Archive for March 2012
I am honored today with a guest appearance by my friend and fabulous writer, Donna Fletcher Crow. I appreciate Donna’s sweet spirit as well as her amazing, prolific output–over 35 books authored so far. She’s my real-life heroine! And the heroine of my ACFW writers group, Idahope Writers, which recently honored her with our “Writer of the Year Award.” Yay, Donna! Here’s her story of “Living the Story.”
“Show, don’t Tell,” writers are always advised. And sound advice that is, too. But before I can show a story, I find that I must live it first. Excepting the murder bits, you understand.
That’s what’s behind my current Monastery Murders series. After publishing thirty-some novels, mostly dealing with British Christian history, I thought I’d change tack and write a nonfiction book. Still telling stories, you understand, but in a more direct genre.
So I set out on pilgrimage to experience my stories first hand. And experience them, I did.
In the fall of 2001 I took one of the first planes to leave Boise after 9/11 to visit 17 ancient holy sites in England and Scotland. And, yes, it was the incredible experience it sounds. (If you’re interested, my journal is here: http://www.donnafletchercrow.com/sacredPlacesJournal.php)
And, of course, I thought the ensuing book The Holy Longing for Sacred Places was equally awesome. As did my loyal and energetic agent. But, alas, no editor could be convinced of its brilliance.
But I still wanted to tell those stories. And so The Monastery Murders series was born. If I couldn’t tell about my experiences visiting those mystical places, I could tell about Antony and Felicity scrambling over broken ancient arches and slogging through bogs that defeated Cromwell’s destructors. All I really had to do was add a murdered body to the landscape here and there.
Well, of course that’s a simplified version. Madeline L’Engle says that when our stories change over time it isn’t because we’re trying to falsify, but because we’re trying to get closer to the truth— to the real meaning behind the action. And so I’ve found it as I’ve struggled to distill my own experiences through my fictional stories.
A Very Private Grave, Monastery Murders 1, tells the story of St. Cuthbert whose venues I visited on the Holy Isle of Lindisfarne, in an echoing cave off the coast of Scotland, in Chester-le-Street and in Durham. And along the way we visit St. Hilda in Whitby, St. Ninian in Whithorn and The Venerable Bede in his monastery in Jarrow. Not a bad return on my pilgrimage investment and a great romp for Felicity and Antony who accomplish it all while chasing and being chased by murderers.
A Darkly Hidden Truth, The Monastery Murders 2, focuses more sharply on a particularly wet corner of England known as the Norfolk Broads and the work of two amazing medieval holy women who both accomplished firsts in the world of literature: Julian of Norwich the first woman to write a book in English and Margery Kempe who wrote the first autobiography in English— although she was illiterate. A little curtailing of the action seemed appropriate because, after all, Felicity has decided to become a nun.
But then a dear friend turns up murdered— literally under her feet. And the action takes her to London to explore the nefarious doings of the Knights of Malta and. . . Well, I’ll leave the rest of it for you to read in the book.
To view trailers for A Very Private Grave and A Darkly Hidden Truth, see pictures from my research trips and visit my rose garden, as well as to order my books, go to: http://www.DonnaFletcherCrow.com.
The 1st 100 words of “Winds of Wyoming” were entered in a Flash Clash contest this week against a worthy opponent and won, PTL! The best part about winning is that 25 book bloggers will feature “Winds” on their sites next week. What a wonderful promo opportunity! Many thanks to April and Michelle at Clash of the Titles.
Though yesterday’s calendar indicated it was the first day of spring, our neck of the woods (or desert, depending which side of the mountain you’re on) was hit by a cold wind and snow. But today is much nicer. We have a hint of sunshine; plus, crocuses and daffodils have begun to color our neighborhood.
Spring not only brings relief from long, drab winter months, but it’s also a time of renewal and re-creation, which reminds me of the original creation. In the beginning, God made the heavens and the earth. And the flowers, trees and grass, and so much more.
The creation audio/visual that C.S. Lewis provides in The Magician’s Nephew is one I’ve remembered since I first read the book years ago. “In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing.” Later: “The Lion was pacing to and fro about that empty land and singing his new song … a gentle, rippling music. …As he walked and sang, the valley grew green with grass. It spread out from the Lion like a pool [and] ran up the sides of the little hills like a wave.”
There’s so much more to Lewis’s version of creation, from the making of stars to formation of the earth and filling it with good things. If you need inspiration for describing a setting or just want to get into the mood for spring, pick up a copy of Book 6 in the Chronicles of Narnia, “The Magician’s Nephew.”
The night God told Donna Roth he was sending her to jail to share his love with incarcerated individuals, she said, “Lord, you have the wrong house!” She had no experience or interest in prison ministry; yet, she was obedient, and Freedom Fellowship was formed. “On a Wing and a Prayer” features stories of inmates who found freedom inside prison walls through the ministry of Freedom Fellowship.
http://www.amazon.com/Its-God-Thing-Life-Changing-ebook/dp/B005JUPT4S/ref=sr_1_3_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1331314846&sr=1-3Both the paperback and eBook versions are on sale today: