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.
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