When I was asked to review An Unholy Communion, through the Australian Christian Readers Alliance, I couldn’t wait to begin reading it!!! And when the option for a review was made, I was even more excited. However before I share the interview, here is Donna’s short
Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 43 books, mostly novels of British history. The award-winning Glastonbury, A Novel of the Holy Grail, an epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work. She is also the author of The Monastery Murders: A Very Private Grave, A Darkly Hidden Truth and An Unholy Communion as well as the Lord Danvers series of Victorian true-crime novels and the literary suspense series The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries. 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
1. What inspired you to write An Unholy Communion?
I had wanted to tell the story of the Christian history of Wales for many years. When I saw an announcement of a walking pilgrimage I knew that would be the right storyline for modern characters to explore a story that reaches from the English border of Wales to its coast. That pilgrimage taught me how Antony would have organized the walk he was leading. Then I toured Wales with a mystery writer friend so see the actual ground Felicity and Antony were trekking. I always undertake a research trip for the background of any book I write, but this one was a bonus because I had two wonderful adventures.
2. If you could pick any book out of this series (that is your favourite), which would it be?If you had asked me which is my favorite of all the series I have written that would be easy because, although I’ve loved them all, the Monastery Murders is very special to me. I love the mix of telling a contemporary mystery against the background of the stories of ancient saints. As to which book, I guess it’s rather like asking me which is my favorite child?
3. What is it about the suspense genre that you like?
I have written romance and straight history and enjoyed both genres very much but I feel that the added spice of suspense gives the readers more reason to keep the pages turning— especially when I’m telling the stories of long-ago Celtic saints that people might not immediately connect with. It also makes the writing more of a challenge and I’ve always enjoyed a challenge.
4. You were given the opportunity to co-write a story with your favourite Christian author. Who would you pick?
Liz Curtis-Higgs and I share a love of Scotland. I can’t think of anything more fun than undertaking a research trip with Liz. Then she could write the romance and I could do the mystery.
5. Who is your favourite Christian author? What book(s) of theirs do you highly recommend?Interestingly, my favorite authors happen to be Christian. Jane Austen is my great literary love and although I love all of her books Persuasion is my favorite. My Jane Austen Encounter, which I just wrote for my Elizabeth & Richard series, explores Jane’s spirituality. I also highly recommend P. D. James’ Death in Holy Orders and G. K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy.
6. Are there any events that inspired your Monastery Murders series? Where did you get your inspiration from?The background for this series is actually highly autobiographical. All the books tell stories I’ve wanted to tell for a long time but I didn’t have the right format. Then in 2000 our daughter went off to study Classics at Keble College, Oxford. After a year in London she went up to Yorkshire to study in a theological college in a monastery. I visited her many times, getting to know the monastery and the monks. It gradually dawned on me what a very special world that was— a world that very few people realize even exists. I wanted to share that world with my readers.
7. What was the most challenging aspect to write about?
One of my goals in the Monastery Murders series is to show the validity of traditional Christianity and to connect modern readers with the historic church. I especially want to do this for both Christian and mainstream readers. I find this has me constantly walking a rather narrow line. I know that there are things in my stories that are likely to offend one set of readers or another, but ultimately I have to be faithful to the story God has given me to tell. When it comes down to making a decision I always ask myself, ‘What would my characters do?’
8. You are given the opportunity to meet any of your characters. Who would it be?I think Felicity is delightful, even though she can be maddening— just ask Antony. After I wrote A Very Private Grave, the first book in this series, I said I thought it was going to be great fun to ‘grow Felicity up.’ If I could meet her in person I could find out how we’re coming along and what we still need to work on.
9. What is your favourite holiday destination?My husband and I travel a lot: for business, for research, for family. The idea of going someplace for pure holiday is almost scary. Years ago I read the novels of Essie Summers. They gave me a great desire to see New Zealand. Perhaps if I set a book there I’d have the excuse of a research trip.
10. Is there a desired language you want to learn?
French is such a beautiful language. I studied it for several years, but never approached anything like fluency. I am very grateful, though, that my mother tongue is English. We have an amazingly rich language drawn from so many other tongues that it is a constant delight to work with. I feel like an artist with an enormous palette.
11. Besides writing, what other hobbies do you have?
Reading, of course. I also grow David Austin English roses and love to drink tea with family and friends. My greatest delight, though, is playing with my grandchildren.
12. Before you wanted to start writing, and thought of becoming an author, what did you originally want to be?
A reader. There’s never been anything I enjoyed more than reading. That love led me first to become an English teacher. The irony, of course, is that becoming a writer meant that I had very little time for all the reading I wanted to do.
13. Do you have any prayer points you wish your readers to pray about?
My passion is to see spiritual renewal in our world. I pray daily that my books might make a small contribution to that revival.