Get Lost in a Story readers, Suede to Rest? How's that for a title. Please welcome the talented and fabulously put together Diane Vallere to Get Lost in a Story.
Unraveling family secrets can be murder in Suede to Rest...
With her career as a dress designer in shreds, Polyester Monroe is looking forward to a fresh start. But as it all unfolds, the pattern to a new beginning looks a lot like murder.
When Poly Monroe was little, she loved playing in her family’s textile store. But after a fatal family tragedy, Land of A Thousand Fabrics was boarded up and Poly never expected to see the inside again. Now, as inheritor of the long-shuttered shop, she’s ready to restore the family business. However her two new kittens, Pins and Needles, aren’t the ones causing a snag in her plans...
Not everyone wants Poly back in San Ladrón, especially a powerful local developer pressuring her to sell—and leave town fast. But even when the threats turn deadly, she’s not ready to bolt. Because Poly is beginning to suspect that the murder behind the shop is tied to a mystery in her family’s unsettled past that she’s determined to solve before her own life is left hanging by a thread.
DONNELL: Welcome to Get Lost in a Story, Diane, first of all, I am probably the world’s best fan of puns. I see puns all over your blurbs and writing, Suede to Rest, Pins and Needles. These are adorable. Do you just think this way, or is this hard to come up with?DIANE: I am lucky. This is how I think! I’m sure it comes from my family. My dad is a big punster, and rarely a day went by when he wasn’t tossing out a zinger to my sister and me. I have been known to come up with title puns and then decide to write a book because I liked the tile so much!
DONNELL: How would you classify your writing? Cozy, humorous? Do you ever incorporate dark?DIANE: My writing style has a lot of humor to it, mostly because I do naturally see the humor in everyday life. In mysteries, it’s important to keep that humor in check at the appropriate times, though, because there’s still a murder and that has to be respected. SUEDE TO REST is the most cozy that I’ve written, and it was meant specifically for the Berkley Prime Crime imprint. This allowed me to dive into and create a wonderful little town and name lots of shops (where you’ll find even more puns!). I often say that I know there’s a dark story in me, but I need to mature a bit before I can really expose it. For now, I love knowing that I can entertain and bring a smile to a reader’s life.
DONNELL: For those of you just meeting Diane, she is a walking fashion statement. She always looks so put together. So, fess up. What do you wear when you’re at home during an average day of writing? (I would love it if we could put a picture of you in one of your beautiful outfits here.)DIANE: Today’s “beautiful outfit”: T-shirt from a Palm Springs Midcentury Modern vacation rental business and yoga pants! (Never fear, I would never leave the house like this.) I do like to go to the public library to write, which serves the dual purpose of getting me away from the never-ending pile of laundry and gives me a reason to put on real clothes.
DONNELL: You’ve written a couple of series now for different publishers. Tell us about them.DIANE: I write the Style & Error series, featuring former fashion buyer Samantha Kidd, who has given up her successful and glamorous life in order to move back into the house where she grew up. Each book puts Samantha in a different fashion-related job in her new small town.
I also write the Mad for Mod Mystery series, featuring a midcentury modern interior decorator who has modeled her life after a Doris Day movie, while continuing to be a modern, independent business owner herself.DONNELL: If you’re not writing, where will we find you?
DIANE: I like to see old movies in the theaters, which fortunately is something very doable in Hollywood. I also like to attend fashion and costume-related lectures and events, and I’m a definite fan of all things midcentury. And because of this series, I’ve been spending more time at fabric stores planning new sewing projects.DONNELL: What is the most interesting or unusual thing you’ve discovered doing research?
DIANE: I don’t know that I can come down to just one! I am a huge fan of Forensic Files (sometimes called Mystery Detectives), and often I’ll pick up a little piece of knowledge from that to use in a book. I picked up lots of fascinating information when researching arson for my next Style & Error book (SOME LIKE IT HAUTE), and learned all about the early citrus trade in San Dimas, California, when researching the third book in the Material Witness series. (San Dimas is the template for my fictional town, San Ladrón.)DONNELL: What is something you want readers to know about you, but no one has ever asked?
DIANE: This question has completely stumped me! How about: Q: Can you list all of the state capitals? A: Yes.DONNELL: Favorite TV Show?
DIANE: I adored Alias and can watch those episodes over and over. I recently discovered Veronica Mars and I binge-watched the entire series over a few days! I canceled my cable TV subscription last year and the only two things I miss are Project Runway and Dancing With The Stars.
DONNELL: Who inspires you?
DIANE: Isaac Mizrahi, who has experienced major ups and downs in his career, but continues to be relevant. Watching UNZIPPED can get me through any creative block. Woody Allen, who has made a movie a year since 1977, despite personal highs and lows and the opinions of critics. Meg Cabot, who is exactly 13 days younger than I am but who has published 80 books. (SUEDE TO REST is my 7th).
Diane, thanks for being our guest today! Now it’s your turn. Time to ask the readers a question:
DIANE'S QUESTIONS FOR READERS: Okay, readers! In SUEDE TO REST, Poly inherits a boarded up fabric store. A lucrative offer to buy the place is on the table. What would you do? Stick around and consider changing up your life to reopen the place, or take the money and run?
A copy of SUEDE TO REST goes to one lucky commenter!
Links and contact information