Saturday, March 02, 2013

AN UNHOLY COMMUNION - Donna Fletcher Crow - One Free Book

Welcome back, Donna. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
My passion is to see spiritual renewal in England. It is my desire that by recounting the stories of saints and Christian leaders in Britain’s past I can rekindle an appreciation for the Christian faith. I have written many novels on the history of British Christianity, such as the Arthurian epic Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England, but more recently I’ve been writing mysteries such as An Unholy Communion in my Monastery Murders series because I find that when telling the story of somewhat obscure saints having a murderer lurking in the shadows can help keep the pages turning.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Oh, my wedding day! Stan and I will have been married for 50 years next December 14. We have 4 wonderful children and our 12th grandchild is on the way. And it all started that lovely, snowy Saturday in Nampa, Idaho, with my best friends in long red velvet dresses and my heart full of joy and Stan waiting for me at the altar.

How has being published changed your life?
This question makes me laugh. It reminds me of 1983 when I was named Writer of the Year at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference. My father hugged me and said, “Now you can quit working so hard.” My reply was, “No, Daddy. Now I have to work harder to live up to it.” Every publishing success has been an invitation to work harder. And, I’ll have to add, to have more fun because I love what I’m doing. Every day I thank the Lord for the privilege of writing.

What are you reading right now?
I love the Golden Age mystery writers. Dorothy L Sayers is my favorite (my literary suspense The Shadow of Reality is a tribute to Sayers and the Golden Age). Right now I’m reading The Franchise Affair by another of my favorites Josephine Tey.

What is your current work in progress?
At the moment I’m working on book 3 in the Elizabeth and Richard literary suspense series mentioned above. A Jane Austen Encounter is a tribute to my all-time favorite author and is based on the research trip I made last summer following the Jane Austen Trail.

What would be your dream vacation?
Last winter my husband and I took a huge road trip across Canada and around the United States, visiting our children and their families in Calgary, Boston, Kentucky, and Los Angeles. Along the way we attended the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-The-Lake. We thought that would be a once-in-a-lifetime event, but now we’ve received the program for this year’s season. We want to go back! My dream scenario would be that after we drive to Calgary for the birth of our daughter’s new baby in August. We board a Canadian Pacific train in Edmonton and travel across Canada, spend a week at the Shaw Festival, then take the train back for a few more days with our family before returning to home and work.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
I find the story I want to tell— or it finds me. Once I know which historical event I want to highlight or which saint’s life I want to portray I know my setting and time period. Then it’s research, research, research.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
Well, my greatest joy is the quiet evenings my husband and I spend by the fire watching old black and white movies and eating apples. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. But— if I were offered a one-off, never-to-be-repeated evening I would spend it with Queen Elizabeth in Buckingham Palace. I would love to visit with the woman who has been a symbol of courage and faith through 61 years of turbulent history and has borne everything with such dignity and grace.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Smile. That’s pretty much it. I also grow David Austin English roses and have great fun working in my cottage style garden. I’m also an avid tea drinker and love having friends over for a party.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Oddly, the most difficult is also one of the parts I love the most— research. One of my goals as a writer is to give my readers a you-are-there sense of my settings. That means I try never to write about a place I haven’t visited. Because my books are set in Britain and I live 7000 miles away in Idaho I have to have my stories very well planned out and my on-site research time pinpointed to make the most of every trip.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Read, read, read. Read the classics and the very best of current literature. You set a limit on the quality of your writing by the quality of your reading. Then write from your passion.

Tell us about the featured book.
An Unholy Communion is book 3 in my Monastery Murders series. Felicity Howard, a young American woman is studying in a theology college run by monks in a monastery in Yorkshire (as my daughter did). In A Very Private Grave, the first of the series, Felicity falls in love with her church history lecturer Father Antony (fortunately, an Anglican priest, not a monk). From there on Antony and Felicity seem to find themselves spending a lot of time chasing and being chased by murderers, but Felicity also learns a lot about authentic faith now and in the past.

Here’s how it happens in An Unholy Communion: First light, Ascension morning. From the top of the tower at the College of Transfiguration, voices rise in song. But Felicity's delight turns to horror when a black-robed body hurtles over the precipice and lands at her feet.

Her fiancé Father Antony recognizes the corpse as Hwyl Pendry, a former student, who has been serving as Deliverance Minister in a Welsh diocese. The police ignore the strange emblem of a double-headed snake clutched in the dead man's hand, labeling the death a suicide. But Hwyl's widow is convinced otherwise, and pleads for Felicity and Antony to help her uncover the truth.
Matters grow murkier as Felicity and Antony, leading a youth pilgrimage through rural Wales, encounter the same sinister symbol as they travel. Lurking figures follow them. Then a body is found face-down in a well…

Please give us the first page of the book.
Thursday, Ascension Day
The Community of the Transfiguration, Kirkthorpe

            The thickened light engulfed her. Fighting the heaviness she opened her mouth. But no sound came out. The black figure plunged over the edge of the tower and hurtled toward the earth. Then, as the skirt of his cassock flared like a parachute the scene changed to even more horrifying slow motion. Falling, falling, falling.

            Would he never reach bottom? Felicity screamed. But still the figure fell. She screamed again.

            And woke up. “Oh, no!” she grasped her alarm clock and groaned. How could she have overslept this morning of all mornings? She had looked forward to this day so much. In Oxford it had been May Morn when she had stood below Magdalen’s Great Tower to listen to the college choir singing up the sun. And Ascension morn at the College of the Transfiguration was going to be just like that only better because she would be up on the tower with her fellow ordinands singing “God has Gone up on High” and all the wonderful Ascension hymns she only got to sing once a year.

            But now it was all wrong. And the phantom of her nightmare hanging over her like an incubus was the least of it. She had so carefully set her alarm last night. Then failed to switch it on. If her scream hadn’t wakened her ... Sunrise at 4:49 BBC Weather had said. That gave her 20 minutes.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Please visit my website at to see the trailer for An Unholy Communion, read about all of my books, see pictures of my research trips and tour my garden. My blog and contact information are there, too.
I am on Facebook at “Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History” I would be delighted to visit with you there.

Thank you for sharing your life and book with us today, Donna.

Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
Unholy Communion, An (The Monastery Murders)

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Google +, Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Anonymous said...

would love to win! angela from KY

Library Lady said...

We have Donna's books in the Church Library.
I would love to win this one to add to our collection.
Janet E.

Norma S said...

Thank you for a chance to win you book, it sounds like a great book, i love mysteries and suspense books.With Felicity and Father Antony being chased by murderers, i can't wait to read it.Your cover make you want to read it because it appears to be mysterious. Congratulation on being married almost 50years will be in Dec.14. God bless you.
Norma Stanforth from Ohio

Lyndie Blevins said...

Thanks for the opportunity to get this book.
Lyndie Blevins
Duncanville, Tx

Mary Preston said...

What a thrilling read. I would love to read AN UNHOLY COMMUNION thank you.

Mary P


Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond

Bookishqueen said...

This really looks interesting!
Rebekah TN

Jean said...

Looks like a great book!

Jean K
West Palm Beach, FL

Donna Fletcher Crow said...

Hi everybody, thank you for your great comments! We were away visiting grandchildren for a few days--what fun to come home and find this post and your comments. Can't wait to see who wins!

Julie clark said...

I would love to win a copy of An Unholy Communion.I have enjoyed your books since the 1990s.

Julie Clark
Adelaide Australia

Abigail Richmond said...

Looks Great! Please enter me!
Blanch, N.C.

Jorie said...

I enjoyed reading about Ms. Crow, her approach to write through honest research that gives a realistic edging to her stories, and even smiled when I noted that she loves one of the things that I do: classic movies!! Thank goodness, for TCM! :)

I agree with her too, that by adding the element of mystery shrouded against the backdrop of religion and saints -- is one way to make sure those of us who are 'new' to her writings, get a bit of excitement kicked up ahead of opening page one! :)

Thank you, (as always) for this lovely bookaway! :)


Veronica Sternberg said...

This sounds great! I'm in MN.