Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Everything is Fodder — even Cabbages!



Sometimes it may seem
as though I am randomly surfing. Okay, I probably am randomly surfing! I scroll down my Facebook newsfeed and sometimes a video or an article catches my eye. Please tell me this happens to you as well!

I can’t even tell you when it was that an article about a girl named Katie came to my attention. It could’ve been four or five years ago. This nine-year-old girl in Memphis was part of a class project where they planted seeds, took them home, and planted them. Katie grew a cabbage that was over forty pounds! Can you just imagine!

This young girl took her cabbage to a homeless shelter in Memphis. If I’m remembering correctly, the workers made cabbage rolls out of it. This one cabbage impacted Katie’s life and gave her a passion for people in need. She began to plant gardens and grow vegetables for soup kitchens… and mobilized other children to do so, as well.

A year ago, I was looking for inspiration for my part in a multi-author series. Each of the six authors came up with premise for a mini-series with in the grander scope of the overarching Arcadia Valley Romance series. This memory of young Katie drifted into my mind and lodged. What if a girl about Katie’s age came across a pair of abandoned greenhouses? What if she somehow was able to spearhead the program and get a bunch of grownups onboard? What if the project came complete with funding?

In that moment, Maisie Felton was born. Though I pretended she had been a friend of Katie’s back in Memphis, the reality of the timeline doesn’t match. In the first installment of my series, the elderly man who formerly owned Akers Garden Center offers his property to Grace Fellowship in a living trust. His grandson Grady helps direct the real estate consultant tasked with finding a use for the derelict greenhouses. It isn’t until Maisie stops by on her bicycle and sows the idea does this story really get going. (Spoiler alert: they fall in love!)

That story, Sow in Love, released in January as part of Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley. Sprouts of Love, my first full-length novel in this series, releases today. It’s the story of Maisie’s mom, who became the director of the Grace Greenhouse project, and Ben Kujak, the manager of the soup kitchen in Arcadia Valley.

Little did I know when I first saw Katie’s story that it would be the inspiration and foundation for an entire series of romance stories!

About Sprouts of Love:
Single mom Evelyn Felton takes on a third part-time job managing a greenhouse and garden project for Grace Fellowship. Formerly homeless, she’s thrilled to offer truckloads of fresh produce to the Arcadia Valley food bank.

If only Ben Kujak weren’t running Corinna’s Cupboard single-handedly, he’d be delighted to be on the receiving end. But Evelyn and her dynamo daughter, Maisie, won’t take no for an answer, even if it means restructuring Ben’s charity.

Soon Ben finds himself wishing they’d transform his personal life, too, but can true love sprout when their pasts collide with the present?

Sprouts of Love is available for Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and iBooks and will soon be available worldwide in paperback. Click here for more information and buy links.

Tell me about a random news item or article you’ve read that offered inspiration for a story you’ve written!

Interested in reading Sprouts of Love? I'm offering one reader a copy (e-book only, worldwide). If you'd like to put your name in the hat, please add your email address with your comment before Monday, May 21, 2017, replacing @ with (at) and .com with (dot) com.

"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."

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 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 is a USA Today bestselling author and a two-time Word Award winner. She writes engaging characters, strong communities, and deep faith as she injects experience laced with humor into her green clean romances. Visit her at ValerieComer.com.

6 comments:

  1. Valerie, congrats on your latest release! I love how the 'what if' questions can lead to story ideas. And yes, when I have time I to surf newsfeeds I do look for interesting articles and news stories. Your Arcadia ebooks are in my Kindle list and I'm looking forward to reading your new series. :)

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    1. Thanks, Narelle! "What if" is the best, isn't it!

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  2. Congratulations on your book release! Loved it!!

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  3. I'm just curious as to how you chose the name for the Akers Garden Center. My maiden name is Akers and I don't hear it a lot so it piqued my interest. :)

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    1. I've known a few Akers over the years, and it seemed a fitting surname for the family who owned a garden center! The novella mentioned in the post above is Sow in Love, and is Grady Akers' story. The final book in the series, Harvest of Love, will be his sister Kenia Akers' story. I hope you read and enjoy! (If you leave your email address, you'll have a chance to win.)

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