Crow writes 3 mystery series: The Monastery Murders, contemporary clerical mysteries with clues hidden deep in the past; Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime stories within a fictional setting; and The Elizabeth and Richard literary suspense series, featuring various literary figures. Where There is Love is a 6-book biographical novel series of leaders of the early Evangelical Anglican movement. The Daughters of Courage is a semi-autobiographical trilogy family saga of Idaho pioneers.
Reviewers routinely praise the quality of her writing and the depth of her research. Crow says she tries never to write about a place she hasn’t visited and one of her goals in writing is to give her readers a you-are-there experience.
Donna and her husband of 60 years live in Boise, Idaho. They have 4 children and 15 grandchildren, and she is an avid gardener.
Why did you write your book, Going There: Tales from the Riviera and Beyond?
One of my goals as a writer is always to take my readers with me to places I love. That is usually locations I have visited on research trips for my novels. My trip to the Riviera and beyond was planned to be a purely family time, but it gradually dawned on me what a truly extraordinary experience I was having—a beautiful get-away to places I had always wanted to visit—in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. The summer of 2021 offered a tiny window of openness to world travel between two Covid spikes. And we managed to slip through before restrictions returned.
What's one of your favorite stories from the book?
I enjoyed telling all of them because each story has my characters in places we visited and that gave me a chance to relive my time there again. Because I usually write very realistic history and mystery novels, however, I especially enjoyed writing the two fantasy stories “The Ghost Boy” and “Worlds Converge” because it was a somewhat new genre for me.
Can you tell us the circumstances leading up to the writing of your book?
My granddaughter Jane was attending ballet school in Basel, Switzerland, with a summer program in Monaco. There was a two-week gap between sessions and her mother and I were convinced she needed a chaperone. My daughter-in-law Kelly is a food writer, so she planned our itinerary to match our mutual interests. I didn’t at all have any idea of writing about the experience until I found that at each place, I was meeting my characters who were having their own adventures. I started making notes in the journal that became the basis for my book.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
Working in the short story genre. My best-known book is the epic Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England, which is almost 800 pages long. Most of my history and mystery series run to 6 or 7 books so far. I love words. I love well-developed plots, backgrounds and characters. Short stories are more like poetry—a condensed medium. But then, I love new challenges, so I found the undertaking exciting.
What projects are you currently working on?
Thank you for saying projects because I always have several going. As a devout Janite, I am currently writing a series of articles for the “Jane Austen’s Regency World” magazine on “The Landscape of Pride and Prejudice.”
My next long-term venture will be book 7 in my Monastery Murders series: A Wind in the Hebrides. I did the research for this story in 2001 and am so delighted to be getting to the writing—finally.
What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?
Write from your Passion. If you don’t love it, your readers won’t.
Read, read, read—especially the classics. You may never write as well as you read, but you will not write better. I discovered that after writing my first romance 40 years ago, then rereading Jane Eyre, and wondering, “Why do we try?” But, as you can see, I kept on.
In the summer of 2021 my daughter-in-law and I slipped through a brief window of sanity in a world driven mad by the Covid pandemic. Our purpose was to see my granddaughter Jane to a summer program in Monaco, then back to her ballet school in Switzerland. In spite of restrictions, protests, and nail-biting worries, the result was a marvelous experience.
I invited characters from my mystery series to join me in my imagination and have their own adventures in each setting. Their encounters are: Nice: “The Crime of Passion”; St Tropez: “The Mother Decrees”; Villefrance-sur-de-mer: “The Ghost Boy”; Monaco: “Fracas in Monaco”; The Loire Valley: “The Old Winemaker”; Saint Gallen: “Whispers of Legend”.
The final coda is “Home Another Way” As 2 years later I return from quite a different trip aboard the Queen Mary 2 and my characters join in the celebrations as worlds coincide.
More information on the book GOING THERE: TALES FROM THE RIVIERA AND BEYOND can be found at https://www.amazon.com/Going-There-Tales-Riviera-Beyond-ebook/dp/B0CPHBRVJH?ref_=ast_author_mpb.