How could you not be enthralled by meticulously researched, entertaining novels of romance, history and mystery in an engaging you-are-there style that lets you live the history? Writing in several genres, her titles include:
- Glastonbury: The Novel of Christian England – her best-known work
- The Daughters of Courage family saga trilogy: Katherine, Days of Struggle and Triumph; Elizabeth, Days of Loss and Hope; and Stephanie, Days of Turmoil and Victory
- A series, The Monastery Murders, which includes: A Very Private Grave; A Darkly Hidden Truth; An Unholy Communion; A Newly Crimsoned Reliquary; An All-Consuming Fire; and Against All Fierce Hostility
- Another series, Lord Danvers Investigates: A Most Inconvenient Death; Grave Matters; To Dust You Shall Return; A Tincture of Murder; and A Lethal Spectre
- And the Elizabeth and Richard Literary Suspense series: The Flame Ignites; The Shadow of Reality; A Midsummer Eve’s Nightmare; A Jane Austen Encounter; and A Most Singular Venture
- The Where There is Love series: Where Love Begins; Where Love Illumines; Where Love Triumphs; Where Love Restores; Where Love Shines; and Where Love Calls
Short Story Collection
- A Lighted Lamp
The word “prolific” comes to mind!
Do you have a writing routine? Where and when do you write?
I write in my office, upstairs in our home, Monday-Friday, from mid-morning till 3:00. Then we stop for afternoon tea. After that I like to read or garden.
Do you have any patterns or rituals associated with your writing time?
I begin every day with Morning Prayer, then do yoga exercises while my computer is booting. I go first to my email and answer anything urgent. After that I focus on whatever stage my work-in-progress demands at the moment: research, rough drafting, re-writing, editing, promoting. It’s a never-ending cycle.
What do you do when you hit a wall with your writing?
I go back to my research. For me, blocks are almost always a lack of knowledge about my subject. Occasionally I need to go back and re-read what I’ve already written. If I’ve lost the plot, something in my earlier writing will tell me where to go next.
The eternal question: Are you a “pantser”, a “plotter”, or something else entirely?
Because one of my main goals as a writer is to give my readers a “you-are-there” experience it’s very important to me to visit every place I plan to write about before starting a new book. Therefore, I have to have the broad outlines of my plot settled on so I’ll know how to plan my trip.
I’ve learned that it’s important also to be a “pantser” when I’m traveling because the locations will suggest plot elements.
What’s the last book you read that made you go “wow!”?
I’m currently re-reading Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility—for the tenth time, maybe? Her writing always makes me go “wow!”
What book or author do you often find yourself recommending and why?
My general advice is always, “Read the classics.” As you might guess from my above answer, starting with Jane Austen. Then read whatever is best in your favorite genre. In the mystery genre I recommend P.D. James and Dorothy L Sayers, or any of the Golden Age writers.
What’s on your To Be Read pile?
I like to have both a print book and an ebook going, the ebook for reading in bed so I don’t have to have another light on. My next print book reads will be: Murder in Advent by David Williams, a Golden Age mystery writer, and Jane Austen’s England by Karin Quint. Recent Kindle downloads include: Jane Austen by Claire Tomalin, Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie, The White Cottage Mystery by Margery Allingham.
What advice do you have for readers?
Aside from the “Read the classics” advice which I offer for readers and writers alike, I would also offer readers the same advice I give writers: “Follow your passion.” Read what really grips you, what expands your mind and your universe. When you find a writer you love, try to read everything they have written.
What author, past or present, would you wish to have a long conversation with?
I do hate to sound like a stuck record, but—Jane Austen.
What’s the first book you can remember reading on your own?
I was an only child living on a farm, so books were my constant companions. I remember the experience of reading more than the actual titles. I loved the Bobbsey Twins, Bambi, Hans Brinker, Heidi, Girl of the Limberlost—the children’s classics—whether I read them myself or my mother read them to me.
What books and/or authors have most influenced you as an author?
Ah, here we go again—Jane Austen. Also Elswyth Thane, Dick Francis, Charlotte Bronte, and P.D. James.
What do you most enjoy about being a writer?
Research is my favorite part of the process—the excitement of discovery. Also the perks like speaking to writers’ groups and making new friends.
What do you least enjoy about being a writer?
I am one of those writers who enjoys re-writing and editing better than rough drafting—which I find very hard.
What would you tell a new writer?
Read, read, read. The classics and the very best in your genre. Most of all, enjoy the process—it’s a great journey. And stay open to new experiences.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
From the past: Locals with a long memory will remember me as Queen of the Snake River Stampede and Miss Rodeo Idaho.
For the future: I have surprised myself by launching a new venture—a video series in the persona of Jane Austen titled “Jane Austen from Paradise to…” My first video, about Portsmouth, can be seen here.
Thanks to author Donna Fletcher Crow for participating in our Idaho Author Interview series. If you’re interested, or would like to recommend someone, please contact the IWU website editor.