Remarkable Receptions

Novelist and Television writer, Nichelle Tramble Spellman -- ep. by Nicole Dixon and Howard Rambsy II

December 29, 2022 Nicole Dixon and Howard Rambsy II Season 8 Episode 4
Remarkable Receptions
Novelist and Television writer, Nichelle Tramble Spellman -- ep. by Nicole Dixon and Howard Rambsy II
Show Notes Transcript

A short take on novelist-turned-television writer and producer, Nichelle Tramble Spellman. 

Nicole Dixon and Howard Rambsy II.

Read by Kassandra Timm.

In 2001, Nichelle Tramble Spellman published a mystery novel The Dying Ground, and in 2004, she published a sequel entitled The Last King. Both novels received notice from reviewers, and some readers expected Spellman to continue composing mystery novels. Well, she did continue writing, but now her narratives appear on screen. 

You’re listening to Remarkable Receptions – a podcast about popular and critical responses to African American novels. 

In 2007, Nichelle Tramble Spellman took her talents as a writer to television. She became a staff writer for the show Women’s Murder Club, which aired on ABC. In 2008, she wrote for Harper’s Island on CBS. Both shows – Women’s Murder Club and Harper’s Island – were mysteries, which linked to Spellman’s career as a novelist. 

In 2009, she briefly wrote for Mercy, NBC’s medical drama series. Then in 2012, she wrote and served as executive story editor for the neo-western series Justified on FX. That same year Spellman began producing and writing for the CBS series The Good Wife.  

This was the first series that she held the title of producer. She eventually went on to create and executive produce the Apple Plus series Truth Be Told in 2019. Spellman then served as consulting producer for the series Snowfall on FX in 2021. Remember, she began by writing novels, and now she is writing for television. 

Her show, Truth be Told, stars awarding winning actress Octavia Spencer. This series, which is based on the novel, Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber, portrays Spencer as a true crime podcaster reinvestigating a murder that she may have initially misjudged. Whether creating or producing, Spellman’s roots as a mystery novelist are still apparent. 

Truth be Told earned Spellman her first NAACP nomination and win in the Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series category in 2020. She was previously nominated twice for the Writers Guild of America Drama Series Award for her work on The Good Wife

From mystery novelist to television writer and producer, the trajectory of Nichelle Tramble Spellman’s career is remarkable. 


This episode was written by Nicole Dixon and Howard Rambsy. The episode was edited by Elizabeth Cali.


This podcast, Remarkable Receptions, is part of the Black Literature Network, a joint project from African American literary studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and the History of Black Writing at the University of Kansas. The project was made possible by the generous support of the Mellon Foundation.  For more information, visit