Monday, March 3, 2014

Interview With Valerie Comer

Valerie and I first met on-line, when she offered to interview me for my books, which I thought was wonderful, and then invited me to join this prestigious group of bloggers.  And now I am honoured to interview her for her new book, the second in the series, 'Wild Mint Tea'.

The second tale in the Farm Fresh Romance series, WILD MINT TEA, finds chef Claire Halford, one of the three girls who created Green Acres Farm, one year later, juggling a job she hates and trying to get the farm off the ground.  When they agree to trial-host a wedding, the bride-to-be's brother is none other than Noel Kenzie. The same man who turned down Claire for a job in his reforestation camp as head cook.  With swooning glances, misunderstood arguments, delicious cooking, a change of heart and a forest fire, Claire and Noel are one couple you can't help hope get together in the end. You can purchase Valerie's new book everywhere. Including here.

Ok, first question. What did you have for breakfast?

A bowl of oatmeal with milk and honey.

What's the temperature like out there?

Freezing! We've had -15C with brisk east winds for several days—those are our worst and can cause frozen pipes. Not this time, whew.

Now, how did you come up with the idea of Wild Mint Tea? Did you know it would happen while you were writing Raspberries and Vinegar?

If you're talking about the titles of the books, both were written and underwent a title change when they were contracted last spring, so neither the concept of raspberry vinegar nor mint tea was present in the first drafts. If you're talking about what would happen to Claire, yes, I had a good idea as she was a strong secondary character in Raspberries and Vinegar. Just as I have most of the story in mind for the third book in the series.

How long did it take you to write 'Wild Mint Tea'?

I wrote Wild Mint Tea (working title Check Mate) in about 3 months several years ago when it looked likely that the series would be picked up by one of the larger publishing houses. They passed (three times over the course of a year!), but I was glad I had the first draft done when the contract from CNP came my way last spring.

Where there any parts, while writing, that you got stuck on? Where you just hit a roadblock and didn't know what would happen next?

It's been several years, but I remember the writing of this book as sheer bliss, the only time that's happened to me. I don't remember getting stuck. For once.

Who is your favourite character out of the two books?

That's like asking which is my fave granddaughter (frown). But I really do love Noel Kenzie, the hero of Wild Mint Tea, a lot. He's got moxie. Can a guy have moxie? If so, he's got it.

Oh yeah. A man can have moxie. So, which character is you?

The "me" character isn't in this novel. She was in the first one as the mother of the hero and will play a smaller role in the third one as an interested party.

I know you say that you are not in this book, but...I think you are. In the main character, Claire...what are your similarities and differences?
Hmm, I never thought of Claire being like me. We both like food, but she's a trained chef and I've never desired to be. I'm a homebody, but she is way more than I am. I like to keep things organized, but she is ten times more OCD than I am. Personality wise, though, you might be right. Huh. Never thought of it before...

How did you come up with Noel? He is a dreamboat!

First, Claire. Because I had three young women in the series, they needed quite different personalities or it wouldn't be any fun. Claire drew the short straw for being more level-headed and melancholic than the other two. Then I needed a hero who was her polar opposite! Which is how I came up with Noel. Of course, I didn't want him to be irresponsible, so I made sure his career goals were very different from hers.

How do you decide what your characters will look like? Do you use people you know? Do you think of movie stars? If Noel and Claire were to be compared to movie stars (as in characters in movies so we can imagine), who would you pick?
I actually watch fewer than five movies a year, so I don't pick from movie stars. I go to and browse. If you'd like to see the models I picked for Claire and Noel, they're on my Farm Fresh Romance Pinterest board. I'd be interested to know which movie stars these models remind you of!

A super hard question now. Pick a song to go with your novel.
Ha. Not so hard. Two songs. One is the old hymn "This World is Not My Home" for reasons you'll have to read the book to understand, and the other is the bright happy tune in my book trailer. I dare you to watch this and not grin for all 40 seconds!

Why Farm-Romance?

Why not farm fresh romance? They say to write what you know. I'm all about farming and good fresh locally-grown food. And who can't use a little more romance in their lives?

I completely agree. So. What's next?

I'm turning in my novella for Snowflake Tiara shortly. I'm partnering with the amazing Angela Breidenbach for that pair of stories that releases in September. Then I get to turn my full attention to Sweetened with Honey, the third Farm Fresh Romance novel.

If you had only one book to bring on a holiday, which would it be? Can't be the Bible or anything written before 1940. No Jane Austen. Everyone always picks Austen.

Whew. At the risk of all the Austen-lovers hating on me, I'm perfectly fine having her books out of the picture. But I'd probably spend so long standing by my bookshelf, picking up one book, then choosing another, then putting them both back in favor of a third that the ship would sail without me before I'd decided. So I guess I'll just pack my Kindle, because that solves everything.

Valerie's new book will be published this month! You can find more information on her wonderful new novel, and others at her blog, here.  She is having a paperback giveaway on Goodreads, but only to US addresses (boo!). But ONE LUCKY reader here can win a digital version (winner's choice of mobi or epub file) by commenting below before Monday, March 10.

"Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws."

Photo of Valerie goes here, but for some reason it's not working anymore.

Photo of me goes here, but that's not working either. At least we have a picture of her new novel and the gorgeous artwork done by Valerie's very own daughter!

Jenn Kelly is an author and she is figuring it out. You can find her at


  1. Congratulations, Valerie. I reviewed "Raspberries and Vinegar" and found it delightful. I'm sure "Wild Mint Tea" will have the same effect. And I'm so glad someone is writing realistic farm romance -- there's mud and smell in Valerie's books. :-)
    Oh yeah, I'm in for the contest. avaldal at shaw dot ca

    1. LOL, thanks, Alice! Not sure people will want mud and smell in their fiction... Is that a recommendation? :D

      I'm so glad you loved Raspberries and Vinegar. I think you'll like Wild Mint Tea even more.

  2. Thanks for the interview, Jenn and Valerie.
    I love those Pinterest photos of Claire and Noel. I did notice that Claire was a strong character in 'Raspberries and Vinegar' and was hoping she'd have her own story. I'm so looking forward to reading it.

  3. Hi Paula! I hope you enjoy WMT. I printed out those pictures of Noel and Claire and had them over my desk while I wrote the novel (and again when I revised it). I think the artist did a good job capturing them for the cover.

  4. Valerie & Jenn, thanks for the fun interview! Valerie, congrats on the release of Wild Mint Tea! It's in my electronic tbr queue and I'm really looking forward to reading it :)

  5. Sounds just like our cup of tea, Valerie. We drink a lot of mint tea. And I love the red Wellies on the cover

    1. I tip a cuppa to you, Donna! And those Wellies are hot pink. Too funny.

  6. Great interview! I love the Farm Fresh Romance idea. It's unique and fun! Congrats on the new release!

    1. Thanks! It's been (is being) so much fun to write.

  7. I'm sure this series gives you great satisfaction, Valerie. The idea is so unique. By the sound of it Wild Mint Tea has got to be on a par or even trumping Raspberries & Vinegar which I hugely enjoyed reading & reviewing!

    ritagal at optusnet dot com dot au

    1. Thanks, Rita! I honestly think this one is better. Guess we'll see what readers say!

  8. Hi Jen and Valerie, The book sounds like a lot of fun. I'm definitely putting all three of the farm-romances on my to read list. I love the titles the cover art. All the best with your third in the series. What is moxie? :)

    1. Aw, thank you, Linsey! I love the titles and cover art too (did you know my daughter did the art?). Moxie is attitude or nerve!

  9. It occurs to me now that you never publish the amazing chicken recipe they have on their picnic???!!!

    1. Those who are signed up for my newsletter will be getting some of the Wild Mint Tea recipes that aren't in the book. :)

  10. Wow Val, I'm super excited to read your books, my next visit to Creston, I buy them both. Do you copies of each of them that you can reserve for me? I should be down there in May. And of course I want autographed copies : )

    1. Sure, Jessica, contact me! Black Bear carries them, but not signed. I have a box full of Raspberries and Vinegar, and my box of Wild Mint Tea should be here any day. Look forward to seeing you.