Monday, May 14, 2012

Meet Valerie Comer

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

1. What’s been a favorite work experience you’ve had so far in life?
I don't have a degree in anything, so work outside the home for me has always been about needing a paycheck. I was thrilled to stay home when our kids were young but have been working retail ever since. A huge blessing for me is the job I've had for the past eleven years. (Wow! That long already?) I work in a small town flooring shop for two guys who've owned the business forever. They do everything outside the building, and I handle just about everything inside. Still, there are hours every day where things are quiet and I can do 'my own thing.' God gave me this job so I would have no excuse not to write, and I'm really thankful for it. Yes, my boss guys know and are fine with how I spend my time when duties aren't calling me. They want (and deserve!) signed book copies, but aren't entirely sure they're up for reading Christian romance.

2. If you could do anything you want, what would it be?
You wouldn't believe how long I stared at that question. I think the older we get, the smaller our dreams become as reality sets in. My first response is something like: renovate our house and farm. Then I thought it would be cool to take our granddaughters somewhere awesome on a vacation, but they're too young, one of them being an infant still. Then I thought of missionary work and other needs around the world. What would I really do, if I could do anything? Food, clean water, and salvation to all. See? I CAN think big!

3. What’s the most exotic place you’ve traveled?
In the early months of 1980, I spent three months in Bolivia with my sister and her family who were missionaries there at the time. They've spent most of the intervening years there as well, coming on home staff just a couple of years ago. Bolivia might not seem exotic to many as it is the poorest country in South America, but for this Canadian girl, it was polar opposite of anything I'd experienced before. Parrots on shoulders, fleas in the beds, bugs and snakes everywhere, multiple foreign languages. Remote tribal stations where clothing was optional (not for the missionaries or their guest!), where UNO was the game of choice until 3 a.m., where small planes landed on short grassy strips in a spray of standing water. Bolivia was a life-changing experience for me.

4. What do you see outside the closest window right now?
I'm answering these questions while at work, and only a sliver of a (large) window is visible to me from here. It is filled with a parked vehicle and the building across the street. Looks like some sunshine out there, which is awesome after a steady and cold downpour yesterday. I should have answered this from home, where I could have talked about plum trees, gardens, or cows in the pasture.

5. What do you tell people when they ask “and what do you do?”
I tell people I'm a flooring salesperson, an author, a wife, mom, and grandmother (yay!), a farmer, gardener, beekeeper, and local food advocate. Then I take a deep breath and tell them I'm a child of the King. I wear a lot of hats, but my favorite is my princess crown, followed by my Grandma hat, then my authorial--what do authors wear on their heads?

6. Where’s your favorite place to grocery shop?
My very favorite place to get food is from our own beehives, freezer, fridge, and pantry loaded with canning. In summer, I often come home from work and head out to the garden to see what's for supper. My next most favorite place to get groceries is our local farmers' market, where my daughter-in-law is the manager. It runs from the beginning of May to just before Christmas, and I can buy just about anything there. Doesn't keep me out of the supermarket, of course, but it's a good effort.

7. What, to you, is worship?
Doesn't Psalm 46:10 sum it up well? "Be still, and know that I am God."

8. When you take all of the things that make you unique, how does that come out in your writing?
I'm not good at urban-environment stories. Give me small towns, farms, and gardens any day of the week. For my first novella, out May 1 from Barbour in a 4-in-1 collection called Rainbow's End, my co-authors and I created a geocaching outreach event for our characters to participate in. Geocaching is simply using GPS (global positioning system) units found on smart phones or specialized instruments to locate specific spots out-of-doors, where the cache's creator has hidden a small treasure chest. Barbour Publishing describes our novella anthology like this: "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?"

My novella is Topaz Treasure, first of the four: 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?

Thank you, Valerie, that sounds fascinating!

Buy Rainbow's End: (various links)
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  1. It's been such a delight meeting you! I hope your books sales soar!

  2. Excellent interview ladies.


    Tom Blubaugh, Author
    Night of the Cossack

  3. Great interview Lisa. Wish you the best that God has for you Valerie.