Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 38 books, mostly novels dealing with British history. The award-winning Glastonbury, an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work. Donna and her husband live in Boise, Idaho. They have 4 adult children and 11 grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic gardener.
Her newest release is A Darkly Hidden Truth, book 2 in her clerical mystery series The Monastery Murders. She also writes the Lord Danvers series of Victorian true-crime novels and the romantic suspense series The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries. To read more about these books and to see book videos for A Darkly Hidden Truth and for A Very Private Grave, Monastery Murders 1, as well as pictures from Donna’s garden and research trips go to: www.DonnaFletcherCrow.com.
Felicity can’t possibly help Father Antony find the valuable missing icon. She’s off to become a nun. Then her impossible mother turns up unexpectedly. And a good friend turns up murdered…
Breathtaking chase scenes, mystical worship services, dashes through remote waterlogged landscapes keep the pages turning. Felicity learns the wisdom of holy women from today and ages past and Antony explores the arcane rites of the Knights Hospitaller. But what good will any of that do them if Felicity can’t save Antony’s life?
Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Donna! Can you tell us where you are from?
Boise, Idaho. I’m one of those rarities here— an Idaho native.
Q: How did you come up with the title?
Ah, naming the first book in the series was the trick. My agent suggested A Fine and Private Grave from the Andrew Marvell poem “To His Coy Mistress”
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace
My English publisher liked it, but my American publisher said Americans wouldn’t get the reference, so we settled on A Very Private Grave. A Darkly Hidden Truth seemed to flow naturally for book 2.
Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?
What an interesting question— I’ve never been asked that before, so I had to look it up. The ruined Abbey is Castle Acre Priory in Norfolk, the sky was painted by Bill Bain and my publisher Lion Hudson provided the woman with the long blond hair who represents my heroine Felicity. I’m actually delighted to learn this because last April I took a walking tour through Norfolk as research for the next book in the Monastery Murders series and Castle Acre is one of the sites we walked by.
Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?
Felicity’s life changes when a torrential rainstorm washes a body from its shallow grave literally beneath her feet. Breathtaking chase scenes, mystical worship services and dashes through remote waterlogged landscapes follow from that pivotal moment. Felicity learns the wisdom of holy women from today and ages past and Antony explores the arcane rites of the Knights Hospitaller. But what good will any of that do them if Felicity can’t save Antony’s life?
Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?
I don’t think in terms of message, but an underlying theme is an appreciation of heritage and tradition and an understanding of what people in past ages have suffered so we can enjoy our privileges today. I am very afraid we are in danger of losing much of value in the rush of modern living.
Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?
Oh, Chapter 33 without doubt. When I visited the ancient church of St. Helen’s, Ranworth, in the Norfolk Broads— a location so boggy that Cromwell’s troops, couldn’t reach it to smash its treasures— I turned immediately to the tower. The sign at the bottom read: 89 uneven steps, 2 ladders, 1 trapdoor, Climb at your own risk. I knew I had to set a chase scene there!
Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?
For many years I had wanted to tell the stories of the medieval women writers Julian of Norwich, first woman to write a book in English, and Margery Kempe who wrote the first autobiography in English (in spite of being illiterate). When my daughter went off to study theology in a monastery in Yorkshire that gave me the perfect background for my heroine Felicity and the vehicle to tell these stories.
Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?
I like to say I’m focused, but honestly, I should admit to being compulsive— about writing and reading, that is. When it comes to cleaning cupboards I’m a slob. There, I’ve said it!
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
As much as I’m intrigued by the concept of traveling for fun, I’m afraid I’m much too focused. Other than traveling for family reasons, my trips are all for research. Book 4 in the Monastery Murders will be set in Oxford, so I’m hoping to realize a long-held ambition of attending St. Hilda’s Writers Conference in Oxford this summer, then have my husband join me to visit Jane Austen sites for the background of my next Elizabeth & Richard romantic suspense novel. Come to think of it, that sounds like a dream trip to me, even if it weren’t for research!
Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?
Neither, really. 8:00 a.m. to midnight seems like a perfect day for me.
Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?
Nope, I’m the oddball. A right-brained person in a family of engineers, lawyers and theologians. My husband says “Right-brained people were put here to write poetry and make life beautiful. Left-brained people were put here to take care of them.” I love being taken care of.
Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?
Absolutely! I was an only child living on a farm. My greatest delight was to go to the middle of the alfalfa field and lay down to read with the delicious feeling that “No one but God could see me.” I also put myself to sleep at night watching television in my head— in the days before we had television.
Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?
To live in a thatched cottage in England with my family (currently spread to the four corners of the North American continent) nearby.
Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?
Please visit me at www.DonnaFletcherCrow.com you can see the videos for my Monastery Murders books, the photo albums from my research trips and visit my rose garden.