Mary Burton is a New York Times Best-Selling author who loves writing suspense, researching forensic procedures, baking, books, and tiny dachshunds. Not necessarily in that order. Her work has been compared to that of James Patterson, Lisa Gardner, and Lisa Jackson. She is also the President of my local Sisters in Crime chapter of Central Virginia. And today I’m getting to know her a little better.
Interview With Mary Burton
When did you first discover your love of mystery?
From the moment I read Nancy Drew’s MYSTERY OF THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE, I was hooked on mystery. The idea of solving a puzzle always keeps me turning the pages. I started my career writing historical romance and would try to thread in a little mystery. The more I wrote mystery the more I loved creating a puzzle for readers to solve so it was a natural transition for me to shift my career toward mystery and suspense.
When did you decide to write your first book and what made you go for it?
When my second child came along I quit the day job and decided to try my hand at writing, a dream I had always held close. I joined a writer’s critique group and we met every Friday. This gave me my first deadlines, which I found were critically important to me. I’d put the kids down for a nap every day and then I’d get to work for 2 to 3 hours. I sold my first novel when the baby was in kindergarten.
Are there any special rituals you have or places you go that inspire your writing?
I walk a lot in the mornings because I find that it really clears my brain and gives me a chance to process what I’m going to work on that day. I’m at my desk every morning by 8:00 a.m. and I work until that daily page goal is met.
Where do your plot ideas come from? Research provides the best source of ideas. I’ve attended my local
Research provides the best source of ideas. I’ve attended my local citizens police academy, citizens FBI academy and one of my favorite places for ideas is THE WRITERS’ POLICE ACADEMY. It’s an entire weekend that brings together law enforcement professionals and writers.
Who is your favorite mystery author and why? I’m a fan of Tony Hillerman. PD James and Robert Ludlum. Our Virginia chapters of Sisters in Crime have some very talented writers including Ellery Adams, Mollie Cox
I’m a fan of Tony Hillerman. PD James and Robert Ludlum. Our Virginia chapters of Sisters in Crime have some very talented writers including Ellery Adams, Mollie Cox Bryan, and Donna Andrews.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
It takes me about five drafts to get my novel ready for the editor. When I write a rough or first draft, I don’t edit or judge myself too harshly. I simply sit down with my outline and start writing. I know if I can get the rough draft into the computer, I can go back and edit those rough pages. During the rough draft, I learned so much about the characters. I can’t write the book’s best first line until I’ve written the first draft.
What would we find in your mug first thing in the morning? Tea? Coffee? Something else?
Coffee with almond milk.
Where do you like to spend time with a good book?
I love to read at the beach. There is nothing more satisfying than sitting under an umbrella and reading a good book.
If you were given an entirely free day, no responsibility or tasks, what would you spend the day doing?
I’d be in a cooking class. I love to bake and taking a baking/pastry classes is also great fun for me.
Any guilty pleasures?
Baking chocolate cake.
Tell us about an item on your bucket list.
Drive cross-country and really see the USA
Take a pastry baking class in Paris.
Jump out of an airplane
BIO: New York Times and USA Today bestselling suspense author Mary Burton is known for creating multiple stories connected by characters and settings. Her new book, The Last Move (9-19-17), is her first “standalone” novel in eleven years.