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Interview: Donna Fletcher Crow, Author of Glastonbury: A Novel of the Holy Grail

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Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 40 books, mostly novels dealing with British history. The award-winning Glastonbury: A Novel of the Holy Grail, an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work. Ms. Fletcher Crow and her husband reside in Boise, Idaho. They have four adult children and 11 grandchildren. As well as being an amazing author, she is also an enthusiastic gardener.

Donna Fletcher Crow is also the author of several other books, including: The Monastery Murders: A Very Private Grave and A Darkly Hidden Truth, as well as the Lord Danvers series of Victorian true-crime novels and the romantic suspense series The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries.

Readers can learn more about Donna Fletcher Crow and her work by visiting the following links:

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Amazon Author Page ~ Barnes and Noble Author Page

Could you please tell us a bit about your book? The story? The characters?

Glastonbury is a grail search epic covering 1500 years of English history through Celtic, Roman, Arthurian, Anglo-Saxon, Norman, and Tudor times. History and legend intertwine as characters—historical and fictional—play their role on the stage of time. But through the ages, one question remains constant:

Where is the Holy Grail?

“When Joseph of Arimathea and his little band of pilgrims sought asylum from Roman persecution they fled to Glastonbury — and carried with them the most sacred relic in all of Christendom.

This tiny, sheltered corner of Britannia — this holy ‘Isle of Avalon’—was also a place of refuge when King Arthur and his knights fought off the invading barbarian hoard. And it became the King’s final resting place.

Centuries later, the discovery of Arthur’s bones in Glastonbury sparked a great flowering of the faith and yet more magnificent building —after a devastating fire nearly obliterated the work and worship of centuries.

But then, after the last abbot of Glastonbury was dragged to his death atop Glastonbury Tor, the Abbey’s splendid arches were left to crumble. Yet they still stand today—as beacons of hope for the future.

Two millennia of history and legend intertwine around Glastonbury’s broken arches. And though it all—through ages ancient and modern—the faithful have sought to answer the same question that Arthur asked. Where is the Holy Grail?”

How did you come up with the title and how much say did you have on the cover design?

The frontispiece of the book reads: “Glastonbury—the holiest earth in England. These are the legends, this is the history that have made it so.” The title was mine for the first edition of the book 20 years ago and has remained so through 3 editions with two publishers.

Each edition has had its own cover—all of them designed by my publishers— and I have loved them all. You can see them for yourself here at Deeds of Darkness; Deeds of Light (click here to be taken to the link).

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt that you would like to share from your book?

It’s incredibly hard to choose a favorite passage from an 820-page book, and yet I would have to say that the Arthurian section is my favorite and I still find Arthur’s speech at his crowning inspiring:

“Then Arthurius stood, with his queen beside him, his face shining in the light of a hundred candles from the shimmer of the anointing oil and from a radiance deep within. All were silent, as if holding their breath. Not a man to whom speech-making came naturally, Arthurius knew what he would say. ‘My friends, my people, I declare to you that this is Logres— the true Britain— the land of truth to which God led Joseph of Arimathea with the light of truth, the land prepared to receive His Light in the fullness of His time.

‘But the dark is rising against this light as it has countless times before and will countless times after us. And as in every age men will be called on to repel this darkness in the name of the true Light, so are we called for our age. We have been given a space of time to build in peace. So must we build well that our space can be filled with Light that will radiate beyond our own time. Long and long have I dreamed of a land of peace where the weak are protected from the strong, where the good are triumphant over the evil. With your help, I shall go forward from here to make this dream into truth.’”

What are some of your favorite ways to promote your work?

My favorite is meeting readers face-to-face at conferences and book fairs, but meeting online through Facebook, Twitter, or one of the many groups I belong to is also fun. However we meet, the personal connection is important to me.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

I like to be in my office by 9:00 where I have morning tea and prayers. I do yoga exercises while my computer is booting, then go first to my email. I hope to have my correspondence finished by 11:00 so that I can spend the next 4 hours writing, researching or editing—depending what stage my work in progress is in. At 3:00 I put the kettle on and my husband and I have Afternoon Tea. This is a long-standing ritual in our family going back to the days when we had children coming home from school. It also serves as lunch for us. After tea I go back to work for two or three hours, often spending my time on promotion. Evenings I spend relaxing with my husband.

What are some ways that you like to relax?

Our favorite thing is watching TV in front of the fireplace, eating after dinner fruit. We watch British mystery series or old black and white movies. I also love to work in my garden.

What author/s do you think are overlooked in the writing/reading world today?

Sally Wright with her excellent Ben Reese Mysteries and Dolores Gordon-Smith’s Jack Haldean series.

What author would you most like to meet and why?

Jane Austen. She was my first literary love as a teenager and hasn’t been surpassed today. Because of her leading me to my love of English literature I became an English teacher and then a writer. My next book in my “Elizabeth & Richard” romantic suspense series is A Jane Austen Encounter. My research trip for this book is to all the Jane Austen sites in Bath, Hampshire and Kent. That’s as close as one can come to meeting Jane in this life—apart from reading her wonderful books.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to share with readers?

An Unholy Communion, Book Three in my “Monastery Murders”, will be released in early 2013. In the meantime I’m finishing up A Tincture of Murder, book 4 in The Lord Danvers series. Then it will be on to A Jane Austen Encounter for the “Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries”. After that, another “Monastery Murder.” I try to keep my series rolling.

What is something about yourself that would come as a surprise to many people?

I was a terrible tomboy when growing up. I could outrun and out-yell all the boys in the neighborhood. My daughter, who is constantly exhausted trying to keep up with her two small daughters, finds this a great comfort when I tell her that my father used to call me his “Little ball of fire.” Now all I ask is a quiet corner where I can read a novel and drink a cup of tea. A rose garden is preferred in the summer, a cozy fire in the winter.

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