23 August 2012

Getting to know you Thursday with Valerie Comer

Please welcome Valerie Comer to my blog today. I met Valerie on the Love Inspired chat and on different forums. I am so excited her book is out and I loved it. 

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

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.

 2. When you were a child did you have a favourite book or books?

I lived in a remote area with no library, so my reading choices were limited. Some books I remember fondly from my childhood are Heidi, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, and The Borrowers.

3. Do you have a favourite Genre to both read and write?

My favorite is contemporary romance with a side of humor. Some authors who pull this off really well are Janice Thompson and Sandra Bricker. I'm not as funny as they are, but I'm trying!

4. Did you have favourite authors growing up who have influenced you?

I think my answer is no. It didn't occur to me that books had authors, if that makes sense. I just dived into the stories and let them take me away without any thought of how they got to me.

5. When did you know you wanted to be an author?

This was a slow process for me. I enjoyed creative writing classes in Bible School and even had a short story published in a children's magazine. After marriage and children, I occasionally thought it would be cool to write books. I'd go down to the local library and take out all their books on writing (we moved a lot so the selection changed). I'd read them, daydream a little, take the books back, and carry on with daily life. In the early 90s I took a correspondence course from Institute of Children's Literature, but even that didn't really provide any significant forward motion.

6. How did you go about becoming an author?

In 2001, after yet another move, I landed a job in a small-town flooring shop. Just me in the building and two boss guys who handled everything else. And though I love interior decorating and helping folks put the finishing touches on their dream homes, there were lots of hours every day with little to do.

I'm embarrassed to say it took me several months before I realized if I was ever going to get serious about learning to write, this was the golden opportunity! Once again I went down to the library and took out all the how-to-write books. I realized that the best ones were put out by Writer's Digest.

But now I had a new tool: the Internet. I looked up Writer's Digest, found their 101 best sites, and started going through them until I found Forward Motion for Writers, a forum that was then run by multi-published mainstream speculative fiction author Holly Lisle. Finally practical advice and a place to learn alongside other wannabe writers. I learned so much there, and several of my critique partners and close writing friends remain from those days while I wrote and learned from several novels.

In 2007 I discovered ACFW and entered the Genesis contest with a fantasy novel. I finaled. Again in '08 and '09. By this time I thought my writing was getting pretty good and I began seeking an agent, but it was tough, especially with speculative. I did some soul-searching and praying about a genre jump to contemporary romance, which I took in 2009.

In December 2010 Barbour put out a call for proposals for their Romancing America line which consist of 4 linked novellas, usually by 4 different authors, in one volume.  Some friends and I put a proposal together and we received "the call" via email on January 31, 2011.

This helped me get an agent, and we're both working hard to sell one or more of the novel series we've been proposing to various publishers since then. Having a foot in the door isn't the same thing as a door wide open.

7. If you were not a writer what would you like to be?

I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, other than a wife and mom. Now I'm loving being a grandmother to three delightful little girls. At one time I would have liked to pursue interior decorating in a more professional way than flooring sales. Now, however, I'd say working on value-added products for our family farm, especially our apiary. We just went from 10 beehives to 75 this year--thankfully with our son and daughter-in-law--and it's keeping all of us hopping. (Jenny here wow that would be interesting having an apiary)

8. Outside reading and writing what do you like to do?

We're an outdoors and foodie type family. Besides camping, hiking, and geocaching in our very beautiful area of BC, Canada, we also have a farm, apiary, and large garden, from which we 'put up' a lot of food for winter. We're into the local food movement in a big way! But the best thing ever is hanging out with my little granddaughters. What a treasure they are.

9. Do you have a place you love to visit or would love to visit?

Sometime I'd like to do more traveling. I'd love to see England and Australia and, well, nearly anyplace someone might give me tickets for. But on an ongoing basis, I love weekends where we can tow our small holiday trailer up a mountain road, park beside a creek, and just immerse ourselves in God's handiwork. (Jenny again being given tickets sure would be a benefit going away for a weekend is one thing I would love to do but is one drawback of not driving.)

10. If you could have a meal with 3 living people who would you choose and why?

My three granddaughters? Though only the 2.5 year old gets to enjoy all the big people food. Her little sister, at six months, is just starting to experiment with food, and their littler cousin only gets breast milk for a long time yet.

Maybe I'll put off the meal with them until they're a bit bigger--at least without their parents!

Finally can you tell us about your current books and/or any that will
be coming out soon. Also where we can find you on the web.

Rainbow's End is a collection of 4 novellas written by me, Annalisa Daughety, Cara Putman, and  Nicole O'Dell. It released from Barbour in May 2012 as part of the Romancing America series.

Here's the premise of the collection:

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.

My novella, "Topaz Treasure," is the first in the book:

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?

As for future books, that's up to God and my agent. Things look good at the moment, but looks aren't everything in this business. I've seen things fall through before, so mum's the word until I hear definitive news.

You and your readers can find me online at:
·         Website: http://valeriecomer.com
·         Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/valeriecomer.author
·         Twitter: http://twitter.com/valeriecomer
·         Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/valeriecomer
·         Blog: http://valeriecomer.com/blog
·         Blog: http://romancingamerica.com


Valerie Comer said...

Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog, Jenny!

Melissa Jagears said...

My f-i-l gave me a beehive (he keeps bees) and I was going to get a local hive but they were all taken, so glad, had a baby the next year and I'm sure I wouldn't have had time, maybe when there are no more babies...

Valerie Comer said...

Melissa, watching my daughter-in-law this year with a new baby, I understand completely. She'd like to be more involved with the family honey business, but the baby requires her to be available. It's a season of life, and it's a good one!

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