Thursday, August 16, 2012

Diane Vallere Gets Lost in a Story

Diane Vallere is a textbook Capricorn who writes mysteries and loves clothes. Her first publication credit was “Identity Crisis” in FISH TALES: The Guppy Anthology. She launched her own detective agency at ten years old and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since. Her debut novel, Designer Dirty Laundry, is now available.


The book…

Samantha Kidd, ex-buyer turned Trend Specialist, designed her future with couture precision, but finding the Fashion Director's corpse on Day One leaves her hanging by a thread. When the killer fabricates evidence that puts the cops on her hemline, her new life begins to unravel. She trades high fashion for dirty laundry and reveals a cast of designers out for blood. Now this flatfoot in heels must keep pace with a diabolical designer before she gets marked down for murder.


 

What they’re saying…


"...the book is enriched by the author's cleverly phrased prose and convincing characterization. The surprise ending will satisfy and delight many mystery fans.” – Kirkus Reviews


DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY” is a sleek and stylish read." – Ellen Byerrum, author of the Crime of Fashion mysteries

"A captivating new mystery voice, Vallere has stitched together haute couture and murder in a stylish mystery.” – Krista Davis, author of the Bestselling Domestic Diva Mysteries


An excerpt…


"When you wear fishnet stockings to the grocery store, people tend to stare. Women look at you like you’re affiliated with the sex trade. Men pretend they’re not staring, doing so all the while. It’s probably because they’re thinking the same thing. 

The last time I wore fishnets to the grocery store was weeks ago. It was then I met the man who changed the course of my life. Because of him I’d traded in the title Senior Buyer of Ladies Designer Shoes at Bentley’s New York to become the Trend Specialist at Tradava, the family-owned retailer in Ribbon, Pennsylvania. I’d given up an apartment in Manhattan to buy the house where I grew up. And now, because of him, I sat in a police station, explaining my actions to a homicide detective.

I still couldn’t pinpoint exactly when it all started to go wrong."
                                     

Get your copy

 

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Let's chat with Diane!

Susan: So, you launched your own detective agency at age ten, right? What was your first case?
Diane: The case of the missing pencils. One of my classmates continually found himself without a pencil. He hired me (and my partner, because all great 10-year-old detectives have partners) to find out who was taking them. While he suspected the people who sat near him, turns out the real villain was gravity. They were rolling off his desk to the floor.

Susan: What caused you to switch from detective work to the fashion industry? 
Diane:  I have always loved solving problems, but I’ve also always loved clothes. When I graduated college with an Art History degree, my mom (who I think was concerned that I’d move home and stay forever) suggested I go to the mall and fill out an application. Thus, the start of a career in retail fashion.

Susan: You are certainly well-travelled. What is your favorite place you’ve visited so far?
Diane: I was lucky enough to get to go to Milan, Paris, and London for my job, but I really loved Lyon, France, where the lingerie fair is held each year. I travelled with a fabulous boss who gave me complete autonomy and a coworker who was also a mentor. I’d become friends with a few of my vendors, too, and for us to all be in France and call it work was an embarrassment of riches.

Susan: What’s your favorite kind of story to get lost in?
Diane:  I love to read but often can’t find blocks of time because I’m trying to stay focused on the story in my head, so a book that I can read—devour!—in an afternoon, or over only a few days, is the best.

Susan: The protagonist in Designer Dirty Laundry, Samantha Kidd, is a trend specialist. Can you tell us a little about what she does?
Diane: Samantha’s job is to assist the Fashion Director in recognizing trends from the runway, to communicate between the buyers and advertisers about the trends that are important to Tradava (the store where she works), and to promote the trends through fashion shows at the store.

Susan: Is it true that you make cupcakes that looked like crime scene tape for a Sisters in Crime meeting? Can you get us some of those?
Diane: Yes, I did! Truthfully, I asked the bakery department of my local grocery store if they could make them for me. They said they could, but their body language said otherwise, so I ordered cupcakes with bright yellow icing and shook black sugar through a stencil to spell out the words. I’m sure the cake decorating staff is quite talented, but I did not trust them to embrace my vision.


Susan: What was the first story you remember writing?
Diane: I was an avid reader of Sweet Dreams Romances when I was growing up and I tried my hand at writing one myself. I still have it. It was the story of Abby and Vinnie, two very competitive math students vying for the top grade in Geometry, and the new boy, Chris, who comes between them before helping them see they are destined for each other. I recently typed it up (yes, it was written long-hand) and titled it “The Square Root of the Problem.” It lives a nice existence on my hard drive now.

Susan: How much is Samantha like you?
Diane: Oh boy. I think Samantha is the person I might have become if I had made different choices after college. She represents the idea that a person can be smart but not very bright at the same time, and I often feel that way (though I don’t think I’ve admitted that until just now!). She is more fearless than I am, for sure, has a better figure. She wears what I want to wear and somehow has the money to buy it. Oh, and she’s an Aries, which I am not.

Susan: When reading and/or writing, do you put yourself in the heroine’s role?
Diane: I do, and I think that’s natural, though I think my writing clicked when I first started thinking, “what is he thinking right now?” about the male lead, or “how does the detective react to how Samantha is reacting?” It was a big lesson learned from my editor (Ramona deFelice Long), and now when I’m writing I find myself thinking from all sorts of different POVs. Makes me feel slightly crazy to have so many voices in my head, but it definitely leads to a better first draft!

Susan: What drew you to write mysteries?
Diane:  I started reading mysteries when I was around 9 (note direct impact on the soon-to-be-founded detective agency), and I found something inspiring about kids solving crimes that adults couldn’t. Trixie Belden wasn’t just a character to me, she was the person I wanted to be (but was a little afraid to be, because of her frequent interaction with counterfeiters and gun smugglers and danger).

Susan: I wanted to be Trixie, too!  (sigh)
What three things are, at this moment, in Samantha Kidd’s purse?
Diane:  Duct Tape, lipstick, and a punch card (with 10 punches) for a free hoagie at the local sandwich store.

Susan: What is Samantha’s biggest vice?
Diane:  Shoes. Or junk food. It’s a tough call.

Susan: A girl after my own heart! But really, shoes can't be considered a vice, can they? What are the next five books on your ‘to be read’ pile?
Diane: In no particular order: Dead Politician Society by Robin Spano, Artifact by Gigi Pandian, Nazareth Child by Darryl James, Ghost in a Polka Dot Bikini by Sue Ann Jaffarian, and Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History. (*disclaimer: I often scramble my TBR list and there are hundreds of books I’m eager to read!)

Susan’s GOTTA ASK:  What is your favorite scene in Designer Dirty Laundry?
Diane’s GOTTA ANSWER:  This is tough because two sprung to mind. There is a scene in the second half of the book where Samantha gets interrogated. I loved the scene until I took a course on interrogation taught by a homicide detective and realized how far away from reality I was. (Another disclaimer: this book is intentionally funny and is not to be used to train anyone planning on enrolling in the police academy. I took liberties.) I had to rewrite the scene, letting Samantha be Samantha within the general constraints of an interrogation, and I think it ended up better than it was originally.

But I also love the tree scene at the museum.


Susan: What’s up next for you?
Diane: PILLOW STALK, due in October 2012 


 
Catch up with Diane on the web:
Website           Facebook            Facebook (Polyester Press)

 Twitter              Goodreads               Blog             Mysteristas



Diane has a question for you:

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you while you were shopping?

Diane is giving away a signed copy of Designer Dirty Laundry and an ARC of PILLOW STALK to one person who leaves a comment today—please be sure to leave your email address in the body of the comment to enter the drawing.


Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only unless specifically mentioned in the post. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address.


29 comments:

  1. Wonderful interview Diane and Susan. I'm crazy for the crime scene cupcakes...

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    1. Hi Lucy, I wonder what a Key West food critic would think of the cupcakes? Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Great interview! Diane, My husband and I were also art history majors. Out of college, he sold shoes and I worked as a receptionist. We were right behind you in illustrious art history careers.:) Designer Dirty Laundry is on TBR pile! Love the fishnet in the grocery store passages. Can't wait to read it!

    Susan & Diane, I think I'm the only girl who didn't read Trixie Belden. Boxcar Children, Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and then graduated to Elizabeth Peters. I'll have to go back and check out Trixie.
    Larissa

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    1. Larissa, Another art history major! Nice to see we parlayed that degree into mystery writing. Re: Trixie Belden, we need to have an intervention. I'll be in touch.

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  3. Oh, LOVED Trixie Belden. Wasn't there also Donna Parker?

    And reading the body language of the bakers proves how observant you are! A necessity for a writer.

    The craziest thing that's happened to me while shopping? A fellow shopper recognized me--and asked me if I knew another reporter in town. I said--oh, yes, are you his mother?

    And it was his wife.

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    1. Hi Hank! I haven't read any Donna Parker, but I do have a different series that reminds me of you: Sally Baxter, Girl Reporter :)

      And oops on the mother/wife comment!

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  4. Thanks, Lucy! Interviewing Diane was so much fun--I love those cupcakes!!

    Larissa you must read Trixie Beldon. You can't miss out of Trixie...yes, go find her!

    Hank, om my gosh! (Smothers giggle feeling guilty...)

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  5. The scene where Samantha gets interrogated was definitely one of my favorites in the book!

    I might have been a couple years older than you were when I started my childhood detective agency, because I distinctly remember that as a detective at my Snoopy Detectives agency, I had a fedora and a fake cigarette -- one of those flour-wrapped bubble-gum cigarettes ;)

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    1. Gigi, I LOVE that you had a detective outfit! And the name, "Snoopy Detectives"--perfect, especially in a dog eat dog world.

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  6. What a fun interview, ladies!

    The craziest thing that's happened to me while shopping lately was a few weeks ago, when the cashier at Costco looked at me and said "didn't I just see you on the news?"

    Back in the day, I was a print reporter, not a TV one, so I'm not used to such things. I had just been interviewed on a local station -- I just never expected to be recognized by a stranger!

    Diane, I love the fishnets passage!

    Hank, I bet that's up there with the "when is your baby due?" To the woman who's not pregnant. I only ever made that mistake once.

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    1. Hi LynDee,

      You reminded me of something that happened a LONG time ago: I was recognized from the paper while sleeping out for Madonna tickets. (Once upon a time I was a swimmer and the local paper had done a profile on me...). This was before social media and it was a little odd!

      Thanks for the comment!

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  7. The only strange shopping incident that I remember was taking a daughter shopping, then having to sign up for a Penney's charge card because I forgot to bring money. (And that daughter is now 50-so it has been a while.)

    I also remember reading about Samantha Kidd from Guppy trading pages or pitches, I forget which.

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    1. Norma,
      I had to sign up for a Sears credit card because I had car repairs that exceeded the money in my checking account. Credit: solution or curse?

      Yes, Samantha definitely made herself known on the Guppy circuit before she turned up at Polyester Press!

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  8. I totally enjoyed Designer Dirty Laundry. Samantha is a sassy sleuth with smarts and great fashion sense. It was refreshing to read about a young woman who used her brains and not just stumble into the solution to the crime. And I love her black & white outfit on the cover. She should have kept the purple hat. Looking forward to your next offering.

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    1. GB, I think you're right--Samantha probably wishes she kept the hat, too. I'm glad you saw her problem-solving skills in action!

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  9. Congratulations on the book! Don't think anything crazy's happened.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. bn100- if nothing crazy has happened while you're shopping, then clearly you're not shopping enough. Get thee to a mall, stat!

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  10. Hi Diane!
    The craziest thing that ever happened to me while shopping was the afternoon I left the Saks Fifth Avenue shoe department without buying even one pair of shoes. Crazy, right?

    I thoroughly enjoyed the interview, and your blurb for Designer Dirty Laundry still has me grinning. Can't wait to read it!

    Happy sales! ~Rochelle

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    1. Rochelle, That IS crazy! I have often succumbed to the siren song of shoes.

      Thanks!

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  11. Great interview, Diane. Looking forward to reading your work, especially Pillow Stalk!

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    1. Hi Linda, The interview is only as good as the questions, and these were so much fun to answer.(Thanks again, Susan!) I hope you like Pillow Stalk!

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  12. Sorry to have missed the party and cupcakes. A late welcome to Diane and wishing you continued success.

    ~Angi

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  13. Enjoyed your interview! :) Looking forward to reading your latest!

    Hmmm...crazy thing during shopping... Well... I have seen mobs fighting over shoes... :) But understandable when the price is good and the shoes are gorgeous! Not sure if that counts.

    maybe31 at yahoo.com

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    1. May, I once saw two customers fight over a handbag. One of the male models working in the store was an off-duty police officer and stepped in. Truth: stranger than fiction!

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  14. And it looks like bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com is our winner! Congratulations! Diane, it was so much fun having you on Get Lost in a story!

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  15. Hi, Diane --

    I loved, loved, loved "Designer Dirty Laundry." My favorite part of the book is the scene where Samatha is up a tree.

    The strangest thing that I've run into while shopping just happened this weekend. At the grocery store, I saw a package of stewing beef for $841. Looking at the other packages, I saw that all of them were in the hundreds of dollars. When I took the packages to the meat department worker, he said that the butcher was obviously half asleep that morning. Food is getting expensive, but that was a bit much.

    Wishing you continued success with your writing. I can't wait for "Pillow Stalk."

    Grace

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