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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


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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.

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Escape from the Glasgow Lunatic Asylum

By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ February 14, 2011

Donna:  My guest today— who isn't herself an escapee from a lunatic asylum, you undersatnd— is Debra Marvin.  Welcome, Debra.




Debra:  Hi Donna and thank you for inviting me to guest on your blog.



Donna:  I'm so glad you're here through the miracles of our electronic age.  Debra, I'll let you explain how we met.



Debra:  I recently put out a general call for help while composing a backlist of Celtic inspired books for my group blog, Inkwell Inspirations and it led to my meeting Donna‘online’. I’ve really enjoyed chatting with you, Donna. I’ve met a number of new authors and found new reading material as well. That backlist of books will post on March 5th at:


Donna:  I'm looking forward to being on your blog as part of that list, Debra.  Now, tell us about yourself as a writer.



Debra:  Well, I try not to run too far from real life but the imagination born out of being an only child has a powerful draw. Besides, the voices in my head tend to agree with all the sensible things I have to say. I am a mother of three and a grandmother of two. So far. I like to write, weed and wander and am blessed to have the best family and friends in the world. I'm thankful each day that God is in control, that He chooses to bless us despite ourselves and that He has a sense of humor.


Donna:  How interesting.  I'm an only child, too.  And, yes, talking to the voices in my head has always been an important part of my development as a fiction writer.  Er— makes me wonder about that lunatic asylum.  I hope they've updated the rooms since 1837. Tell us about how you got involved in such a subject for your up-coming book.


Debra:  At least twelve or so years ago, I was wandering in a big box book store,  eyeing the reduced price books. Do you know how they have all those racks and tables of non-fiction? I can’t keep my hands off. I picked up a book called An Illustrated guide to Glasgow 1837.  Are you kidding me? I was ecstatic. $4.00!  I don’t suppose everyone’s heart races over such a find, unless, like me, you happen to write historical fiction and know what a gold mine it would be.


The book was written in 1989 by Scottish poet and historian, Maurice Lindsay. He chose to write it as if it was a guide for someone who had just come into the city at that time. The book is full of information and drawings. I took it home, thumbed through it and saw this caption under one illustration: The Lunatic Asylum from Bell’s Park.


The rest, as they say is… not history, but fiction. Ten or so years later, with a good number of those years not writing at all, I have completed a 110k novel I consider historical romantic suspense for the Inspirational market. Shhh. Don’t tell, but it’s a bit gothic. I’ll give it one more thorough edit and then send it off. Two agents have requested it. My goal this year is to acquire an agent and get to work on the next book, which I hope to set in Cornwall.


Donna:  That's wonderful, Debra.  And what do you like to read?


Debra:  Besides the classics and the Nancy Drews, I’ve probably read every Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, and Mary Stewart I could get my hands on. I love romantic suspense and mysteries



Donna:  Do you find that your research carries over into your everyday life?



Debra:  My research has also contributed to the décor of my writing space. With the help of the University of Glasgow Library staff, I purchased a (pdf) map of the city created in 1828, and had it enlarged and framed. I would love it even if it didn’t help my story because of its fascinating detail. Many of the buildings are named as well as the streets, and there, on the outskirts of town is my beloved Royal Lunatic Asylum.


 Donna:  Tell us about your book.


Debra:  The working title is Nightshade and it has finaled in six national contests, including the Daphne DuMaurier Award.


 1837 Glasgow Scotland.


A young clergyman’s life is transformed when God uses a bold amnesiac woman, implicated in murder, to challenge his faith.


Guilt-ridden and desperate to escape the specter of mental illness, Reverend Ewan Chandler volunteers at an insane asylum, searching for freedom in its dark halls. Championing the innocence of an incoherent woman offers his only chance for redemption. Catherine has no recollection of her past, no way to fight a circumstantial shadow of murder threatening her very life. Amidst homicides, poisonings, and remnants of the outlawed slave trade, Ewan and Catherine have no idea who to trust. Although they confess their love, each is unwilling to share the last of their dark secrets.


Caught in a whirlwind of danger and intrigue, can Ewan and his mysterious woman come to know the true depth of God's forgiveness and realize that a promise is only as good as its giver?


Donna:  That sounds super, Debra.  Thank you for being here today.  Readers can learn more about Debra online at: and her group blog at: 

Inkwell Inspirations,





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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Reader Comments:

Thanks Donna!

I can't wait to read your books...ooooh, nothing like a corpse to get the blood moving!
-Debra E Marvin, February 14, 2011

Donna, it's so great to visit your blog and find Deb here. Doesn't her book sound amazing? The Inspy market can use a little bit of gothic, don't you think? :+}
-jen_allee, February 14, 2011

Congratulations on your book, Debra. When it's all done and dusted, be sure that Ewan Wilson of Waterstones, Glasgow, gets to see it. He's a lovely man and very supportive of authors - as I know!
-Dolores, February 15, 2011

Thank you Dolores!

I will definitely keep your suggestion in mind.
-Debra E. Marvin, February 15, 2011

I loved reading your interview, Deb! Along with getting to know a bit more about you (I love the idea of enlarging the map, btw), I enjoyed visiting the site, Donna.

Can't wait to read these books!
-susannedietze, February 15, 2011

Debra, you are a very young-looking grandma! I wanted to wish you the best of luck with your book and getting an agent. Do you know Colleen Thompson's work? She writes romantic suspense, although less of the gothic variety. Yours sounds like it deals with a relatively weighty topic. I hope Donna has you guest again when you can tell us about your book coming out!
-jennymilch, February 15, 2011

Thanks Susie!

Susie did our February backlist of books- Jane Austen inspired fiction. It's a great way to find new authors and books to read, isn't it? I'm looking forward to reading Donna's books.

Thanks Jenny!
Oh, you can bet (if Donna will have me) I'll be back WHEN I'm published. See how optimistic I'm trying to be? I appreciate your comment and will look for Colleen Thompson's books.
-Debra E Marvin, February 15, 2011

Thank you all for visiting and commenting. I've loved getting to know Debra, too. Yes, Debra, a corpse is good for making the pages turn, but the odd lunatic or two will do just fine. And I do enjoy the Gothic, as you say, Jen. Have you read both THE WOMAN IN WHITE and the more modern, but very atmospheric WOMAN IN BLACK?
-Donna, February 15, 2011

Wilkie Collins? I just listened to it on Audio last year. It was interesting how he wrote it in segments by point of view. I actually watched the movie first, but enjoyed his writing much better.

-Debra E Marvin, February 15, 2011

Yes, there was a PBS series a few years ago. Very well done, but, of course, reading the original is always the best. And there's nothing like the classics.
-Donna, February 15, 2011

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