The Dollhouse in the Crawlspace by Ellen Byerrum: Author Interview

MediaKit_BookCover_TheDollhouseInTheCrawlspaceIf 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?


Ellen Byerrum will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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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?”



Tell us about this story.

In The Dollhouse in the Crawlspace, Tennyson Claxton is a young woman who finds herself in a memory research institute, after being in a near-fatal car accident.  In her memories her eyes are green, but in the mirror her eyes are brown. Her memories come and go. She finds she has a fiancé she doesn’t like, a family she doesn’t remember. With multiple deaths around her, she must risk danger to discover her true self.

What living person do you most admire?

I don’t know her name but she’s the woman you see everywhere. She’s the woman who’s holding everything together in spite of life’s constant blows. She’s a survivor. I see her at the grocery store, in the park, at church. She’s everywoman.

What is your most prized possession?

My brain. Without that, I have nothing.

Who is your favorite fictional character of all time?

It changes over time. When I was a child it might have been Cathy Earnshaw from Wuthering Heights, or Jane Eyre.  But I reread an Elizabeth Peters book last week. So this week, my favorite character is Amelia Peabody.

Who’s the favorite character that you created?

They’re all my favorite characters as I write them. But it is a tie between Lacey Smithsonian from my Crime of Fashion mysteries and Tennyson Claxton from The Dollhouse in the Crawlspace.

What’s your idea of perfect happiness?

I don’t dwell on perfect happiness. I’d settle for general happiness. With my husband, my friends, good books, conversation and theater.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would like to be more organized to be able to write faster and produce more books in shorter periods in time.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Not exactly what I like to dwell on. But I think misery involves poverty, lack of opportunity, and no way out. The lowest misery is being without hope.

Why do you write?

Writing is my strongest skill.

Where would you most like to live?

I spent many years in Virginia and worked in Washington, D.C. It’s the location I write about the most.  I fell in love with the East Coast and would love to call it home again. At least part-time.

What is your motto?

Never give up.


Ellen Byerrum is a novelist, playwright, reporter, former Washington D.C. journalist, and a graduate of private investigator

AuthorPhoto_TheDollhouseInTheCrawlspaceschool 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



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