I’m Watching You – Author Interview – Mary Burton

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Romantic suspense novelist, Mary Burton stops at Paperback Writer today to share with us how she came up with the idea for her latest book, I’m Watching You.  Mary is on a virtual book with Pump Up Your Book Promotion throughout the month of August. As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author  with a recent release or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comment on our authors blog stops.


About the Book:

A killer is on the loose. Lindsay O’Neil discovers the first victim in the yard at Sanctuary, the shelter for battered women that she runs in Richmond, Virginia. If that’s not bad enough, the detective who arrives on the scene is recovering alcoholic Zack Kier, her ex-husband. That brings his partner and her long-time friend, Jacob Warwick, into the picture as well.

It could have been a one time reunion, except for some reason Lindsay keeps being thrust into the middle of the investigation. That means Zack is way too involved in her life and he and Jacob are way too interested in her personal business. She also can’t get TV news reporter Kendall Shaw off of her trail, which is a problem because Lindsay has her own secrets—including that she’s providing shelter at her own home for Nicole Piper, a friend on the run from her abusive husband. As the killing continues it becomes shockingly clear that Lindsay is being stalked by an enraged murderer—and that she and those she loves are targets.


Hi Mary Burton,


Welcome to Paperback Writer



Will you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book?


I’m Watching You started with the character Lindsay O’Neil.  She came to me almost fully formed.  I could picture her clearly and new all her strengths and weakness.  Then the challenge was to design a book that would play to her character.


Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as you write it? 


It depends on the book.  I’m Watching You came to me in layers.  First, I pictured my heroine Lindsay and then after I had her figured out, the hero Zack Kier started to form in my mind.  I had a good idea where the book would go when I started writing, but there were a lot of great surprises along the way.  No matter how much I plot, sometimes my books just don’t reveal themselves until I start to write.


Do you know the end of the story at the beginning? 


I have a good idea about the ending, but all the stuff between the beginning and the end can be a real mystery. 


Do you have a process for developing your characters? 


I begin with an “emotional hook”—the number one flaw/strength that drives my character.  I believe what can make a character great can also destroy them.  Once I have that figured out the rest usually falls into place.


It is said that authors write themselves into the characters.  Is there any part of you in your characters and what they would be? 


Lindsay O’Neil in I’m Watching You has a thing about being punctual.  That’s me.  Lindsay loves coffee.  Guilty.  Her ponytail is either too tight or she’s searching for a rubber band to pull up her hair which is driving her nuts.  Yep, that’s me too.  But Lindsay has endured some very dark moments that thankfully I never have.  I can only hope to try and understand her darker side and then convey her feelings and emotions to the reader.


What is your most favorite part of this book?


Lindsay, like her late mother, loves to garden.  She misses her mother terribly and is still traumatized by the woman’s death over a dozen years ago.  There is a scene in the book when Homicide Detective Zack Kier, Lindsay’s estranged husband, is investigating a string of murders that might be linked to Lindsay’s past.  Zack and his partner Jacob Warwick travel to the old farmhouse that had been Lindsay’s home when she was growing up.  Zack discovers the greenhouse that had been a favorite spot of Lindsay’s and her mother.  He finds several clay pots in the greenhouse and he collects them knowing that they’d mean a great deal to Lindsay.  This scene is a turning point for Zack.  He finally realizes the traumas Lindsay has endured and why she is so driven.  For the first time he sees the person she really is and despite all her flaws and scares, he still loves her and wants her back in his life.


When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher? 


I’d been writing historical westerns and Silhouette Romantic Suspense novels for five or six years.  I’d wanted to write a long suspense novel for a few years and had been kicking around ideas.  When all the pieces of I’m Watching You finally came to me I wrote the synopsis and first few chapters and sent them off to my agent.  She was able to sell it fairly quickly to Kensington. 


What struggles have you had on the road to being published?


LOL.  More than a few.  Back in the day, I wrote three full manuscripts that were rejected outright over a five-year period.  I lost count of the rejection letters.  But I’m stubborn and I kept at it.  My fourth manuscript, A Bride for McCain, sold to Harlequin Historical in 1999 and was released in March 2000. 


What has been the best part of being published?


I make stories up for a living.  What could be better?


What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novel?


I don’t know if they need to carry away anything.  I just want them to be able to kick back, leave the real world behind for a few hours and enjoy the story.


Do you have plans to write another book?


Always!  Dead Ringer is the sequel to I’m Watching You and it will be released in November 2008.  Also in the Silver Bells anthology with Fern Michaels, JoAnn Ross and Judy Duarte, I have a novella that wraps up the story line for Nicole another character from I’m Watching You.  I’m also writing another suspense novel that will be released in 2009.


Would you care to share with us how the virtual book tour experience with Pump Up Your book Promotion has been for you? 


It’s been great!  I honestly couldn’t have done it without them. 


Where can readers find your book? 


Any major bookstore, independent bookstore or Amazon.


Do you have a website for readers to go to?


I sure do!  www.maryburton.com


Thank you, Mary for sharing your book and characters with us today.  It is been a pleasure and I hope you have had a successful virtual book tour.



Mary Burton is the author of the Zebra Romantic Suspense novels I’M WATCHING YOU and the upcoming DEAD RINGER (November 2008) and Christmas Past in the SILVER BELLS anthology (November 2008).  She has also written twelve historical western romances for Harlequin Historical and four novels for Silhouette Romantic Suspense.  For more information stop by her website at www.maryburton.com.




I’m Watching You Virtual Book Tour ’08 officially began on August 4, 2008 and will continues all month. You can visit [name] tour stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in August to find out more about (his/her) and (his/her) book.


As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author  with a recent release or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comment on our authors blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they come available. The winners will be announced on www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com on August 31!


Please leave your comments along the tour stops and join us on August 31 to see if you are a winner.




Mary Burton, romantic suspense novel, I’m Watching You, Pump Up Your Book Promotion, virtual book tours, virtual blog tour, virtual author tour, book spotlights, book reviews, author interviews,



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