The Dollhouse in the Crawlspace
by Ellen Byerrum
If you lost your memories, would you lose your soul?
“In my memories, my eyes are always green.”
After a devastating accident, a young woman finds herself recovering in a memory research facility. Her eyes are brown; her memories are broken. Years of her life are blank, yet she remembers being two very different women, one called Tennyson, the other Marissa. If she can’t trust her memories or her own eyes, who can she trust? 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. Lost among her shattered memories, can she find her true self?
The nightmare came again last night.
The cast-off thoughts of an incubus haunt me and press me and smother me while I sleep. Recurring and mutating, but always returning to taunt me. It calls me out of the Fog.
In the dream, I am running. It is very dark and the only thing I can see is the dim outline of a house. It resembles the home I lived in growing up. The home of one of me, anyway. It’s a little two-story white Victorian cottage with green shutters and trim, only three feet tall. There are lights on inside and the tiny door swings open for me. With every step I take I shrink, until I am almost small enough to fit through the front door. Something is hard upon my heels. Someone calls my name. This time, I can’t quite remember if the voice calls for Tennyson or Marissa. I’m almost home, almost up the front steps and through the door. But I never quite make it.
My face was wet with tears when I woke up, my heart beating like a drum in my chest, a sour taste in my mouth. Despite feeling like someone was in the room watching me, I was alone. I was conscious of the ever-present camera, but it was dark. I put my hand on my chest and willed my heart to slow down.
The first time I had the dream, weeks ago now, Giles was there beside me, suddenly turning on the bedside lamp. The glare hurt my eyes. “Tennyson, are you all right?” He reached for my wrist to take my pulse. He wore a T-shirt and silk boxer shorts. “What is it?”
1. How long have you been writing?
Writing has been one of my favorite outlets since my school days. I was a journalist for many years in Washington, D.C., and a few other places, but I never stopped working on other writing. While I had a full-time job, I also wrote almost a dozen plays, both one-acts and full-lengths, before I started writing my books. The first six mysteries were written while I held that job. It was never easy, but both reporting and playwriting helped hone my book-writing skills in terms of character, voice, and dialogue.
2. How long have you been a published author? As far as books go, my first mystery, Killer Hair, was published in 2003, followed by the rest of the books in my Crime of Fashion mystery series, which are set in Washington, D.C., the City That Fashion Forgot. Two of my plays, A Christmas Cactus and Gumshoe Rendezvous, written under the pen name Eliot Byerrum, are published by Samuel French, Inc.
3. What titles do you have available? The Dollhouse in the Crawlspace, my new thriller, is my most recent book, and it is available as an ebook and as a trade paperback. (Hooray!) In addition, all of the books in my Crime of Fashion series are available: Killer Hair, Designer Knockoff, Hostile Makeover, Raiders of the Lost Corset, Grave Apparel, Armed and Glamorous, Death on Heels, Shot Through Velvet, Veiled Revenge, and Lethal Black Dress. I also have a middle-grade YA mystery, The Children Didn’t See Anything, and a short ghost story, The Last Goodbye of Harris Turner.
4. What made you choose the subject of this book? My latest book, Dollhouse, lets me explore a lot of ideas, such as the importance of our memories and our personal histories to our lives. I also looked at the question: Would being fabulously wealthy be as enticing as it sounds? I wanted to write about a heroine thrown into a world she doesn’t remember or understand. Setting the story in and around the Hunt Country in Middleburg, Virginia, a place that is gorgeous and green–that was a bonus.
5. Do you have any new titles coming soon? The trade paperback of Dollhouse just came out this month, but I do anticipate writing a sequel, tentative title is In Memory of Me. Also, next year I will publish another in the Crime of Fashion series, tentatively titled The Masque of the Red Dress. And I have been working on a prequel to the fashion mysteries, featuring a character who worked in Washington, D.C., during World War II. It is titled The Brief Luminous Flight of the Firefly.
6. What is your favourite genre and why? Mysteries and thrillers are definitely my favorite genre, to write and to read. Crime is the genre that I reach for when I want a great read. I think the whole field of crime writing gives you the best of storytelling and atmosphere setting. However, I also like to read the occasional romance and biography to mix it up
7. What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process? A new idea is always exciting, because I haven’t begun the arduous task of writing and rewriting and rethinking. Ideas all feels so perfect before they land on the page! Another exciting aspect for me is when something clicks into place when you least expect it. I might be taking a shower or taking a walk and all of a sudden, one thing leads to another idea and, bam, the story falls into place as if I planned it. It feels like magic.
8. If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why? I would co-author a book with my husband, Bob Williams, for a lot of reasons. He is brilliant, creative, and a terrific editor. We always have many conversations about the books I write: the plot, the characters, the story arc. We’ve pretty much worked out the sticky issues of working together, and we’ve discussed working on a book together. It simply hasn’t happened yet..
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
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, which introduces Tennyson Claxton, a woman with two sets of memories from 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 and can occasionally be seen on odd dates and odd times in the middle of the night. The latest book in that series is Lethal Black Dress, but there will be more to come.
She has also penned a middle grade mystery, The Children Didn’t See Anything. She occasionally writes a newsletter that contains her latest publishing information.
You can find more about Ellen on her website at http://www.ellenbyerrum.com
Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/EllenByerrumBooks
Ellen Byerrum will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: