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Meet Friend & Author Donna Fletcher Crow

1. Beginning with the first book in the series till now, what was the catalyst for these novels?
I have always loved the Victorians and felt that they get rather unfairly bad press. Calling something “Victorian” is often a put-down meaning dated, stuffy and hypocritical. On the contrary, I see the Victorians as people of enormous creativity and energy and I greatly admire their (yes, sometimes rather rigid) moral code.
It’s true it was a time of enormous social problems. Something like one-fourth of the population of England moved from the country to the city in the 19th century, causing overwhelming
overcrowding and poverty. But as soon as the Victorians identified a problem, they set to work to solve it. Such Evangelical reformers as The Earl of Shaftesbury waged campaigns for child labor laws, Tractarian priests like Charles Fuge Lowder worked to clear the slums of hunger and disease, Prince Albert himself set about designing model housing for poor families.
Certainly, there was hypocrisy with people flaunting society’s ideas of right and wrong, but, frankly, I find it refreshing to think of a time when society as a whole upheld a code of behavior.
2. Is there any particular reason as to why these books are located in England?
Almost all of my stories are set in Great Britain. Even the ones set in Idaho have English and Scottish backstories. Part of that is my connection with my own heritage but the greater reason is my desire to see revival in Britain. I feel called to tell the stories of men and women of faith in times past in the hopes of inspiring today’s generation.

3. How do you begin writing your novels? Do you just start writing or is there a particular process that you go through to keep everything straight in your mind?
Since Lord Danvers is a true-crime series, weaving a fictional crime around actual crimes and trials, I start my research with finding the true crime I want to recount.  In the case of A TINCTURE OF MURDER I deal with two actual crimes. One, that of William Dove, established legal precedent that is still referred to in courts of law today. The other is a case far more bizarre than any invented by Charles Dickens.
I always write from something of an outlien or at least a summary of the story. The more detailed the outline, the lower my stress level and the faster I can write. But then there are always the moments when one must “launch out into the deep” and follow inspiration. That’s fun, too.
4. Is there any reason why you continue to write mysteries?
Although I have written many romances and straight historical novels, the old adage “write what you like to read” is true in my case. Especially when I am telling the stories of somewhat obscure saints of long ago as in my Monastery Murders, or sometimes very involved legal proceedings as in Lord Danvers, I need a good suspenseful plot underneath to keep my own interest up and, hopefully, to keep my readers turning pages.

5. Who are some of the authors you follow?
I love the authors of the Golden Age of mystery writing, especially Dorothy L. Sayers. Of those writing today my favorites are those who write in my subgenres of clerical mysteries and Victorian mysteries. To my mind the all-time best clerical mystery is P. D. James’ DEATH IN HOLY ORDERS. Anne Perry is the queen of Victorian mysteries.

6. What types of movies or TV shows do you watch?
Well, you can probably guess, we love British mysteries! And historicals— “Downton Abbey” and “Upstairs Downstairs” for example. And then wacky Brit humor like “Dr. Who.”  For movies the oldies. My husband records lots of black and white movies from the 30’s and 40’s from the classic movie channel. We love to curl up in front of the fireplace with a bowl of apples and a classic movie.
8. How has your walk or relationship with the Lord molded your stories, characters, etc.?
Oh, what a good question! After publishing some 30 books I was 10 years out of the writing loop because of the changes I was undergoing spiritually. From a fairly simplistic faith I have grown far more traditional and sacramental and in closer relation to the wider Church and to God. This is definitely reflected in the subjects I choose to write about and in the way my characters worship and pray.

9. Are there any writing projects you are currently working on?
AN UNHOLY COMMUNION book 3 in my Monastery Murders will be released early in 2013. I’m now writing A JANE AUSTEN ENCOUNTER, book 3 in my Elizabeth & Richard romantic suspense series. This is based on a trip I took this summer visiting the sites of all the places Jane Austen lived and reflects my lifelong love of her writing.

10. What dreams, goals or aspirations do you have for 2013?
Goodness, can you believe it’s almost a new year! My prayer would be that 2013 would be as good as 2012 has been. I am so grateful for my family, friends and all that the Lord has allowed me to do. I would like to keep on doing it.

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