mary burton. {taylor.}

richmond, virginia  |  storyteller. writer. wife. mother. owner of three miniature dachshunds and overall expert at juggling lots of roles.

True to Richmond’s commitment of southern hospitality, the talented Mary Burton—  in some circles also known as Mary Ellen Taylor—was introduced to me by the generous Nancy RodriguesRichmond is home to countless southern ladies who possess the ability to evoke raw emotion. In this case, Ms. Burton is highly skilled at inspiring feelings of suspense and desire for those who read her novels.

Mary Burton has authored 26 published novels and 5 novellas. Most recently, she released two books within an eight day span: Be Afraid, written by Mary Burton and  At the Corner of King Street, penned by Mary Ellen Taylor, the alter ego of Mary Burton. 

Her imagination, coupled with intense research, makes her a New York Times and U.S.A. Today best-selling suspense novelist. Born and raised in this eclectic town, Mary’s love for Virginia is evident in her work. After a decade in sales and marketing, Mary Burton followed her heart and went on to become an accomplished writer. It is a true honor to add her voice to the j. jane conversation.


You are Mary Burton and Mary Taylor. Why do you have two pen names?

When I decided to write THE UNION STREET BAKERY I knew it would be a big departure from the dark romantic suspense novels I’d written as Mary Burton. Basically, your name as a writer is a brand—a promise of sorts—and to toss a different style of book/genre at the reader can create confusion. So I created Mary Ellen Taylor. If you visit www.MaryBurton.com and www.MaryEllenTaylor.com or read my latest releases BE AFRAID (Mary Burton) or AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET (Mary Ellen Taylor) you’ll see immediately how different the personas and their books are.

From a marketing expert to a New York Times bestselling author, how and/or why did you choose your career path?

I’ve always had stories swirling in my head and finally I just decided to put them on paper. I wasn’t sure if they’d sell or if I could write a novel but I knew I had to try. And once I started writing I found I just couldn’t stop. When I told the first story, the second popped into my head and so it has gone for the last fifteen years. I’m writing book 30 now and already scribbling ideas for book number 31.

How old were your children when you published your first book? And how old must they be to read one of your romance novels?

I started writing when they were just babies and would work during their naptime. I finally sold the first book when my youngest was in kindergarten.   My kids never had much interest in my writing. In fact, when my daughter was in elementary school someone asked her what it was like to have a writer for a mom. She said, “Boring. All they do is stare at the computer.” The kids are out of college now and I do think that I’ve shown them that if you want something badly enough, then you’ll do the work and find the time to make it happen.

To what do you attribute your success?

Hard work and persistence are at the top. It takes time to learn the craft of writing and it takes a thick skin to accept all the rejections that can come your way in the beginning. I’ve seen too many very talented writers give up because they couldn’t handle the rejection.

I’ve also met some great people along the way who’ve been supportive and gave me that boost when I needed it. In the early pre-published days of my writing, I was in a writer’s critique group. We met every Friday and traded chapters. These gals not only taught me a lot about writing but also kept me on track during the tough times.

Did anyone discourage you from choosing your career path? If so, how did you handle that situation?

I’m not very good at hearing ‘no’ so if anyone was discouraging me I wasn’t paying attention.

Can you offer three pieces of advice to someone who wishes to follow in your footsteps?

If you want to be a writer you must write often. I write every day because I don’t want to lose the habit and discipline of creating. I’ve also learned how to break down a big project. Used to be, the idea of writing a book was overwhelming but then I just learned to break the novel writing process into drafts and then to break the drafts in to daily page goals. Even now when I start a project, the first thing I do is pencil the daily page goals into my calendar.

What is your best advice on how to live a graceful life?

I’m not sure how graceful I’ve been over the years. I sure made lots of mistakes as I was learning the creative and business sides of writing.   But all along the way, I’ve always tried to treat others as I’d like to be treated.


j. jane side notes:

Learn more about this talented writer and her work at Mary Burton and

Mary Ellen Taylor. Her books will thrill you!

No Comments

Post A Comment