Diane Vallere is a force. Her conference packing is legend. (Follow her in Instagram, you won’t be sorry.) She has written several series, all of which are a lot of fun. She’s also a former president of Sisters in Crime. One of my favorite memories of Diane was a Malice event where she got the entire room singing a Doris Day song (Que Sera, Sera?) trying to break a record. Anyway, let’s all give Diane a Wicked Welcome.
The Much-Maligned Mistake
by Diane Vallere
Mistakes, I’m starting to believe, get a bad rap. I mean, nobody likes making mistakes, and we don’t like admitting we made mistakes, but those mistakes sometimes teach us things we didn’t know we needed to learn.
Hear me out.
In a recent, regular weekly newsletter, I included a link to my website with details about an upcoming book. I quickly learned that there was an odd capitalization in the link, which sent the link to my error page. I knew I’d be sending an (extra, unscheduled) email the following day to alert them to a new promo so I made a note to send the corrected link, assumed I could live with the shame of making a mistake for the 24 hours it would take until I fixed it, and went on with my day.
The second day, I sent the new email with the new link. And made another typo! Oh no!
I am generally okay making mistakes. (It’s not my favorite part of the being-me experience, but we’re all human, we all make mistakes, and if I held myself to a standard at which I never did anything that wasn’t perfect, I’d never do anything.) But still, there is a point at which mistakes beget more mistakes and it seems like nothing I do will never be correct again.
Please tell me that’s not just me.
In the most recent Madison Night Mystery, TEACHER’S THREAT, Madison is dealing with the repercussions of a mistake that came with a high price: her decorating business. (If you’re not familiar with Madison, she’s a decorator who specializes in mid-century design which she taught herself thanks to a lifetime of binge-watching Doris Day movies.) Madison learns that fixing her mistake is not as easy as sending an email with corrected information (or not, as the case may be), but that starting over at the ripe age of fifty-one is going to be an uphill battle.
Mistakes, by nature, are unplanned. They leave us shaking our heads, spouting curse words, reaching for the cookies (or the wine). They can sometimes be fixed easily and sometimes have repercussions that throw off our carefully planned agendas. But mistakes are life’s teachers. They force us to slow down and pay attention. They make us do things over and over until we get them right. They hold us accountable for sloppy or rushed work, or maybe even working while preoccupied.
When I first had the idea to give Madison business troubles in the previous book, I didn’t understand the ripple effect that her mistake would make into future books. All I knew at the time was she needed some complications. It turns out, she and I both thrive on complications; we have that in common.
I sometimes feel like my mission in life is to make mistakes and then keep on truckin’ like it’s no big deal. (My newsletter subscribers, who get lots of stories about my life, probably already know this about me!) I find the same behavior in most of my characters. In Madison Night’s case, her mistake led her to business school. In mine? My mistake uncovered a much bigger problem on my website which I fixed before sending another (correct! I swear!) link.
Mistakes sometimes they lead us to places we never expected to be, and sometimes—if we’re lucky—those mistakes turn out to get us exactly where we needed to go.
QUESTION: What mistakes led you to a new opportunity?
National bestselling author Diane Vallere writes funny and fashionable character-based mysteries. After two decades working for a top luxury retailer, she traded fashion accessories for accessories to murder. A past president of Sisters in Crime, Diane started her own detective agency at age ten and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since. Subscribe to her newsletter (if you dare!) at dianevallere.com/weekly-diva.
ABOUT TEACHER’S THREAT:
A professor murdered during office hours. A decorator enrolled in his course. Can she outsmart the killer who designed the perfect crime?
Madison Night just learned that business isn’t sexy. She modeled her decorating career on a Doris Day movie, but after losing her company in a legal battle, the local banks are unimpressed with her unique sales angle. Determined to get her MBA, she attends night school – until her professor is found dead in his office after an intensely-heated lecture. Now the only degree she can think about is murder in the first.
While the college recovers, Madison’s last hope for a loan is denied. The dean resumes the coursework himself, and Madison can’t help wondering if the curriculum holds the clues to the murder. Continuing her education is not without risk; pursuing her MBA may leave her DOA.
Can Madison’s sleuthing make the grade or will failure be a fatal lesson?
Teacher’s Threat is the eighth captivating mystery in the Madison Night series. If you like smart protagonists, classroom controversies, and Cabot Cove syndrome, you’ll love Diane Vallere’s enjoyable book.