Valerie, welcome to Writers on Reading! I’m looking forward to gettingto know you as a reader. Your most recent novel, Berry on Top, releases in February, and looks very fun. I also love farm-fresh-romance theme from your first series.
I’m curious if you read mostly romance and any other quirks about your reading habits. Do you find one theme more repeatedly snags your attention as a reader? Is there something special you seek when selecting your next reading adventure?
I read a lot of Christian contemporary romance, the genre in which I write. I have several authors on auto-buy, but I also like to try out newcomers in the field. Sometimes themes seem to repeat, but that may be coincidental to the order in which I read them. I find it endlessly fascinating how authors can spin new characters into tried-and-true scenarios and come up with unique stories. The possibilities are endless!
What was the most out-of-character book you’ve recently read, and what led to your choice?
I actually read an Amish book recently, based on the recommendation of one of my street team members. It was Jennifer Beckstrand’s Huckleberry Summer, in which the young Amish hero isan environmentalist, which ties in well with the themes I write about in the Farm Fresh Romance series. I enjoyed Ms. Beckstrand’s storytelling voice so much that I’ve read a couple of other books in the series. In general, I’m not a fan of Amish fiction, so this was a big departure for me!
That's very fun, sounds like a good fit for you! As a writer, you should know better, but as a reader, you know we all do it…so, when did you last “judge a book by the cover”? How did it work out?
I’m far less cover-conscious than many readers and go more by author or recommendations from friends. Once the book is on my old-school e-ink Kindle, the cover no longer matters at all, as I never see it again! Sometimes when I’m browsing, though, I cringe at some of the covers I see. I’ll still buy them if a friend recommends them, though.
Having published so many stories over the last couple of years, do you find time to read during the months you spend writing or with deadlines ahead is it either/or for you? If so, what did you read while working on your last book? If not, what did you read when you finished this one?
In my early writing years, I found it difficult to read fiction, especially in the same genre as I was writing. That’s not a problem anymore. When I finish one first draft and have cleaned it up to send my beta readers, I start on the next book while awaiting feedback. So… if I waited for a gap, I’d never read, and I love it too much for that to happen. I read on average of an hour every evening, which works out to at least a book a week. Most of what I read is contemporary Christian romance, though not all.
Were you the kind of kid/teen who loved reading? Which novel do you first remember reading?
I was ‘that kid’ for sure! Early reading memories include Heidi, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, The Borrowers, and theTrixie Belden mysteries. We lived in a remote northern community and didn’t have access to a library. Even my three-room school didn’t have a library, although each classroom had a book cupboard at the back of the room. I burned through the available books quickly then reread my favorites.
Great insight into your reading past! That's why I love these interviews! So, when did you know you wanted to write? Did any or multiple books influence this desire?
I started writing many stories when I was a child. I loved the ability of books to send me to other places and other times, and wanted to do the same thing for others, but had no idea how. I abandoned all of them just a few pages in.
I toyed with writing for years as an adult, too. I always wanted to do it ‘some day,’ but the driving passion to make it a priority wasn’t there. In 2002 I found myself with a job at a small-town flooring shop. There were empty hours to be filled most days, and my bosses were totally fine with me bringing in a computer and writing in the back corner of the store. I spent the next few years applying myself to learning to write fiction through how-to books, an online forum, critique groups, and lots of practice.
I thought I had it made when I sold a romance novella to Barbour for release in 2012, but the doors didn’t truly open for me in traditional publishing. I’ve been an independent author/publisher since July, 2014, and I honestly couldn’t be happier! God has blessed me beyond my dreams. So, so thankful.
Wonderful to hear. You've really found your nitch. So, with a chilling winter upon us, what is on your cozy to-read list? And what is your ideal winter reading experience?
Winter reading. Hmm. In December, it’s mostly Christmas novels and novellas, but now that we are well past that, I can enjoy stories set in any season, even if it doesn’t match the blowing snow outside!
Ideal experience? I’d like to say in my armchair near the fireplace, with a quilt and a kitty on my lap, a mug of mocha on the side table, and soft music playing. The reality is a bit less romantic! I usually read in bed with a few down pillows behind my back just before lights-out, so the mocha with its caffeine hit are out! But both my cats are likely to be curled up tight against me, and their soft purring provides a pleasant backdrop.
Is there a book you are looking forward to rereading?
Before I began writing, I used to reread books all the time. Now I no longer have time to do so, plus I have enough books in my Kindle queue to last me even if I didn’t hit that one-click-buy for quite a while. Which never happens!
Thanks so much for visiting and letting us get to know you better as a reader, Valerie! Folks, you can continue to connect with Valerie—and find out more about her books!—at the links below.
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 food 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 writes where food meets faith and fiction in her Farm Fresh Romance series and Riverbend romance novellas. Visit her at www.ValerieComer.com.
PURCHASE AND CONNECTION LINKS:
Berry on Top is the sixth book in the Farm Fresh Romances. It can be read as a standalone, but will make the most sense as part of the series.
Find out more about the series here: http://valeriecomer.com/series/farm-fresh-romance/
Berry on Top is available for Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, and Nook here: http://valeriecomer.com/books/berry-on-top/
About Berry on Top:
God forgave him — but can she?
Liz Nemesek’s first visit home in forever is tough enough before Mason Waterman shows up. Despite her best efforts, she’s never forgotten — or forgiven — him for the hurt he once caused.
Former bad boy Mason Waterman has returned to northern Idaho to raise his five-year-old twins. The kids are determined to find a new mommy, but Liz is the last person they should latch onto… and the last person he should find himself falling for. Again.
If Mason has really changed, can Liz re-open her heart to him… and to the God who could have prevented her decade of heartache?