Miss Scarlet in the study with a knife?
No, that's just Diane.
After two decades working for a top luxury retailer, Diane Vallere traded fashion accessories for accessories to murder. She is a national bestselling author 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.
After 20-years in retail fashion, I left life in the corporate offices of a high status luxury retailer and moved to sunny California, armed, pretty much, with a desire to change my life and an idea for a fashion buyer-turned amateur sleuth. That was 2007. The truth was, I didn't know how well it was going to work out. The only thing I knew was I needed for everything to be completely different in order to shake myself out of the routine I'd settled in. I worked on that idea, joined Sisters in Crime, and started putting my work out there. Two years later, that manuscript, JUST KIDDING, won the RWA Get Your Stiletto in the Door contest. This later became DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY, the first Samantha Kidd Mystery!
That was a sign, right? I left a career where I'd been a shoe buyer and I won a contest called "Get Your Stiletto in the Door." So I buckled down, continued looking for a agent, and submitted a short story to an anthology. It was accepted, and the collection was published in 2011. My first publication credit!
Writing that short story taught me that I could write more than one character. I kept writing about Samantha Kidd, but tried other genres: women's fiction, middle grade, and suspense. I also had an idea for an interior decorator with a not-small interest in Doris Day movies, which became the Madison Night Mysteries. She's completely opposite Samantha Kidd. Except, she's kinda not :-)
You know that feeling when you've proven something to yourself---and you completely believe in your vision---but the rest of the world hasn't gotten on board yet? That was me. So I started Polyester Press, my own publishing imprint, in 2011, with the intent to create a niche publisher focused on fashionable fiction. What I didn't know was that a pre-press copy of DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY had been forwarded to a senior editor at Penguin Random House, who liked it enough to ask if I had other ideas. (Um, heck yeah I did!)
I'd learned a thing or two by this point, things about doors closing and windows opening, so I jumped at the invitation to submit one of my ideas. That idea became the Material Witness Mystery series, led me to signing with an agent, who picked up on my love of costumes and pitched the idea for the Costume Shop Mystery Series, making it a fourth series. Let me tell you, I've never been so happy to have this many voices inside my head.
My advice to you: don't be afraid to take the road less traveled or to make the decision that nobody else would make. None of us can predict the future and it's exciting to shake things up every now and then!
Here's the caveat: I also believe in not just following dreams, but in creating a roadmap of goals, tasks, and benchmarks to keep on track. Being a textbook Capricorn accounts for my drive, though I've never been a big fan of being told there's something I can't do. Would you be? Nah, didn't think so :-)
P.S. if after reading that you feel like we're kindred spirits, then sign up for my newsletter! Click the envelope. (you'll get a couple of awesome goodies if you do.) Go on, I'll wait.