Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Crushed Velvet Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Diane Vallere to the blog today. Diane writes the Material Witness Mystery series and Crushed Velvet, the second book in the series, was just released this month!

Kathy: Polyester Monroe is about to open her fabric and notions shop, Material Girl. Do you sew?

DV: I do sew, more so now that I'm writing Poly's story than I did before that. Even when I go through dry spells, I sew in October when it's time to make costumes.

Kathy: Although I don't really sew I do enjoy looking through notions and using them in craft projects. Do you have a favorite notion?

DV: I can't explain why, but I love the notions aisle in the fabric store. I especially love all of the colorful zippers and seam binding. And racks of colorful thread. And buttons! Really, anything small and colorful.

Kathy: Fabric is fun. Do you have a favorite fabric?

DV: Lately I've been enjoying 100% cotton. Once it goes through the washer and dryer and is shrunk, I know it's always going to be the same size. Plus, it's easy to work with because it doesn't have a lot of stretch. Lastly, because of quilting, there's a huge assortment of whimsical patterns available.

Kathy: Poly's friend, Genevieve, owns a local tea shop. Are you a fan of tea? Do you have a favorite tea?

DV: I enjoy tea now and then. I generally drink Darjeeling, but mostly because I like saying the word.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

DV: Long before I knew there was an actual term for them, I enjoyed mysteries that had characters who I'd like to spend time with, ones who felt like regular everyday people. I liked falling into their worlds, experiencing their worlds, and reading about their pets. I've also always loved mysteries, having been a big fan of Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, Nancy Drew, and The Three Investigators, and cozies felt like grown up versions of these books.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

DV: I've written women's fiction, middle grade, and a more traditional mystery, but all are unpublished. When I have the time, I'd like to do the work on them and expand into other genres, but for now, I'm enjoying the cozy world.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

DV: The Material Witness series features Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric store where she was born. When she decides to reopen the long-closed store, it gives her life new purpose and opens the rest of her world up to possibilities.

The Madison Night series features an interior decorator who specializes in mid-century modern and watches Doris Day movies to teach herself the design styles of the fifties and sixties. Madison is in her late forties, has shut out the world after being hurt too many times, but is learning that it's never too late to take chances.

Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

DV: This is a very tough question to answer, and I’m not sure that I can! I will say that I really like writing Vaughn McMichael and how he and Poly interact.

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

DV: I used to pass an old fabric store on my drive home from work. It was called House of a Thousand Fabrics. It looked like it had been around since the fifties. I couldn’t tell if it was open or not (apparently it was but has since closed), but I used to wonder what kind of treasures were inside, and then I thought, what if it had been closed but nobody ever emptied it out? That became Land of a Thousand Fabrics, the store that Poly inherited.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

DV: Probably a bit of vanity. I had so much fun writing books and creating characters that I wanted them to find an audience.

Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

DV: Meg Cabot, Mildred Wirt Benson, Sue Grafton, and Judy Blume. And I’d ask Kendel Lynn, who is also an author, to co-host. Is that cheating?

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

DV: Really exciting stuff: Public Relations for Dummies and Web Design Demystified. I need a cozy—stat!

Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

DV: I love watching old movies, especially when I get to see them in theaters. And reading, of course! I go through phases of sewing, decorating, sketching. I love wandering through antique malls and flea markets, looking for midcentury treasures. And for quiet time, I like to go to the beach early in the morning when nobody else is there.

Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

DV: Oregano, popcorn, Japanese gyoza, and peanut butter.

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

DV: There will be at least one more Material Witness book, Silk Stalkings, which comes out in August 2016. In February, I have a new series called the Costume Shop Cozy Series. The first book is A Disguise to Die For.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?

DV: I love the days when I get completely lost in the story and forget about everything else. That’s when I know something is working!

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  1. I love the unique name of the main character and her new shop's name is inviting too. Thanks for interview. I enjoy finding out more about the author and their books.

  2. I love both of the series, the characters are so unique and fun. Thanks for the giveaway.

  3. I just love cozy books! Can't wait to add this one to my collection.

  4. My grandmother used to give me all her old, single buttons for projects! Can't wait to read more about Poly!

  5. I loved the first book in the series

  6. I haven't read it yet, but it have the first book. This series looks good as well as the costume shop one coming soon.