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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. www.donnafletchercrow.com

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. http://www.faysampson.co.uk

A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE, Conversation with a Reader

By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ July 31, 2012

I’ve just had one of those exchanges with a reader that can make a writer’s whole week— or maybe even, month. One of the glories of the internet is making conversations like this available around the world. This one is from England, which I especially prize since that’s where my Monastery Murders series is set.

With permission from the writer, I’ll quote:


SC: Just finished reading "A Very Private Grave" by Donna Fletcher Crow. I recommend this novel to anyone interested in the holy places of Northern England and the tale they tell of Celtic saints.
I loved this novel. My only slight reservation would be that I found the early part of the story a little slow-moving but once I'd got into it I found it enthralling. The way the author weaves a murder mystery, a journey through the holy places of the northern England, and a tale of soul-searching, romance and relationships is beguiling. I read the book with an atlas of Britain open before me. Many of the places the author describes so well, I have either visited, or hope to visit before long. I loved her account of the story of St Cuthbert and found it very moving. In fact the way the author weaves Cuthbert's story (and that of other Celtic saints) into the present-day narrative was one of the very best things about this book. I too feel strongly about the way the Roman power structures won out over the gentle Celtic saints at the Synod of Whitby, leading us into the Church whose often baleful history we have seen evolving over the centuries. I'm now about to start reading the second in the series "A Darkly Hidden Truth".

Donna: SC, thank you so much for the lovely review! I am delighted that you
enjoyed A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE and that you really "get" St. Cuthbert and the other Celtic saints. The thing that drives my writing is my love of stories like these and my fear that they will be lost in the hubub of modern life.
You're a star to take the time to write such a thoughtful review.

May I post it on my blog?

SC: Yes of course you may, Donna! Actually I'm going to say a rather funny thing now, which perhaps you may not want to put on your blog - but as I read your book, I never got the feeling I was reading a book by an American. I feel your style is very straightforward and completely free of any smart, jargon-y stylistic devices which I have encountered a lot in writing which is American-authored or -inspired. Your writing has an "English" feel to it (and I studied Contemporary American Literature at uni). I must say I really like your style. I hope you take this in the positive way in which it is intended!

Donna: Oh, wow, SC! That's the highest compliment possible! Thank you so much! I would love to take the credit— but a great deal of it goes to my fantastic and long-suffering editor Jan Greenough who has an eagle eye for Americanisms which inevitably will creep in. And she also knows Latin, so she keeps Felicity on her toes if her translations to astray.
 

And because this conversation occurred on a Facebook group where others could join in, we also had comments from a reader in Ireland who is very knowledgeable about Celtic saints and a lady who said she was inspired to buy the book.

What a world we live in!

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. www.donnafletchercrow.com

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Reader Comments:

That's a great compliment. When I was reading it, I used a Google image search to see the emergency shelter in the middle of the tidal causeway.

It just occurred to me that it might be fun to have a web companion to each of your books. After reading each chapter, you could visit a page where you could talk about some of the background for that chapter, and, most importantly, you could share photos of the locations from your research trips. (Of course, it should be spoiler-free, so that readers could visit after every chapter.)

I suppose the same idea could be used to have a companion ebook (probably for free) using the same material. You could also incorporate some photos into an ebook where the cost in traditional publishing would prohibit it, though I think it might be distracting if you did too much of that.
-Preston, July 31, 2012

Wow, Preston--what great ideas. At a minimum the book was supposed to have a map in the front--you'll notice that even SC--who lives there--had her atlas out to read. Readers can see pictures from my research trips on my website, but something more interactive with the plot line is an amazing idea. Hmmmm--
-Donna, July 31, 2012

I love how Englishly your monastery mysteries read too, and how the Latin fits my memories of high school and church Latin so well--very satisfying.
-Sheila Deeth, July 31, 2012

Well, thank-ee kindly, Donna. (Blushes modestly.)
-Jan, August 1, 2012

Thank you, Sheila. As a transplanted Englishwoman you get the perspective from both sides, don't you?

Hi, Jan! I love your blushes.
-Donna, August 1, 2012

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