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.
Tell us about your book, Going There: Tales from the Riviera and Beyond! What inspired you to write it?
I had no idea I was going to write about the amazing trip I took to the Riviera, the Loire Valley, and Switzerland with my daughter-in-law Kelly and granddaughter Jane in the middle of Covid. Then I realized I was seeing settings that would make perfect backgrounds for stories with various characters I have written about over the years. Kelly, Jane, and I started talking about story ideas and asking each other questions about situations. Sometimes I tried out plot devices on them and Jane was quick to spot the clue that identified the villain. The whole thing just grew from there.
How did you choose the title for your book? Did it come to you right away, before you started writing it, or did it come later?
Sometimes titles do come that way--but this one certainly didn't. My working title was simply Riviera Stories--which I knew barely cut it even for a working title. My husband and I always sit down about 3:00 in the afternoon for a cup of tea and a catch-up on our day's events. I was nearly through the rough draft stage and getting really concerned because a title hadn't presented itself yet, so I asked my husband for ideas. We brainstormed for a long time, but when he suggested Going There I knew I had it. I wanted a title that left room for the ideas of mystery and romance and the difficulties of traveling during a world-wide pandemic. I felt that title did it.
Tell us about the cover design process. Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?
I knew from the beginning I wanted a cover reminiscent of the Art Deco travel posters that were done during the Golden Age of Riviera travel:
The first mock-up my artist sent me was beautiful, but I felt the blue tones were too cold:
I asked for something sunnier, and loved his response:
Who is your cover designer and how did you find him/her?
My cover designer is Ken Raney. In 2022 Greenbrier Books was bringing about the backlist of my Lord Danvers Investigates Victorian True-crime series. They hired Ken to design covers for that series. I took one look at his designs and said, "Ken Raney is a genius!" Since Greenbrier ceased publishing, I have had Ken do all my work for Verity Press.
What has been the readers’ response to your cover?
Enthusiastic. I think they respond to the feeling of a warm welcome to a place they would like to be right now.
What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?
Look at examples of their past work and choose one who designs covers that make you want to open the book. It's also important to find someone you enjoy working with--someone who will buy into your vision for your book, but still add their own creativity. Because I write in various genres set in different time periods, it's important to me to have a designer who will stay with me to get the portrayals accurate. Ken has been super in all these areas. Oh, and do look for someone who will work within your budget, too.
Anything else you’d like to say about your book?
Going There, Tales from the Riviera and Beyond is a new venture for me. Although I have always used my research trips to develop the backgrounds for my novels, this is my first travel memoir. Working in the short story genre is also something of a departure me. I have loved the experience of going to new places--both in my travel and my writing and am thrilled that it has given me the opportunity to meet new readers.
Thank you so much for letting me be your guest today. Readers who would like more information can see all my work, as well as pictures from my research albums and my garden on my website: https://www.donnafletchercrow.com/