Thank you, I’m delighted to be with you today. I always love meeting new readers. I’ve been a professional writer for almost 40 years now. Argh! And I can’t even say I started young. Before that I was an English teacher. The history of British Christianity is my passion and shows up somewhere in all my books. Glastonbury, A Novel of Christian England, is my best-known work. I am also the author of three mystery series. My newest titles are: An Unholy Communion, The Monastery Murders; A Tincture of Murder, The Lord Danvers Victorian true-crime novels; and A Jane Austen Encounter coming soon in the romantic suspense series The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries. My husband and I live in Boise, Idaho. We have 4 adult children and 11 grandchildren. If I’m not reading you can usually find me drinking tea or gardening.
What is your book, A Tincture of Murder, about?
A Tincture of Murder is book 4 in my Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series. Set in mid-Victorian York, it explores the case of William Dove “The Leeds Poisoner” whose trial set legal principles still debated in courts of law today. And as a bonus, I found a second true crime that is more bizarre than anything Charles Dickens dreamed up. It’s so true, fact is often stranger than fiction.
The Lord Danvers books also feature a fictional crime wrapped around the true ones. And in this case I got to explore the work of the 19th century slum priests through the work of Danvers’ younger brother Frederick who has taken Holy Orders and shocked the family by starting a refuge for fallen women and destitute children in the worst slum in York.
And now women are dying unexpectedly at The Magdalen House and Frederick pleads with Lord and Lady Danvers to look into the circumstances. Freddie fears that the Asylum will not survive when news of these deaths spreads throughout the city.
But is death closer to home than anyone suspected? Was a servant girl's untimely death at Wandseley Hall an accident as first believed? And was the fire that nearly destroyed Danvers’ ancestral home linked to the deaths in some way? Is Lady Antonia’s own life threatened?
What is something the average reader wouldn't know about you?
Because of my genteel Anglophile interests few people suspect my tomboy childhood. As an only child I was my father’s son and loved accompanying him on long, and often rugged, horseback rides. I later became queen of our local rodeo, Miss Rodeo Idaho and runner-up for Miss Rodeo America.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Actually, I always wanted to read. As a child if I wasn’t out with my horse I was reading. Ironically, when my reading led me to become a writer I found I didn’t have nearly enough time to read.
How many books have you written/published and do you have a favorite?
I think the official count is something like 43— a little more than one for every year I’ve been writing. My favorite is always the one I’m working on at the moment, but Glastonbury is rather the centerpiece of my career. First published in 1992 it has gone through 4 editions with 3 publishers. Glastonbury, A Novel of Christian England (subtitled A Novel of the Holy Grail in the ebook edition) is an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history from the birth of Christ through the Reformation.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I’m not sure it’s a quirk— more like a blessing, really— but I do love research. I know many writers groan over this stage of the writing process, but I simply adore poring over dusty books and clambering over crumbling ruins in the mud and rain.
Where do you like to write?
I love my office! It has Celtic knotwork around the ceiling, a plaid carpet and pictures of my grandchildren and my book covers all over the walls. Also a sofa where I can start my day with a cup of tea and morning prayers.
What is the best and/or worst part about being a writer?
The best part is the amazing friends I have made over the years, literally all around the globe. I have friends from all my research trips, other writers and my beloved readers. And now, of course, the delightful people I meet online.
The worst part is probably the discipline it takes. I’m a fairly disciplined person, but there are those days. . .
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Read! That’s if I can’t be playing with my grandchildren, but since they live in Los Angeles, Boston, Calgary and Kentucky and I’m in Idaho those times are all too rare.
Is there a place you’d like to visit, but haven’t yet?
All the places I still haven’t been in the British Isles. There’s never enough time or money!
Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
My favorite Psalm is 126 in the Book of Common Prayer translation:
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion then were we like those who dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter and our tongues with shouts of joy.
Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us and we are glad, indeed.
I hope I got that right, I did it from memory. It’s such a beautiful picture of restoration and gratitude.
Do you have a favorite song and/or movie?
I have loved Jerusalem the Glastonbury Hymn, since I first heard it in the movie “Chariots of Fire.” That was long before I heard it played by a street musician the first time I visited Glastonbury Abbey, but it later became the theme of my epic Glastonbury as I explored the meaning of “And did those feet in ancient times walk upon England’s mountains green?
. . .I shall not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.”
And what a thrill when that was used as a theme song for the opening of last summer’s London Olympics! Of course, I cried.
What is your favorite holiday?
Easter. I love coming out of the dark, somber, penitential season of Lent into the glories of a white and gold altar banked with Easter lilies and singing “Alleluia! Christ the Lord is Risen Today!”
A few this-or-that questions:
Snowstorms or Thunderstorms?
Anything but wind. I live in a desert so rain is our rarest, most welcome weather— and snow in the mountains means survival for our farmers who rely on irrigation. Kathryn in my Daughters of Courage family saga series tells this story.
Tea or Coffee?
Ah, strong English tea. Preferably Yorkshire Gold, although I’ve just discovered Bewely’s Irish Afternoon. Served in a China pot and tea cups with milk, please.
Call or Text?
Email. Although there’s certainly something to be said for an old-fashioned handwritten letter in an envelope with a stamp!
Early-bird or Night-owl?
Sleeping from midnight to 8 a.m. is my ideal. Not sure what that makes me.
Cats or Dogs?
Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook! I do Twitter, but it drives me crazy. I can cope with Facebook— especially since most of my children are on it.
Are you currently working on any new novels? If so, could you give us a hint?
A Jane Austen Encounter in my Elizabeth and Richard romantic suspense series. Elizabeth and Richard, both English literature professors, are on sabbatical in England visiting all the sites where Jane Austen lived. This is part working holiday and part second honeymoon (since their first honeymoon at a Shakespeare Festival was interrupted by murder in A Midsummer Eve’s Nightmare). This time things are going much better. Until the dead bodies start showing up.
Thank you so much for being here! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and where can we find you on the web?
It was definitely my pleasure! This has been a delightful interview. It’s so much fun to be asked unusual questions. Please visit my website at http://www.donnafletchercrow.com/ and follow me on Facebook at http://ning.it/OHi0MY
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