By Anne Tibbets
Mary Burton is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist and has been intrigued by investigative work and the people who do it since Virginia, her home state, was stung by a string of serial killings that spanned more than twenty-years. With over twenty five published novels, plus multiple novellas under her belt, her deft story-telling abilities are apparent from the first paragraph of her latest novel, I’LL NEVER LET YOU GO, which is the third instalment of her Morgans of Nashville series.
“I knew from the start that I had four novels in this series,” Burton says, “and I wanted to create a set of characters that readers could get to know over time. In Cover Your Eyes, I introduced the Morgan family, three brothers and a sister who were raised by a dedicated homicide cop. All the Morgan siblings joined law enforcement in one form or another.”
In I’LL NEVER LET YOU GO, the story centers on the middle son, Alex Morgan, a quiet, introverted, and serious investigator with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. But don’t let the tough guy exterior fool you.
“You would quickly learn that Alex Morgan shows his love and concern through acts of service,” Burton says. “He might not bring the woman he loves flowers but he’ll take a bullet for her. Alex is quiet, methodical and he is intensely loyal to his family and his job with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Pay attention to what Alex does, not what he says.”
A frequenter at forensic science conferences and workshops, Burton makes it a habit to stay abreast of scientific advancements in the field of crime investigation in order to keep her novels cutting edge.
“My go-to research source has been The Writers’ Police Academy,” Burton says. “This is not only a great blog but also is an annual conference that brings together experts in law enforcement who spend an entire weekend showing writers what they do and answering lots of our questions. I’ve taken shallow grave seminars, attended K-9 demonstrations, and stood side by side with an arson investigator as he explained the nature of fire in a controlled burn. I couldn’t dream up half the stuff I’ve seen first hand at this event. Year round, I’m also very active in my local Sisters in Crime Chapter and we have brought in a variety of experts including forensic specialists, psychologists, homicide detectives and private investigators.”
But, Burton isn’t adverse to researching on-line when the opportunity arises.
“A few online resources I use,” Burton adds, “are D. P. Lyle, MD’s blog, as well as the Eyes For Lies blog. Truth is stranger than fiction so I do follow crime reports online nationally at some big city papers and sites. More often than not my online research is topic specific and tends to take me from one site to another following statistics, details of crimes or stumbling upon comments by related experts.”
Burton is not all business, all the time, however. A lover of cookbooks, Burton is Baking Certified by University of Richmond’s Culinary Arts program, and is currently working on her Culinary Certificate. She’s an avid fan of Clive Cussler, Robert Ludlum, Tess Gerritsen, and Lisa Gardner and spends her down time with her three miniature dachshunds, Buddy, Bella and Tiki. But fans needn’t worry, there’s plenty more of Burton’s books on the way.
“I’ll have several projects out in 2016,” Burton says, “I have three romantic suspense novels out this year including: Vulnerable, which concludes my Morgan family novels, in March. The Shark debuts The Forgotten Files series in May, and the series is continued in November with The Dollmaker. Writing contemporary women’s fiction as my alter ego, Mary Ellen Taylor, I’ll kick off the 2016 in January with The View From Prince Street.” Readers have a lot to look forward to in 2016.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling suspense author Mary Burton’s work has been compared to the works of Steig Larson, Lisa Gardner, and Lisa Jackson. Her latest books, I’ll Never Let You Go, Cover Your Eyes, and Be Afraid, all feature Nashville’s preeminent law enforcement family, the Morgan’s. 2016’s Vulnerable completes the quartet. Her earlier, highly praised novels include The Seventh Victim, No Escape, and You’re Not Safe.
The author of twenty-seven published novels and five novellas, Mary is a member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Novelists, Inc., and Romance Writers of America. A Richmond native, Mary has made her home there for most of her life. She is also writes contemporary women’s fiction as Mary Ellen Taylor.
To learn more about Mary, please visit her website.