|An Unholy Communion plus interview
||[Sep. 2nd, 2013|09:11 am]
2 - 6 September 2013
About the Author:
"Donna Fletcher Crow has created her own niche within the genre of clerical mysteries." - Kate Charles, author of Deep WatersFirst 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 An Interview with Donna
Today I welcome Donna Fletcher Crow to my blog. Welcome Donna.
Dale, thank you so much for inviting me to “Write and Read with Dale” I love getting to meet your readers!
1. What comes first for you character or plot?
Actually, Dale, background comes first. Writing a novel is like taking a very long trip and it’s important to me for that trip to be someplace I really want to visit. This is especially true because I try never to write about a place I haven’t been to, so I’m talking about literal travel as well as going there mentally every day when I write.
Of Course, for the Monastery Murders books, which all have medieval saints’ stories integral to the plot, choosing which saints stories I want to tell comes first of all.
2. Was there a particular incident, place or monument that first sparked your thinking for this novel?
Again, I started with the saint’s story. After I wrote GLASTONBURY, THE FIELDS OF BANNOCKBURN and THE BANKS OF THE BOYNE— the stories of Christian England, Scotland and Ireland— the obvious next book would have been the Christian history of Wales. But then, markets change, editors move, other stories assert themselves— in other words, life happens. I had waited about 15 years to tell the story of St. David.
Then I saw an announcement of a youthwalk pilgrimage from London to Walsingham and I knew I had the device for my story. I joined that 126 mile walk as a considerably over-age youth and transferred the experience from Norfolk to Wales.
3. Did you know how this novel would end before you wrote it? Or did you consider any alternate ending?
Because I live in Idaho— 7000 miles away from the setting of my novels— I have to have my stories carefully plotted before I take my research trips. In this case sister mystery writer Dolores Gordon-Smith, who lives in Manchester, was my guide through all the places I needed to visit in Wales— culminating with a wonderful stay at St. Non’s retreat house in St. David’s. We spent hours walking over every inch of the ruined Bishop’s Palace with me visualizing exactly what was going to happen in that most atmospheric space. Of course, even then there were some surprises in the writing— enough to keep me on my toes.
4. What is one thing readers may not know about you?
Because I am known for my love of English history, drinking tea from delicate china cups, and growing roses (you can see pictures here: http://www.donnafletchercrow.com/garden.php )
Readers are usually surprised to learn that as an only child I was my father’s son. I grew up riding horses, fishing, camping and pheasant hunting with him. The horseback riding experiences culminated in my becoming Miss Rodeo Idaho and a runner-up for Miss Rodeo America. (About a hundred years ago.)
5. Do you have music playing while writing?
Oh, no! I focus very intensely, watching pictures in my head and, hopefully, listening to my characters as I write. Music would be a distraction. The only exception is when my characters are listening to music. Then I play whatever they are hearing so I can describe the experience.
6. Where is your favourite place to write?
I am very fortunate to have a wonderful, if messy, office. It has a plaid carpet, a Celtic knotwork border around the ceiling, framed covers of my books on the walls that aren’t covered with bookcases, and a Fletcher plaid banner for a curtain. Oh, yes— and a computer, too!
7. Do you read fiction while working on a novel? Or do you tend towards reading non-fiction or poetry?
Non-fiction for research, of course. A lot of history, biography and spiritual books— such as REVELATIONS OF DIVINE LOVE when I was writing about Julian of Norwich in the second book of the Monastery Murders. But always fiction for pleasure. I grew up on the English classics and still love to return to Jane Austen, the Brontes, etc. But I have taken to heart the advice to “write what you love to read” and my real relaxation is reading English mysteries. Again, the classics such as Dorothy L. Sayers and Josephine Tey or more contemporary ones like P. D. James, Phil Rickman, Kate Charles. . . There are so many and so little time.
8. What are you currently reading?
Last summer I was privileged to attend St. Hilda’s Mystery & Crime Weekend in Oxford where I met so many of my favorite writers and some wonderful ones I hadn’t read before. Andrew Taylor has become one of my very favorites. He is not well-known in the States, but he deserves to be. I just finished THE JUDGEMENT OF STRANGERS which turned out to be the middle of a trilogy and now can’t wait to read THE FOUR LAST THINGS and THE OFFICE OF THE DEAD. Taylor’s elegant style, the Church of England background of the books and the priest hero are exactly my kind of read.
9. What is the most helpful advice about writing you have ever received?
Write from your passion.
Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 43 books, mostly novels of British history. The award-winning Glastonbury, A Novel of the Holy Grail, an epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work. She is 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. Donna and her husband live in Boise, Idaho. They have 4 adult children and 12 grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic gardener.
To read more about all of Donna’s books and see pictures from her garden and research trips go to: http://www.donnafletchercrow.com/
You can follow her on Facebook at: http://ning.it/OHi0MY<img