Author Bio:Ellen Byerrum writes the popular Crime of Fashion mysteries, set in bustling Washington, D.C., The City That Fashion Forgot. Featuring style sleuth Lacey Smithsonian, who solves crimes with fashion clues, the eighth book, Death on Heels, takes Lacey out of her comfort zone and into the Wild West where she confronts her past and an old boyfriend who is accused of murder.
While researching fashion, Byerrum has collected her own assortment of 1940s vintage dresses and suits, and the occasional accessory, but laments her lack of closet space. She has been a D.C. news reporter in Washington, a playwright, and holds a Virginia P.I. registration. Although she currently resides in Denver, fashion reporter Lacey Smithsonian will continue to be based in Washington, D.C.Byerrum is currently at work on the ninth book in the Crime of Fashion series, Veiled Revenge. You can find more about Ellen on her Web site or on Facebook.
Q. What inspires your writing?
A. Anything and everything. Overheard snatches of conversation are always good for sparking an idea. News and current events, personal experiences, it can all be grist for the writing mill. And I really enjoy spectacular crimes of fashion witnessed on the streets. They are always fair game for my heroine Lacey Smithsonian’s Crime of Fashion columns.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being an author.
A. I love seeing my books in bookstores and on my own bookshelves. Being able to handle a book and turn the pages makes what I do very real. I haven’t bought an e-reading device and e-books are still pretty much theoretical for me. However, I am thrilled that people buy them as well as the paperbacks. And of course one of the best perks is hearing from readers who love my books. It’s amazing to hear from people from all over the country and around the world, and a bit humbling.
Q. What is the toughest part of being an author?
A. It is hard to keep going and keep writing when there are no immediate rewards, particularly in the middle of a writing project. So keeping your bottom glued to the chair is difficult. And it not always easy to come up with new ideas to keep the series fresh, ideas that are big enough to sustain a book. One of the hardest things is that I don’t have enough time for other projects and for reading other people’s books!
Q. If you could not be author, what would you do/be?
A. Well, I was a reporter before the books came out, I wrote plays, and I have a PI registration for the state of Virginia. I could do those things, but I always wanted to be an actress. So, in a perfect world, I’d go with actress.
Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. I’ve always liked the title Leaving Alamogordo, Now, that has nothing to do with me or my life, and I’ve never been to (or left) Alamogordo, New Mexico, but I like the sound of it. A better title might come along, especially seeing as how I’m still alive. (Like Jon Bon Jovi.)
Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
A. I couldn’t possibly choose. I went through the Gone With The Wind phase, the Jane Eyre phase, and yes, even the Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged phase. Basically I love a great story, especially mysteries. Among my favorites are Raymond Chandler and Elizabeth Peters.
Q. Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A. Neither my husband nor I could come up with a good answer. But he suggested that I might be like a character from a movie that was based on a famous play from the 1940s called The Front Page. The character is Hildy Johnson, as played by Rosalind Russell in the film version, His Girl Friday. I should mention that the character in the play is a guy, but Hollywood had a much better idea when they made Hildy a woman. And I’d like to think that, like Hildy, I’d have the moxie to tackle a suspect while running in a suit and heels.
Q. What character from all of your book(s) are you most like?
A. Okay, okay, I suppose I’m most like my main character, Lacey Smithsonian, a fashion reporter who gets no respect. Go figure. We both love vintage clothing and mysteries. Although I was never a fashion reporter, I gave Lacey a lot of my background. Many writers are like their main characters (or vice versa), at least mentally.
Q. What is your favorite season?
A. Autumn, by far. I develop a syndrome known as foliage psychosis. I just gaze at the leaves and say insightful things like, “Oh, wow, look at the colors.” I was married in October and almost every fall we travel to New England during peak leaf season. I love the sights and smells of fall, as well as the warm sweaters and hot cider that go with it.
Q. Are you working on something new?
A. I’m currently working on the next book in my mystery series, Veiled Revenge. And trying to find the time to finish a thriller tentatively entitled The Doll House in the Crawl Space.
Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A. I’m so delighted to be here today, and because I write crime of fashion mysteries, I’d love to know what your favorite, most loved or most loathed fashion crimes are. Thanks for having me.
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