When people tell Laura Burke that they can’t do their jobs because they can’t put her books down, that’s when she knows she’s done her job as an author – to write something entertaining.

“It’s a good feeling. It makes me feel really good,” said Burke, who has lived in Wilton Manors for the past 20 years. Originally from Chicago, Burke lived in Costa Rica for two years before moving here. Over the last six years, she’s written eight novels, most of which are murder mysteries “with a little romance thrown in,” including four in the Masson Murder Mystery Series.

Her next novel, “Alone,” is expected to be finished in January. It’s the story of a group of doctors being murdered in various cities across the country. The first takes place in Miami. “The murderer is following them to certain seminars and bumping them off.”

But Burke’s experience with mysteries isn’t confined to books. Along with being a nurse for 20 years, Burke was also a private investigator for 30 years.

“We handled quite a few different things, from husbands and wives cheating to people who just disappeared to kidnappings. I think that kind of inspired me more in my writing than anything. That gave me a lot of material,” Burke said. “You’d be surprised at how many unsolved cold cases there are in the U.S. and Europe.”

Her first attempt at writing was 25 years ago but she gave up. “I just put [the unfinished novel] in the closet. And then, about six years ago, I happened to run across the papers and I said I’m going to finish this book.”

After finding her draft again, and with some encouragement from her husband, she finished it and published her first novel – “If Walls Could Scream.”

But her favorite is “Black Orchid.”

“I love orchids for one thing, but it was really a unique book. It has so many turns and twists but it still flows very easy.” Burke calls it a classic mystery novel. “It’s a mystery right until the very end.”

But her method for writing is anything but what some of the classic authors employ.

With the television on, “I have a recliner sofa and I sit on one end with my feet up and my laptop in my lap, and I write.” Her characters, she adds, speak to her. They tell her what to write. “Everything just flows freely. My characters have a life, have a voice. I never know where it’s going to go.”

Burke’s novels are available at the Wilton Manors Library or online at Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Amazon and goodreads.com.