Monday, February 21, 2011

Ellen Byerrum's "Shot Through Velvet"

Ellen Byerrum writes the Crime of Fashion mysteries, which are set in Washington DC, The City Fashion Forgot, and feature reporter Lacey Smithsonian. Shot Through Velvet, the just-published seventh book in the series, takes Lacey on assignment to a velvet factory in southern Virginia on its last day of operation.

Here Byerrum shares her experience with casting adaptations of the Crime of Fashion mysteries:
The dream cast for the movie? Ahhh. Contemplating the possibility of having our books made for the silver screen is something writers love to indulge in, if only in our daydreams. But I don’t think about movies much these days because first, I’m in the middle of writing my next mystery, and second, two of my Crime of Fashion Mysteries were already made into films, which aired during the summer of 2009 on the Lifetime Movie Network. Killer Hair and Hostile Makeover were also tossed into the schedule once last year, but I had no advance notice to alert people.

A dream cast? I had a great cast for the TV movies, including Maggie Lawson as my Washington DC reporter Lacey Smithsonian; and Victor Webster, who played her love interest Vic Donovan. Some people claimed he was too handsome to play Vic, which is preposterous. How could anyone be too handsome?

However, when I write, I don’t usually think about actors playing my characters. I have a pretty clear idea of who they are, what they look like, and how they respond. I don’t want to be limited by writing with a specific actor in mind. It’s too easy to get stuck on a particular actor’s range and personality—and limitations. I want my characters to be free to keep surprising me, and they do.

With one exception: Harlan Wiedemeyer, the “death & dismemberment beat” reporter in my books. Harlan features in my latest book Shot Through Velvet (just released!), when he and Lacey discover a dead body together. Harlan is short and chubby and adores doughnuts, and his grisly reporting beat, full of bizarre and deadly news stories. I would love to see him played by Wally Shawn, the actor and playwright. You might remember him as the teacher in Clueless, and he was a standout in such films as The Princess Bride and My Dinner With Andre. As Harlan Wiedemeyer, chubby crusader for truth and justice (and all the doughnuts he can eat), Wally Shawn would be comic perfection.
Visit Ellen Byerrum's website and blog.

Writers Read: Ellen Byerrum.

--Marshal Zeringue