I’m excited to introduce you to Diane Vallere. I met Diane through Sisters in Crime and then we became Mysteristas together! She always has something intriguing to add to our weekly Twitter conversation and I can’t wait to read her book. Isn’t she adorable?
1. Describe your writing routine and/or schedule?
I work a FT job but I write during every lunch break. That gives me a guaranteed 5 hours a week, and sometimes I’m able to tack on a bit more here and there, mornings or nights or a day off during the week. I generally average about 1100-1400 words during that lunch break.
I also make a point of using airplane time to write, and can take a cross-country flight (6 ours-ick!) and knock out 5-6K words.
2. What do you do if you get writer’s block?
Change of scenery works well, even if it’s as minor as taking my laptop and sitting at the dining room table instead of the desk.
Another thing I do is the three forks in the road approach. When I’m stuck at a plot point, I longhand write three different possible directions for the story. Inevitably, one of them is the “right” one and I can go from there. Doing three removes the pressure of getting it right the first time. Inevitably, the third one is the charm.
3. Who do you read, or recommend other writer’s read, in regards to craft?
There are so many fantastic books for writers, but my absolute favorite is Lawrence Block’s TELLING LIES FOR FUN AND PROFIT. When I was first starting to write, I would read a chapter from the book each day and the tips would be in the back of my mind as I got the story down onto the page.
4. Who do you read for fun?
I read a lot of different genres, not just mysteries, and I like everything from chick-lit to humorous mysteries to the occasional thriller. I’m on a non-fiction jag right now, which might be because it doesn’t compete or affect what I’m writing and it serves as research in a lot of instances. I just finished a biography about a master counterfeiter and I can’t stop talking about it!
5. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Tell us about it.
A few years ago, I was working on a tween novel and went back through old journals from my childhood. I actually found a page where I’d written, “I know what I want to do with my life. I want to be a writer!” I was fourteen at the time.
I was such a fan of Trixie Belden growing up that I remember thinking I would love to write a mystery, but I never had the right idea. Not sure what happened, but the ideas are the one thing I can’t control at the moment!
6. What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Write the book that you want to read. Because by the time it’s out there, you will have read it probably thousands of times! Also, to always remember why you want to write. For me, it’s the most fun thing I’ve ever done in my life. Also, keep your eyes open to everything that’s happening in the industry. So much change simply means there are many, many more ways to get to the same ultimate goal.
7. What do you think is the most important skill to have to succeed as a writer?
8. What is your favorite food and/or drink?
9. Do you have a favorite book or movie?
The Phantom Tollbooth (book). Movie is harder, but I do love How To Steal A Million (with Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole), and Some Like It Hot (Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe).
10. Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you’d like to share?
You didn’t ask about my writer’s wardrobe! When I write I tend to wear what any fashion-loving writer would wear: a beat-up college sweatshirt and a pair of Moon Boots something fabulous with ostrich feathers.
Diane Vallere, a 20-year fashion industry veteran, writes comic mysteries with a stylish twist. She taught assortment planning for a major luxury retailer, placed the first ever order for Spanx, and puts a touch of Halston into everything she writes. Designer Dirty Laundry, the first in her Style and Error mystery series, comes out June 2012. She started her own detective agency at age ten and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since. Visit her at dianevallere.com.