Monday, June 22, 2009

An Interview with Ellen Byerrum

Tell us about your writing schedule.

My schedule is changing since I left my full-time job as a reporter a few weeks ago. But when I worked, I would regularly visit a coffee shop, book store, or library. I’m trying to find my rhythm again.

Tell us about your books and where the idea came from for Lacey Smithsonian.
I was reading a lot of mysteries where the female sleuth was bright and clever and witty and could go mano-a-mano with the guys, but she didn’t know how to dress. It drove me crazy, so I came up with a fashion reporter who can read clues into what people wear. Naturally, she is wonderfully dressed and loves vintage clothing.

Okay, tell us about the movies and how KILLER HAIR and HOSTILE MAKEOVER went from the written page to made for television movies.
Sisters in Crime sponsored a conference on how to sell your book to Hollywood . After a great schedule of workshops, a studio tour, and an advanced showing of the Dexter premiere, along with about 80 writers, I pitched my book to two producers, Rona Edwards and Monika Skerbelis. All I can say is the pitch clicked, and two and a half years later through options and contracts and hooking up with Lifetime Television, here we are.

As readers we want to know what you will be writing next and if there will be more movies? I am working on a stand-alone psychological thriller, and then will work on another Lacey Smithsonian mystery. I’d have to swipe somebody else’s crystal ball to answer the movie question, but we can hope.

What advice do you have for the novice mystery writer?
Find a group of like minded writers to commiserate with and continue to work on your writing. Remember the writers who are published are the ones who finish their books.

Is there something you would like to say to your readers?
Thank you so much! You keep me going when the going gets tough.

What is your favorite meal, dessert, and place to vacation?
I love a good medium-rare steak and sautéed mushrooms. (Not politically correct, I know. But I’m from the West. I don’t dig salmon.) For dessert, just about anything chocolate would do. I’d love to say fruit, but that would be a lie.

Ellen, this has got to be an exciting time in your writing career and life. How do you feel about the series and what has happened?
Wow, there’s a question. I’m thrilled with what has been happening and I’m so excited that people who never heard of the books will now give them a try. And of course, I’m hoping the best is yet to come.

Do you have an agent?
Yes, my agent is Paige Wheeler of Folio Literary Management. Your agent is one of your most important decisions in your writing career.

Tell us about your book covers because you have some wonderful covers.
I love my covers and I have nothing to do with them. Luckily, talented illustrator Craig White has been creating the distinctive look for the covers of the Crime of Fashion mysteries. His Web site is located at

Now tell us about how you plot, characters, setting, writing a series and how you balance all of this and have a life outside of writing books?

I’m not sure you do manage to balance everything. When I was working the day job, it was all I could do to write a book a year, and try to manage all the promotional activities that you’re expected to do. It can be really exhausting and take a lot of thought and effort. I’m lucky because I have a terrific husband who reads, edits, and discusses my work with me. He also rubs my neck, and you need a lot of neck rubbing after al that typing.

Last but never least is there something more you would to add to this interview?

If you want to find our more about me, please visit my Web site at
It’s been a pleasure!


  1. Oh, Ellen, congratulations! Lacey has been one of my faves for such a long time, and your books are wonderful.

    And did you say--you left your job as a reporter? Hmmm. Love to chat with you about that, of course.

    See you soon..

  2. You're so kind to say so. I've been in a mad whirl for the last few weeks. Hopefully things will calm down a bit now and we can get in touch.

  3. Ellen,
    How did you think Alica Silverstone did as
    Lacey Smithsonian in the movies?

  4. recorded it and am watching this weekend. Will let you know. If you look at yesterday's blog by Pamela you will see her report - which was a definite YES!

  5. I really enjoyed Killer Hair. Maggie Lawson was great! And the posse/crewe were great together. Looking forward to Hostile Makeover. Oh and Ellen - I saw you in the scene by the white house! How fun to get to do a cameo!

  6. The cameo was fun, the weather was freezing. During the shoot, I heard a guy on a cell phone who told someone, "There are some really good looking people here." Obviously Hollywood was in town.


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