Interview with suspense author Ellen Byerrum

Today’s
special guest is mystery author Ellen Byerrum. She’s chatting about her debut
suspense thriller novel, The Dollhouse in
the Crawlspace
.

During
her virtual book tour, Ellen will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble
(winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for
a chance to win, use the form below.
To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops
and enter there, too!

Bio:

Ellen
Byerrum
 is a novelist, playwright,
reporter, former Washington D.C. journalist, and a graduate of private
investigator school in Virginia. 


The Dollhouse in
the Crawlspace
 is
her first suspense thriller. It introduces a young woman, Tennyson Claxton,
whose mind seems to hold the memories of two very different women. Ellen
also writes the Crime of Fashion Mysteries, which star a savvy, stylish female
sleuth named Lacey Smithsonian, a reluctant fashion reporter in Washington D.C.,
“The City Fashion Forgot.” Two of the COF books, Killer Hair and Hostile
Makeover
, were filmed for the Lifetime Movie Network. The
latest in the series is Lethal
Black Dress
, with more to come. She has also penned a
middle grade mystery, The
Children Didn’t See Anything
.

Welcome, Ellen. Please tell us about
your current release.

Tennyson
Claxton is a woman who after a terrible accident finds herself in a private
institution for the memory-impaired. She has memory loss, as well as double
memories. Years of her life are blank, yet she remembers being two very
different women. One is an heiress called Tennyson, the other is Marissa from a
humble background. She finds herself engaged to a man she doesn’t remember and
doesn’t like, let alone love. Her family members are strangers to her. To save
her sanity and her life, she begins a secret journal between the lines of
Homer’s Odyssey—and her own harrowing odyssey into madness and murder.

What inspired you to write this book?

Something darker than my other mystery series appealed to me and I pondered the
question: What would it be like to wake up rich one day, unimaginably rich?
What would the consequences of that be and how could it even happen? I love to
read suspense.


Excerpt from The Dollhouse in the Crawlspace:
In my memories,
my eyes are always green.
As
green as the dark and dangerous sea, my grandfather used to say. Mermaid’s
eyes, he called them. Eyes that changed, from the color of seaweed, to sea
glass, to the green of troubled water. Yet I was never troubled, when my eyes
were green.
There
are huge gaps of time, years, when I don’t remember anything about my life.
Still, I am quite convinced that my eyes were always green.
Even
in my double memories, they are green. Even though I seem to remember being two
people, they are green. It doesn’t matter if I recall being a child with blond
streaks in my braids, collecting shells with my grandfather at the stony edge
of the sea, or if I think I was a dark-haired girl riding a new pony, under the
watchful eye of my pretty mother. My eyes are always green.
These
days the mirror tells me my eyes are not green. They are brown. As brown as
leaves that die in the fall.
I’m
writing down these words because I don’t know if tomorrow I will remember what
I know today. I have too many memories. Like the memory of my eyes. But I also
have memory losses. Great chunks of time are missing. Frankly, I’m terrified of
losing more pieces of myself, no matter how small.
“Green eyes are a false memory, Tennyson,”
according to Dr. Embry. “You never had green eyes.”

What exciting story are you working on
next?

I’m working on a book, The Brief Luminous
Flight of the Firefly
, which is set during World War II in Washington,
D.C., with a character mentioned in my Crime of Fashion mysteries, Mimi Smith.
I want to look at how the war affected women on the home front and how crime
still touched lives. The women who lived during that time and took on
responsibilities and ran the factories and businesses inspire me. I’ll also be
working on the 11th book in the COF series, The Masque of the Red Dress, and a sequel to The Dollhouse in the Crawlspace, tentatively titled In Memory of Me.

When did you first consider yourself a
writer?

In
college, when I was working on plays and working toward my journalism degree.
And ever since.

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?

I
do write full-time, but I always have. More than full-time. I was a reporter in
D.C. for many years, but continued to work on plays before I switched to writing
mysteries. My day usually starts with aqua aerobics. It helps me get going and
sets my mind up to work. I deal with business after I get home. Then, it’s
anyone’s guess. Depending on what stage of a work I’m in, I might write at home
or take my laptop to the library, where I have fewer distractions.

What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?

I drew a blank but my husband says my writing quirk is having to use obsolete
Acer laptops with built-in ergonomic keyboards. I have three of them. Hey, I
NEED an ergonomic keyboard and no one makes them anymore! Also, I’m not going
to drag an attachable keyboard around with me. Are you listening, computer
makers?

As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?

An actress or a writer. I decided on writer at 12.

Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?

I’m
usually on Facebook every day and my website is updated. Cheers. And thanks so
much for letting me visit here today.

Links:

Thank you, Ellen!


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9 thoughts on “Interview with suspense author Ellen Byerrum

  1. Ellen Byerrum says:

    Good morning everyone and thanks for having me, Lisa. Mai, that's a really interesting question. I have had a couple of Lifetime Television Network movies made of a couple of my books. The thing is I try not to picture a specific actor in a part because I've been a playwright and I have seen people I didn't know do amazing things. But I suppose that Giles, who is in his 30ths, is someone like a young George Clooney, because he is very handsome. I could see Blythe Danner as Octavia. But I don't really have Tennyson in mind. She's young, in her 20s and very attractive. She also needs to be able to play two characters convincingly.

    I hope that helps.

  2. Merit Clark says:

    Ellen, that sounds like a really complex, intriguing story! It's got me very curious, especially the part about her eyes. I was wondering if you had any special technique you used to help you keep your plot lines straight?

  3. Ellen Byerrum says:

    Thanks Eva and Merit for stopping by and commenting.

    I guess I'm more interested in whether the plot lines ultimately come together than keeping them straight. Kidding. I think if the characters are well defined then the stories follow. And I don't write more plot lines than I can handle. Very provocative question. Now I'm thinking about it. Thank you.

  4. Unknown says:

    I really enjoyed the excerpt. I liked the interview too. Thank you this book sound so intriguing. I want to learn more.

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