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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

Going Up the Candle: Spiritual Authenticity

By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ August 28, 2010

Welcome, Edgy Christian Fiction Blog Tourers.  Can you believe this summer has gone so fast and this is the last post in our summer beach reads tour for edgy fiction?  Wait a minute— what am i saying?

 Me? Edgy? I’ve been known to describe my Monastery Murders series as "cozy thrillers." How edgy does that sound? And yet, I somehow feel that, as far as the Christian market is concerned, many will consider the high church world of A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE to be edgy.

So first, what is Edgy Christian fiction? That’s one of the topics we’ve set ourselves to explore on this exciting, first-ever blog tour by the "Marketing, Marketing, Marketing" brigade from the Edgy Christian Fiction group.

Does it mean our books are cutting edge in their subject matter or style? Perhaps. Does it even mean some of us deal with controversial topics? I suspect many, perhaps most of us do. Although, I believe controversy is in the mind of the reader. That is, I don’t think we set out to be controversial— I know I don’t. And I suspect that my fellows, like myself, simply set out to explore the topics we have on our hearts and let the chips fall where they may. Yup, that can be edgy, all right.

Are Edgy books ones that make you think? I certainly hope so.

For me, any edginess that may apply to my stories will, I suspect, come from my desire to be authentic. Although I don’t deal specifically with church issues as some other writers working in my chosen Ecclesiastical Thriller subgenre do, the writing would not be truthful if hot topics such as ecclesiology and human sexuality didn’t play around the edges.

And simply the whole high church setting may be edgy to some readers. But for me, that is a matter of spiritual authenticity. A matter of "calling" even, if you will,. I have a passion to present the historical foundations of our faith, to draw on the rich heritage that I fear we are in such grave danger of losing to modern pandering to popular culture. And so I have withdrawn into a monastery— which, of course, is anything but a withdrawal because in that rarefied atmosphere the conflicts are magnified.

And I got there through my own spiritual life. In the year 2000 while others celebrated the turn of the millennium, I was starving to death. Oh, I took my daily multiple vitamins and had a more than adequate calorie intake, but I was shriveling inside. Spiritual starvation is harder to diagnose than physical. Especially in one who has been a believing Christian all of her life and a faithful attendee and worker in an energetic evangelical church. But that was the problem— all those hours in a pale beige sanctuary with pale beige music and pale beige preaching. Where was the beauty? Where was the holiness? Where was the mystery? Where was God?

After eight years "on the Canterbury Trail" moving from Evangelical Protestant to Anglo-Catholic I found myself more true than ever to the roots of my faith but I had experienced a paradigm shift of seismic proportions as my worship experiences moved "up the candle" and I learned to express my faith by liturgical and sacramental means.

And so my characters do the same, because for me, that is authentic.

Edgy? Maybe. You decide. But certainly a place where I love to tell my stories. A world I hope my readers will find fun and fascinating to explore as Felicity and Antony race through ancient holy sites chasing and being chased by murderers. As I promised earlier— a story to keep you from falling asleep on the beach and getting sunburned. Perhaps even enough to lead you to explore the cool, stained-glass lit interior of a church to light a candle or say a prayer in holy solitude.

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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