Interview with Donna Fletcher Crow

What drives you as a writer?
The story I am telling! All of my stories, whether historical or contemporary, have elements of British history in them, especially Christian history. I am passionate about telling what these men and women of faith suffered and accomplished in times past so that we can enjoy the fruits of their labors today/
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
For many years my answer would have been: Reading, drinking tea or gardening. Now I have a new favorite "hobby." Playing with my grandchildren. My husband of 50+ years and I have 14 grandchildren. Our family is spread from Boston to Calgary to Tokyo, with one family, thankfully, living here in Boise. One way or another I always manage to have a young person around to help keep me young.
Who are your favorite authors?
I try to keep up with some of the best in contemporary mystery writing, such as Louise Penny, Dolores Gordon-Smith, Deborah Crombie and Kate Charles, but my real favorites are always the classics: Jane Austen, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Josephine Tey and Marjorie Allingham. Now that the always gracious P. D. James is gone from us, I guess she can be listed as a classic as well.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
My 3rd grade teacher assigned a short story. I wrote about Sir Lancelot killing the dragon and rescuing the lady in the tower. I was convinced it was a work of genius, but worried that every other child would have written the same story--because that was the only story to tell. Imagine my surprise when I discovered I was the only child in my class inspired by King Arthur. This was a fond memory to me when I wrote my Arthurian epic Glastonbury, the novel of Christian England.
What is your writing process?
Background is extremely important to me. I usually start with a place (in the UK) I want to set my story, or an account of an historic event that fires my imagination. Then I research: books, internet, pictures, maps. . . When I have an outline of my story I do on-site research--a trip to Great Britain to visit all places my characters will visit in the book. Once home, I have the fun of reliving it all at my computer to share with my readers.
Do you remember when you first became aware of history, and the impact it had on you?
Yes! I just have been about 7 years old. I was looking at a black and white picture of Victorian children. The boy was rolling a hoop, the girl carrying a doll. I stared and stared at the picture until I had a sense of being drawn into it. In my mind I was there under that tree, playing with those children. It was the same feeling I now have when I stride across ancient Britain with an old Celtic saint or chase a murderer through a Regency home.
What is your goal as a writer?
I always strive to give my readers a "you are there" experience. I want my readers to be able to see, feel, taste whatever my characters are experiencing. In order to do that I have to have experienced it myself first--that's why the on-site research is so important to me. Of course, the great exception to this is when one of my characters is discovering a dead body or facing a murderer.
Why do you write murder mysteries?
I began writing romance and history, sometimes with a twist of intrigue in the plots. Then I began to feel that I needed more to keep interest up and keeping the pages turning. It's amazing what a dead body can do to keep the plot moving. But more than that, I enjoy working with contrasts: the beauty of the English countryside, the peace of a monastery, a couple falling in love--interrupted by the brutality of murder. I also enjoy working out the puzzle, but ultimately, no one can say it better than P D. James: "I enjoy bringing order out of chaos."
What is your favorite of your books?
Whichever one I'm working on at the moment. I always get completely immersed in my stories. But Glastonbury, my Arthurian Grail Search epic, covering 1500 years of Christian British history from the birth of Christ to the Reformation through Celtic, Roman, Arthurian, Anglo-Saxon, Norman and Tudor England, is my best known work.
Tell us about your mystery series.
I do 3 crime series: The Monastery Murders, of which An All-Consuming Fire is my most recent, are contemporary clerical mysteries with stories of ancient saints in the background. The series uses our daughter's experience studying theology in a monastery in Yorkshire as its setting. The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries are literary suspense with favorite authors such Dorothy L. Sayers, Shakespeare, Elswyth Thane and Jane Austen. A Most Singular Venture, murder in Jane Austen's London, will be out next month. The Lord Danvers series is Victorian true-crime with a fictional story wrapped around actual Victorian murders.
What's tops on your bucket list?
Other than the stories I want to tell, making an Atlantic crossing on the Queen Mary II from New York to Southampton is tops. The utter relaxation and recapturing something of by-gone days of elegance seems to me like the trip of a lifetime. It would also be something of revisiting my own youth because I made a crossing on my first trip abroad when I was a student. Yes, airplanes had been invented then--but they weren't as much the everyday mode of travel they are now.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wanted to bring my backlist, out-of-print books back to a new generation of readers--especially my Cambridge Chronicles, which I have repackaged as the Where There is Love series. These are such wonderful stories--not because of anything I've done but because of the lives of the people whose stories I tell: John and Charles Wesley, The Countess of Huntington, William Wilberforce, Florence Nightengale, The Earl of Shaftesbury, Hudson Taylor and the Cambridge Seven. Add to that, they are love stories that still move me--and they are all true.
Published 2016-08-24.
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Books by This Author

An All-Consuming Fire
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 78,780. Language: English. Published: December 19, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Traditional British
Christmastide in the Monastery and Antony is narrating a film series on the English Mystics. And--drum roll-- Felicity and Antony are getting married. If only Felicity can keep her mother from staging a Royal Wedding--and if she can escape an exceptionally insidious murderer.