October 20, 2010

Made It Moment: Donna Fletcher Crow

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 7:01 am

A Very Private Grave

I am so happy to welcome Donna home for her first stop after a trip to the mysterious Calgary (at least so that faraway land seems to me). Perhaps I am influenced by Donna’s haunting, evocative work, which brings to my mind fog-shrouded abbeys and secrets that shouldn’t be told. Fans of history and mystery should take a look–and everyone who wonders if they will ever make it will appreciate Donna’s take below.

Donna Fletcher Crow

Jenny, I am so honored to be included it on your “Made it” blog— even if I haven’t made it yet. I whole-heartedly agree with your guest some time back who made the point that we never really do make it. Every achievement is to be celebrated, but there are always the far pavilions to be reached.

When I won my first award— clear back in 1983– (I had to look at the plaque on my wall to be sure) My father hugged me and said, “Well, now you’ve made it. You can stop working so hard.” I explained, “Oh, no, Daddy. That means I have to work all the harder to live up to it.”

My dear, departed daddy was a wonderful role model of celebrating every victory. When he was far gone with Alzheimer’s he remained sweet and cheerful. “Are you having a good day, Daddy?” I would ask.

“Every day we get is a good day,” his unfailing reply.

And so getting my website up was a “Made it” moment for me because after 20 years of a reasonably successful writing career I spent 10 years in the wilderness. Still writing, but not publishing. Then came the contract for A Very Private Grave (in the middle of the financial crash when publishers were pulling back)— certainly a “Made it” moment. And like starting a whole new career as well. Ten years ago there were no websites, no blogs, no Facebook, no Twitter. . .

But as I said, every new plateau is just that— only a plateau. There’s always the next cliff to be scaled. For me, the cliffhanger was getting, not just a contract for A Very Private Grave but for the whole Monastery Murders series. Or if not quite the whole series, at least for the next book.

My excellent and very conservative English publishers Monarch Books kindly agreed to put the first chapter of A Darkly Hidden Truth, #2 The Monastery Murders, in the back of Private Grave, but it was clearly understood that there would be no contract until the sales figures were in on that first book.

And not just figures from the UK release which occurred last June, but figures from the American release— which wouldn’t occur until September. Surely the longest four months on record. I don’t even know how long I’ve been holding my breath, but I can tell you I have no fingernails left.

Today, O frabjous day! My lovely, understated editor sent me a five line note stating that they are ready to proceed with book #2.

After I quit shouting (a neighbors swears that’s why her baby wouldn’t go down for his nap) I had tea and chocolate cake with my husband, then sat down and wrote this blog.

Thank you for celebrating with me, Jenny.

Readers may watch the trailer for A Very Private Grave, see pictures from my research trips for both books, buy books and take a tour of my garden, among other delights, at www.DonnaFletcherCrow.com

Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 35 books, mostly novels of British history. The award-winning epic GLASTONBURY, is her best-known work, an Arthurian grail search covering 15 centuries of English history. A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE, book 1 in the Monastery Murders series is her reentry into publishing after a 10 year hiatus. THE SHADOW OF REALITY, Book 1 The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries, is a romantic intrigue available on Ebook.

Donna and her husband have 4 adult children and 10 grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic gardener and tea-drinker. To see the book video, or to order A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE, or to see pictures from Donna’s research trips, go to www.DonnaFletcherCrow.com


  1. Good morning, Jenny, Thank you so much for hosting me. Seems like we’ve been internet friends for ages and this is one step nearer to actually meeting. I’ll have to say re-reading the above gave me the sensation of my life flashing before my eyes. I just hope it might help some of your other readers hang on a bit longer. The true secret is simply to keep going.

    Comment by Donna Fletcher Crow — October 20, 2010 @ 9:57 am

  2. History + mystery = fantastic! I love hearing your experience, Donna. Congrats on all your success. And thanks for the encouraging words that plateaus don’t last, and you can always be scaling to new heights, even after a long wait. Here’s hoping!! *hugs*

    Comment by Savvy — October 20, 2010 @ 10:05 am

  3. Donna, one day I have every belief we will meet, even if I have to travel 1000s of miles (with my book, of course) to come say hello and meet your amazing family. I wish I could tell your father how he figured in this Moment!

    Savvy, I know this plateau we’re on seems endless, but if we squint…there in the distance Donna is telling us about…look, isn’t that a ray of sun? And a peak?

    Comment by jenny — October 20, 2010 @ 10:08 am

  4. A wonderful made it moment to be sure!!

    Comment by Judy — October 20, 2010 @ 3:28 pm

  5. Thank you all. Jenny and Savvy, the further I go the more I’m convinced it’s all about keeping on. A friend with 2 young children whose husband is preparing to go to Afghanistan read the article and wrote to say that she’s very much in the “hanging on” mode at the moment, too. All part of life.

    Jenny, you’ll be *most* welcome in Boise anytime. We have a guest room.

    Comment by Donna Fletcher Crow — October 20, 2010 @ 5:49 pm

  6. Thank you, Donna, how very nice of you! Even dinner and a trip to see your local bookstore (I am a collector of bookstores) would be wonderful one of these days.

    My best to your friend. Hard times on her own with two little ones. Will be keeping her husband in my nightly round up of thoughts–may his journey be safe and swift.

    Comment by jenny — October 20, 2010 @ 7:03 pm

  7. Dear Jenny, thank you for remembering Robyn and Keith Millar and their little ones Patrick and kendra.

    I was just thinking about your very kind comment above–what fun to be thought of as sunshine reflecting on a mountain peak–(a not too distant peak)and realized that’s a perfect example of what I was talking about because my peak is an anthill next to Louise Penny or P. D. James. And how wonderful that we can all have such gracious role models.

    Comment by Donna Fletcher Crow — October 20, 2010 @ 7:56 pm

  8. Not *too* distant would be so nice, Donna. You (and Ms. Penny) are souls of graciousness, and role models in the mystery world indeed. Thanks again for being here, and I hope some new readers have found their way to you!

    Comment by jenny — October 20, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

  9. Donna, that’s brilliant news about the next book! I’m so pleased for you and relieved as well. You really deserve it and I’m delighted to congratulate you.

    Comment by dolores gordon-smith — October 21, 2010 @ 4:21 am

  10. Welcome, Dolores! Glad to meet another fan of Donna’s work!

    Comment by jenny — October 21, 2010 @ 7:19 am

  11. Donna, I am so happy that you got the contract for the second book. Good for you. And you are so right that we never can let up in our efforts to write the best books possible, then do all we can to market and promote them.

    Comment by Maryann Miller — October 21, 2010 @ 10:01 am

  12. Donna’s journey is inspirational – one should never give up. I think it takes some living to create sympathetic characters so never be afraid to try something new. I took up dance (Martha Graham, ballet, ethnic; the hard stuff!) at the age of 60 and you should see the hunks I’ve been priviledged to dance with! Believe me, I keep a photo book…. Marilyn aka: M. E. Kemp, the Dancing author of DEATH OF A DANCING MASTER. (out Nov. 20th.)

    Comment by M. E. Kemp — October 22, 2010 @ 12:12 pm

  13. Thanks for stopping by, Maryann! Marilyn, I would like to see some of those photos myself!

    Comment by jenny — October 23, 2010 @ 12:39 pm

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