Monday, May 14, 2012

Interview with Valerie Comer and her new novella PLUS a GIVE-AWAY!!!

First of all? Happy Mother's Day! Here's to all the moms that are moms now, who wish they were moms, who were moms and to those who are moms by friendship!
I was offered the opportunity to interview the lovely Valerie for her new novella, Topaz Treasure which came out at the beginning of the month. Valerie enthusiastically agreed (I think) even while knowing that with me, an interview would never be dull or typical.
Here's the write-up for her new novella!!!
Valerie Comer's debut novella, Topaz Treasure, which is part of the Rainbow's End collection, is a May 2012 release from Barbour.


It's an interesting group of strangers who show up for the first annual Rainbow's End geocache hunt, and the spectacular scenery along the bluffs of the Lake of the Ozarks is just one reason.

Lyssa Quinn volunteers at the Rainbow's End geocaching hunt hoping to find the nerve to point folks to the true treasure found in Jesus. She's not expecting her former prof to be there, too. Kirk Kennedy's treasure hunt takes him down a path he hadn't intended when he is captivated by Lyssa's intriguing sparkle. Can he convince Lyssa that there is more than one kind of treasure? Can Lyssa remind him of the greatest prize of all?


Sounds romantic, doesn't it? Well, it is. And my take on it? It was a lot of fun! I got so mad at Kirk though that I wanted to throw something at him. I would have thrown the book, but it was downloaded onto my computer and I don't think my husband would have appreciated me throwing the laptop. And yes, incase you were wondering, some of my books have dented ends on them.

 
This is Valerie. Isn't she cute? Below is her write up.

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 grows much of her own food and is active in the local food movement as well as her church. She only hopes her imaginary friends enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, gardening and geocaching with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters. Check out her website and blog at http://valeriecomer.com.

This is her novella. Doesn't it look fantastic???

Question time!

what are you wearing? I'm wearing brown pants and a teal top with sparkly copper bits, socks and shoes.
 what do you usually wear when you write? The above is fairly typical, actually.
 where do you write? ambiance? music? tea? I write at work in a small-town flooring shop, where I've been for 11 years. I've arranged display racks to create an office area in the back corner, where I still have a good view of most of the retail space. My bosses were so happy I could entertain myself for hours on end (gets pretty quiet in here!) they got me internet and asked periodically about my writing. Now they're encouraging but somewhat dismayed to find signed copies of a Christian romance novella collection in their possession. Do they really need to read this???

As for ambiance, I've made this corner my own. I don't write well to music, so it's usually quiet. I bring a mocha from home every morning and after that's gone, it's water all the way. My favorite snacks are sugar snap peas and grapes. (You'd think I'd be skinnier!)
 so... nitty gritty part. The heroine, Lyssa, has some 'sparks' with her old professor. Did you have a crush on your professor? Tell the truth now. Every girl does at some point. You're sending my brain back a lot of years here. I did attend 3 semesters of Bible school before dropping out. I spent a few months in Bolivia with my sister, then came home and got married. The only memories of teachers I can dredge up now had gray hair back then. So, no. I didn't pull that aspect of Lyssa from my own background at all.
 Obvious question: where did you get the idea for the story? Where does any writer get their ideas from? Bits of hundreds of things swirling around in the dark recesses of my brain decided to glom together to create this story. Sort of like evolution, come to think of it.

Have you ever been geo-caching? Yes, it's a hobby that my husband and I have been doing for about four years now, although we haven't gone all crazy with it. It's been cool to discover new hiking trails near home along with some history. We have several sites of ancient pictographs near here, which I didn't know until we started geocaching.
How did your husband propose? Come on now... Jim and I started "dating" in high school, as much as we could date in a very strict Christian boarding school. A few months after graduation both sets of our parents moved, landing about 90 miles apart in southeastern BC, Canada. Our relationship slowly developed and we began talking about marriage. Jim didn't exactly ever propose. We just planned a wedding, which took place three years or so after our high school graduation. It seems to have worked for us, as we're celebrating 32 years this summer.
 Is Lyssa you? Do you have a hard time sharing your faith? That's the part of Lyssa that is me, yes. Isn't it ironic my debut forces me to talk about that openly? Don't tell me God doesn't have a sense of humor.
 How did it come about that you were part of a foursome to write novellas?  Barbour put out a call for proposals in December 2010. I knew immediately this would be a solid chance to catch the brass ring, but it took a few weeks to find the right people to put a proposal together. Nicole O'Dell had been a crit buddy of mine for a couple of years at that point. She and I brainstormed grounding four stories in a geocaching outreach event put on by a (fictional) church. Then we pulled in Cara Putman and Annalisa Daughety and crafted our individual stories around the basic premise. Two weeks later, we had an offer from Barbour.
 Your favourite novel? I don't know if I have a fave. Or at least it changes regularly. I love a lot of speculative fiction--my earlier manuscripts were all in that genre. In the last few years I've found a lot of contemporary romance novels that I loved to sink into. If they have a sprinkle of humor, so much the better. Perhaps my favorite author currently is Sandra D. Bricker.
 Your favourite meal? Is this another trick question? I like food! Things I like best are fresh from the garden. Right now local asparagus just started, so my current favorite meal is asparagus fajitas. Make just like 'regular' fajitas but instead of peppers (or as well as), use asparagus. Mmm. That was dinner last night and will be at least once a week until the season is over.
Any plans for new stories/books? Many plans. My agent and I have several proposals circling publishers, looking for a place to land. Meanwhile I just keep writing so I'm ready when I get the nod.

What does 'green-tinged' Contemporary Romance mean? It means that all my stories have some sort of environmental or local food subplot or thread running through them. In some of my (unsold) work, it's a major part of the story. I believe that, in general, Christians should be taking better care of the Earth because it is the home God provided for us as a loving gift. How can we love God and think nothing of trashing his gift? However, I'm not a rabid environmentalist--honest!
Of all the jobs in the world that you could pick from, which would it be? And you can't say writer. That's predicatable. Some of the things I wanted to be or do when I was younger, I'm thankful I didn't do. I wanted to be an interior designer, but I couldn't handle living in the city, for instance. I love a rural life, and I'm living it. We farm, garden, and keep bees. What's not to like?
If you could live anywhere in the world? be specific. There are plenty of places I'd love to visit, but the unvarnished truth is that I live in the most beautiful place in the world, the Kootenays of British Columbia, Canada. We have an awesome climate that allows us to grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables as well as grains. For folks who are neck-deep in the local food movement, there is no better place to live. Although my house could use a major renovation.

If you could grow anything in your backyard? We grow just about everything we want in our own backyard already. While cherry orchards abound on the hillsides and benchland near our farm, we can't grow our own as our land is lower in elevation and we get pockets of frost that kill the blossoms. So, I'd love to be able to grow our own cherries because we'd do it organically, and those are hard to find when everyone is growing them commercially. Grapes are a bit iffy on our property, too. I think you'd be amazed at what all we DO grow, though!

 Best advice you can give to a new writer? Have patience! I wrote nine novels over nine years before landing a contract for one novella. Even though most of my stories won't see the light of day (I sincerely hope), they weren't wasted. I learned how to develop characters, how to find a plot, how to tell a story--all with low pressure.
My second bit of advice follows that: Don't put all your eggs in one basket. If you've written something and it doesn't work, set it aside and do something else. You've learned from it. That's great. And if your first story was better than mine and you've sent it off to an agent or editor, forget about it for a while and write something else. It takes more than one book to make a career.


Are you mad that 'Lost' is over? You lost me here. I heard that was a TV show? I've never watched it, and know nothing about it. And I don't even feel like my education was sadly lacking.

Isn't she marvelous? Aaaaand she's SO marvelous she's going to give-away a free copy to anywhere in the world!!! Yes, I'm talking to you Australia, Mozambique and the South Arctic (do they have mail?). So the contest deadline is May 21st. Which means you have PLENTY of time to submit your name! Now, I'm a tad mean. Mwahahahhhahaaa! I'm not just wanting your name in it. You have to tell me your favourite book in the entire world. One that you could read every single year, no matter what. The Bible doesn't count. And neither do any Jane Austen books. Valerie and I had a quick chat about that, and my theory is that people want to look smart and important so they automatically choose classic literature. Like if you ask any famous Canadian celebrity what they are reading, they will automatically choose Canadian authors. That's cheating!!! So pick a book that you read every single year. I love to read, and I love recommendations! So, please add your favourite book and name to the post below! And feel free to say why it's your favourite book, because that makes it even more tempting!


Jenn Kelly is an author who is looking very thoughtful in this picture. Because she wants you to think she is a thoughtful person and very contemplative. While listening to the White Stripes. She is currently a finalist in the Canadian Christian Writing Awards for children's books and won't find out until June 13th at the Gala. And she doubts she'll win because she's up against a Governor General award winner but wouldn't it be nice if the funny book won for once? The other finalist is a very nice teacher from Niagara. You can visit her bloggy/web-site thingy at http://www.jennkelly.com/

16 comments:

  1. Thanks for a fun interview, Jenn!

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  2. Fun questions Jenn. I'll enter the contest for your book, Valerie, even though Jenn makes me work for it. I can't name just one favourite book that gets read every year, but I will read one of the "Anne" books by L.M. Montgomery most years. "Rilla of Ingleside" always makes me cry so I have to be feeling strong when I pick it up.

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  3. Thanks for the super interview Valerie and Jenn.

    I'd love to win a copy of the book as both my main character and I are newbie geocachers- it's a fun hobby.

    My favorite book which I often reread is "Leota's Garden" by Francine Rivers because I love the characters and get totally engrossed in their lives.

    ruthdell(at) mweb (dot) co (dot) za

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  4. What a great interview! My favorite book is not published. It's the scrapbook my godfather, our family physician, created for me when I was twelve. It shaped much of who I am today.

    It begins with a poem he wrote:
    "You're twelve years old today, dear,
    And I'm past seventy-three.
    It's back to back we're dreaming, but
    It's different things we see..."

    I've had that book for sixty-two years in June. I will be seventy-three then, and I refer to it frequently, not just annually. It is my greatest earthly treasure.

    Is there someone you could create such a book for?

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  5. Hope Toler DoughertyMay 15, 2012 at 7:36 AM

    Thanks for an interesting interview. Choosing a favorite book is difficult--especially with the boundaries you set!--so here are a few of mine: Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons, The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Catherine Palmer is the author who pulled me into reading Christian fiction. I especially love her Treasures of the Heart series set in Africa.

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  6. Thanks for sharing fave books/authors, Alice, Ruth Ann, Judith, and Hope. Judith, I love the sentiment in your grandfather's poem! What an awesome book idea.

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  7. Great interview.My favourite books - couldn't pick just one.The Friendly Persuasion by Jessamyn West and Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle,and every poetry book by Aussie poet Andrew Lansdown.
    dharcombe@bigpond.com

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  8. Great post, Valerie. I learnt about geo-caching which I've never heard of. I'd love to learn more about it, and am intrigued by the title of your book. I have a working title for my next book as Operation Rainbow's End, but it's a military story.:) My favourite book is Jodi Picoult's, 'House Rules'. I'm interested in autism, my son is an Aspie, and Jodi has captured the Aspie's mind beautifully.
    laura-at-laura-oconnell.com

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  9. Thanks for commenting, Dale and Laura! Rainbow's End isn't a particularly unique title for a book, sadly. But it really did suit the treasure hunting theme of the collection.

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  10. Love this interview... the questions are fun! Thanks for doing it. Ummmm my favorite book.... Any Dr. Seuss books. rofl. Seriously, I could read Dr. Seuss over and over again. Gosh, as for adult books, probably one of Francine River's books-- Redeeming Love or Atonement Child, or her Lineage of Grace/Sons of Encouragement Series.

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  11. Great interview, Jenn and Valerie. Best wishes for this book's success. The book "God Calling" has a permanent place in my...um...restroom and a permanent place in my heart. Gets read every year.

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  12. Oh, pwnmom, I have a 2-year-old granddaughter. You're right. Most Dr. Seuss books are infinitely rereadable!

    Thanks for coming by, Cynthia. We keep books in the bathroom, too. It's the other library.

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  13. Great interview. My favorite book which I often reread is my mother's cookbook that she added her own receipts to.Rainbow’s End sounds wonderful. Please enter me.Thank for the chance to win.

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  14. Oh, Emma! I have some of my mother's old recipe books, too. What a trip down memory lane.

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  15. Sorry! I thought the due date for the winner was today! My bad!!! And the winner is: Hope!!!! Hope please email me at jennkelly@jennkelly.com with your address and I will get it to Valerie! Congratulations!!!!

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