Warm temperatures came to Virginia this past January weekend. Instead of the expected low 30s the mercury rose to 70 degrees. I turned off the fireplace, put aside my winter coat, and set off on my morning walk with the dogs--and how nice to have it be a real treat and not a chilly chore. My miniature dachshunds Buddy and Bella were full of energy and a few times Buddy was so energized by the weather he ran past the fence into the woods after a squirrel.
The rising temperature had even changed the whole ambiance of the house. It seemed more open and bright, even more cheerful than the days of cold temps and gloomy sky. This brief break from winter was a reminder to me of how important setting is to a novel. Not just the weather, but also the time of the year and the location. Every city has its own character and has to be considered when plotting a novel because those quirks play into the tone of a story.
I’ve always treated setting as a character in my books, which is why I put so much thought into the setting in my latest novel THE SEVENTH VICTIM. I’d considered many locations: Boston, Seattle, and San Francisco. But in the end I was drawn to Austin, Texas. Not only does the city have a rich history and weather extremes but also it's the state capital and a university town. And as an artists' town it’s a delightful contrast to the ruggedness of the rest of the state.
My heroine in THE SEVENTH VICTIM is Lara Church a teacher and photographer who typifies Austin’s quirky nature. And my hero, James Beck is a Texas Ranger and a true reflection of the Lone Star state. THE SEVENTH VICTIM would have been just as fun to write if I’d chosen to set it in a different place but, quite simply, it would have been . . . well . . . different.
The Seventh Victim by Mary Burton
Genre: crime fiction
About The Seventh Victim:
IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEEDSource: Info in the About The Seventh Victim was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13637842-the-seventh-victim on 20/01/2013.
It’s been seven years since the Seattle Strangler terrorized the city. His victims were all young, pretty, their lifeless bodies found wrapped in a home-sewn white dress. But there was one who miraculously escaped death, just before the Strangler disappeared…
Lara Church has only hazy memories of her long-ago attack. What she does have is a home in Austin, a job, and a chance at a normal life at last. Then Texas Ranger James Beck arrives on her doorstep with shattering news: The Strangler is back. And this time, he’s in Austin…
AND KILL AGAIN…
He’s always craved her, even as he killed the others. For so long he’s been waiting to unleash the beast within. And this time, he’ll prove he holds her life in his hands—right before he ends it forever…
About Mary Burton:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist Mary Burton is the author of nineteen novels including her latest thriller, THE SEVENTH VICTIM. Her highly praised books include Before She Dies, Senseless, Merciless, Dying Scream, Dead Ringer and I’m Watching You.Mary's Links:
A Richmond native whose family’s roots run as deep as the nation’s, Mary still lives there. She attended Virginia’s Hollins University and began a career in marketing. Eventually, she decided the stories buzzing around her brain really did deserve her attention. She left her job and wrote her first novel, a historical romance published in 2000.
Mary wrote eleven more romance novels and three novellas before embracing the dark world of suspense. She even brought danger to her novella Christmas Past, which appears in the New York Times bestselling holiday anthology Silver Bells. Her story, Snow Maiden, was featured in the USA Today bestselling collection A Hero’s Kiss.
Research led her to both the Henrico County Citizens Police Academy and the Richmond FBI Citizen’s Academy as well as Sisters in Crime’s Forensic University program and the Writers Police Academy in Jamestown, North Carolina, where the focus was on undercover work, autopsies, and the theories behind why people kill.
Mary writes full time. When not killing people, she spends time in the kitchen, practices yoga, enjoys her family and her miniature dachshunds, and completes courses toward her Baking & Pastry Arts Certificate at the University of Richmond’s Culinary Arts Program. She has just completed her next novel, NO ESCAPE, which will be published in November 2013.