It's been a busy week for me. How are you dealing with the summer heat? Why not pour yourself a glass of ice cold tea and sit down to learn more about another author?
Today I'd like to welcome Valerie Comer. So how did you develop a love of story, Valerie?
I remember my older sister teaching me to read. I was about six, and we were lying on our tummies across the bed upstairs with Dick and Jane open in front of us. Looking back, I'm astonished reading intrigued me with that beginning! But the love of story started young, and reading became my great escape all through childhood and beyond.
I tried my own hand at stories as a preteen, but they all dwindled away after a chapter or two. I was a child in a poor farming community and knew nothing of horseback riding, sailing ships, or exotic lands like I was trying to write about.
The desire to write never completely left. I'm glad I answered its call in 2002 and began to learn the craft of telling my own tales. It's been so rewarding!
I remember the Dick and Jane books. :) Tell us about yourself.
Like all women I know, I'm a complex mix! I'm a wife, mom, and grandmother who loves her three little grandgirls passionately. I'm a farmer, a gardener, and a local foodie who enjoys cooking, baking, and preserving food. These experiences form a large part of the foundation for my romance novels, which take place where food meets faith and fiction.
I had to smile when you said three little grandgirls. My third granddaughter was born on Sunday. :) When do you fit writing into your day?
I became a fulltime writer almost four years ago, so I've had to find my own best practices. For me, that's leaving my computer browser closed and my book file open at bedtime so that it's the first thing I see in the morning (after pouring a coffee and having my devotions). I usually write a chapter or two a day, four days a week, and do publishing and marketing tasks later in the day. My husband's job is four on, four off, so when he's home, I rarely first-draft. We'll work on projects, go for hikes, or visit our grandgirls. I'm thankful God enabled us to enjoy this lifestyle.
Sounds fun. Where did you get the inspiration for your latest book?
I bought the plot at the Idea Mart… Okay, just kidding. Butterflies on Breezes is book two in my new Urban Farm Fresh Romance series. This is planned for a minimum of six books, and I did quite a bit of the groundwork before starting the first one, Secrets of Sunbeams, which released in July. I know quite a bit about rural local food initiatives, so it was fun to bring these concepts into an urban setting.
Butterflies on Breezes explores one way a community garden might come to be. My heroine is a landscape designer and my hero is a master carpenter. They both have plenty of issues to work through in the course of the story, but I didn't know what most of them were before starting the actual story, as I don't plot in advance. I know my setting (in this case the fictional neighborhood of Bridgeview in Spokane, Washington), my characters, and the basic premise (the community garden). The rest of the story shows up one word at a time as I type.
Chuckle. I like the Idea Mart. :) How does your faith and spirituality work in with your writing?
As a writer, I depend on God every minute to give me the story He wants me to tell. He knows what I need and what my readers need. I have to trust that He'll help me pull everything together and that there will be a cohesive and delightful tale at the other end.
Within my story, my main characters are believers with a few exceptions, but we all know Christians aren't automatically perfect! My characters' spiritual journeys are an integral part of the story because, let's face it, our beliefs permeate everything we do and say.
Amen. What is one thing you hope readers will take away from your story?
Only one thing? That's tough. Butterflies on Breezes really focuses on stepping out in faith to become the people God meant for us to be. Breaking out of our chrysalises and flying free, so to speak.
Oh! I like that. What do you plan to work on next?
I've already completed a novella slated for release in January, and am partway through a short Christmas novel that will release this fall called Other Than a Halo. Then I'll be back to the Urban Farm Fresh Romances, planning to release books three and four in 2017. Never a dull moment for a fulltime indie author!
Sounds like you are kept busy with your writing career. That's wonderful! Where can readers connect with you?
You can find me at http://valeriecomer.com where you can read my blog, explore my many links, and get information about — and buy! — my books. I have two complete series before this one. You can also find my social media links, and, possibly most importantly, the signup for my popular monthly newsletter. I hope you visit!
Thanks for stopping by today, Valerie. It's been a pleasure. Don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win Mary Connealy's new book.