Friday, November 14, 2008

Guest Post from Mary Burton

I am delighted to share a guest post from Mary Burton , author of the thrilling book Dead Ringer. If you missed my review on it, click here to check it out.

About The Author

Mary Burton confesses to a baking addiction and a fascination with the people who hunt serial killers. The former is genetic. The latter began during the twenty years that the Southside Strangler, D.C. Sniper and the Hampton Roads killers stalked her home state of Virginia. These killers terrorized residents and claimed twenty-six victims before their capture.

Why did they kill? What demons drove them? How did they choose their victims? Burton’s questions led to inspiration and the USA Today best selling author began developing the characters whose horrific assaults would drive the plots of her romantic suspense novels I’M WATCHING YOU and DEAD RINGER.

A Virginia native whose family’s Richmond roots run as deep as the nation’s, Burton graduated from Virginia’s Hollins University and began a career in marketing. After a decade she decided to do something about the myriad stories buzzing around her brain, which seemed to dare her to try to write them down. She took up the gauntlet, left her job and began her first novel. That very first manuscript, a historical romance, was published in 2000.

The world of serial killers seems like a far cry from that book, a western set in the Colorado of 1876, and it is. Yet Mary notes that “the dark side of life is always just beneath the surface for all of us,” including in fiction and, in that first book, the protagonist flees a rapist and escapes to a new life. “For that story the crime was merely a plot device.” Now, crime and the destruction it creates are integral to her stories. “I’m exploring the power of premeditated violence and how it changes my characters’ lives.”

Placing a romantic relationship side by side with the story of a serial murderer may seem daunting, but as Mary says “life goes on despite us and—especially in the face of horror and loss of control—it’s important to me to show the resilience of human beings, who somehow, someway eventually find hope even under drastic circumstances, who continue to believe that good can conquer evil, and who still can’t help falling in love.”

As a reader and writer of suspense novels, Burton sees a link between intense, unforgettable real-life emotions and the allure of fiction dealing with crime and relationships.“

I think it’s beyond the appeal of police procedures and forensics and the untangling of a mystery. People have long used fiction in all forms to safely face real life horrors. With fiction, they are in control. They can stop the story at any time. They can appreciate and try to understand the characters’ motives and emotions, experience the commitment of those trying to stop the killing, touch as much or as little of the fear as they want, and be comfortable knowing the atrocities aren’t real. They can even afford to have some empathy for the killer. Through it all, they’re confident that justice—so often elusive—will be served.”

After selling her first novel, Burton wrote eleven more books for Harlequin and four contemporary romantic suspense novels for Silhouette before entering the dark world of multiple murderers and their motives. Once there, she wrote her romantic suspense novels I’M WATCHING YOU and this November’s DEAD RINGER, both published by Zebra Books. Her novella Christmas Past appears in the 2008 holiday anthology SILVER BELLS along with stories by New York Times best selling authors Fern Michaels and Joann Ross, and award-winning novelist Judy Duarte. Previously her story Snow Maiden was featured in the USA Today best selling anthology A Hero’s Kiss.

You can visit her website at

Guest Post from Mary Burton

The holiday season came early for me when I received word from my editor that SILVER BELLS hit #16 on the New York Times Bestseller List during the first week of sales. Of course it helps to be teamed with the legendary Fern Michaels along with JoAnn Ross and Judy Duarte. I hope readers enjoy the telling Nicole Piper and David Ayden’s story. The couple struck a strong cord with fans of I’M WATCHING YOU and now DEAD RINGER.

Being in the holiday spirit gave me the chance to indulge my other passion—cooking. When I’m not writing I’m baking. In fact, I came up with a new recipe, which I call my SILVER BELLS Teacakes. Check out my blog for the recipe.

Holidays are also a chance for me to kick back and do some reading. A few of my favorite reads of late include: Lisa Jackson’s SHIVER, SILENT IN THE GRAVE by Deanna Raybourn and Joanne Bourne’s MY LORD AND SPYMASTER. Both Raybourn and Bourne are fellow Virginia writers.

It’s hard to be thinking of Christmas without realizing Thanksgiving is almost upon us. I’m so thankful for lots---my miniature dachshund puppies, Buddy and Bella as well the chance to write books I love so much.

I hope everyone has a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

1 comment:

Literary Feline said...

Thank you Lori and Ms. Burton! This time of year does seem to be synonymous with cooking. :-)

As a mystery lover, I definitely agree with Mary Burton about why people are drawn to crime fiction. I have long held an interest in human behavior and in wanting to understand why we make the choices we do. I know its partly what landed me in my current profession. It is much more predictable in a novel--and there is satisfaction in seeing justice served, which is not always a reality. I know that all too well unfortunately.