Where Do You Get Your Ideas? by Mary Burton – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Mary Burton, who is here to celebrate the release of her latest book, I’ll Never Let You Go.

Mary Burton on The Question Asked of Every Writer

Where do you get your ideas? 

It’s the question every writer has heard and remains one of the most mysterious. For me, there’s no right answer. My novels seem to come to me from so many different sources it’s hard to know which, if any, dominate. However, there is one source that has offered me a wealth of inspiration.  It’s the Writer’s Police Academy (WPA), which for six years was held in Greensboro, North Carolina at the Guilford Community Technical College and this last year in Appleton, Wisconsin at the Fox Valley Technical College Public Training Safety Center.

The weekend long event, which grew out of a Sisters in Crime Forensics University held in St. Louis eight years ago, brings together writers and law enforcement experts who offer lectures, demonstrations and hands on instruction.  The brain child of writer and law enforcement veteran Lee Lofland, the academy exists to make sure crime writers get their facts right.

I’ve been to all seven academies and this last year was one of the event sponsors.  Whenever I speak to other writers groups about writing suspense, I always mention the WPA as a valuable resource.

Several of the ideas that inspired or influenced the plot of my suspense novels can be traced back to detailed information gleaned at the Writers’ Police Academy.  A shallow grave seminar was the jumping off point for NO ESCAPE.  Interrogation techniques found their way into THE SEVENTH VICTIM.  Canine demonstrations inspired the character Rick Morgan who first appeared in COVER YOUR EYES and later BE AFRAID.  A session on arson investigation was pivotal to creating a scene in BE AFRAID.  Information shared in forensic classes on blood splatter and DNA informed many of the scenes that my Nashville set Morgan Family novels, including my latest, I’LL NEVER LET YOU GO and 2016’s VULNERABLE.  I have never left a WPA weekend without fresh ideas buzzing in my head.

If you write suspense, mystery or thrillers, or just find the research behind the novels fascinating, the WPA is the place for you.  And if you ever happen to attend the WPA you’ll likely find me standing to the side, my hair in a ponytail, wearing sneakers and jeans and taking notes as fast as I can.

Thank you, Long and Short Reviews for letting me visit.

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Enjoy an excerpt from I’LL NEVER LET YOU GO

He sat and watched as his wife stood by her car and spoke to her date. The guy had dark hair and a trim build. A gust of wind had caught, blown back his jacket and for a split second, the edge of a gun resting on his hip caught the moonlight before the guy tugged the coat’s edge back into place.

This man is not a beat cop like he’d been. He had the look of a detective.  “Moving up in the world, babe. The uniform isn’t good enough for you anymore.”

Embers of rage, always warm and glowing, flared and flickered into a hot flame. His wife and the guy lingered, staring at each other. A smile flashed on her face, and he knew they’d be seeing each other again.

“She’s my wife, dick.”

This close he could see dick’s face. Keen interest sharpened the man’s gaze. No doubt he was thinking about getting into his wife’s pants.

Irritated, he tore his gaze away and focused on the mission. He studied the text he’d just sent Leah: Emergency at the clinic. Can you come to work?

I might be a regular cop, but I found her number and I’m going to win this chess game, dick.”

She slid into the front seat, started the engine and rolled down her window. She glanced up, smiling, nodding, and drove off. Dick got into his car and drove off.

He started his truck and shifted into first gear. Slowly, he turned onto Broadway and followed it until it branched right and turned into West End Avenue.

The drive back to his wife’s town house took ten minutes, but of course he knew the way. He’d been watching the house since he’d arrived in Nashville a week before. Many a night in the last couple of weeks, he’d sat in the parking lot across the street and watched her town house. He’d gotten to know all her new habits.

His wife arrived an hour later and parked in her reserved spot under the street lamp. She hurried from her car up the brick front steps of the town house, unlocked the door, and vanished inside.  Lights clicked on, and though she’d already drawn the drapes, he could see her figure pass in front of the sliding glass door before the lights in her bedroom clicked on.

He imagined her in that bedroom, stripping off her shirt, her full breasts spilling over the top of her bra. It had been too long since he’d kissed those breasts, but he remembered how soft they felt.  He remembered her lips tasted like her cherry lipstick. He remembered those lush lips kissing him along his belly, teasing him to the brink of insanity. He remembered every single detail of their life together.

But she wasn’t thinking about him as she stripped off her clothes. A different man lingered in her thoughts. How many men had she fucked since him?

It took all his willpower not to scream as he removed a switchblade from his pocket and flicked it open. Moonlight glinted off the sharp blade as he gouged it into the truck’s seat. He sliced through leather, imagining it was flesh.

He leaned back against the seat. Her shadow passed back into the living room, and the light of a television glowed as her silhouette lowered on the couch.

In the last few weeks, he’d learned all her new patterns and all her secrets, tracking her and listening via the bug he’d planted in her house. “No one knows you better than me, babe. No one.”

After an hour in the parking lot, he cold had numbed his toes and the tips of his fingers. He would have stayed all night, watching her sit on her couch in front of the television, but there were enough people coming and going at this time of night to get him noticed. He drove off, knowing she was alone in her town house, unable to sleep and thinking about him.

Until death do us part.

The words hummed in the back of his throat. So poignant, and yet their meaning appealed to him.

Until death do us part.

His little bird flew free right now, but soon he’d catch her and pluck off her wings. She belonged to him and no one else.

Until death do us part.

Copyright 2015 © by Mary Burton

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