SOME PEOPLE ARE drawn irresistibly to a particular profession. Sometimes by happenstance, sometimes by design; sometimes by a mixture of the two.


Ellen Byerrum has always been drawn to the profession of writing, as a reporter, a playwright, a media professional, and a mystery writer. She earned her journalism degree at a major public university, which has since scuttled its once-prestigious School of Journalism and folded the mighty journalism program into a mere  “Department of Communications.” (Journalists everywhere were saddened.) Luckily, she'd built a successful career as a working journalist before her degree in this rapidly changing profession could be used against her.


Ellen has worked at a number of reporting jobs, beginning her career at small newspapers in small towns in the West -- including one particular town she has fictionalized as “Sagebrush, Colorado.”  Later she found her way into the Big Leagues of journalism: Washington, D.C., a city rich in history, culture, political drama, and crimes of fashion. Our Nation’s Capital is a fertile source of inspiration for her Crime of Fashion Mystery series.


In researching her mystery novels, she's earned her private investigator’s registration in Virginia, interviewed innumerable fascinating sources, and toured such varied scenes as a velvet factory in its last days, abandoned cowboy campsites in backwoods Colorado, and the immense costume collections behind the scenes at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. She also researches and collects vintage clothing, like Lacey Smithsonian, the heroine of her Crime of Fashion Mysteries.


However, Ellen notes ruefully, the fictional Lacey seems to have more clothes and a larger closet. (And of course Lacey has her Aunt Mimi's magical bottomless trunk, filled with fabulous vintage clothes, fabrics, patterns and fashion memorabilia.)


Copyrighted photos of Ellen Byerrum are provided here for use by book reviewers, journalists, publicists, and other media professionals. Full-size images are also available upon request. Please request permission before using, and give copyright credit to the photographer.
These photographs © Joe Henson
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SOME EXPERIENCES THAT have inspired Ellen's stories:
Seeing a dead woman at her grandparents’ country club as a child. (The Children Didn’t See Anything)
Reporting on murders, mayors and school board meetings for a zany small town newspaper in the thinly disguised small town of “Sagebrush, Colorado.” (Death on Heels)
Attending a school for private investigators in suburban Virginia. (Armed and Glamorous)
Working in the marketing department of a major hair salon chain. (Killer Hair)
Touring a velvet factory where the manager told her "there are lots of ways to die here." (Shot Through Velvet)
Inspiration may strike anywhere and everywhere. But inspiration is only the starting point. Sometimes a story takes on a life of its own and takes off in a new direction. The finished story might have little in common with that first spark of inspiration. Ellen also firmly believes that every good story is in some sense a mystery. A good story makes the reader wonder (and care about) who these characters are, what shaped them, what drives them, what kind of world they live in, and most of all, what’s going to happen next.
In addition to her Crime of Fashion mysteries, starring fashion sleuth Lacey Smithsonian, Ellen has published her first independent ebook, a novella entitledThe Children Didn’t See Anything. Geared toward middle grade and older readers, this tale introduces a brand-new set of characters, including the precocious twelve-year-old twins Evangeline and Raphael Bresette. More adventures featuring the Bresette twins may be forthcoming.
And Ellen's heroine Lacey Smithsonian will continue solving crimes (of fashion and otherwise), with her unique nose for nuances of style, and her eye for a subtle fashion clue.

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All website contents © Ellen Byerrum, except as specified.  All rights reserved.
My books and plays are available from online booksellers and traditional bookstores. Click on the stack of books at the right to go to my Book Shopping page. Most of the links there take you directly to my books. Thanks for shopping!
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The Crime of Fashion Series
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My Other
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Foreign Editions
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