About Mary Ellen Taylor
A southerner by birth, Mary Ellen Taylor’s love of her home state, Virginia, and its history is evident in her first work of contemporary women’s fiction, The Union Street Bakery. Its protagonists, the McCrae family, have owned the store in Alexandria’s Old Town for more than 150 years. They are featured again in Sweet Expectations. In both instances their stories intertwine with those of the city and the nation as well as with mysteries rooted in the past. While the McCraes are not the focus of Mary Ellen’s latest books, the Alexandria novels The View from Prince Street and At the Corner of King Street, she once again pulls events from the city’s history into the present, sharing their impact on her characters and their lives.
Mary Ellen was born in Richmond and has spent most of her life there, but also lived in Alexandria for four years, which is when she fell in love with Old Town. She grew up in a family that embraced stories of all kinds, from a well-told anecdote to a good yarn or a tall tale. It may have been inevitable that Mary Ellen would embrace her storytelling heritage, walk away from her job and challenge herself to become a published author.
“I realized early on the tremendous power stories have to inspire laughter, love, sorrow and even fear. It didn’t matter if they were found in the pages of a book, spoken in hushed tones around a campfire, or shared at an old-fashioned family reunion. Stories created connections, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” says Mary Ellen.
In addition to writing, cooking and baking are important creative outlets for Mary Ellen and she’s been known to name recipes in honor of her characters. She recently earned her Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate at the University of Richmond’s Culinary Arts Program. “In some ways, I liken baking to my efforts as a writer. You need to learn the basic tools of the trade of both cooking and writing before you can push the envelope and create a distinctive sweet dessert or savory novel.” Her two passions —writing and baking—merged for the first time in The Union Street Bakery and, though her Alexandria novels At the Corner of King Street and The View from Prince Street are not set in her Old Town Union Street Bakery, the culinarian in Mary Ellen can’t resist slipping in references to favorite recipes
Today, she’s known not only for her Alexandria set contemporary stories, but also for her romantic suspense novels and novellas written as Mary Burton. Her work has appeared on The New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. Her latest suspense book, Vulnerable, will be published in March 2016..
When not digging for mysteries in Alexandria’s history or arranging murders, Mary Ellen is involved with Coordinators2inc, a lifetime adoption resource organization. In fact, Mary Ellen explores issues of adoption and family in all four books, an interest which stems from her own family. Her grandmother was adopted as was her daughter.
Mary Ellen and her husband spend time alternately enjoying and lamenting their newly empty nest and spoiling their miniature dachshunds, Buddy, Bella and Tiki.