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I recently talked to novelist, playwright, reporter, and former DC journalist Ellen Byerrum about her Crime of Fashion mystery series as well as her other works on the All Things Relax with Sandi D. podcast. Ellen shares insights into her writing process, advice for working through writer’s block, and how difficult it was getting her plays published until she adopted a nom de plume.
Before interviewing Ellen, I read one of the Crime of Fashion books, Lethal Black Dress. Set in Washington, the heroine, journalist Lacey Smithsonian, attends the Washington Correspondents’ Dinner in DC, the scene of the crime.
Ellen shares that she attended three Washington Correspondents’ Dinners when she was a Capitol Hill reporter for the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA). Lethal Black Dress is a thrilling, romantic, and witty page-turner that takes you on a journey through the Washington, DC area.
I talk to Ellen about her creative process. She shares that coffee shops add to your creativity. She also shares her insights on what helps her with overcoming writer’s block. Ellen is currently writing a prequel to the Crime of Fashion series featuring heroine / fashion reporter Lacey Smithsonian’s great aunt Mimi. Mimi is Smithsonian’s source for a trunk filled with the vintage clothing featured in the series.
It was truly fascinating to see how Ellen overcame the obstacle of being a female playwright by adopting her nom de plume, Eliot Byerrum. She shares how at the time she researched the number of male to female playwrights on Broadway and then off-Broadway and decided that given that the odds favored male playwrights, she would change her name. Well, it worked!
I asked Ellen more about the business side of book publishing. She explained that she originally published with a traditional publishing house and then several years later decided to republish her books herself. She explained how the terms of book publishing contracts are more and more less favorable and that she preferred having control over how her work is distributed and what cover art is used. She also discussed the time factor and said generally it is much quicker to get a book to press when self publishing.
For All Things Relax with Sandi D. podcast listeners, Ellen is giving away one of her books, Mask of the Red Dress. To enter the giveaway, let us know you listened to this episode by commenting on over our instagram page @allthingsrelax. Note: This giveaway is not affiliated with Instagram in any way. Open to U.S. residents only ages 18+. Ends March 1, 2021.
All readers who sign up for Ellen’s newsletter can get a link to a free ebook for KILLER HAIR, the first book in the Crime of Fashion Mysteries. You can sign up through Ellen’s website or her Facebook author page.
Ellen is offering the first five books in her series in a Kindle bundle on Amazon. They include Killer Hair, Designer Knockoff, Hostile Makeover, Raiders of the Lost Corset, and Grave Apparel.
*Information about Ellen’s plays, written under her nom de plume, Eliot Byerrum, can be found on the New Play Exchange
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