A Tincture of Murder by Donna Fletcher Crow

Welcome to Author Donna Fletcher Crow

Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 40 books, mostly novels dealing with British history.  The award-winning GlastonburyA Novel of the Holy Grail, an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work.  She is also the author of 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. Donna and her husband live in Boise, Idaho.  They have 4 adult children and 11 grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic gardener.
Donna invites you to visit her website to see her book trailers, read about all of her books, see photos from her research trips and visit her garden.

Website: www.DonnaFletcherCrow.com


What inspired you to want to become a writer?
What I really wanted was to read. I think most writers start from that position, then when they become writers they find they have too little time to read. One of life’s little ironies.
I was reading Georgette Heyer’s Venetia when a secondary character got hold of my imagination. I had to tell the rest of his story. It was like being pregnant— that story had to come out. I would wake in the middle of the night and write; pull over while driving to make notes; write on my shopping list in the grocery store. That book became Brandley’s Search, part of my Cambridge Chronicles series. Unfortunately, none of my other books have come to me like that, but it got me started.
If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
Ah, surely every writer’s dream is to have their favorite authors to dinner, then just sit back and let them talk! First would have to be Jane Austen because she has been my lifelong literary love and I know her acerbic, witty observations would keep us all laughing. Then G. K. Chestertonbecause if anybody could keep up with Jane’s wit he could and Dorothy L. Sayers could hold her own in that exalted company. George Herbertcould read some of his exquisite poetry to us, or better yet, sing to his own lute accompaniment. Then that leaves me having to choose between Charlotte Bronte and Barbara Pym who would both fit perfectly in that company. Maybe I could cheat and invite 6?

If you were stuck in bed, what author would you want to read?
I would love to read all of Dorothy L Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries straight through in order. By keeping the titles on my wish list for several years I’ve acquired all the books. Now all I need is the time to settle into that delightful fictional world and live with those people. I am afraid the only way I could manage that, though, would be if I were stuck in bed, and I’m afraid even spending a month with Lord Peter Wimsey wouldn’t be worth that.

What is your favorite Quote?
One of my heroes is the 18th century English writer and preacher John Wesley.  He said, “We do not have to think alike in order to love alike.” Our world would be so much more peaceful if people could realize this.

Who or what inspired your last book?
My publisher asked me to write another book in my Lord Danvers True-Crime series to follow the first three: A Most Inconvenient Death, Grave Matters and To Dust You Shall Return.    I was delighted to comply because I love working with the Victorians. I admire their energy, their devotion to family and their upright moral code (even if it was often breached by many, at least they acknowledged the importance of doing right).
Since these books all have an historical crime with a fictional one woven around it I found my A Tincture of Murder story when my research turned up the case of the poisoner William Dove in mid-Victorian York— one of my all-time favorite cities. And then I got a bonus when I found another true crime that is truly more bizarre than anything Charles Dickens wrote.
And my third (or is this the fourth?) inspiration was the opportunity to tell the story of the work of the Victorian slum priests who defied the strictures of society to build beautiful churches in the midst of the worst slums in order to bring beauty and a concept of heaven into poor people’s lives. And then, (gasp!) they dared to start asylums to care for fallen women and starving orphans. One of the major reasons I write history is because I believe the work of people like this shouldn’t be forgotten.

What is your favorite  character in your book and why?
I love the Dowager Duchess of Aethelbert— Lord Danvers’ Aunt Aelfrida. She is always so absolutely sure she is right about everything (even when she’s wrong), she won’t put up with anything she considers nonsense, she rules all around her by terrorizing everyone and yet her family secretly adores her.  She is the handiest character a writer could possibly have because when I want to move the plot ahead all I have to do is have Aunt Aelfrida march in and pronounce on a subject. A perfect deus ex machina.

What is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process?
I like to say signing autographs and endorsing royalty checks, but honestly, I love the “magic” that happens on a good day of writing when the story takes shape and the characters talk in my head and I wonder, “Where did that come from?” The days when that doesn’t happen aren’t quite so great, but I still wouldn’t trade for any other job.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

Research. I’ve never had actual writer’s block, but I’ve come to lots of dead ends. I used to pick up the phone and call a librarian. Now I usually turn to Google for a quick pick-me-up on the time or place I’m writing about.
As to plot, running out of steam usually means I don’t have enough conflict. Since I write mysteries tossing in another dead body can do wonders for a plot.

How do you juggle writing & family life?
I always remind myself that God made me a wife and mother before He made me a writer. When we had children at home I only wrote when they were in school. Summers and school vacations were my time off, too. Now that they are all out of the nest and scattered from Los Angeles to Boston, from Calgary to Kentucky, the daily schedule is easier, but it means taking big chunks of time off to visit our grandchildren— 11 of them!
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Read, read, read. You may not write as well as you read, but you’ll never write better. You put an automatic limit on the quality of your writing by the quality of your reading. So read the best. Then write from your passion.

What is your latest book A Tincture of Murder about?

The fire that devastates Lord Danver’s ancestral home forces him to forces him to reconsider his younger brother’s appeal for help— no matter how absurd it might be for an Earl’s son to take Holy Orders and insist on actually living in his parish. Freddie is in trouble and family honor is at stake.
Worse yet, the young cleric has opened an Asylum for Poor, Degraded Females in one of the worst slums of York. Antonia is quickly drawn into helping feed the starving women and looking after the destitute children who come to The Magdalen House for refuge. But what of the women who have died there under strange circumstances? Can the asylum survive when news of these deaths spreads?
Along with the entire city of York Charles and Antonia are swept into the riveting disclosures of the trial of William Dove where legal principles that still affect trials a century and a half later are debated.  Questions that must inevitably lead to solving the deaths plaguing The Magdalen House— are these natural causes or is an insane poisoner at large in York? Perhaps even among Charles and Antonia’s own acquaintances?

Giveaway Details
3 winners will each recieve an ebook fo A Tincture of Murder
Ends 1/8/12

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