Tell us about your book.
Hi Salena and Friends-of-Salena! Thanks for inviting me here today to talk about my book, even though I only wrote 1/4 of it myself. That's right, my debut is a novella in the collection Rainbows End which just released from Barbour on May first. My co-authors and I decided to create a geocaching outreach event at a fictional church in Osage Beach, Missouri. Geocaching is basically an electronic treasure hunt using GPS (global positioning system) units. We had fun pitting all our characters against each other to see who would win the coveted grand prize. Because it's a contemporary romance collection, they all had to go and fall in love, too.
What inspired this book?
You mean besides desperation to sell something, anything? I'd seen Barbour's public call for proposals in December 2010 and knew it was the best opportunity to get my foot in the door that had yet come my way. My crit partner, Nicole O'Dell, is multi-published in YA fiction and parenting nonfiction, but she said it was her goal in life to get me a contract. She and I were chatting about themes and settings that could be used. When I told her my hubby and I like to geocache, she was intrigued. Neither of us had seen it in a novel before, so it seemed a fun new twist. Thankfully Cara Putman and Annalisa Daughety, our co-authors thought so, too--as did Rebecca Germany at Barbour.
Are you a pantser or do you outline?
Now you're addressing a pet peeve of mine! I'm neither. You can call me a middler, if you like. I need to have a solid feel for my characters and what the main conflicts will be, but the detailed plot evades me. I fly by the seat of my pants. Or maybe another way to look at is that I need a safety net when I'm trapezing.
How long have you been writing?
I started writing ten years ago when I found myself with hours of free time every day at work. It took me about five manuscripts before I began to figure out where in that plotting/pantsing spectrum I fit. I'm currently writing my tenth novel, while my agent has proposals out for several of my most recent ones
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
We all have things in our lives that we treasure, that we cling to. Some of those are truly valuable, like family, but often we cling to meaningless and temporary things. I'm hoping people will see the significance of the eternal in our stories.
What is your favorite thing to write about?
One of my passions is the food movement, and work something related into each story I write. In Rainbow's End, I settled for my main character having a thing against soft drinks. My agent is currently shopping a contemporary romance in which I pitted an avid locavore against the fast-food-loving guy next door. Above all, though, I try to keep it light and fun. No one likes being bonked over the head with issues.
Where is your favorite place to vacation?
I live in the gorgeous Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada. Many of our getaways take place at mountain lakes and streams near home, ensconced in our little holiday trailer. Our Lab cross dog, Brody, loves to play in the water, as shown in the photo.
What book are you currently reading?
I read a book or two most weeks. Currently I'm reading the other 4-in-1 romance collections from Barbour, of which my novella is a part. I'm so impressed with these great books that I began a website and blog for all things back in January. I hope you'll all come by and have a look!
Tell us something interesting about you.
A couple of summers ago I took up solar cooking. It's incredibly gratifying to bake bread or cook an entire meal outside on a sunny summer day using nothing more exciting than a foil windshield cover and a black pot. This summer I'm hoping we'll graduate to a more sophisticated cooker because I'm hooked! There are a few articles on my blog that explain the whys and hows of solar cooking.http://valeriecomer.com/blog
What are your hobbies (besides writing)?
I'm a gardener, farmer, and beekeeper. My family and I are actively involved in the local food movement in that we grow a lot of our food ourselves and try to source as much as possible from our region. My granddaughters are some of my greatest treasures, and I'll do anything in my power to create the healthiest foods and environment for them!
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.
Rainbow's End (4-in-1 collection published by Barbour, May 1, 2012):
Join a geocaching adventure in the spectacular Lake of the Ozarks wilderness, with Lyssa, the reluctant volunteer whose former nemesis is now her chief sponsor; Madison, a city girl paired with an outdoorsy guy who gets on her very last nerve; cautious Reagan, who meets an equally cautious guy; and Hadley, who doesn’t know enough about guys to realize she’s met a womanizer. Will they find the treasure they’re looking for … or something else entirely?
"Topaz Treasure" (first novella in Rainbow's End) by Valerie Comer
Closet believer Lyssa Quinn steps out of her comfort zone to help coordinate the Rainbow’s End geocaching hunt her church is using as an outreach event. She’s not expecting her former humanities prof–young, handsome, anti-Christian Kirk Kennedy–to be at the Lake of the Ozarks at all, let along in a position to provide sponsorship to the treasure hunt. How can she trust someone who once shredded her best friend’s faith?
Kirk’s treasure hunt takes him down a path he hadn’t intended as he searches for opportunities to connect with Lyssa and her intriguing sparkle. How can he convince Lyssa there is more than one kind of treasure? And can she remind him of the greatest prize of all?
· Website: http://valeriecomer.com
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· Blog: http://valeriecomer.com/blog
· Blog: http://romancingamerica.com