Hi, Valerie! Give us a couple sentences describing what you write.
Hi Natalie! Thanks for inviting me to your blog. I write contemporary romance from a rural perspective: farm lit where food meets faith.
How would you label the overall mood of your stories: dark, gritty, poignant, sensitive, heart-warming, raucous, light, fresh, tummy-tickler (funny), educational, adventurous, witty, passionate, reminiscent, sweet, forceful, eye-opening.
I'll go with fresh. After all, it's in the title of my current series, A Farm Fresh Romance. But light, funny, and heart-warming are all fighting for second place!
What is the name of your latest book?
Wild Mint Tea.
Using any celebrity, past or present, who would you cast as your main characters?
I can't really answer this, as I don't pay much attention to celebrities. However, readers can check out my Farm Fresh Romance board on Pinterest to see stock images of my characters: http://www.pinterest.com/valeriecomer/farm-fresh-romance/ I've got other story inspiration on that board as well.
Cool! I love this. And LUV Pinterest.com :) Gotta run go check it out for myself. Okay I'm back. Ya'll, there is seriously fun stuff on that pin board!
What is the theme of your story and how did you come to it? Any real-life inspiration?
In the end, I think the theme of Wild Mint Tea is "being enough." Claire worries about not keeping up her share of the expenses of Green Acres Farm that she bought along with her two friends, Jo and Sierra. Of meeting people's expectations.
And sure, it's a universal struggle, I think. I know it's a problem for me. Am I good enough wife, mom, grandmother, author? Am I meeting everyone's expectations, or do the people in my life look at me and shake their heads?
Zephaniah 3:17 is a great reminder. "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing."
I'm not only "enough" for Him, but He writes me love songs. How cool is that?
A sneak peek into what you're working on right now?
Sweetened with Honey is the third book in the Farm Fresh Romance series. Both Sierra and Gabe played a large role in the first book, but Gabe wasn't around for the second story. Now I'm having a great time finding ways to push them further apart before allowing them their happy ending. Sweetened with Honey releases in March, 2015.
I've also joined forces with Angela Breidenbach to write Snowflake Tiara, a Christmas duo of novellas that releases in September. Angela's story is historical, and mine contemporary. And yes, my beauty pageant novella is still right on my brand of farm lit! You'll have to read it to see how.
Oooh! These stories sound like something I would love to sink my reader teeth into! Now, tell us where all these fun stories are born! Describe your writing space:
My laptop stand is right in front of a west-facing window upstairs in our little farmhouse. Today snow is drifting down and there's no evidence of mountains or even neighbors. In summer, the lush view includes my vegetable garden, our pastures, the neighbors' farms, and the mountains beyond.
Inside, I have a long worktable that forms an L with my makeshift desk. Above that rest two vital boards. One is a large inspiration board, covered in photos, maps, calendar printouts, floor plans, book covers, and other items that serve to keep me inspired about my work-in-progress. The other is a giant whiteboard, where I can scribble notes and jot mind maps when a little brainstorming is in order.
I share my office with visiting granddaughters from time to time, which means everything that could be remotely interesting to toddlers has to be removable!
Haha! I can imagine how fun that is! :) Speaking of grandchildren and keeping busy, do you work a “day job”? Is there a secret/technique you’ve found that helps with balancing the writing and working life?
I don't anymore, though I did for the first ten years of my writing life. These days I write fulltime from home, along with a couple of freelance online marketing jobs. I don't have any tricks. Every day it's a struggle to keep the balance between new words on the page, email, blogs (I'm part of 4 group blogs as well as my own), social media, marketing (my own and paid), and my real life which includes a lot of gardening and food preservation in the summers as well as time with my family.
Wow! I have enough trouble keeping up with my own little blog. (He he he. Valerie knows this well, since I actually forgot her interview until late today. I felt terrible for it, but Valerie is such a kind person and made it all okay. *smile* ) Speaking of blogging, do you do you want to leave us the address to yours?
I do! I've been blogging at http://valeriecomer.com/blog for a long time. It's morphed a number of times during those years, and I currently blog a "simple smile" on Tuesdays and a longer post, usually where food meets faith and fiction in some way, on Fridays.
Now some fun stuff about you... :)
On a dream research trip, where would you go? What would you ask to see/experience first?
As a farmer and foodie, I live my research, lol. But I'd love to see how others do it. Ideally, I'd go somewhere in the Pacific Northwest (where my series is set) or western Canada (where I live) and experience a farm-to-table restaurant, interviewing the owners and savoring the local food.
When you read, do you prefer paperback, e-book, or audio? Why?
For me, it's mostly digital reading. I have an eye disease that makes paperbacks challenging, so I'm very thankful for my Kindle that adjusts to meet my needs. I doubt if paper books make up even 5% of my reading any more! While I love podcasts and nonfiction by audio, I haven't yet ventured into fiction that way, but I should give it a try. My brain needs something to think about during all that weeding in summer!
Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their creation-care-centric church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.
Valerie writes Farm Lit where food meets faith, injecting experience laced with humor into her stories. Raspberries and Vinegar, first in her series A Farm Fresh Romance, released in August, 2013.
You can connect with Valerie at her website and blog at http://valeriecomer.com, where you can join her newsletter list where she offers exclusive contests, giveaways, and news on upcoming releases. Her social media links are also available on her site. Please visit!
She’s rooted deep. He flies free.
Local-foods chef Claire Halford envisions turning Green Acres Farm into an event destination. Weddings prove trickier than she imagined when the first one comes with a ruggedly handsome brother-of-the-bride, who has everything but a fixed address. Oh, and faith in God.
Noel Kenzie loves the freedom his reforestation company affords him. Why worry about deep stuff like God and commitment when he’s in his prime? Except there’s a woman who might make it worth giving up his wings…and digging in some roots. If he dares.
Which of these things can readers can do to help spread the word about this book?
Word of mouth,
Like the author's Facebook page, follow on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Goodreads,
If you win/buy a copy, post a pic with the book,
Repin book quotes or cover art from the author on Pinterest.com,
Recommend to a library or book club, or start one with this book!
Absolutely! You have a great list here, Natalie. I think the biggest things that readers can do for a book they love is share it. Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads really help a lot so that strangers will take a closer look at the title.
If you've read a book and loved it, also ask your public and church libraries to order a copy. Blog about it and tell people what, exactly, struck you as "true" about the story. Definitely tell your friends via Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest!
And if you've loved one of my books, I welcome you to subscribe to my newsletter, where I offer contests and giveaways as well as exclusive content. This way, you'll be sure to know when there's something new in the pipeline. Join me at http://valeriecomer.com/connect/enewsletter/
Thanks so much for inviting me over, Natalie! I've loved chatting with you about Wild Mint Tea.
Your readers are welcome to enter my Goodreads giveaway (open until March 17) for a paperback. But I'm happy to offer one commenter a digital copy, as well—winner's choice of Kindle or ePub.
I shared one of my favorite scriptures (Zephaniah 3:17). What's one of yours? Why?