Diane Vallere is a powerhouse. Not only does she write four — that’s right, FOUR — mystery series, she’s served in a variety of volunteer positions, culminating in her current gig as national president of the renown organization, Sisters in Crime. How does Diane do it all, and what tips does she have for fellow authors? Read on…
EB: How on earth do you write four series?
DV: Truthfully, I wasn’t looking to write four series, but after you hear “no” for a long time, you say yes to all opportunities! Aside from characters, I try to find ways to differentiate the series: push the humor more in one, go a little darker in another, and also to keep a handle on the individual characters and their backstory. There’s something about me in each of them, but I try not to let the same characteristics overlap.
EB: Can you sum up each series in one line?
DV: Ah, a challenge! Here goes:
Costume Shop: Quirky characters in a town where nobody is what they seem—because they like to dress up in costumes.
Samantha Kidd: Former fashion buyer turns amateur sleuth in often hilarious style.
Material Witness: Polyester Monroe inherits the fabric shop she was born in and along with it a mystery about her family’s past.
Madison Night: The lightness of a Doris Day movie, the darkness of homicide, and a Shih Tzu named Rock.
EB: You’re my idol when it comes to clever book promotions and swag. In your experience what works and what doesn’t?
DV: Thank you! I think there’s one thing that sells books and that’s visibility. So any and all promo should work toward that goal. In some cases, just getting a series in front of new readers is a successful promotion, because people won’t read books that they’ve never heard of. Obviously, we all want tons of sales, but our efforts are like passing Go on Monopoly. You have to cover a lot of territory before you collect $200.
EB: You’ve held a variety of volunteer positions with Sisters in Crime. What was the hardest task you had to take on?
DV: Right now, being president is the hardest task because I am following in tremendous footsteps. Just thinking about the woman who have served in this role before me makes me want to up my game for the organization. I have a tendency to want to do a lot of things, and I’ve already been advised to set a few clear, achievable goals instead of trying to do it all.
EB: What are your primary goals for your term as president?
DV: Big picture, I want to continue to strengthen our relationship to libraries, help support our self-published author members, and focus on benefits for our published author members. (I’ve been told that’s a lot.)
EB: What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
DV: I am not organized in a traditional way. Most of what I do is kept in my head, snippets that I remember to follow up on just in the nick of time. Or that I’m a slob. My dad calls me Pigpen because a mess seems to follow me wherever I go.
EB: Thanks so much, Diane. Now get back to work on all those series!
Diane’s bio: After two decades working for a top luxury retailer, Diane Vallere traded fashion accessories for accessories to murder. MASKING FOR TROUBLE, #2 in her national bestselling Costume Shop Mystery Series, came out October 2016. Diane is the president of Sisters in Crime. She also writes the Samantha Kidd, Madison Night, and Lefty Award-nominated Material Witness mystery series. She started her own detective agency at age ten and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since.