Featured Author: Mary Burton


Heading to the airport to pick up Jake and his friends and hoping the predicted tropical storm will blow past us, instead of hitting us…although if it does rain hard, I do have a couple more books lined up that I’d love to read, including Cathy Maxwell’s latest.

One of the delicious books I’ve just finished is Mary Burton aka Mary Ellen Taylor‘s The Union Street Bakery.  I love Mary’s voice and ‘had to’ pick up her first women’s fiction release when we were together at the book signing at Nora Robert’s bookstore in Maryland back in April.  I loved The Union Street Bakery and found the novel very hard to put down.

I’m so pleased to have Mary as a guest on my blog today, to share more with us about The Union Street Bakery.  Welcome to the JaneBlog, Mary!

Some writers like to let plot ideas percolate and grow for a while before they start writing the story.  How about you?  That certainly was true for THE UNION STREET BAKERY (Berkley Trade, February 2013).  This story stayed on the back burner for years.  As I tackled other writing projects it keep tugging at me.  I kept filling up more and more sticky notes with story ideas until finally I had to write the story.  And I am so glad I did write it.  THE UNION STREET BAKERY is one of my favorites.

Tell us what your current release is about, in 2 or 3 sentences.  My first women’s fiction novel THE UNION STREET BAKERY features Daisy’s McCrae who has lost her job, moved home to live above her family’s financially troubled bakery, and faces the challenge of searching for the birth mother who abandoned her at the bakery when she was three.  SWEET EXPECTATIONS, the sequel to THE UNION STREET BAKERY will be out in November 2013.  Under the name Mary Burton I have two suspense novels out this year including THE SEVENTH VICTIM (February 2013) and NO ESCAPE (November 2013).


Name five items sitting on your desk right now.  To my right is my calendar, which I consider an extension of my brain.  I’ve used the same style of calendar for years.  I not only use it to map out my daily page count goals but it also is the family calendar, which tracks not only my appointments but the kids as well.  Next, there is a picture of my kids (who are college age now) taken when they were about one and two.  They are sitting at my desk (which was just a card table at the time) and typing on my computer. I’d only been writing a year or two at this point and hadn’t published my first novel.  This picture always makes me smile. Also on the desk is my Weight Watchers’ pocket guide, the exercise schedule from the YMCA and lots of sticky notes with scattered ideas for novels yet to be.

Do you have a writing schedule or any writing rituals to help you achieve your daily writing quota?  I’m up early so that I can get my workout done before I write.  Getting up and moving gets my brain firing and I find the writing is always smoother if I’ve exercised first. I’m usually at my desk by 8:30 a.m. in the morning because I find I am most creative in the mornings.  Also, when I start a project I map out daily page goals.  I pencil them on my calendar because there is something about seeing the goals in writing that makes them all the more real in my mind.  Often after a midday break (to walk my miniature dachshunds) I’m back at the computer working.  I work most every day because I find sticking to a routine is very important for me.

Do you incorporate any of your own life experiences into your stories?  Do you get asked this question very often?  I do get this question a lot.  And I think to really develop a strong voice as a writer you have to put yourself into the story.  When I was writing THE UNION STREET BAKERY I put a lot of personal experiences into the book.  The heroine in THE UNION STREET BAKERY, Daisy McCrae, is an adult adoptee.  My youngest child is adopted and I incorporated many of my daughter’s personality traits into Daisy.  And of course when Daisy has scenes with her adoptive mother you’ll see a lot of me.  Though our family’s adoption story is very different from Daisy’s many of the emotions are very similar.

Sweet or savory?  Sweet.  I love to bake.  I’ve always joked you can tell how the writing is going by the number of cupcakes on the counter.   If I’m struggling with a story, I find mixing a batter or dough always helps shake loose ideas that won’t flow.  And of course at the end of it all I have a wonderful sweet treat to enjoy.  One of my favorite parts of writing THE UNION STREET BAKERY was testing the recipes I included in the back of the book.


Rock or country music?  Country Music.  Years ago when I was writing historical romances set in the American West I started listening to country music and I got hooked.  During this morning’s workout I listened to some my favorite groups including Gloriana, Sugarland and Lady Antebellum.

What does success mean to you?  It means continuing to do what I’m doing right now—writing stories.  Being able to make a living doing what I love so much is a real blessing.


After a career in marketing MARY ELLEN TAYLOR shifted gears and became a full time writer.  Her first women’s fiction novel THE UNION STREET BAKERY was released by Berkley Trade in February 2013 and her second SWEET EXPECTATIONS will be out in November 2013.   Under the name MARY BURTON she also writes suspense novels.  Her latest suspenses include THE SEVENTH VICTIM (January 2013) and NO ESCAPE (November 2013).  Mary is a member of Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Mystery Writers of America.


Mary, thank you so much for sharing with us today!  Readers be sure to check out both of Mary’s websites and if you get a chance, do read her novels.  I’m totally hooked and to share the love, I’m giving away, to two lucky winners, a copy of Mary’s The Union Street Bakery, my book The Good Woman, a Starbucks drink card and more fun JP goodies.  For a chance to win, tell me which other authors you read who write more than one genre and which one of their books you’d recommend to someone trying them for the first time.  Contest ends on next week on Wednesday and I’ll announce winners on Thursday.  Good luck!


  1. I love Lauren Dane (Brown Series), Maya Banks Colter’s, KGI Series), Megan Hart All books), Cassia Leo (all but mainly shattered hearts series), Jaci Burton (Play by Play).. and the list goes on. I usually stick to one genre – even though the authors above does everything.

  2. One of my favorite authors is Pamela Clare and she writes romantic suspense and historical romance. I would recommend the I Team series for those who enjoy reading romantic suspense.

  3. I read Jayne Anne Krentz (who also publishes under other names including Amanda Quick) she writes romances, historicals, and paranormal and I just love her books! I love the Arcane Society set and would recommend reading Running Hot and Eclipse Bay!

  4. I read Nora Roberts, but am not a big fan of her series that is futuristic/sci fi. I much prefer her other stories.

  5. I love Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb. She is my absolute favorite. Love her “normal” romance/mystery she writes and her “Scifi” with Eve & Roarke. I would recommend any of her books. Just takes one to get hooked. 🙂

  6. My favorite ‘dual’ author is Nora Roberts. Her mysteries as JD Robb are all incredible as well as her romances. If I had to pick one to recommend as a starter book, I couldn’t do it. Her In Death series are all amazing and as for her romances…again, they are all wonderful. A few of my top faves are the Brides Quartet and The Search.

  7. I love Teri Brown. She writes historicals and young adult.
    I just love her books.
    Thank you so much Jane for introducing me to her.
    I’ll recommend her newest young adult book “Born of Illusion”. I just love that book. And her trilogy beginning with Summerset Abbey.

  8. I enjoy adult mystery books written by N Y Times best selling author James Patterson. However, he does a series of young adult books which are wonderful too. If you have a teenager, try the Maximum Ride series. The kids in my son’s book club really enjoyed them!!

  9. I love Diana Gabaldon. Mostly Historical Romance, but she has a little bit of a sci/fy element in her books (time travel and magic mostly). Her Outlander series is fantastic!

  10. hi jane. nora roberts/j.d. robb! would recommend her to anyone. fabulous writer. her futuristic “in death” series is to die for. eve and rourke. tough cop and sexy billionaire. oh yeah. also, her contemporary romance novels are wonderful. i’ve read everything she has written. it’s all good. thank you jane, for sharing. hope you and your family stay safe from the storm. 🙂

  11. I tend to like fiction authors who also write columns and essays. Lisa Scottoline’s books are all good. “Dirty Blonde” was memorable and I think she wrote an essay called “My Third Husband Will Be a Dog.”

  12. Lovely post and introduction to this great author. I read Georgette Heyer who wrote romance as well as mysteries. Enjoyed them all equally.

  13. Megan Crane/ Caitlin Crews, love her diverse writing . She is fun to read and descriptive. I love the Harlequin Presents! They remind me of the good times with my Grandmother who started me in them. I have saved some of her old ones

  14. One of my favorite authors is Maggie Shayne. She writes all types of books, paranormal, fantasy, romance mysteries, westerns, plus self-help and blogs, very multi-talented. If you’re into fantasy, or even if you’re not, I would recommend starting with “Fairytale”, great book to get your feet wet!

  15. I simply ADORE Fannie Flagg even though her novels are mostly humorous Southern fiction. I also love Gillian Flynn, and have recently been introduced to Sarah Jio’s novels. Love them all!

  16. Jayne Ann Krentz,aka,Jayne Castle and Amanda Quick. She is one of my favorites. The Arcane Society series The Second Sight

  17. I love the author Barbara O’Neal. She writes women’s fiction that usually has dogs in it. She also writes under the name Barbara Samuel. Her books under this name are more romance oriented.

  18. Kathryne Kennedy is my current favorite author. She does write SFF/Romance – a dozen or so short stories but I fell in love with her historical/fantasy/romance.I recommend her Elven series but love all her books.

  19. I am in love with Maya Banks. She writes historicals, contemporaries and erotic novels. I am loving all of her books and therefore recommend all three genres. =)

  20. Nora Roberts not crazy about the books she writes under J.D. Robb. Any thing written by Nora Roberts is well worth reading.

  21. I like Jayne Ann Krentz novels, but I absolutely love Amanda Quick novels. I’ve read every one. For some reason, I’m not really into Jayne Castle books, though I’ve only read a couple. I recommend that you read Amanda Quick books. No matter which one you pick up, you will be pleased!

  22. TO BRIE OR NOT TO BRIE by Avery Aames
    FINAL SENTENCE by Daryl Wood Gerber
    This is the same person. She writes different series under different names. Cozy and fun mysteries. 🙂

  23. I love Mary Kay Andrews: her books are so fun!! She also writes mysteries under the name Kathy Hogan Trocheck. I would start in order of her MKA books…with Savannah Blues, because she has a few others with these same characters & you want to read them in order. Of the books that are not a “series”, her latest, “Ladies’ Night”, is awesome. Well, ok, they all are!

  24. First of all, hi, Mary! You look beautiful, as always! And Jane, I hope you don’t get drenched!

    Interesting you asked this question because I was actually just considering this topic for my next blog post. James Patterson comes to mind. Of course, Nora Roberts, although I have to convince I haven’t read J.D. Robb. I find Meg Cabot hilarious, in both teen and adult fiction. And, I can’t leave out my friends Cara Elliott/Andrea Penrose, or Adrienne Giordano.

    Mary, I love you Romantic Suspense, and can’t wait to read The Union Street Bakery.

  25. Jana Deleon–all set in the South–cozy mysteries, paranormal mysteries, and some romance. Her Mudbug series is hilarious.

  26. Christina Dodd is one author I’d recommend, who writes more than one genre. I love the Chosen Ones series, but really you have to go back to the beginning with The Others. Then you’ll be hooked for the both series. 🙂

  27. I enjoy Mary’s suspense stories so I will definitely be checking out her new story. Lisa Kleypas writes historical romance and contemporary romance and I enjoy both stories. I would recommend her story Blue-Eyed Devil since it is a favorite of mine.

  28. Hi! Need to put Union Street Bakery on my book list-this book sounds so good, like yours. I read Nora Roberts, J.D. Robb, love her books!

  29. Now that I’m reading the other answers I feel a little dumb . I knew about Nora Roberts but I was quite surprised about some of the other names. Thanks for teaching me something new ladies!!

  30. Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb-I love the futuristic murder mysteries-and they need to be read in order, so that you truly understand the relationships between the characters.

  31. Maya Banks, love her historicals and romantic suspense. Emily March aka Geralyn Dawson.Jane Porter. There are others but this is all I can think of right now.

  32. I love Christine Rimmer and cannot pick one book over another but her royal series is excellent.
    I also love Virginia Smith and she is now writing some with Lori Copeland. But her Murder by Mushroom one will never forget.
    Enter me to win.

  33. like Robyn Carr; she writes historical and contemporary romances.
    Try her A Virgin River Christmas.

  34. Another great interview!

    Stephen King–he has his standalone (and THICK) horrors but I best love his character-digging short stories that The Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me come from.

    Laurie Halse Anderson–she writes terrific YA’s like Speak and terrific picture books like Thank You Sarah (about how America adopted Thanksgiving as a national holiday).

    Same thing with Cynthia Lord–writes terrific YA like Rules and terrific picture books like Hot Rod Hamster.


  35. Hi Jane and Mary
    I enjoy reading Maya Banks. I’m currently reading her book Forged in Steele. I stayed up way to late last night reading it. This book is part if the KGI series and you can’t go wrong with whichever book that you pick up. My favorite is Sam and Sophie.

  36. Sophie Kinsella/Madeline Wickham. Her Shopaholic books written under Sophie Kinsella are hilarious.

  37. I have read Union Street Bakery and I highly recommend it!

    I’ve read so many great authors it’s hard to pick.. I do Like Nora Roberts and she does write a mixture.

  38. Agatha Christie wrote a (nonmystery) romance under the name of Mary Westmamott. Feeling British this week…

  39. Jenna Petersen writes historical romance.
    Jess Michaels writes erotic historical romance.
    Jesse Petersen writes about zombies and monsters!! All from the same gal!

  40. Nora Roberts is the first author that springs to mind… I love her romance novels (my favourite would be The Three Sisters Island trilogy) but am not so keen on her JD Robb works. Ken Follett is another writer I love to read – his Pillars of the Earth is probably my favourite book of all time and is completely different from his earlier spy type novels.

  41. Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, of course…and Susan Mallery’s Blackberry Island books…have not read her Fool’s Gold stories though.

  42. Tonya Kappes: she brings Magical Fiction To Life! I would recommend A Charming Crime (book one) first! love her & her books!

  43. Jane, thanks for introducing us to another great author. I am adding The Union Street Bakery to my TBR pile.

    Jane, I am always recommending both your Romances and your Women’s fiction. Two other authors that I have started reading in the last year are Melissa Cutler and HelenKay Dimon they both write Romantic Suspense and Contempory Romances. I never thought I would like Romantic Suspense, but I absolutely love it.

  44. Thanks for another great read to add to my list! I also love Nora/JD Robb, the In Death books have me hooked. I also love Stephen King, and have been recommending this author I have been reading, Jane Porter! Love the introductions to new books…Thanks, Jane!

  45. I too am a Nora Roberts/JD Roberts fan. Her JD Robb “In Death” series is incredible and then as Nora Roberts I’d start with the Three Wishes Trilogy. Those were my fist books into Nora’s world and I never looked back. I can’t leave off Pamela Clare’s Historical romance trilogy The McKinnon Brothers series. Unbelievable. Thanks for the opportunity.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  46. Hi everyone,
    Loved hearing all the suggestions and I’m looking forward to trying some of them!

    Our winners for this contest are:

    #25 Suzette Temple
    #60 Vicki Powell

    Shoot me an email with your mailing address, ladies, and I’ll get prizes in the mail asap!

    love to all!

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