Bio: Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western
Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary
Welcome back, Valerie. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write farm fresh romance because I'm fascinated with (and familiar with) all three topics. My husband and I farm 40 acres in southeastern
I love writing with a farm setting and local, fresh food, not only because they're my life, but because they're hot topics today and underrepresented in fiction. I toss in the romance because everything is better with a little sweetness.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
A few weeks ago my husband and I had a "picture perfect" day with our kids and three granddaughters (ages 4, 2, and 1 1/2) at a local hot springs. My heart was so full of thanks for the awesome privilege of being a grandmother to three active, charming little girls. I loved that I could play with all three of them at once and enjoy their delight in being together.
How has being published changed your life?
In a practical sense, not a lot. I wrote for ten years before my first release, and I continue to write now. I was busy on the farm and in the garden then, and I still am. Now I have to (get to??) spend time marketing, but I'm trying to make it about relationships as much as possible, particularly drawing in folks who are interested in the junction where food meets faith and fiction.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished Imogen's Chance, a romance novel set in
What is your current work in progress?
Sweetened with Honey is the third book in my Farm Fresh Romance series and will release in March, 2015. The series follows the adventures, romantic and otherwise, of three young women who buy a farm together determined to prove they can live sustainably and grow their own food.
What would be your dream vacation?
We don't travel much, so I don't do a lot of specific dreaming. There are many adventures I'd jump at if the possibility arose! However, in June we will spend more than a week on the north coast of
How do you choose your settings for each book?
The right setting is very important to me. In fact, you might call me a setting-driven writer, because it usually comes first when I'm planning a story. I've seen some contemporary fiction that could be set in any city, but that's never the case for me.
Because the Farm Fresh Romance series is set on a farm, I needed a growing season I could relate to. I chose to set the books in northern
Idaho, close to where I live in Canada. Then I
used my own climate and local foods as a reference for the books.
I also needed certain attitudes that are not present in that area, so I chose to erase the state north of
Coeur d'Alene and redraw it to suit my
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
ONE person? I'm going to cheat and pretend I didn't hear that. It's been several years since my four sisters and I spent time together, and I'd be thrilled to have an evening with them. We'd barbecue some Mennonite farmer sausage and play Hand and Foot to much laughter, reminiscing, and sharing of grandkid stories.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Spending time with my grandgirls is a high priority. We read, dress dollies, and jump on the trampoline. I also spend a lot of time gardening and preserving food over the summer months. When the farm allows us to get away, we like to pull our little holiday trailer up beside a mountain stream for a few days. Hubby will do some fishing, reading, and whittling beside the campfire, and I'll read and wade in the creek. Because we can't recharge electronics out there, it forces us to slow down and really take a break, although I sometimes do mind mapping or story work in a notebook.
For a number of years, we raised large gardens and preserved the food, both canning and freezing the produce. What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
To put the writing first. It's so easy to check email then answer a few then check out a link and, oh, look! Facebook. And a couple of hours go by.
As for overcoming it, I haven't. Every day it is a struggle, but I'm winning more often than not.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Don't think about publication for the first year or two. Practice. Learn what goes into telling a good story. I've actually got a free course by email over at http://towriteastory.com that gives an overview of the fiction writing process if any of your readers are interested.
Tell us about the featured book.
Wild Mint Tea (A Farm Fresh Romance 2) http://valeriecomer.com/mint
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.
Please give us the first page of the book.
"Do I have anything stuck in my teeth?" Claire Halford twisted in the VW's passenger seat and bared her teeth at her friend.
Sierra Riehl grimaced and plugged her nose. "The worst offender is kale, and we haven't had it all week. Are you telling me you haven't brushed that long?" She fluttered her fingers in front of her face.
To wave away Claire's bad breath? "Of course I brushed." But in all the unaccustomed staring in the mirror that morning, had she truly examined her teeth? She'd taken a dollop of mousse to her short hair and dug makeup nearing its expiration date from the back of her drawer. Once she wouldn't have left the house without either, but the rototiller didn't care.
She'd even allowed Sierra to slather her nails with polish, but only to cover up the fact she hadn't been able to scrub all the garden dirt from underneath them.
Claire stared at the small-town hotel at the end of the parking lot. Poor thing had seen better days, probably before she'd been born. Somewhere in there a decrepit old dude had set up a temporary office to hire a chef. Well, maybe he was only middle-aged. Forestry contractors couldn't be too ancient and still hike the nearby mountains every day. Could they?
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My home base is http://valeriecomer.com, where I blog and share about food, faith, and fiction. Readers interested in those topics are invited to join my email list and download an e-book called Seasons from My Kitchen, which contains recipes for foods that grow in each season. Links to my social media pages are on my site header.
Thank you, Valerie, for sharing this new book with us.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.Wild Mint Tea (Farm Fresh Romance) (Volume 2) - paperback
Wild Mint Tea (A Farm Fresh Romance) - Kindle
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