Interview: Diane Vallere

Please welcome Diane Vallere, author of Designer Dirty Laundry.

What’s your idea of a perfect day?
My perfect day would include about 72 hours! Seriously, I think having enough time to do everything I want to do in a day would make it perfect. And a little extra time to read, too.

Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
If I have a signature anything, it would probably be Pucci printed dresses. I have a slight addiction to them, I think I own 13. That’s what Jacqueline Susann wore on her book tour while promoting Valley of the Dolls, and I think that in itself is fabulous!

Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
John Hughes, Orson Welles, and Doris Day.

Do you listen to music when you write? 
I don’t listen to anything when I write at home, but my protagonist’s theme song is “Messin’ With the Kidd,” by Junior Wells.

If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
It would be a Hershey Bar with almonds. Hershey is in Pennsylvania, and Designer Dirty Laundry is set in Pennsylvania. The candy bar is milk chocolate—nothing too dark or deep—but the almonds are the “meat”: the fashion industry info and the character growth. Or, maybe the nuts are just nuts.

What made you interested in writing this particular story?
Being the younger of two girls, I grew up with the nickname “the kid.” I liked the idea of having a character literally named Kidd (Samantha Kidd). I put her into the house where she grew up, in the city where she grew up, and wanted to play with the constant pull of her having been successful in her former work life (but not satisfied) vs. her feeling like the kid she was when growing up, still trying to figure everything out on her own.

What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing? 
I tend to explore issues of identity. Not on purpose, but I can see that that’s the issue that’s central to my protagonists. My next book features a character older than Samantha, with a much more firm grasp on her own identity. In Designer Dirty Laundry, Samantha is still figuring out who she is.

Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today? 
Samantha Kidd doesn’t quite know what she wants out of life. She’s a natural problem solver and an over-achiever, probably the result of being a younger child herself. She’s learned that hard work and dedication get her praise in her job, but after many years of success as the buyer for a luxury department store in New York, she starts to realize that the countless hours at work and the praise on her performance reviews isn’t enough to satisfy her.

Samantha is willing to charge into situations without thinking about the repercussions. She’s able to live in the moment and not get bogged down by fears and what-ifs. I think I’d be a bit more rooted in reality if this situation happened to me, but I would love to have Samantha by my side telling me to worry about such stuff later!

Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Gracie Allen, Carrie Bradshaw, and Trixie Belden.

If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Judy Blume, Mildred Wirt Benson, Susie Hinton, Lawrence Block, Norton Juster, and Vladimir Nabokov.

What’s next for you? 
The first book in a new series, Pillow Stalk, comes out in October. Interior Decorator Madison Night has modeled her life after a character in a Doris Day movie, but when a killer targets women dressed like the bubbly actress, Madison’s signature sixties style places her in the middle of a homicide investigation. The local detective connects the new crimes to a twenty-year old cold case, and Madison’s long-trusted contractor emerges as the leading suspect. As the body count piles up like a stack of plush pillows, Madison uncovers a former spy, a campaign to destroy all Doris Day movies, and six minutes of film that will change her life forever.

***

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.

Email: diane@dianevallere.com
Twitter: @dianevallere
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/diane.vallere
Newsletter Signup: http://polyesterpress.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4739022.Diane_Vallere

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20 thoughts on “Interview: Diane Vallere”

  1. What a great interview. Especially love the mash-up answer and the Jacqueline Susann reference. I have a question: how did you come up with your title (if you don’t mind sharing)? It’s so clever.

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  2. Yes, I like the mash-up answer, too.

    The original title of this book was Just Kidding. It was a reference to Samantha Kidd and the fact that she’s now on her own (I was going for a Good Will Hunting or Grosse Point Blank kind of thing). Eventually I realized Just Kidding lacked a reference to fashion and a reference to a mystery. Designer Dirty Laundry was a phrase I used in my query letter and it had everything I wanted.

    Thanks for the awesome interview!

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  3. Love this so much! I’m so excited about these interviews and love learning more about Diane. I ADORE that your signature items are Pucci dresses! Such style! Designer Dirty Laundry is the perfect title!

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    1. After I bought my first true vintage Pucci dress I spent an afternoon at the library, combing through photos of celebs in Pucci, to see if I could spot something similar. Ms. Susann wore an outfit from the same print! I was so, so excited to see that. Maybe our dresses were hanging next to each other in a store somewhere before they were purchased…

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  4. What a great kick off to the Author series! On a related note, I saw on a list serv the “deadline schedule” that you’ve created for your releases. I’m inspired. I love the business like approach to setting your release dates and working toward them. Thank you for the example you’ve set!

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  5. Donna-I love getting back in touch with my inner businesswoman as I schedule my upcoming releases. And Gigi, I would totally take 96 hours in on day! I just didn’t want to be greedy!

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  6. What a fun Q&A. I have read Diane’s new book and totally loved it. Samantha is witty and classy and smart, just what I wanted to read with some terrific twists…like the identity of the villain who surprised me. This is a good read.

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  7. Cool! Since my protagonists are blues harp musicians, it’s nice to hear another author’s using the blues for their “theme song”. Junior Wells was a heck of a blues harmonica ace.

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    1. Hi Ricky– Junior Wells is a bit under appreciated, I think! I wanted to use the song in my book trailer but the rights were a bit pricey. I just realized that I renamed the song in my interview here to accommodate my protagonist’s surname, too. Oops!

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  8. Great interview, Diane! Oh how I wish we could have 72 hours in a day–or 96, even better. I have Designer Dirty Laundry in my TBR stack and can’t wait to read it. (Back to needing a few more hours in a day.) PILLOW STALK sounds like a great read as well! Wishing you many, many sales!

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    1. Theresa, when I first saw that question I thought, how the heck am I going to answer that? I’m not even a chocoholic! And then it hit me. Thanks for the challenge 🙂

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  9. AWESOME interview, Diane! Thanks for going first–you have such interesting answers and really give us a good idea what Designer Dirty Laundry is about and who you are. I can’t wait to read DDL and I’m looking forward to Pillow Stalk too! (Love your take on the vintage clothing vibe.) Am ordering and preordering today! 🙂

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