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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

My Life in Crime

By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 10, 2010

I am so delighted that today our guest is Veronica Heley, an author much read and loved on both sides of the Atlantic.  Veronica has three mystery series which she will tell us all about.  Do leave her a comment or ask a question and be on the look-out for her books.

I started in crime many years ago - more than thirty to be precise - and have had over sixty books published since then. Though most of these were for children in the Christian market, I also did some historicals and some resource books for various publishers . . . until eventually I ended up in crime again.

It was an editor at HarperCollins who asked me to write a series of crime novels to take the Christian world view into the mainstream marketplace. It took me a long time to think up an interesting and sympathetic heroine. Ellie Quicke is a new widow in her fifties, who has always been put down by her hectoring husband and appalling daughter, but who gradually learns to stand up for herself and trust her instincts.

Ellie immediately grabbed readers' attention because she is so comfortably real, and her family's problems are echoed by women all over the world. She has currently reached her eleventh story and is now to be found in libraries as far afield as New Zealand, Australia, Tasmania and all over the United States; as well as, of course, in Great Britain.

Ellie is for people who may not go to church, but who want to read about people like themselves who struggle to lead a Christian life in the complex world of today. Realistic women in difficult circumstances.

When the division of HarperCollins which started off Ellie Quicke was sold to Zondervan, the latter asked me to write them some stories which would be quintessentially English. So I thought up Minty Cardale and Eden Hall. I have a soft spot for this series and love my witty, ugly-attractive hero dearly, but though the stories had some success at the time, they were perhaps too long, had too much social content and too many characters to be best-sellers in the American market. The editing process pointed this up; writing for Zondervan was different from writing for the mainstream. I learned a lot from that.

Meanwhile Ellie Quicke had moved to a new publisher, Severn House. I continue with them to this day, as they give me first hardback, then paperback, and finally large print editions of each title. After some years they asked if I could keep doing Ellie Quicke books, but also produce another series for them . . . and so Bea Abbot and her domestic agency was born. Bea is another widow but, unlike Ellie, she's an efficient businesswoman and fashion conscious. Her domestic agency does not 'do' murder, but every now and then she finds herself doing just that. Some people tell me they prefer Bea to Ellie, but on the whole my readers seem to prefer Ellie - perhaps because she is such a faulty, likeable human being?

I wonder how much longer I am going to be able to keep up with the advances of technology. This autumn Severn House are going to start making my Ellie and Bea stories ready for downloading onto e-books. I try to look into the future and wonder where this is leading me. God knows best and I trust in Him to put my stories into the hands of those who will enjoy them.

                                                                                                                                                             

Every now and then I am asked to produce a short story for The Methodist Recorder in thiscountry. I started off doing some stand-alones in which Ellie Quicke solves murders, but now I'm writing tales about three retired businessmen and their family problems; problems which are common to people of this age and generation. The next one is due out for Harvest in September.

If you'd like further news of what's happening to me and my books, you can sign on for my monthly newsletter through the button on the home page of my website.

And now, back to work on the next Ellie Quicke, in which she discovers that a neighbour has gone missing . . . and her daughter does something so shocking that . . . no, you'll have to wait and read all about it when Murder My Neighbour comes out.

Veronica Heley

www.veronicaheley.com

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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