Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Interview with Valerie Comer and #giveaway!!!

Today we welcome Valerie Comer to my blog. Valerie is very generously offering an ebook copy of her book to one winner. Leave contact information to enter. 

Valerie, thank you for joining us. What is a multi-author shared-world mega-series, and where did the idea come from?

Over a year ago, several authors began talking about writing foodie stories in a shared community. We each wanted to have a complete series (a novella and three novels) of our own at the end of the project, yet have our books intertwine with each other’s. Arcadia Valley Romance was a big project to envision, coordinate, and write, but it’s so much fun! http://arcadiavalleyromance.com

2. Six series in one? How does that work?

Each of the six authors chose one specific aspect of local food as a focal point for her contemporary romance series. My stories revolve around a pair of derelict greenhouses offered to a local church in a living trust. In the introductory novella, Sow in Love, the elderly owner’s grandson works with a consultant to determine how the church can make use of the greenhouses. The three novels that follow will revolve around the people who work to make that vision a reality… and fall in love, of course!

The other authors are writing within the settings of a community-supported bakery, a farming cooperative, a farm-to-table restaurant, a farm legacy, and a farmers market. To add to the fun, you’ll discover any author’s characters wandering into stories by one of the other authors!

3. What exactly is Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley?

Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley is the six-novella collection that introduces the fictional community of Arcadia Valley, Idaho, as envisioned by each of the six authors. It is a set of series prequels, if that makes sense. Then, every month through July, 2018, you can expect a new Arcadia Valley Romance until each author has released her complete series. Each of the 19 books will be available in e-book (Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and iBooks) as well as in paperback.

Here’s what is in Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley:

Spring’s Blessing (Seasons of Faith) by Mary Jane Hathaway
Life gets complicated for Charlotte MacGregor when a motherless child and a handsome widower encroach on her carefully laid plans. Will she keep her heart above the fray, or take a leap of faith?

Loaves and Wishes (Baxter Family Bakery) by Elizabeth Maddrey
Inheriting her friend’s Bed and Breakfast in Idaho is a second chance to succeed, but falling for the farmer next door wasn’t in the plan.

Sheltered Hearts (Romance from the Heart) by Lee Tobin McClain
A curvy jilted bride gets stranded in a snowstorm with a handsome restaurant cook who’s not what he seems to be.

Sow in Love (Garden Grown Romance) by Valerie Comer
A real estate consultant’s ideas for fulfilling a living trust are shot down by the elderly greenhouse owner’s grandson, but some of the arrows piercing her heart come directly from Cupid’s bow.

The Scent of Romance (Legacy of the Heart) by Danica Favorite
A high-powered lawyer must convince a woman determined to protect her family’s legacy to sell the family farm to his father’s development company, but finds his heart leading him away from everything he’s spent his life trying to accomplish.

A Romance Rekindled (A Homegrown Love Story) by Annalisa Daughety
When a formerly engaged couple find themselves thrown together after more than a decade apart, they must choose whether to let go of the past or reconsider a future together.

4. What is your current work in progress?
I’m in the process of editing Sprouts of Love, the first of my novels to follow Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley. It releases in May. The short blurb for Sprouts is: An overzealous community garden manager delivers more than the food bank manager can handle. Can love sprout amid the tsunami of vegetables?

I wish I could stay in the Arcadia Valley world after this, but I have two novels due in other series before my second AVR novel releases in November. I do love those worlds, too, but I hate shifting gears!

5. How did you choose your setting for this series?

Creating Arcadia Valley, a fictional community near Twin Falls, Idaho, was definitely a team process. We considered various parts of the Pacific Northwest before settling on this area. We loosely modeled Arcadia Valley after the town on Jerome, Idaho, but it isn’t Jerome other than location and size.

My husband and I were able to spend two days in Jerome/Twin Falls in October, 2016. I took nearly a thousand photos as we poked around both towns as much as we had time for. This on-site visit helped the whole team immensely!

We’re keeping the setting straight through a shared Google map and many (and I do mean MANY!) documents and spreadsheets in a shared Dropbox folder. We have a secret Facebook group where we keep in close touch when questions come up, and often email snippets of first draft to each other when writing a scene that overlaps another author’s terrain… like when my characters visit the farmers market or the community bakery.

6. When you’re working on a project, how do you keep the immensity of it from getting you down?

I love big projects and big series — obviously!!! — but this wasn’t always the case. I lay out a big-picture schedule of what I plan to work on every month. My current calendar is laid out for eighteen months and includes writing, editing, and publishing. I’ve been doing this gig fulltime for several years now, so I have a good idea of how much I can accomplish.

With projects like Arcadia Valley Romance, I have actual deadlines that matter to someone other than myself, since we are staggering releases. Sprouts of Love releases in May, 2017, Rooted in Love releases in November, 2017, and my final romance in that series, Harvest of Love, releases in May, 2018. These are due to my group three months in advance.

Once those projects were marked into my 2017/18 calendar, I locked in when I’d write my Christmas release, Better Than a Crown, my third and final Christmas in Montana Romance. Fall is the best time to release a Christmas novel so, with November already booked for AVR, my goal is to release Crown in October. Then I looked at the empty months (yes, there were some!) and marked in two other projects I’d like to write in 2017.

My husband works four-on four-off, so my writing schedule looks similar. I write a lot (1-2 chapters a day) when he’s at work, then catch up on formatting, marketing, scheduling blog posts, etc, when he’s home. This system mostly works. I need to have the big picture recorded so I can see how output is matching up to the requirements, but it can also freeze creativity if I dwell on it. Every day, I simply need to focus on accomplishing the one main task for that day. If I fall behind significantly, it’s hard to catch up!

7. What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

Evidence might deny that I have any other hobbies. However, I do love spending time with my husband and our kids, their spouses, and their daughters. We love the outdoors, so camping along a mountain creek in summer or snowshoeing in winter are favorite activities. The three grandgirls (almost 7, almost 5, and 4.5) received snowshoes for Christmas and are enjoying them so far. This winter, life is revolving over prep for Grandgirl #4 due in about three weeks. #pinkpower

8. What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

Obstacle, thy name is Facebook. On my writing days, I have learned (mostly learned) to shut the Facebook tab in my browser before going to bed and leaving my manuscript open on my monitor. I do occasionally go online to check a fact or something similar, but I keep Facebook turned off until my chapter is written.

For me, there is no such thing as “quickly checking Facebook.” I’m in several writing groups and accountability groups and can easily get sucked into answering questions or getting caught up in important things. And they are important!!! They’re just usually not urgent, and I can’t afford to have my prime writing time derailed.

9. What one question would you like us to ask your readers?  
Are your grocery-buying habits affected at all by where or how the food is grown? Do you care if it’s local, organic… or any other label?

10. Tell us about the giveaway you’re offering.  
I’d love to offer one e-book copy of Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley to one commenter, worldwide, in the winner’s choice of format (Kindle, Kobo, Nook, or iBooks.)

Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary Christian romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie grows much of her own food and is active in the local foods movement as well as her church. She only hopes her imaginary friends 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 has been called “a stellar storyteller” as she injects experience laced with humor into her green clean romances.

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Marilyn R. said...

Thanks for the interview with Valerie Comer. I have read some of her books. I appreciate you sharing about Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley and a synopses of each tale.

Valerie Comer said...

Thanks for coming by, Marilyn! I hope you enjoy Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley.

Kterrette said...

I would love a copy of this book! It sounds wonderful~ Kristen Terrette kterrette@gmail.com

Valerie Comer said...

Thanks for your interest, Kterrette!

lollipops said...

entering for Christy Miller

Adam's mom said...

Love these interviews. I enjoy getting to know more about the author and love the multi author series. Erica

Adam's mom said...

I can't wait to read this one!

Michelle Broeker said...

Would love to win a copy of this! It sounds great!

Amanda Geaney said...

I may have missed the drawing, but I just wanted to say that I enjoy the theme of sustainable farming that runs through Valerie's books. I've listened to the audio recording of Raspberries and Vinegar and I plan to finish this series at some point in the future.

We moved to our little plot of 10 acres 4 years ago and each year we attempt to grow our own food. It was a steep learning curve in the beginning, especially since we keep it all organic and Arkansas has the wettest springs. My hubby is quite the foodie, so my efforts never go to waste. :)

Everyone except Valerie would be new-to-me authors. Fun!

geaneymail at gmail [dot] com

P.S. We are outdoorsy people too! Valerie, have you tried geocaching with your grandgirls? We began when I was pregnant with our first and have continued to this day. Even when he was very small we put him in a carrier and trudged out to find "treasures".

lollipops said...

congratulations to Kristen!