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How long does it take to write a book? by Donna Fletcher Crow

How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” (Eccl 3:1)

Authors are often asked, “How long does it take to write a book?” 

The best possible reply is, “How long is a piece of string?”

This is even more true if the question is “How long does it take to publish a book?”

As to the writing of A MIDSUMMER EVE’S NIGHTMARE, in a way the answer would be “Most of my life.” Each book in the Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries has a literary figure in the background— they are both English professors, after all— so in a way the writing of this book began with my own encounter with the Bard of Avon.

My freshman year in college I thought myself far too sophisticated to take a children’s literature class, it had to be the Shakespeare seminar— the irony being that, later, as the mother of 4 children, there was nothing I really needed more than a children’s lit class.

In a way, though, that Shakespeare seminar was a children’s literature class for me. As soon as our children were able to sit through an evening performance my husband and I were taking them to the magical Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon (where Elizabeth and Richard go on their honeymoon in my novel). With some good preparation before hand they loved the plays. Then Boise opened its own Shakespeare Festival so we had all these riches on our own doorstep.

All of our children still enjoy Shakespeare, but most especially our middle son who married a Shakespearean actress who also directs grade school children in wonderful productions such as “Macbeth” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and has taught their 2-year-old son to quote Shakespeare. 

So that’s my lifetime background, but how about writing the book? Well, again I have to start back a bit (these things are never simple). In 1992 I published a romantic intrigue CASTLE OF DREAMS (not my title) and wrote the second book in the series A MIDSUMMER EVE'S NIGHTMARE. For a variety of reasons Castle didn't sell well and the series was canceled. "Oh well," I thought, "At least I got to spend the advance money." Eventually the manuscript went off to the writers' archives at our local university.

With the advent of the Ebook age I got a publisher for the old Castle story. Completely rewritten, recovered and renamed it is now THE SHADOW OF REALITY, book #1 in The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries. Now it was time for Book #2. I rang the Boise State Univeristy archives. The same librarian is still there and he even brought the manuscript to me.
After retyping, rewriting, heavily editing and much improving, A MIDSUMMER EVE'S NIGHTMARE went off to the publisher. "Eighteen years in the writing" would be an overstatement— or maybe an understatement— but it's definitely been worth the wait.

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Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 39 books, mostly novels dealing with British history.  The award-winning Glastonbury, an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history, her best-known work, is now available in ebook format. 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:

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