5 September 2013

Getting to Know You Thursdays with Donna Fletcher Crow

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am the author of 40-some books, most of them novels of British Christian history. The award-winning Glastonbury, A Novel of Christian England, an epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is my best-known work.  I am also the author of The Monastery Murders: A Very Private Grave, A Darkly Hidden Truth and An Unholy Communion as well as the Lord Danvers series of Victorian true-crime novels and the literary suspense series The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries. I am also the mother of 4 and grandmother of 12. This year my husband Stan and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. I am an enthusiastic gardener when life allows time to pull the weeds.

2. When you were a child did you have a favourite book or books?

Books, period. I was an only child and my mother wasn’t well, so I was required to entertain myself quietly for hours on end. The Bobbsey Twins, Heidi, Hans Brinker, Bambi and stories of King Arthur were my best friends as a child, then I graduated to Jane Austen and the Brontes. (Jenny here I loved Heidi also as child)

3. Do you have a favourite Genre to both read and write?

English mysteries! Especially the classics: Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham, Josephine Tey; and more modern: P. D. James, Martha Grimes, Reginald Hill, to name just a few. Well-developed backgrounds and lively characters are most important to me and that’s what I find in these writers. I also enjoy the slightly slower pace of English writers. (Jenny again I loved Agatha Christie and loved reading her mysteries)

4. Did you have favourite authors growing up who have influenced you?

Jane Austen has always been my great literary love and had a lot of influence on my becoming an English teacher and later a writer. This autumn A Jane Austen Encounter, book 3 in my Elizabeth & Richard Literary Suspense series will be released. My literature professor sleuths visit all the homes where Jane Austen lived— and, of course, encounter a few dead bodies along the way.

5. When did you know you wanted to be an author?

Mostly I wanted to be a reader. Then a minor character in a novel I was reading got hold of my imagination and insisted that I tell his story. It was like being pregnant. Brandley’s Search, which eventually became book 3 in my Cambridge Chronicles and was later republished as Where Love Begins, was that story. Everything else followed on from writing that book.

6. How did you go about becoming an author?

Writing the story came first. Then I discovered Christian writers’ conferences. Meeting other writers, taking classes from top editors and learning tips from publishers taught me the business and professional end of the writers’ world.

7. If you were not a writer what would you like to be?

I honestly can’t imagine doing anything else. I love to travel, but most of my travels are related to research for my writing— so there I am, coming full circle again.

8. Outside reading and writing what do you like to do?

Spending time with my grandchildren, gardening and drinking tea with friends.

9. Do you have a place you love to visit or would love to visit?

Since all my travel is either for family or research and I am rather compulsively task oriented, I occasionally fantasize about being on a warm, white beach somewhere with absolutely nothing to do but lay around and read. I recently read about Australia’s Cottesloe Beach and the white sands at Hymans Beach. Those would fit my fantasy to a tea. And, yes, it would have to be someplace where I could get good tea! (Jenny again I have been to Cottesloe Beach I love Perth)

10. If you could have a meal with 3 living people who would you choose and why?

My first thought was, “Here’s my chance— I’ll ask to have dinner with Queen Elizabeth!” As amazing as that would be and much as I admire her, however, I think when it came right down to it, I would most love to have dinner with my daughter and 3 daughters-in-law. (I know, you said 3— but I can’t leave anyone out.) Unfortunately, I think I have about as much chance of having dinner with the Queen as I do getting my far-flung family together from Los Angeles, Boston and Calgary.

Thanks again for your time and agreeing to be on my blog.

Thank you, Jenny. It’s been delightful visiting with you and your readers. Now that you know that one of my fantasies is to visit Australia I can at least say I’ve had a virtual visit. And I would love to have your readers visit me at www.DonnaFletcherCrow.com. You can see the trailers for my Monastery Murders books, photos from my research trips, and see my garden before it got quite so weedy.

First light, Ascension morning. From the top of the tower at the College of Transfiguration, voices rise in song.
Felicity's delight turns to horror when a black-robed body hurtles over the precipice and lands at her feet.
Her fiancé Father Antony recognizes the corpse as Hwyl Pendry, a former student, who has been serving as Deliverance Minister in a Welsh diocese. The police ignore the strange emblem of a double-headed snake clutched in the dead man's hand, labelling the death a suicide. But Hwyl's widow is convinced otherwise, and pleads for Felicity and Antony to help her uncover the truth.
Matters grow murkier as Felicity and Antony, leading a youth pilgrimage through rural Wales, encounter the same sinister symbol as they travel. Lurking figures follow them. Then a body is found face-down in a well …
"Donna Fletcher Crow gives us, in three extremely persuasive dimensions, the world that Dan Brown merely sketches." - Timothy Hallinan, author of The Queen of Patpong

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