This week we welcome Valerie Comer to share with us about her latest release. What a fun cover, Valerie! Please tell us about your story.
Snowflake Tiara is a 2-in-1 Christmas collection with a historical romance by Angela Breidenbach and a contemporary romance by me, Valerie Comer. Both novellas can be summed up this way: What if you were caught doing something good, but the man you loved didn’t see it that way?
The Debutante Queen by Angela Breidenbach ~ 1889 (Helena, MT): Calista Blythe enters the first Miss Snowflake Pageant celebrating Montana statehood to expose the plight of street urchins. But if her hidden indentured orphan is discovered, Calista’s reputation and her budding romance with pageant organizer, Albert Shanahan, could both unravel. Will love or law prevail?
More Than a Tiara by Valerie Comer ~ 2014 (Helena, MT): Marisa Hiller’s interest in competing in Miss Snowflake Pageant for the city of Helena’s 150th anniversary is at zip zero zilch when she discovers the official photographer is Jase Mackie. Can Jase make amends for past mistakes and offer her, not only a tiara, but a partner in her crusade to help needy children and families?
Will you share a short excerpt?
Awareness settled over Marisa like a suffocating blanket. So that’s why the visitor was here. She could see it clearly now. She surged to her feet, and the swing slammed the back of her knees. “No.”
Creases furrowed Mom’s forehead as she glanced up. “No, what?”
“No, I’m not entering. That part of my life is over.”
Mom looked from one to the other. “Who said anything about—”
Marisa locked eyes with Kristen. “If you’re here to dredge up old history and ask me to enter the pageant, the answer is no.”
“They’re bringing back the pageant?” Mom’s voice rose as excitement caught hold. “But Marisa—”
“Mom, don’t even start.”
“My brother said you’d say no.”
Marisa’s eyes narrowed. “Your brother?”
“Jase. He said it was a waste of my time to talk to you, but I had to try. It means so much to the community.”
“Jase. You mean—” Marisa took a deep breath and closed her eyes. The red-gold hair. The sparkling smile. Eyes as green as a glacier-fed lake. Of course she was Jase’s sister.
“Is that the Jase I heard so much about?” Mom was clearly lost.
Thanks for sharing! Why do you write the kind of books you write?
My usual angle to a romance novel is a farm setting with local food themes. This is because I’m passionate about where food meets faith. I believe God cares what we eat and how we, as believers, take care of our environment. Tucking that inside a romantic story has been working well for me, as I can drop characters on all sides of the issues and let them fight it out.
Adding these concepts to More Than a Tiara wasn’t as difficult as you might think. My character, Marisa Hiller, is a former supermodel who returned to the family farm after a nasty breakup with Jase Mackie 27 months (and 4 days) ago. She and her mom not only grow food for their local CSA organic box program, she competes in the pageant with a food platform.
What is your favorite part of writing a book?
The first scene, when everything is still perfect and all the characters will behave and the story peaks and valleys will all make sense and land at the appropriate intervals. After that, I just write and eventually it all comes together, more or less.
🙂 How many books a year do you write? How long does it take you to write a book?
I’ve become an indie author in 2014 after 3 traditional contracts, so I’ve had to re-figure out a “best system” for me. At the moment, I believe I can write three books a year (plus a novella or two). I’m four months into my new regimen and so far, so good. Any given month will find me doing four main tasks:
- Writing on a first draft
- Editing the previous story, preparing it for release
- Releasing and/or marketing the one before that
- Planning the next one
Sounds like indie is very similar to traditional publishing in regard to your main tasks. 🙂 At least it’s similar to what I do.
What is next for you?
I’m planning six books in the Farm Fresh Romance series. The first two, Raspberries and Vinegar and Wild Mint Tea, had been traditionally published, but I republished them myself this summer. Sweetened with Honey will release in November and, by the time this interview is posted, I should have started writing the fourth still-unnamed book, which will hopefully release in March. I’ve been working on the characters and story line for a couple of months now.
How fun! I have the first two books in that series. Thanks for joining us this week and for offering to give away one eCopy of your book.
Rules: Drawing ends September 14th. Valerie or I will contact the winner via email on the 15th. Winner will have until September 21st to respond or forfeit the eCopy. No new winner will be chosen. Void where prohibited by law.