Mary Burton has been a marketing professional, written historical romances, and romantic suspense. Her latest releases were I'M WATCHING YOU and DEAD RINGER, single title romantic suspense from Zebra. Her other current release, SILVER BELLS (an anthology with Fern Michaels, JoAnn Ross, and Judy Duarte), is currently #16 on the NYT bestseller list. Her novella features a character that first appears in I'M WATCHING YOU and DEAD RINGER.
Before you decided to write and sell your stories, you worked in marketing. How do you apply skills from your first career to your current career?
My marketing background taught me so much. I learned how to network effectively, how to hold my own in a reception full of strangers and how to handle myself at signings. The principals of selling are much the same and I think its very wise for authors to handle themselves professionally.
Of your seventeen novels, twelve were for Harlequin Historicals. How did you research the setting? Do you use a similar process for your romantic suspense?
For the historicals I read just about every diary, map and history book I could find on the American West. One year I even took my vacation in Colorado where I visited every historical site I could find. And when I switched to romantic suspense, I followed the same pattern. First it was reading all the books I could find on crime solving. Then it was a vacation to St. Louis for the Sister’s in Crime Forensic University. I also attended a local citizens police academy and did a ride along with a police officer.
How is writing a single title different than a category?
Single Title plots are more complicated—meaning I’m balancing more points of view and more subplots. Also in Single Title I can spend more time with my characters and dig deeper into their pasts.
What drew you to historical romance and romantic suspense? Are there any other genres you would like to write?
I’ve always loved reading romance so I think no matter what type of book I write, there will be some romance in it. As for the historicals, I love history. In fact, I’ve been accused of being a history geek. If there is a historical reenactment in my area, you can bet I’ll be there. And Romantic Suspense is the perfect blend of mystery and romance. I love creating great puzzle for my readers to solve. For now, I’ll be writing romantic suspense.
Romantic suspense needs scary criminals in addition to an engaging romance. What are some of the difficulties in developing and portraying a villain?
I don’t have trouble building my villain’s history. In fact I try to find something that might explain why they became the people they’ve become. The toughest part for me is writing about my villain’s deeds. I always know if I’m on the edge of my seat while I’m writing a villain’s scene, chances are my reader will be as well.
I’m Watching You and Dead Ringer share a number of characters. Which couple – Lindsay and Zach from I’m Watching You or Kendall and Jacob from Dead Ringer – was easier to write?
Kendall and Jacob. I got to know them pretty well while I was writing I’M WATCHING YOU. Much of their story didn’t end up in I’M WATCHING YOU but I knew it. And when it came time to pen their story it just fell together.
Please tell my blog readers why they might enjoy reading Dead Ringer.
It's scary, sexy and I think I’ve created a book that will keep you guessing right up to the last page!
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Come back tomorrow for my review of DEAD RINGER!