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?
Watch at YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L512Cy6F_6E!
Thank you for this interview, Donna. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you've been writing?
I have written all my life, but I’ve been published since 1984— which now seems like most of my life. My passion is for British history which figures in almost all of my novels in some form. The award-winning Glastonbury, an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is my best-known work. My husband and I live in Boise, Idaho. We have 4 adult children and 11 grandchildren, and I’m an enthusiastic gardener. A Darkly Hidden Truth, The Monastery Murders 2, is my latest release.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
Felicity Howard is a thoroughly modern American woman who, rather rashly— as she does most things— has gone off to study theology in a monastery in Yorkshire. Because she and her church history lecturer Antony solved the murder of Father Dominic in A Very Private Grave, book 1 in the series, Father Anselm has now asked them to find a valuable missing icon. But Felicity can’t possibly help. She’s off to become a nun. Then her impossible mother turns up unexpectedly. And a good friend turns up murdered. . .
In the midst of breathtaking chase scenes, mystical worship services and dashes through remote waterlogged landscapes 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?
Why did you choose your particular genre?
It was largely a matter of writing what I love to read— advice I often give to beginning writers. I love the clerical mysteries of P. D. James, Susan Howatch, Kate Charles, Ellis Peters, Julia Spencer-Fleming. Then our daughter went off to study theology in a monastery in Yorkshire and I knew I had the setting for my new series.
Where do you write? Do you have a favorite place?
Oh, I love my office: shelves of my favorite books, artifacts from research trips, framed covers of some of my own books, pictures of my children and grandchildren, a Fletcher plaid banner for a curtain, Celtic knotwork border around the ceiling. . . My whole life around me and I’m at home.
What was your greatest challenge writing this book?
My goal as a writer is always to give my readers a “you are there” experience. I want them to feel they are traipsing through the English countryside or clambering over a ruined abbey right beside Felicity. Since much of A Darkly Hidden Truth is set in the very soggy Norfolk Broads and I live in the Idaho desert I had to work extra hard and make several research trips to be sure I got the atmosphere right. Fortunately, my editor, who lives in Oxford, is very familiar with the Broads because she and her husband sail there every summer, so I had excellent backup.
Are you a disciplined writer?
Oh, discipline is a lovely word. But to tell the truth, I’m afraid compulsive would be more accurate. I love telling stories and spending hours every day adventuring in England with my characters. Fortunately, I have a husband and friends who pull me away and get some balance in my life.
Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published?
I have worked with more than a dozen traditional publishers over the course of my career and I’ve always been blessed to have excellent editors who have taught me so much. The Monastery Murders are published by Monarch Books in Oxford, England and distributed in North America by Kregel Books. You can’t get much more traditional than an Oxford publisher.
Was it the right choice for you?
I can’t praise Monarch enough for the excellent support they give me. A Darkly Hidden Truth is dedicated to my wonderful editor Jan Greenough. And I should also thank my agent Janet Benrey who put us together. I was looking for a new agent for this series and found Janet online. It wasn’t until we spoke on the telephone that I realized she is English, so she really “gets” this series.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
One of the things that is so great about Monarch is that, unlike most publishers today, they do give me promotional support, primarily through their American distributor. They make book videos, purchase advertising, sponsor a blog tour, mail books for reviews, send out press releases. Even with all of that, though I felt I wanted to do more beyond the usual Twitter, Facebook and my own blog, so I’m excited to be working with Dorothy at Pump Up Your Book for a broader-based professional book tour.
How is that going for you?
Ah, ask me again at the end of May. I’m having a great time doing interviews and sending out blog articles and books for review. It will take awhile to know how much impact we make, though. The good news is that my editor has said Monarch is moving ahead to contract for An Unholy Communion, book 3 in the series, so that’s a good sign.
Do you have another job besides writing?
Does feeding my husband and visiting my grandchildren scattered to the four corners of the North American continent count?
Have you ever gotten an inspirational book-related moment at work and had to go run and write and it down?
My first novel Brandley’s Search, reprinted as Where Love Begins, came to me that way— in the middle of the night, walking down the aisle in the grocery store, while driving so that I had to pull to the side and write. It was like being pregnant. I wish all my books would come like that.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
Keep at it!
What's next for you?
I am currently editing my epic Glastonbury, A Novel of the Holy Grail, for ebook— quite an undertaking since it is 820 pages. Glastonbury has been in print for 20 years, so I’m thrilled to have it coming out in this new format. Then on to book 3 in The Monastery Murders.
Thank you for this interview, Donna. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
Thank you, It’s been a delightful visit. Please go to www.DonnaFletcherCrow.com to see the videos of my Monastery Murders, photos from my research trips and a tour of my rose garden.