Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History, has written more than 50 books specializing in British Christianity. These books include: The Monastery Murders, clerical mysteries; Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime; The Elizabeth and Richard series, literary suspense; and Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England. She loves research and sharing you-are-there experiences with her readers.
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Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History
A traveling researcher engages people and places from Britain's past and present, drawing comparisons and contrasts between past and present for today's reader.
By Fay Sampson ~ February 10, 2016
Writing is addictive. Throughout my writing career, I have not finished writing one book before the next one has been pushing to be written. Sometimes there is a log jam of ideas. I have to prod the pile and see which is the next one to float free.
But towards the end of last year I realised that this wasn’t happening. It wasn’t writer’s block. I had several ideas for books I could write and would enjoy writing. But none of them had that imperative I’d been used to
I wondered whether December’s 50th book celebration might also be my retirement party.
I decided to take time out and catch up with my ever-mounting to-do list.
Then, after Christmas, it hit me. An idea which grabbed me so insistently that I went straight to my computer and started to write it.
It’s not a form of writing I’ve ever tried before – at least, not for publication. It suited my present stage of life because I could write it in short sections. And the partly informative nature of it meant that it didn’t take the same emotional energy that writing a novel does. I finished it in six weeks. It’s now out gleaning responses from readers.
It’s been an unusual experience. Like most professional writers, I react with raised eyebrows to those people who say, “I suppose you just wait for inspiration to strike”. The majority of us would hardly get a word written if we did. Inspiration tends to strike when we’re out walking, cleaning the bath or in bed at night. Come Monday morning, it’s a very different kettle of fish. We need the discipline to go to our desks, turn a deaf ear to all those avoidance techniques which try to beguile us, and just get down to work, inspired or not.
Some writers deliberately stop in the middle of a scene, so that they can pick up the momentum from last time. Others retype the previous page to get themselves going.
In my case, I concentrate my mind on the next scene, until I can hear the opening words sounding in my head as though they are being dictated to me. Only then do I begin to write, and once I do, the inspiration takes over. I write faster and faster, until even I have difficulty interpreting my tiny, rapid handwriting. (I prefer to write fiction in longhand for the first draft. It seems to come from deeper down, while working on the computer is more of a head-job.) But it needs that initial commitment to write.
So I am treating this present book as a blessing. A gift I didn’t earn by hard work. I wait to see whether publishers feel the same way about it. Fay's newest book The Wounded Thorn, A British mystery set in the sacred historical site of Glastonbury.
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
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