just loved about her character and she was very much her own person. Like she didn't seem to be swayed the way that maybe her sister was, by society, that she could kind of stand on her own. Even if she couldn't really express like her true desire in her passions, she was still, you know, it was still there and she didn't, she didn't like damn her shine for other people and I loved that about her.


Yes, I had a lot of fun with her character. Just because I'm. I feel like I can relate to that of like wanting things too much and being like I don't know how to do this in a socially acceptable way, and I think a lot of people probably feel that way when they're a really passionate person, but sometimes it's. You know, we're almost encouraged as women to be more like a Caroline win, where it's like, oh, you have to sort of do the charade of pretending you don't want to do the thing. And then and for me, growing up, I was always like I want to do the thing, I want to do it so badly and I wanted to create a character who, who felt that way.


Yes, I love that so much and, honestly, when I was reading like Caroline's cards where I kept thinking like, oh my gosh, we all know people like that, like the people that just come across like they're perfect all the time, they can do everything and they've they've got the quote unquote perfect life and they feel the need to tell you about it and showcase it to you, I was like, oh my gosh, we all know, we all know someone like that and we all feel bitches is pain, where we're like, please stop like, and you just want to make like those like snarky comments, like, really, is it really this perfect? You know, definitely, when I was working in the UK, I was working in the UK and I was working in the UK.


Definitely. When I was working on the screenplay I had one of Someone who was giving me notes was like, well, I don't understand why the address doesn't like Caroline it was, I think it was a man and I was just like, oh, like, how can you not see? Because she's the most annoying person ever.


Yeah, she like represents all the pressure that like society puts on women and it's just Bitches is just there, like no, like I can't bear this, like please stop. But also I love that bitch is when she sees the moments where Caroline is maybe more human, the connection she feels to her, then for the Caroline's just like Goes another direction. She's about to be in perfect. But yeah, I thought she was a great character though, because I feel like she did show the pressures not only of Society now, because you know, things not necessarily haven't changed that much when it comes to the pressure on women at times but also I think it was good to showcase, like that regency era pressure as well.


Definitely, and I think it. I wanted to kind of explore how does that stand in the way of women connecting with one another? Because there is, if there is such a pressure to sort of hide what makes you you, or Maybe what you consider an imperfection or what society considers an imperfection, it can really block you from making friends and making genuine connections, because everything's this sort of facade that's Not real and it's hard to become friends with someone when that's standing in the way.


Yes, and you know what I love that as well, because I feel like that's something that Jane Austen really captures in her books as well. It's like that the female friendships are often quite complicated and I feel like she is really good at capturing that and showcasing that. So, yeah, I agree, I think it's, I think it's, yeah, it's a great thing to show in a book, because I think sometimes we can get drawn into thinking that all friendships are kind of like perfect between women. Like I think of friends sometimes, where you see friends and you're like, oh, why are all my three more friendships not exactly like this? But you know we're complicated, you know. So our friendships are gonna be complicated at times and we all deal with the pressures of society differently as well, and you even see that between them siblings as well. You know what I mean. Like with Louisa and Beatrice they are dealing with the pressures of marriage that come with being in Regency England differently. So I thought that was good as well to show that contrast. And I thought Louisa was a really interesting character. At first I was like she's gonna be kind of the Jane Bennett, but I love that there was so much depth to her as well that there was like more going on. And she wasn't necessarily the perfect girl out there either. You know, she had a bit more like fire under her belly.


Yeah. So I had so much fun with each character, kind of thinking like what is their secret? And I wanted everyone to have some sort of secret, because I think when you're dealing with a society where everyone has so much pressure to perform and to fit into a certain box, it's like that's impossible. So what is each person's secret? Apart from Mr Steele, who I think he just kind of is who he is, but he has that privilege.


Yeah, that's true, he's very much his own person and he's not afraid of showing it, but I did love him as a character for sure. But there were so many layers. I couldn't believe the amount of secrets and layers in the book because I thought I'd like got it. And then there was another twist and another twist and I was just like, oh my gosh, I just love that everything is unraveling, Like it was just amazing. And also I was when I started reading. I was worried. I was like, oh my gosh, how am I gonna keep up with all the characters, Because there's a lot of characters in this type of book and murder mysteries. But then I was like I actually love every individual character for different reasons and so it made it so much easier to keep tabs and they all had such unique personalities so nobody blended and I just thought it was. Yeah, it was really good.


Well, thank you my editor, really Emma Caruso. She really challenged me with that of giving each character a really distinct voice and trying to differentiate, Because I did wanna have enough characters that it could be a ball and that there would be enough suspects and relationships to explore. But it is also sometimes hard in those kind of and I think this is true for a lot of these Golden Age mysteries, like locked door mysteries it's hard to keep track. So that was another reason why I wanted to or well, that was the reason I wanted to include the guest list at the beginning of the book, Because even for me it was helpful to go back in reference, because it's like there are, you know, a good amount of characters and I want them to feel distinct, but it's also like the readers are meeting them for the first time. So it's sometimes a lot at the beginning when you're first getting to know them.


Yeah, and I'd be good to chat about your process for researching for this book as well, cause obviously it is set with Regency England in mind. Obviously it's a fictional place and a lot of it is like fiction, but you did do quite a bit of research. You could tell around like Regency England and like the small stuff. It was like makeup and fashion and all these little things which I'm sure took a while to kind of look into. So I'd love to hear about your research process for it.


Yes, well, makeup and fashion in the Regency is one of my favorite topics. I wrote a research paper on it in college and read a lot of the Mirror of the Graces, the sort of Regency manual for beauty and makeup and fashion. But I just find it such an interesting era because it's they stopped wearing corsets, kind of. It was a very. They were interested in natural beauty and very influenced by, like ancient Greece. So they have such a specific fashion for such a short era which I find really interesting. But a lot of their makeups were poison. I mean, the thing about putting drops of Belladonna into your eye to make your pupils look larger is a real beauty tip from that era. And how terrifying In terms of their clothing. You know they wore a lot of Muzzlin and it was very thin and so it would be kind of cold sometimes and there was a lot of impracticality to it but there was. It was very connected to the politics of the time because so many men had gone away to war and died in war and there was the marriage market and it was kind of fashionable as a woman to be seen as if you were sort of wasting away. So I find all of that interesting in terms of how it connects to politics, but in terms of other research it was a lot of going down random rabbit holes, being like, what is the history of the toilet and how does that factor into? Because I wanted Stabmore Park to be somewhat historically accurate. But obviously I took a lot of liberties. Even little things like scones probably wouldn't have been as popular in the time period it was more of a Victorian era thing because baking powder was not invented yet. So random things like that, where there were times when I'm like I know this is not technically historically accurate but it's my own world and so, even though it's very much informed by the Regency, takes place there. Once I knew the rules I was like I'm gonna break them.


Yeah, no and absolutely, and I guess that's the point, right, if you write fiction, you have that we need to see you can do that, which is awesome, because I mean, let's be clear, there is no place called Swampshire either.


But I did. When I was coming up with sort of the location I wanted, I knew I wanted it to be Swampshire and be sort of just a swamp, and I wanted it to be in between London and Bath for a plot point. So I got on Google Maps and I've traveled to England I went there first as when I was 10 and I absolutely love it, so I've been there enough to be like this is within the realm of possibility. But I got on Google Maps and I put the little person in this middle of London and Bath and it popped up and it was just a field like a swampy moor and I was like perfect, that's my setting perfect.


I love that, though, and I love that that actually became part of the plot. At one point as well, there was like this swampy land, and even if it was just like small comments like people walking in there's like muddy footprints and like people don't go over to that area because it's too swampy and yeah, I thought that was so funny, and, to be honest with you, like I was saying, the weather here at the moment is horrific, so I can imagine there's areas that are pretty much Swampshire at the moment.


Yes, I think it's all too real.


Absolutely, absolutely. So it'd be good to hear as well, like how, like your own, like childhood and upbringing, did you grow up in Kentucky, right? Is that right? Yes, yes. I did, and kind of like how that influenced the writing of the book too.


Absolutely Well. I think, maybe part of the reason I was so drawn to Jane Austen when I did finally make it there from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I think the manners and the focus on reputation and the small town gossip. It felt so familiar to me, having grown up in a small town in the south, because it's kind of the same thing. It's like you know your reputation matters and you want to be a lady and you want to. You know, you always know what's going on in the neighborhood and I think there are so many good things about that in terms of you feel a closeness to your community. I think people really support one another in those types of small towns but there is also sometimes a lot of pressure to fit in or kind of a sense of being scared, to be vulnerable, because you know like where travel's fast, what are people going to say? So I felt like I really related to that element of Jane Austen and I wanted to really imbue the book with that sense where it's like there are good things about this and there are also difficult things about this, and I think I also relate to Beatrice in a big way in terms of being like I'm living in this small town where maybe the opportunities that are available aren't necessarily what I want, but I don't know how to get somewhere else. So I really felt that way a lot growing up, in terms of being like I have big dreams but I live in a small town.


Yeah, where do I go to express myself?


How do I do this? But then there are a lot of little things. Well, you know, we were talking about the swampy moors. Obviously that's very much influenced by, like, the withering heights of it all, but we have a lot of sinkholes in Kentucky. Where I'm from is kind of close to Mammoth Cave, which is this huge cave, and there are lots of sinkholes that lead to caves. And when I was younger we had a little sinkhole in our front yard that I was like I really want to play in it and my mom, was always like don't go there, it's dangerous. And they filled it in and I, for some reason I was very fascinated by it. So the squelch holes kind of came from that.


And then they filled it in because they just didn't trust you. Like as soon as you said that, they were like we've got to fill it.


Probably, and it wasn't very big, but it was just like a little area of sunken ground. But there's something that just feels so dramatic about a sinkhole, like there are really big ones too. There's a Corvette Museum in Kentucky that had this huge sinkhole in it and all the historical cars fell into the sinkhole, like you can look up pictures of it, or just a bunch of like antique cars in the ground, oh my gosh. So that very much came from Kentucky. But also, you know, a lot of the characters are definitely based on like people I know are my family in terms of like Mr Seal and his pranks. My family we love pulling pranks on each other. We have this like very realistic looking baby doll that we hide around the house. Or like my brother likes to dress in one of those suits that's like covers your whole face and body and he'll like hide in the shadows and jump out. So a lot of that was very much inspired by my family just being silly with each other.


That's so funny. No, I do love that. And I feel like small town living is so good for a book setting, especially murder mysteries. I see that all the time with like Agatha Christie, because, like you said, it's even though everybody knows each other's business and everybody knows each other. That actually sometimes forces people to be more secretive at times. And obviously with secrets then you know things can unravel and there's things that you don't know what's going on and there's layers to that. Then and I kind of loved that and I loved that people were so relatable, like you could see people you know in each of the characters. Like I remember when Beatrice was speaking to Frank and I was like gosh, I know some Franks, like, and I knew there was obviously more to his story. I was like something else is going on here with him. I don't know if it's you, but something else going on. But I was like gosh, like you know, I know at least three Franks and I know some Carolines and like personally I'm probably Miss Bolton myself, but you know, I probably know some of them.


I love Miss Bolton. She was one of the most fun characters to write and I think she would be the best of them to be friends with, because she's so prepared and she's I don't know. I had a lot of fun with her, I think she's. I admire those characters who are unafraid to be themselves fully.


So it's about like her hats, where she has all these like crazy different hats that she wears and was one of them. Like a goldfish bowl, like once, and people.


There are so. So I collect, like old fashion prints. I have a bunch of them from standing from the Georgian era to the Victorian era and I some of them are so funny, just like what it's like the mode of mode to Perry kind of fashion prints, and I just always stare at them and some of the hats are so wild I really wanted to include a very version of what they were wearing.


No, I loved that and I love that, even though, even though, like some of the stuff that she said was really out there, which totally I can relate, sometimes our friends are like what are you saying? I'm just like I don't know. I'm just saying what I think. But also she was kind of like on the money at times, and isn't that always the case. She kind of gave me a bit of Miss Bates vibes as well. You know how Miss Bates in Emma's like everybody thinks that she's like a bit crazy, but actually she reveals so much about the secrets, like in the plot.


Yes, and I think that happens often, especially with women, who are sort of shuffled to the side. It's like they're seeing a lot because people are acting as if they're not there and so they're doing things that are maybe very revealing that that person is seeing. And also, I think those people they get discounted because maybe they'll say something very silly. But just because someone's silly doesn't mean they're not smart, and I think that's a really fun theme to explore as well, where it's like often, I think, if you're a funny person or you're silly, or you maybe have some interests and ideas that are out there, people think that that's all you have to offer. But you can be more than one thing. A woman can be more than one thing. Any person can be more than one thing.


I love that, it's absolutely true. Yes, just listeners that you all know. I feel like I always get things get deep and we end up like philosophical conversations. I'm like, right, you can be anything you want to explore your dream? Yeah, don't put yourself in a box. Yeah, don't put yourself in a box, as I'm here with my podcast, which is Jane Austen specific. It's fine, Don't put yourself in a box. You know you can have some wishes. You can do your own marks through it.


It might be very specific, but with how many themes there are to explore there.


Exactly, exactly. It would be good to chat about something that I found really unusual about the writing was sometimes we'd flip to reading kind of from Miss Bolton's perspective, but from her play. So that is like what, how did that come about that you were like I just want to try these different narrative styles.


So I am a screenwriter and I think that informed a lot of points of the book. But I think a big thing I was thinking in terms of the sort of what I would call the interview portion of an investigation is you want to just get into the dialogue and kind of dig into each person being questioned, and I think you have to do that because a good investigator would do that. But it can sometimes feel a little repetitive because you're just talking to one person after the other, maybe the setting is not, not much is happening, and so when I initially wrote that scene the whole sequence was just a script and I worked with my editor to kind of edit that section and make it interesting, like okay, what story is the house telling? And when they move from room to room, like what she challenged me to kind of be like, okay, what is Stabmore Park, what clues are they finding. But I wanted to hold on to that piece of Miss Bolton writing this play because I think not only does it make it interesting to to just have these sort of snippets of dialogue, I think I was interested in exploring other characters points of view and I think that gives away a lot about their opinions on a character and that tells about more. It rounds out the character that they're looking at and also reflects back on them. So I enjoy doing those extra little like letters and plays, and the little like I would call supplementary material, but those pieces where I got to explore other perspectives.


Yeah, what was really cool about it as well as I feel like it, in a really unique way, changed the pace for a second, which kind of woke you back up. It kind of reminded me of the Grand Budapest Hotel, that film, where they make kind of strange like scene changes and I was like it just changes the pace for a moment that you just kind of like you get excited and you're like, oh my gosh, what is happening now, what's going on? And then it takes you back and you're like, okay, we're back kind of where we were before, but stuff has changed, and so I kind of love that and it's yeah, it's interesting to see that process and I think you definitely can see your influence of being a screenwriter as well, how that comes in, because it was very easy for me to see the book as a film when I was reading. Like obviously you always imagine when you're reading you can see it as, like you know, in your head like a story playing out. But this one I could see it in kind of a more autistic sense, which I loved.


Oh, I'm so glad. I feel like I initially well, I always wanted to be a novelist and a writer. That was my dream since I was young. But I feel like I always saw things in a very cinematic way and that's part of the reason I, you know, wanted to study screenwriting and do that as well. But I think it's so fun to write a book that way as well, because you can. There are so many times when I thought, well, it would just be the most fun, visually interesting thing to have in this, in this part.


Yes, no, absolutely. Yeah, I really enjoyed that. I think there hasn't been many times where I've kind of felt that way. Where it was, it did feel very cinematic in. Yeah, the only the only film that I could kind of like relate it to is like the Grand Beach, pesto Tell, because it was like kind of seems so like unique. When I was thinking about it I was like everything kind of seems a little bit more extra than usual.


Yes, I also just think there's an element of you know, when you're playing around with the form, it kind of forces your readers to just go along with things, which I think when you're reading something humorous, especially, or when it's a little silly, it's like you do have to suspend your disbelief and not read it in a serious way and read it and just be like look, I'm taking you for a ride, just go with it. And I think those kind of unusual structural changes can sort of clue the reader in that it's it's not going to be really straightforward.


Yeah, no, absolutely, and I kind of love that as well, because I mean I do enjoy a murder mystery, I enjoy true crime as well, but I I kind of love that this was kind of easygoing and fun and playful. So, even though there was this you know plot and there was these secrets to unravel, it was still so lighthearted at the same time, which I loved. And obviously the pranks that kind of came in occasionally and some of the characters were just so bizarre. Like I think about Daniel's dad, like with his, that he's a bit of a hypochondriac and he's got all these, these herbs in in this cabin. I mean, I can relate to that as well, but he's got all of his herbs and everything and how that played into the plot and he was just like a bit he was a bit odd really, wasn't he? Yeah, I know, I kind of love that though, because I'm like you know what? This is true though this is true of small towns Like people just have very specific personalities and yeah, everybody kind of stands out in their own right, which I love. But then when you're all brought into this small space together, it's just so obvious and you're just like, gosh, we're all, we're all a bit strange here.


And you know, we all have our reasons and he, he was very much inspired by Mr Woodhouse, but then also a bit inspired by. I've lived in LA for, I think, almost eight years now and there are always these, you know, funny beauty rituals that are becoming popular and you'll hear about it. At first you'll be like that's ridiculous, and then a month later you're like I'm doing it, I'm trying it, we'll see.


But yeah, it'd be good to chat about if, like true crime, something you're interested in, if that played an influence.


Yes, definitely. Well, I've definitely been listened to many true crime podcasts and been very into that kind of thing. I think I wanted to explore why are women the ones who are so drawn to true crime often and what are the reasons. And I think it is complex. It's sometimes you feel this sort of sisterhood with people who have gone through the violence. Sometimes you feel if I could just listen to enough of this, then somehow I'll figure out how to avoid it, even though you know, like it's not their fault, that this horrible thing happened to them and there's sometimes nothing you can do. So that's terrifying. But I think it's so complex and it's an interesting thing. But for me I think it really comes down to that satisfaction of when justice is served, and I think that's why I love reading fictional murder mysteries the most, because you always have that satisfaction at the end of the bad person is caught and they, they are held accountable. And in real life it can be so complicated and it's it's very unsatisfying when you see you know the justice system fail, someone, or people not being held accountable for a horrible crime, or you know a victim not being believed. All of those things can be so unsatisfying and I think for me it's like there's so much in fiction where you're just rewriting reality and how you wish things were and how you wish that that it would be. The justice would be served in an inappropriate way.


Yes, gosh, you know, when you just said that, I totally felt that because I also really enjoyed listening to true crime podcasts and what's your documentaries and stuff. But yes, it is that like that wanting that justice and I always have this feeling where I'm like, if enough people know about this, maybe we can help, like, especially when it's like unsolved crime. I'm like, yeah, I just feel so terrible for victims and families who haven't got that and I do think it isn't like I think true crime you have to consume it with consideration and you have to be responsible and you consume that kind of content. But yeah, I just I totally get that. It's that sense of being like getting justice for a victim and just thinking that if you get enough eyeballs on it, if you get enough promotion for it, it'll just stop terrible stuff happening, which I mean. I guess that's just. I guess that's why we've drawn to fiction, because things can get wrapped up in nice little boxes. But I guess it's that that hope from a reader way, or just like I hope that things will be get better or that you can.


Absolutely. I think at the, at the core, that is the hope and that is why people are so drawn to it, because we recognize like this is so horrible and we, we just feel powerless and just want to be able to help somehow and for these things to not happen. I think it's it's hard to know how you, as a random individual, can, can play part in making things better, but I think that is at its core, kind of part of the reason people are so drawn to it. It's just, you know, wanting, wanting so badly to to help, and I I wanted to sort of imbubiatrists with that feeling of being like I feel creepy that I'm interested in this, but I feel like I'm interested in this for a good reason and I feel like I could help somehow. Okay now, now the gardeners are coming over this, where do I go to escape?


Oh yeah.


Yeah, no, I guess I wanted her to be a person, a person that I think a lot of people can relate to, in that she has this interest. It's maybe it's creepy, maybe it's not it's, but her reasons are good, yeah.


And I think you can tell that the way that she jumps into the crime that obviously happens in her area is it's very much comes from a place of I want to help first, like she is the first to go to the body and everything. She wants to get justice. She wants to find out what actually she wants the truth. I think I love how her search for the truth when it came to the murder and the crime also linked to the fact that the whole town was looking for truth from each other because there was so much secrecy and people weren't being honest with one another, and I just kind of love how those things kind of run in parallel. It was, yes, there was this big dramatic thing that happened that we needed to find out the answers for, but also there were so many smaller things going on beneath the surface and it was that kind of yeah, the the quest for the truth on on both levels.


Yes, and that's definitely something I admire about Agatha Christie's works is how, whenever there is a crime, it's like all of the secrets come to the surface and it's so satisfying to read. And even if they don't necessarily play directly into whatever the crime was, they still they come out and they can't help but come out during the investigation, and that's always fun. I'm so nosy, I'm like I want to know everything everybody secrets.


Yeah, sometimes I think that then I'm like, oh my gosh, if I know, and then I can't know. That is that worse.


That's so true. It's the burden of knowledge.


Yeah, exactly, exactly. But a fun question then I thought that we could do is if you were a tea party, which specific characters would you invite? So Jane Austen, agatha Christie, once we are from your own book, what, what, who you do you invite if you could have a few people around for tea?


I'm sure, good question. I mean obviously Jane Austen and Agatha Christie, as you said. I would love to know how the two of them would interact. I would bring all the Bronte sisters and see how that would go, and I, you know what, I throw Daphne DeMaurier in there and I would love Miss Bolton to join. I think she would have fun with that crew and they would talk writing, I think it would be lovely.


Yeah, I definitely miss Bolton to definitely be invited to my tea parties. Yeah, for sure I love her as a character. I'm being just going to come as well. Obviously is the is the protagonist. She can actually not actually come with that but, I also love Daphne DeMaurier. Was she a big influence as well, when you were writing?


Definitely I. I really love just kind of the gothic with the twist. So I love Rebecca, I love you know, even her short fiction is so chilling and so that was a big, definitely a big influence. I had a lot of fun with that, especially when I was kind of thinking about Stabmore Park. In the layout of it I I wanted it to feel very gothic and very much like there are these weird rooms and secret passageways and all of all of that was very much drawn from from that type of literature.


In the wallpaper coming off it was like, oh, this is a bit creepy, it's a full, and got full walls.


I love estate sales and I have a lot of antique furniture and I always love looking through old houses and seeing all the interesting decors. It's so fun.


Yeah, I like that as well. I love going into antique shops and everything and I kind of love that you did bring a bit of like supernatural into the book as well, you know, because why not just throw that in there as well? I thought that was. That was quite fun to say, yeah. But all around, you know, I just really enjoy. I think I read it in like two days. So you know, I was like really invested. I was just like I can't, I need to know what's like going on. And, like I said, you know, even though there were some things revealed, that wasn't the end of it. Like I feel like sometimes with murder mysteries you can read them. It's revealed and you're like, oh, I did kind of, I did kind of guess that like a little bit earlier on, but there was just so much to unpack and it was just unexpected. Things kept coming up and I was like I just can't believe this. I can't believe how everything links together and it's all. It's all coming out and I was, I just kept being surprised, which I, which I love. That was just like such a pleasure to have that experience, especially somebody who, like it, does like true crime and like reading like mysteries. If I'm always there just looking for the clues, I'm like I will guess this before we get to that point. But there was so many things that I couldn't guess with your book, which I really did enjoy.


I'm so glad I I also love reading mysteries it's my favorite genre to read, as well as right, and I really wanted it to be something where a person could read and have all the clues there and guess it for themselves, because I think it's cheating If it's some random twist where you're like I ever known that. But I also wanted there to be multiple twists, both for sort of the parody element of like, and then another twist. But I also wanted it to be the element of if you, you know you might guess some of the things as a reader because the clues are there, but I wanted there to be enough twist that it's like you didn't guess that.


Yeah, exactly, and that's definitely what was there. It was like even that you could get some of them. It was like I can get an essence of what it was going to be, but it was still different than I suspected and I was just like you got me with that one. You definitely got me there, which was just yeah, that was just like fun to read, and is the plan to write more of these? I don't know if you can talk about that. I mean, I know at the moment you're you're working on turning this into like I'm trying to think what it's called now. You're turning this into a screenplay. A screenplay. I was going to say a script, then it's going to be a theater production. It probably works for that as well. To be fair, yeah, is that what you're working on the moment? Are you thinking about future books? So?


I have written the script version. That's kind of on pause because we are in the midst of a writer's strike, so hopefully we will get you know some fair, fair pay, fair pay for the writers. So that's kind of on hold. But I'm working on another book. I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to say, but I definitely have have more in store for for Beatrice and Drake. So how?


exciting. Oh my gosh, that is so excited. So many good things to come, so that's awesome. And obviously, guys, you know the book. I've got it here. It's a group of murder. You can get hold of this now. It's already out, so I definitely recommend picking it up. I know a few of you already have. I put a post on Instagram and people like I'm buying this right now, so I love that and I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have. I hope you've enjoyed this episode with us chatting through things. Is there anything else you want to add, julia, anything else you want to chat about with your book? You want to let my listeners know is there reading and reading it and enjoying it?


Well, I just want to thank you so much for having me. It was such a pleasure to talk about the book and, yeah, if people want to follow me on Instagram, I'm at Julia May Seals. I post a lot of things about the book and other random things, of whether I should buy items I see at antique shops, so you can weigh in on that.


I love. That is amazing and, as always, guys, you can follow me on Instagram at what the Austin for all updates on the podcast. Obviously, I will be sharing more about Julia's book on there and I will also put any updates that come up Following you know film or any updates on potential more books that are going to come out, because that will be so fun. But thank you so much, julia, for coming on. I've honestly had such a pleasure chatting with you and I had such a great time reading your books. I really appreciate you. Let me explore Swamshah.


Thank you for having me. It was such a pleasure.

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