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Donna Fletcher Crow

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Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more.

Fay Sampson

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Fay Sampson (UK) is a writer of adult and children's fiction and non-fiction, including A MALIGNANT HOUSE, #2 in the Susie Fewings series, a British Crime Club Pick.

Notes from Veronica Heley: Delightful Glimpse Into The Life of a Beloved Writer

By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ June 13, 2012

I always look forward to receiving Veronica Heley’s newsletter. Veronica, the author of something like 72 books) is one of the most gracious ladies I know, and she’s the creator of one of my favorite fictional sleuths— Ellie Quick. I found this month’s newsletter so delightful and so informative I asked Veronica if I could share it with my readers. Besides Veronica’s charming voice coming through so clearly, it also gives a realistic and humorous glimpse into the life of a writer: 

May was a mixture of work and play. We stole away to our favourite holiday destination – Bruges – for a week, and I didn’t touch a computer for seven days. Well, I did think about this and that for the next book. It takes a long time for me to ponder this and that before I actually start writing the next story, so this was time – not exactly working – but near to it.

At the end of May I finished and tried to deliver another book – FALSE ALARM – 7th in the Bea Abbot series to Severn House. I always divide my books up into five parts in case I have a mishap/misadventure/the computer goes down on me. So I attached the five parts to an email and tried to send them off. No way! ‘Suspicious message’ cried the computer. What, me? Suspicious? I mean, apart from the fact that I write crime? I tried again. And again. Eventually I sent each part in separately. Part Four was refused again. ‘Suspicious message’. I was getting hysterical by this time. What was I doing/had done wrong? Had I attached subversive messages to my test in error? My agent suggested I renamed part 4 with some bland title. No, I was still regarded as suspicious.

All right. There is another way to deliver a book. No, not with a hard copy. But with a floppy. Now, I quite like using floppies. I have a special bit of kit which attaches itself like a limpet to my computer and let’s me make floppies quickly and easily. So eventually, and after a trip to the post office, the rest of the book was on its way. And has duly been received by my editor.

Now I have to wait for her to tell me what she thinks of it. Publication will be in November 2012. As usual, I was struggling to tie up all the loose ends in my story – for instance, exactly when did Oliver discover that the man in flat number six was not what he said he was? – right up to the last minute. This is a whodunit, for a change. Not a whydunnit or even a howdunnit. Usually my stories allow for the reader to follow the villain throughout, but in this case, maybe you’ll spot the murderer and maybe you won’t. Personally, I’m hopeless at guessing the baddie in other people’s books. It’s a lot easier in a television serial; the highest paid actor is automatically IT.

Meanwhile, Ellie marches on. The l3th Ellie Quicke was published in the third week of May – MURDER IN MIND – see below for the storyline. This was fun to do because Diana actually manages to get what she wants out of life . . . but when she does get it, there are some interesting strings attached. Somebody once suggested that I reform the girl, but I couldn’t possibly do that! It would mean the end of the series.

Now I can clear my desk – well, sort of; don’t let’s get too ambitious – and start on the next Ellie Quicke story. I have been thinking about what’s going to happen with Diana, the seemingly unrelated deaths in the neighbourhood, and the boy Mikey and what he’s getting up to. Over the years I’ve written a lot of murders and I’ve come to the conclusion that the simplest means are often the best. Especially in economic terms. I don’t ‘do’ expensive wiring or machinery, or complicated electronic timers. I don’t think I’ve ever done knives, though poison has had its attractions. Then there’s the question of cost; my next murderer will not have much money to spend on luxuries . . . well, well. More thought needed.

And here’s the latest from this incredibly prolific lady:


Ellie is asked to look into two ‘accidental’ deaths in the family of the Great White Shark – as the local big estate agent is called – because her daughter Diana intends to marry him once he’s got rid of his current wife. The surviving members of the Hooper family appear to be self-centred and unsympathetic but as their numbers diminish, Ellie begins to understand the reasons behind the way they act. Can she save the rest of them – or is it too late to act? ISBN Hardback 978 0 7278 8179 3

Also the paperback of MURDER MY NEIGHBOUR. Ellie looks into the case of a wealthy lady who tells everyone she’s moving to a retirement home – but never arrives. ISBN PAPERBACK. 978 1 84751 360 1

Recently published (November 2011) FALSE REPORT. Bea tries to clear a delightful, difficult, vertically challenged musician of a false charge of rape and murder. ISBN 9780 7278 81175

FALSE MONEY. The paperback of the 5th Bea Abbot story. A group of friends is being killed off one by one but no one will say why. ISBN 978 1 84751 3052

E-BOOKS. Find them at

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Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more.

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Reader Comments:

Welcome, Veronica! You always leave me breathless. I can't read as fast as you write. Can't wait to read MURDER IN MIND and see Diana get a bit of a comeuppance.
-donna, June 13, 2012

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