Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Valerie Comer joins us this week!!


Let’s give a warm welcome to Valerie Comer. J

 



Thanks so much for inviting me over, Misty. I like mining for diamonds almost as well as growing food. But, you know, food tastes better!

Thanks for joining us this week Valerie. We’re pleased to have you.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing?

I'm a gardener and farmer from western Canada and the delighted grandmother of three little girls. They say to write what you know, so I decided to set a contemporary romance series around the local food and sustainability movement. Knowing where our food comes from is important to my family and me. We grow a lot of it ourselves and buy as much as we can locally. But yes, we also support the supermarket for the remainder!

When did you know you wanted to be a writer, and did you pick the genre, or did it pick you?

I dabbled in writing for many years, but began to get serious in 2002. I started out writing speculative fiction — you'll find one fantasy novel on my Amazon profile. About 2008 I decided to try my hand at contemporary romance and was immediately hooked when I latched onto the idea for the Farm Fresh Romance series. I'd finally found my niche.
 
What book are you planning to giveaway this week, and can you give us a little sneak peek of what it’s about?

The book I'm giving away is Dandelions for Dinner, the fourth book in the Farm Fresh Romance series. Don't worry; you don't have to read them in order, though you'll probably want to.



She hates him. He loves her not.

Men are weeds. Allison Hart doesn't need them in her carefully tended life, though her friends at Green Acres seem happy with their guys. Why can't Allison open her heart to anyone but her young nephew? Then again, he'll be a man one day, too. If only the irritating contractor in charge of building her home and farm school wasn't the boy's favorite person.

Fireworks with Brent Callahan's newest client shift from antagonism to the rocky possibility of a relationship. When he comes face to face with a history he'd much rather forget, he realizes hiding his failures isn't the best option for finding forgiveness, let alone love.

Can a little boy help weed out the past before it chokes their future together?
I see that you inject food into your books. Other than being a farmer, what made you decide to do that?

My son and daughter-in-law attended university about ten years ago. I was amazed to learn how jealous many of their friends were, that they had a place where they could grow food and live a more sustainable life. There's been a wide shift in the last decade or so toward gourmet cooking with locally-sourced ingredients, and I've been happy to provide some of that flavor in story form, based on many years of farming experience as well as watching our kids when they returned to the farm and dug in after graduation.
I'm also a past board member of our local food society and still act as webmaster. My daughter-in-law now manages our valley's farmers' market. Our family life is rooted in this issue.

I also see you’re a beekeeper. J What’s that like and what does it entail? I must admit I’m interested in the process.

We started out with 2 beehives about 7 years ago. For a few seasons we kept nearly 80 hives, but sold off the majority two years back. My husband and son do most of the labor, suiting up, checking the hives, and adding empty supers as required — boxes with frames for the bees to fill with honey. In late summer, the whole family spends a few days extracting all the honey and filling jars and buckets. We still sell to a few customers who've stuck with us through ups and downs, but most now is for family use.
Interestingly, honeybees depend on dandelion nectar as one of the first major crops of the season. Fields covered in dandelions will help keep our bees healthy.

The third Farm Fresh Romance book, Sweetened with Honey, features beekeeping.

How hard was it for you to get published and is there a story that sticks out in your mind about your journey?

This would be a really long post if I detailed my journey, so I'll try to hit the highlights. I wrote with an eye to traditional publication for a number of years, and landed that elusive contract for a novella with Barbour in 2011 (Rainbow's End, 2012). This snagged me an agent, and I thought I was on my way. Although there was quite a bit of interest in what is now the Farm Fresh Romance series, it was a bit too far out of the box. After two years, disillusioned, I let my agent go.

I contracted the first two books in the series to a small publisher, but they didn't do well, and I regained the rights in July 2014. I released them both plus Snowflake Tiara (a few weeks later), a collaborative project with Angela Breidenbach. In November I released the third Farm Fresh, and in March, the fourth. I've also released a novella (Secretly Yours) in a new series and have the second novella (Pinky Promise) up for pre-order.

What sticks out in my mind? Honestly, an absolute gratefulness to God for the entire journey. My stories have gained a wide readership, and I can't begin to tell you how happy I am today as an indie author/publisher. God has blessed my socks off in the past eight months to the point where I am unbelievably relieved that no one contracted this series when it was first offered.

Is your family supportive of your writing?

They are. My husband always believed in me and, when my job and I parted ways in the fall of 2012, encouraged me to write fulltime. It's certainly paid off. I'm also thrilled that my very talented daughter does all my covers, as well as some for other authors.

Are the characters in your books totally fictional or do they have a little of the people you know in them?

There's always a bit of myself and people I know in every character, but by the time I've given the character a different family history, situation, and story problem, there's nothing recognizable left!

I always ask everyone I interview what their favorite work is, so what’s yours? Your favorite character? J

That changes with every new release, I think. I really do love Dandelions for Dinner. Many reviewers tell me that the series keeps getting better. I hope I can keep building on that with two more books to go before starting another full-length series.

Meanwhile, I'm having a ton of fun with my novellas. Pinky Promise, which releases April 7, was a riot because it features two single parents whose six-year-old daughters decide they should all be one happy family.

That would make Kelly Bryant of Pinky Promise my current favorite character. She's a no-nonsense single mom who is playing out the hand she's been dealt. She's not looking for love, but it's hard to resist both a handsome Christian man and two mini-matchmakers.

If you're interested in learning more about my passion for the intersection of food and faith, come on by my website at http://valeriecomer.com. You'll also find my blog, links to all my social media sites, and a signup to my email list where I give away a Farm Fresh Romance short story to subscribers.
You can also find the links to the first Farm Fresh Romance, Raspberries and Vinegar, which is free on all e-book platforms. Prefer a paperback or audiobook? I've got those options covered, too, but not for free!

Thank you for being our guest today, Valerie. It’s been awesome getting to know you.

I appreciate the invitation, Misty! Thanks for spending time with me today. Blessings on you and the Diamond Mine.

 

 

 

 

9 comments:

Peggy Trotter said...

Oh, Valerie, welcome to the Mine!! I love that you farm and you make me want to get started with my garden!!! I love your uniqueness with sustainable farming and bees. Your books look very tempting as well. Glad to have you!

Carlene Havel said...

What an interesting interview. I especially loved the beekeeper information. Thank you!

Renee Blare said...

Hi Valerie! Welcome to the Mine. :) We have a garden already going in the rather cold spring of the north. My husband's the gardener and uses hydroponics. He's disabled and the less digging in the dirt the better (although he does do that in a rather limited fashion.) No bees for me though. LOL
It's been a pleasure having you here!

Jodi Bowersox said...

Thanks for sharing your books and your life! Best of luck in the future!

Valerie Comer said...

Thanks, Peggy! It was fun to visit. Hope you enjoy your garden! :)

Valerie Comer said...

Thank you, Carlene! The third book in the Farm Fresh Romance, Sweetened with Honey, has several beekeeping scenes. Loved writing one of my passions into story!

Valerie Comer said...

Interesting on the hyrdroponics! I'd like to try that sometime. Less weeding, right? lol

Valerie Comer said...

Thanks, Jodi! I appreciate you stopping by.

Renee Blare said...

A LOT less weeding. He only plants the bigger stuff. I think he has some melons in the ground. :) Of course, he may plant some corn later. Too cold now.