A Little Help From Your Friends — Guest Diane Vallere

Welcome Back, Diane! I’ve known Diane for several years, but really got to know her last year through her work as Immediate Past President of Sisters in Crime. She works incredibly hard for the organization and works hard on her writing. She’s an inspiration. Diane is giving away an ebook of the first in the Madison Night mysteries Pillow Stalk. Leave a comment for a chance to win! And be sure to look for another contest at the end of this post!

Thank you for inviting me to spend time with the Wickeds! I’ll admit right off the bat that I’m jealous over what you have. Not just the blog, but the obvious camaraderie, the professional courtesy, and the respect. It’s inspiring, and it syncs perfectly with one of the themes from my upcoming book, which is friendship.

With all the murder and mayhem that goes into a mystery, it might surprise some readers to learn that the crime writing community is filled with friends. Just attend a convention like Malice Domestic and you’ll see hugs and kisses, hear laughter and good times. Grown women who room together and act like they’re attending a slumber party. And a different group of grown women who stay out until three a.m. It’s a class reunion without the social climbing. It’s a lot of fun.

One of the questions I frequently get asked about Madison Night is why she doesn’t have more friends. And while the answer to that is rooted somewhere between the nasty breakup that caused her to flee Pennsylvania for Texas prior to book 1 and my own personal shakeup that caused me to flee Texas for California (much fleeing, I know!), I also know from experience that a life without friends is a little empty.

When I first moved to California, I knew next to nobody. My job at the time provided regular contact with coworkers and customers, so I had social interaction of a sort. Long distance friendships that were born out of other jobs dissolved. New friendships were made, mostly with writers who understood my priorities. Those friends—many of them discovered through my connection to Sisters in Crime—supported me as I started my new life.

One of my favorite things about writing the Madison Night books is the journey Madison is on as a person. She turned fifty between the last book and this one, and if you read a subset of contemporary mysteries, you may think curiosity ends somewhere in the mid-thirties. But Madison is my age (ish) and she’s just as curious as ever!

When the question about Madison’s friends (or lack thereof) came up, I started thinking, why doesn’t she have friends? What does that say about her? What does that say about me? Is she too isolated? Too wrapped up in her own world? Did her emotional walls keep her from letting others in, or—the thing we all fear when we feel alone—did nobody else really care about her?

I looked at the characters who peppered the earlier books in the series and saw that Madison’s friends were on the pages all along. They were silent supporters of her new life in Texas, friends who had lives of their own too. But when she needed them the most, they were there for her, and that’s the best thing about friendship.

We see more of Madison’s friends on the pages of Lover Come Hack than in previous books, and I think that’s because Madison herself is settling into her life and finally getting comfortable. She’s letting the walls come down. I guess she’s becoming part of a wicked group of her own!

That’s not to say friendship means smooth sailing, as Madison (and anybody who reads the book) is about to find out!

Readers: Have friends helped you through the good and bad of life?

About the book:

After a falling out with a friend flips interior decorator Madison Night’s world inside out, she’s determined to revamp her life. Jane Strong, fellow mid-century modern enthusiast, encourages Madison’s entry in an upcoming design competition, but their rift makes collaboration no longer an option.

When Jane is found dead, Madison tops the suspect list. And when anonymous computer hackings interfere with both the investigation and the competition, Jane’s murder no longer seems random. With a mess of a love life, an angry client, and a looming deadline on her contest entry, Madison turns to an unlikely ally to decode a motive before a crash becomes imminent.

Diane’s Bio:

After two decades working for a top luxury retailer, Diane Vallere traded fashion accessories for accessories to murder. She is a three-time Lefty Award nominee for best humorous mystery and a past president of Sisters in Crime. She started her own detective agency at age ten and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since.

Social:

W: https://dianevallere.com

FB: https://facebook.com/dianevallereauthor

IG: https://Instagram.com/dianevallere

YT: https://Youtube.com/dianevallere

Preorder Contest:

To celebrate the release of LOVER COME HACK, Diane is giving away a house! A reissue of a 1962 Barbie Dream House, to be specific. Get the scoop here (and get a peek at chapter one while you’re there!) https://dianevallere.com/lover-come-hack Good luck!

 

29 Thoughts

  1. Welcome, Diane, and thank you for all you do for Sisters in Crime! We Wickeds are blessed to have each other, for sure, and they are some of my closest friends. I’m glad you found your tribe and supporters in California. In my non-writing life, I’m throwing a 70th birthday party tomorrow for my dear friend Jennifer, who has been my bestie since we started grad school together 41 years ago!

  2. Love your description of Malice Domestic! As for friends, I went to a women’s college (Wellesley), and decades later I still get together with my various roommates, classmates, and friends I made then. We just pick up the conversations where we left off, and we never run out of things to talk about. I treasure those relationships.

  3. Thanks for visiting the Wickeds Diane! And congratulations on the new book. I am in awe of all you juggle. Looking forward to reading it. As for friends helping me through? Absolutely. The Wickeds are.all.on that list for sure.

  4. Fortunate to have a couple of totally awesome friends that are there for me for both the good and the bad. They are my sisters by choice. I have found that you find our who your true friends are when the chips are down. It was these two that saved my sanity and kept me grounded when we were full-time caregivers to my Mom with Alzheimer. A true friend knows when to let you laugh, cry, be silent or need to talk. Sometimes it’s just being there that makes them special.

    “LOVER COME HACK” sounds like a great book and one that I’d love to read.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  5. Frankly, the fact that Madison doesn’t have a can-tell-everything-to, has-every-skill-needed friend is refreshing to me!
    Thank HEAVEN for Facebook and blogs! When I moved to where I am now, it was a small town, settled in the 1700s by 60 local families, (three-quarters of which survived). It was impossible to get into local organizations and even those people who truly wished to be friendly had no room in their lives for a newcomer. They had extended family and friends from all their lives, plus they seemed to be divided into camps, and didn’t trust “Brought-ins”. We Brought- ins try to find each other, but most leave, even though the town has built up physically.
    It’s still really hard to find people with like interests or who don’t stare blankly at my sense of humor!
    So when I say that most of the time I have had no friends in this town, (going on 25 years), it’s hard to believe, but true.
    It’s always good to hear from you,Diane and to see you on FB. I continue to wish you success and hang in there! You aren’t really alone.

    1. Tonette, the internet has really changed things! My closet friends are scattered around the country–scratch that, scattered around the WORLD. (maybe soon I’ll have some in space? A girl can dream.) I still remember the first time a reader asked why Madison didn’t have any friends. I hadn’t even noticed that!

  6. Diane, just popping in to say how much I love this series. It’s refreshingly original, and I am drawn to Madison and her quirky pursuits. Doris Day and mid-century modern are great memories, and it’s fun to read about them resurrected in today’s world.

    No need to add me in the drawing, as I already have all the ebooks. Thank you for the entertainment!

  7. Having moved several times, each to places far enough apart that friends don’t “go along”, I, too, don’t have any close friends where I live now. However, I do have a lot of people I feel comfortable with and know would be here for me if I needed them. I have on-line friends, some of whom I’ve met in person, who I trust with my secrets (not told on-line!) and who understand where I’m coming from. I don’t feel at all isolated. I do get out a lot and see a lot of people. But I envy people who have long-time friends who are near by. My all-time and long-time BFF lives several states away, but we still have our moments. Bless her. I would love to win your latest book, Diane.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Ginny! My long-time BFF and I have lived in the same state many times over, just not at the same times! It’s a running joke between us. And yes, you gotta watch out when it comes to telling secrets online… 🙂

  8. Only having read the first two books, I would agree that Madison has friends. They just aren’t quite as active as friends in most books.

    (And yes, I have read the first, so please don’t enter me in the giveaway.)

    1. Thanks, Mark! I think we all have and maintain friendships in our own different ways. Madison was always a bit of a loner by nature, so her broadening her social circle had to happen slowly!

  9. Congratulations on the latest book! I’ve only encountered Madison through the novella in Other People’s Baggage–and she was great. I’m looking forward to getting started on a new-to-me series. Also, I somehow discovered while shopping estate sales to furnish my new home that mid-century modern is apparently my favorite furniture style!
    – Melanie

    1. Melanie! You’ve discovered a love of mid-century modern! How exciting for you! Soon you’ll be reading Atomic Ranch magazine and RetroRenovation blog (and spending time with Madison Night 🙂

  10. Most cozies seem to “require” a best friend and groups thereof, partly as some requirement printed in some of the websites. Quite honestly, I don’t think the large group of friends is necessary for a good story every time. I do have friends going back about forty five years and I have gained new ones everywhere I have lived and I have moved a lot! I have discovered over the years that friends don’t have to be omnipresent every day but friends do get you through life in lots of ways, some serving different purposes at different times. However, boyfriends and husbands come and go but some of your closest friends are there forever!

  11. Welcome, Diane! Sorry to be late to the party. My protagonist doesn’t have friends and I have pondered his greatly. But she has her boyfriend, her sister, her mother, her landlord and neighbors across the street, so I think she’s okay even though female friends her own age have only passed through three of the six books.

    That Barbie house is totally cool.

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