WE HAVE A WINNER!
Congratulations to Zippy Mom
There are so far two individuals whom I've had the opportunity - make that privilege - to interview twice. The first was Ojo (aka Joey) Taylor, keyboardist/bassist/songwriter for the Christian alternative band Undercover. The second is today's interviewee, Donna Fletcher Crow. Maybe they're gluttons for punishment?
Donna has just released An Unholy Communion, the third in her Monastery Murders series. In my last blog, I said that my favorite series is Amy Wallace's Defenders of Hope trilogy, and I'm sticking to that story. But the Monastary Murders is right behind it. Also, if I made a list of my favorite fiction characters, Father Anthony would be near the top of the list. Also, my all-time favorite book cover is for A Darkly Hidden Truth -- the most beautiful cover I've seen.
At the end of this blog, we'll be giving away a copy of An Unholy Communion.
Jeff Reynolds: Welcome to Sleuths and Suspects, Donna. How long have you been writing, and what got you interested?
Donna Fletcher Crow: Hi Jeff, I’m delighted to be here. Looking back I think I’ve written all my life. I've been writing for publication for about 30 years. My writing grew out of my reading. I’ve always loved to read— as an only child growing up on a farm books were my only companions. Well, books and my horse. A minor character in a novel I read got hold of me and demanded that I tell the rest of his story. That first novel became Brandley’s Search, later republished as Where Love Begins. It set the theme for my six-book series the Cambridge Chronicles about the Evangelical Anglican movement.
JR: How many novels have you written? I'll be getting to the Monastery Murders series in a minute, but what other series have you written, and what makes these series unique?
DC: I keep losing count, Jeff, but I think it’s about 43 books. Most of them have been series, like The Cambridge Chronicles. I currently have 3 series going. Lord Danvers is a Victorian true-crime series. My most recent title in that is A Tincture of Murder where I use the work of the Oxford Movement slum priests to get into some really grotty areas of Victorian York and see how these dedicated ministers changed the lives of the poorest of the poor. Http://ning.it/10E1Epq A Jane Austen Encounter will be next in my Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries. English professors Elizabeth and Richard are on sabbatical in England visiting all the places Jane Austen lived. This follows a trip I took last year— except I didn’t have to cope with dead bodies. This book emphasizes the importance of her Christian faith in Jane’s writing.
JR: Please tell us about the Monastery Murders, and especially your new release, An Unholy Communion.
DC: Thank you for asking! The Monastery Murders are contemporary clerical mysteries set in a monastery in Yorkshire. The monks run a theological college— coincidentally exactly like the one where my daughter studied. Felicity Howard is a young American woman in her first year of study. She has a lot to learn, but she’s a quick study— as well as being rather rash and headstrong. Felicity and her church history lecturer (who, fortunately, isn’t a monk) somehow keep getting involved in mysteries that require investigations into the lives of holy men and women from ages past, so you get a lot of church history along with a murder mystery and a love story.
An Unholy Communion is book three in the series. When a body plummets from a tower and lands at Felicity’s feet Antony convinces her to join him in leading a group of young people on a pilgrimage to visit ancient holy sites across Wales. It is idyllic until shadowy figures start dogging their steps. Then they find a dead body face down in a holy well. . . Http://ning.it/ZnSEcF
JR: I love the emphasis on church history in that series. What inspired you to work on those themes, and what would you like to see happen as a result of this series?
DC: My passion, Jeff, is to see spiritual renewal in England— and subsequently in our own country. I believe one of the factors contributing to a loss of faith is the lack of appreciation of our spiritual heritage. I want my readers to gain a new understanding of what people have endured in times past for us to be able to enjoy our comfortable worship today. I also believe that in an attempt to be relevant we are in danger of losing traditions that have been important to Christians for 2000 years. I want my readers, both in the church and in the world, to realize the validity of traditional Christianity.
JR: Hope you don't mind a more philosophic question. From your study of church history and your observance of what's going on today, do you have any advice on how we should be living in these days of danger? Besides reading plenty of Donna Fletcher Crow novels, that is?
DC: Great, Jeff! What a wonderful place to start! The basic message hasn’t changed in 2000 years. Live in fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ and in openness and obedience to the Holy Spirit. Aside from the obvious things like Bible reading and prayer, how that is lived out will be different for each believer. For me, getting back to the basics such as frequent Holy Communion has been essential. Reading John Wesley’s “The Duty of Constant Communion” might be a good start ( http://ning.it/ZnEad1 )
JR: What other ministries and hobbies do you have besides writing?
DC: I am active in our local church— teaching children, altar guild, whatever needs doing, really. We’re a small congregation, so everyone pitches in. As to hobbies, reading is tops, then growing roses (pictures here http://ning.it/ngWoAU ) and traveling to visit my grandchildren in Los Angeles, Boston, Calgary and Kentucky.
JR: What's next on the writing end? Any new Monastery Murders ready to depart the cloister?
DC: A Muffled Tolling, which takes place in Oxford, has bell-ringing in the background, and tells the story of the Oxford martyrs, is next on my agenda. I’ll be on to that just as soon as I finish one more rewrite of A Jane Austen Encounter. I’d also like to mention that my Arthurian epic Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England, has just come out in an all-new print edition http://ning.it/ZnPky9 Last year it was released in ebook format as Glastonbury, The Novel of The Holy Grail http://ning.it/ZnRLkv .
JR: Thank you again for your time, Donna, and I hope you have a blessed day.
DC: Thank you so much, Jeff, it’s been delightful visiting with you. I would also like to invite your readers to visit my website at http://www.donnafletchercrow.com/ and to follow me on Facebook at: http://ning.it/OHi0MY
Jeff to the reader: Thanks for taking the time to read this. Have you had the honor of reading any of Donna's books? What are your thoughts on church history and its relevance to today?
And if you'd like a copy of An Unholy Communion, we'll pick one lucky reader next Wednesday. Just leave a comment and include your e-mail. Feel free to spell it out like mine would be mendingnets at yahoo dot com. (Does that mean I'm entered into the Giveaway?!)