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Lisa: Welcome, Donna Fletcher Crow. I’m so pleased to be part of your blog tour for AN UNHOLY COMMUNION, but before we talk about that, tell us a about what has gone on in the series prior to this book.
Donna: Thank you, Lisa. I’m delighted to be with you today. In A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE, the first book in the series, Felicity Howard, a young American woman has gone off, on something of a whim, to study theology in a college run by monks in a monastery in York. She is just settling in when she finds Father Dominic, her favorite monk, brutally murdered with Father Antony, her church history lecturer standing over the body. When Antony is accused of the murder Felicity and Antony are launched into a search for clues that take them across much of northern England and southern Scotland following and being followed by murderers.
In book 2 A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH Felicity has taken it into her head to become a nun. She sets out on a discernment retreat, refusing to help Antony recover a valuable icon that has been stolen from the monastery. Then a dear friend turns up murdered. When Antony is abducted it all becomes a race against time to save his life.
Lisa: And there is a romance?
Donna: Absolutely. It’s essential that readers understand that Antony hadn’t yet taken vows to become a monk, although he is considering it in the first book. So far he is a priest. And in the Anglican (Episcopal) church priests are allowed to marry.
Lisa: Tell us more about the concept of the series.
Donna: Although these are contemporary stories, in order to solve the mysteries Felicity and Antony must discover the meaning of clues hidden deep in the past. Each book tells the stories of men and women of ages past who have struggled to spread the faith: St. Cuthbert, St. Hilda and the Venerable Bede in A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE and Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe in A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH. This is very important to me because people of the past have suffered so much for us who often take our faith rather lightly today and I believe their stories must not be lost.
Lisa: So what about your new book?
Donna: In AN UNHOLY COMMUNION Antony has been asked to lead a youthwalk across Wales. He wants Felicity to help him, but she is planning spend her holiday planning their wedding. (Yes, they have found that they are not called to the monastic life.) Her plans change when a body plummets off the top of a tower and lands at Felicity’s feet clutching a sinister symbol.
AN UNHOLY COMMUNION takes readers on pilgrimage across southern Wales, following a Medieval pilgrimage route. It’s all absolutely idyllic until that strange symbol reappears. And lurking figures follow them. And they find a body face-down in a well. . .
Lisa: And you tell stories of Christian history again, too?
Donna: Absolutely. Julius and Aaron, two of the first British martyrs, David who Christianized Wales, Bishop Gower who revitalized St. David’s Cathedral and the 1904 Welsh Revival. These are stories I’ve wanted to tell for years and years, so I’m really thrilled about this.
Lisa: Donna, I know you have a heart for Christian history. Can you tell us why?
Donna: My fear is that we are in great danger of losing our Christian heritage. The modern world is so much with us, so all-consuming that we take our privileges for granted and assume they will always exist. History teaches us that each generation must build the faith. I want to inspire our generation to a new appreciation of what others have suffered to pass the faith on to us in hopes that it will strengthen us to continue the fight.
Lisa: Where do your ideas for your stories come from?
Donna: Always from my research and reading. I start with the historical stories I want to tell, then I let Felicity and Antony show me how they can interact with the history. They are wonderful characters to work with because Antony, as a priest and college lecturer, is so knowledgeable and Felicity because she’s so determined and energetic. That is, when she’s not being rash and headstrong. Poor Antony worries about her a lot and I’m afraid he’s right to do so.
Lisa: What is the next project you’re working on?
Donna: Book 4 is called A MUFFLED TOLLING. It is set in Oxford where Felicity, who is a classicist, has gone to translate a document for a convent of nuns. Antony’s last words to her are, “Now, don’t get into trouble.”
Lisa: Ha, I can just imagine that she minds him.
Donna: Well, she never gets into trouble on purpose, you understand.
Lisa: Before you go, Donna, tell us about your monumental work GLASTONBURY.
Donna: Oh, thank you for asking, Lisa! GLASTONBURY is an epic covering 1500 years of English Christian history from the birth of Christ through the reformation. It covers Celtic, Roman, Arthurian, Anglo-Saxon, Norman and Tudor England. The unifying theme is a grail search as Austin Ringwode, the last of the Glastonbury monks searches through the annals of time to discover the Holy Grail.
Lisa: Where is that available?
Donna: Some time back I was your guest here talking about the new ebook version GLASTONBURY, A Novel of the Holy Grail http://ning.it/14TCNz2 Now it has been re-released as GLASTONBURY, The Novel of Christian England in print in a beautiful edition from Angelico Books
Lisa: And give us the links to the Monastery Murders.
Donna: Gladly! They are all available in both print and ebook formats:
AN UNHOLY COMMUNION: http://ning.it/13RL5v9
A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH http://ning.it/14XmykF
A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE http://ning.it/13TmFRW
Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 43 books, mostly of with British Christian history. The award-winning Glastonbury, an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work. She is also the author of three mystery series. Her latest releases are An Unholy Communion, The Monastery Murders and A Tincture of Murder in the Lord Danvers series of Victorian true-crime novels. Coming soon is A Jane Austen Encounter in the romantic suspense Elizabeth & Richard series. 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