Saturday, May 12, 2012

Author Interview with Donna Crowe, Murder/Suspense Author

Congratulations To Sheila Deeth!
Sheila won a signed copy of A Darkly Hidden Truth.

 Donna Fletcher Crowe
Murder/Suspense Author

     Thank you for joining us and if you love murder/suspense, you won't be disappointed in the series by Donna Fletcher Crowe this week. She's also holding a contest with the drawing on Saturday so be sure to leave her a comment or question at the end!

     We're having an afternoon tea with Donna, her classic English scones with clotted cream and two kinds of jam, cucumber sandwiches, fruit salad and tiny cakes. The tea will be her favorite Yorkshire Gold and you can have it with milk and sugar. One lump or two? Come on, let's be seated and chat with Donna!

Reader’s Haven:  Donna, we're delighted that we could be here with you all week. Welcome to our Haven! Our readers are anxious to hear more! Tell us a bit about yourself  that our readers might not know.

Donna:  Thank you for joining me for tea! Where shall I begin? I was an only child growing up on a farm so I had to make my own entertainment— that usually meant reading or telling myself stories. I often say I grew up watching television in my head in the days before we had television.
Also, I was my father’s son, so I grew up on horseback and became Miss Rodeo Idaho and runner-up for Miss Rodeo America.
Reader’s Haven:  Wow, Deanna lives in the Pacific Northwest, so hello to a fellow Idahoian! What made you want to become a writer?
Donna:  Ironically, like most writers, I wanted to write because I loved to read. The fact is, though, that the demands of a writing life are such that one really has to fight to find time to read. I do manage it, of course, but not nearly as much as I would like to.
Reader’s Haven:  Please share a bit about your new release A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH, the Monastery Murders, 2, without giving away any spoilers.
Donna:  In A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE, the first book in this series, Felicity, a thoroughly modern young American woman, rather to her own surprise, has gone to study theology in a monastery in remote Yorkshire. After she finds her favorite monk brutally murdered and her church history lecturer Father Antony covered in his blood she and Antony spend the rest of the book chasing and being chased by murderers across northern England.
     It’s little wonder then, that when, in A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH, Antony asks for Felicity’s help to find a valuable stolen icon she declines. Forcefully. after all, she’s off to become a nun. Then her impossible mother turns up unannounced. And a dear friend turns up murdered.
     Felicity and Antony are once again launched on an adventure. This time from the busy streets of London to the soggy marshes of the Norfolk Broads. 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?
Reader’s Haven:  Deanna loves anything set in England and Louise loves the murder/suspense stories! This sounds intriguing. Do you write under a pen name?
Donna:  Absolutely not! One has to work far too hard for a bit of recognition to hide. I included my maiden name Fletcher when I realized there are two other Donna Crows just in my own acquaintance. And now Amazon gets me mixed up with the romance writer Donna Fletcher, so one really can’t win.
Reader’s Haven:  Oh my! That’s not good to get things mixed up with another author! What types of hero or heroine do you like best?
Donna:  I like them to be strong, kind and intelligent with just enough quirks to make them interesting. I also think it’s essential that the hero and heroine balance each other's personalities. Felicity and Antony are a good example. They are both brilliant and care passionately. Felicity, however, is rash and headstrong while Antony is much quieter and insists on thinking things through. This, of course, means they can drive each other crazy at times, but in the end they learn to appreciate the other’s qualities.
Reader’s Haven:  Readers love to hear what we do on a daily basis. Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.
Donna:  Oh, I love my days— especially those rare ones that run according to plan. My husband Stan and I have breakfast on our own, mine in my office with my devotional reading. Then I spend about an hour on social media and promotion before I get stuck into my day’s work. When I’m in the writing mode (as opposed to research, editing, etc.) My goal is to write 5 pages a day.
      It’s lovely when I can have that done by 3:00 when everything stops at our house for tea. We started this long ago when the children came in from school as a relaxing time to share our day and a nutritious snack. Now we often have a friend over at that time. Then I might go back to my desk or, best of all, work in my garden.
     Evenings belong to my husband. After dinner we put our feet up and watch TV— either a favorite British mystery or an old movie.
Reader’s Haven:  Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?
Donna:  Each book has its own theme but, inevitably, there will be a theme to one’s body of work because the writer’s interests and passions will come though. All of my books deal with British history in some way, even if I’m writing a contemporary murder mystery or an Idaho family pioneer saga. I think one of the themes that come through is the importance of heritage and tradition. I believe there is so much of great value to be gained from the past and I'm afraid that we are in danger of losing much of it in the frantic pace of modern life.
Reader’s Haven:  How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?
Donna: Well, that depends on the story. GLASTONBURY my Arthurian grail search epic that covers 1500 years of English history took me three years of writing and most of a lifetime of research. Normally, though I can do a couple of books in a year. Often, however, the research and planning will take at least as long as the writing and editing, if not longer. And then there’s the promotion. . .
Reader’s Haven:  Do you have to be alone to write?
Donna: Oh, yes! I’m laughing because just yesterday my husband and I were talking about traveling to visit our children (spread from Los Angeles to Boston and from Calgary to Kentucky). Stan said I could take a laptop and write along the way. “No,” I said, “I could not.”
Reader’s Haven:  How do you go about naming characters?
Donna:  Good question, I’m not quite sure. I tend to choose classic names that I really like for my hero and heroine. Place names are often helpful in choosing surnames for minor characters.
Reader’s Haven: Is it easier to write about the characters if you find pictures of them before you write or do you write then find character pictures?
Donna:  Sometimes I use a composite of the personalities of people I know for developing characters, but usually I just see them in my head.
Reader’s Haven: How do you pick locations for your stories?
Donna: One of my goals as a writer is to give my readers a “You are there” experience. Therefore, background is one of the most important elements of a story for me. I try never to write about a place I haven’t visited. The historic characters I’m dealing with dictate a lot of my settings, but sometimes I choose a setting just because it’s a place I want to visit.
Reader’s Haven:  Where can readers find you on the web?
Donna: Please visit my website. You can see videos for both of the Monastery Murders there, find pictures from my research trips, read about my other books and even visit my rose garden. Click the little orange B button in the menu to visit my blog “Deeds of Darkness; Deeds of Light.”
     I would love to have you follow me on Facebook
     And Twitter:!/DonnaFletcherCr

Contest:  Be sure to leave a comment with your e-mail address. At the end of the week I’ll select one winner to receive a free, signed print copy of A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH— but remember, you must include your e-mail or I can’t contact you to tell you that you’ve won!

Thank you all for joining us. We hope you add Donna's books to your e-readers or book shelves! Please visit her sites, watch her book trailers, and follow her...and don't forget to leave a comment to be in the drawing....include your email addy!

 A Very Private Grave


  1. What a charming interview, Deanna! how do you take your tea? I hope lots of readers will join us for tea and leave a comment. Can't wait to see how wins!

  2. How delightful! I love beautiful teacups and teapots! This interview was most interesting! Thanks for sharing with us ----the series sounds intriguing!

  3. These books sound wonderful! I love the settings and murder intertwined!
    Linda Cacaci

  4. Thank you both for your comments. Goodl uck in the drawing, Linda!

  5. Donna, thank you for visiting with us this week. I'd like a cup of earl grey please. I love the book covers. Anonymous and Linda, thanks for stopping by. ~Louise

  6. Interesting how many only children become writers. Probably because we're used to using imagination.
    I love the way you stopped writing in the afternoon for tea when kids came home from school for time with them and now do it with your husband.Important to keep relationships alive.
    I'd love to read your books

  7. A bit late for tea, but what a lovely interview. I for one can say how worth it is to read A Darkly Hidden Truth. I really did get the "You are there" experience when reading the book. I felt it made a difference in the experience as a reader.

  8. Oh and I like my tea not too hot, with a bit of milk in the bottom and lightly seeped so as not to be too strong. And what is tea without a lovely spread of delicacies - beautiful setting in the photo.

  9. Dale and MK, lovely comments, thank you! Oops, MK, I'll have to make a separate pot for you because I'm afraid I like mine strong!

  10. This sounds like a book I would really enjoy! Thank you for the giveaway!

  11. My email is mittens0831 at aol dot com. Sorry I forgot to add it.

  12. Delighted to share a cuppa with you! There's something comforting about hearing/seeing you say you write because you love to read. So I'm not weird, or maybe I am... Your books all sound so great, but then, you combine England, mystery, churches, history... Hope I win :)

    sheiladeeth at gmail dot com

  13. As a complete anglophile...I am so interested. Thanks for the wonderful chat and thanks for a great giveaway as well.Good Luck to all and Happy Reading!

    Stiletto Storytime
    stilettostorytime at gmail dot com

  14. Everything Donna Fletcher Crow is inviting. Count me in on the contest. I've started collecting the books but admit I haven't read one yet. This prompts me to do just that and not wait till I've got them all, although I generally like to read series in order.
    I miss England. I used to be able to go over twice a year. Maybe I'll even put on a pot and have a cuppa.
    judydee22002 at yahoo dot com

  15. Thank you for the fascinating interview - you have a new reader! :)

    Teralee ElBasri
    Northeast Branch Library
    Tallahassee, FL

  16. Thank you everyone for stopping by and good luck in the drawing!

  17. Thank you all so much for your great comments--wish I could send you all a book! The winner is--Sheila Deeth! Hope you enjoy the read, Sheila!

  18. Congratulations Sheila! You won a copy of A Darkly Hidden Truth. We'll email you for your mailing address and send it to Donna.
    Again thank you everyone for stopping by! ~Louise