Donna Fletcher Crow is an author of historical novels including the epic Glastonbury, A Novel of Christian England, which was awarded First Place in Historical Fiction by the National Federation of Press Women. Donna lives and writes in Boise, Idaho.
PJ: How long have you been writing?
Ah, P J, how do you count? I wrote my first short story in the third grade and designed my first series of novels in the sixth grade. I’ve considered myself a professional writer for more than thirty years— and have written more than forty novels in that time.
PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?
Donna: There have been many steps along the way. Earning enough to cover the cost of typewriter ribbons, paper and postage was the first one. (I wonder how many of your readers even remember those days?) Being asked to speak at writers’ conferences was another major benchmark. And just the other day my publisher said he wasn’t too worried about the title of my next novel because it would have my name on the cover. Wow! That was really cool.
PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?
Donna: The focus to me has always been telling the story I want to share. The thing is, one can’t share an unpublished story, so publication is a means to an end.
PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?
Donna: It must have taken a couple of years after I started marketing my first novel seriously. The thing is, it wasn’t really publishable when I started out, but I kept getting rewrite suggestions from editors along with the rejections. So every time I would rewrite and send it out again. That was a very important part of the process of becoming professional.
PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?
Donna: Time is always the greatest challenge. But I think that’s part of the human condition. I write three different series: The Monastery Murders, The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series and The Elizabeth & Richard Literary Suspense series. That way I always have one book I’m promoting, one in production with a publisher and one I’m writing. And, yes, it drives me crazy, but that’s the job.
PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?
Donna: I’m always looking to the future, so the most exciting thing hasn’t happened yet. But I’m thinking this summer will come close: I’ve been invited to speak at the Queens of Crime conference at London University in June and then two weeks later at the Felixstowe Book Festival. In between I’ll research my next two books— one set in London and one in Yorkshire. And best of all, my husband is planning to go with me.
PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?
Donna: I always try to give my readers a “you are there” experience by letting them see, hear, taste, feel whatever my viewpoint character is doing. Because almost all of my books are set in England my readers get a bit of a travelogue along with, hopefully, an exciting story.
PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?
Donna: Read voraciously. Write what you love to read. Hold to the dream.
PJ: What is the most fun you’ve had promoting a book?
Donna: Perhaps the most fun I’ve had in my life was at the Jane Austen Society of North America AGM in Minneapolis last fall where I launched A JANE AUSTEN ENCOUNTER. Myhusband and I took an English Country Dancing class and the last night went to the Regency Ball. It was all my fantasies of stepping into a Jane Austen novel come true— and with my own Mr. Darcy.
PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?
Donna: Although I do all the electronic media things: Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, blog tours. . . My favorite is still meeting readers face to face. I love speaking at writers’ conferences, book festival and book stores.
PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?
Donna: We are so fortunate to have Rediscovered Books in downtown Boise. On May 17 I’ll be sharing a Mystery Writers’ Panel there with Jenny Milchman
PJ: Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:
Donna: I won’t bog you down with all 43 titles, but here are my most current:
GLASTONBURY: A Novel of the Holy Grail
The Monastery Murders: A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE, A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH, AN UNHOLY COMMUNION
The Lord Danvers Series: A MOST INCONVENIENT DEATH, GRAVE MATTERS, TO DUST YOU SHALL RETURN, A TINCTURE OF MURDER
The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries: THE SHADOW OF REALITY, A MIDSUMMER EVE’S NIGHTMARE, A JANE AUSTEN ENCOUNTER
Donna: Join Elizabeth and Richard on their idyllic second honeymoon visiting the homes of their favorite author. But be warned—evil lurks even in the genteel world of Jane Austen.
PJ: Where can we buy it?
Donna: Thank you for asking! Http://j.mp/1kjOGID