I’m happy to have Valerie Comer with us this week to share about her new release Dandelions for Dinner: A Farm Fresh Romance 4. Welcome to Kimberly’s Musing’s, Valerie. Please tell us about your book.
She hates him. He loves her not.
Men are weeds. Allison Hart doesn’t need them in her carefully tended life, though her friends at Green Acres seem happy with their guys. Why can’t Allison open her heart to anyone but her young nephew? Then again, he’ll be a man one day, too. If only the irritating contractor in charge of building her home and farm school wasn’t the boy’s favorite person.
Fireworks with Brent Callahan’s newest client shift from antagonism to the rocky possibility of a relationship. When he comes face to face with a history he’d much rather forget, he realizes hiding his failures isn’t the best option for finding forgiveness, let alone love.
Can a little boy help weed out the past before it chokes their future together?
What inspired this story?
As I contemplated moving the Farm Fresh Romance series from the originally planned 3 novels to 6, I became excited to provide room for the setting, Green Acres Farm, to have its own arc. The next step was a school where outsiders could come to learn about organic farming and sustainability, so I created a teacher/investor in Allison Hart and paired her with a timber-framing contractor, Brent Callahan. Years ago I wrote a somewhat similar scenario in a proposal that went nowhere, with the heroine’s young nephew as part of the cast. That scenario seemed to fit the framework of this story well, so the two melded.
Will you share a teaser?
Brent couldn’t believe the gall of this woman. “No, you cannot work on the job site.”
Allison’s chin came up. “And exactly why not? You obviously need help. I may not have all the experience you guys have, but I can make things easier for you. I can fetch and carry, and whatever you need done. Like an apprentice.”
“I don’t think so, ma’am.”
She leaned closer, her eyes flashing fire from mere inches away. “Don’t call me ma’am.”
Brent’s grandmother had drilled that kind of respect into him when he was a kid. Allison Hart seemed to take it as a personal affront. Just went to prove not all women thought the same, as if he hadn’t had enough life lessons on that one already. But he couldn’t back down… or away. He was the foreman here, regardless of what she thought. “I beg your pardon.” Never mind that his tonal inflection was the exact opposite of begging.
“Give me one good reason I can’t help.”
He could give her thirty without coming up for air. “Steel-toed boots.” He should make her wear them anytime she put that hard hat on.
“Okay. I’ll go put them on.” She turned.
No way. She had a pair? He might need a few more of his thirty reasons. “No sweaters with holes in them that can get caught on pegs. No hoods on jackets for the same reason.”
Allison glanced back at him with a shrug. “You think I only have one change of clothes?”
He could be pardoned for thinking that. She only wore black, as near as he could tell. It all looked the same to him.
She marched back and plunked her hands on her hips. Not that she had any. “Why don’t you say what’s really on your mind? You don’t want me here because I’m a woman and you don’t think I can do the job.”
Two could play this game. “I don’t want you here because you’re a woman and you have no experience. I’d rather watch for falling hammers than watch for someone who’s bound to get injured in the first hour.” He leaned closer. “I don’t have the time or the patience to teach an apprentice.”
“You have the time,” Allison shot back. “But I totally believe you don’t have the patience.”
Do you write in more than one genre?
Contrary to what it looks like on my Amazon author page, I don’t.
In my “apprentice days” I wrote six speculative fiction titles (science fiction, fantasy, and YA fantasy). I published one of these as an indie experiment before re-releasing my first two Farm Fresh Romance books. At this point, I have no intention of returning to spec fic.
I’ve found a readership in contemporary inspirational romance, and have dozens of stories left to write in that genre. Being as the number is added to at least monthly, I don’t think I’ll ever run out!
What does your writing space look like?
I’ve taken over most of a small bedroom upstairs in our farmhouse, with my laptop desk under a west-facing window — perfect for a morning writer. A long table creates an L space where I can spread out notes, calendars, maps, etc. Above the table I have a giant inspiration board with character pix and other photos and items that inspire the story. I also have a large whiteboard for working out plot problems.
When my daughter’s family comes to visit for a few days, I pack away everything that three- and five-year-old hands and minds might find interesting. The space then becomes their bedroom. I’ve got the pack-and-put-away down to a routine by now, so it doesn’t take long! And it’s worth the inconvenience to have the grandgirls visit.
How long did you write before you were published?
I started writing in 2002, and had my first release in May, 2012 (a novella with Barbour). I hoped this would open more doors, but it really didn’t. I contracted the first two Farm Fresh Romance books to a small publisher but regained the rights a year later.
This time I moved straight into indie publishing, and I’m so glad I did! I love it! Readers are finding my stories and enjoying them. That’s the goal of any writer.
Of the 17 manuscripts I’ve completed to date, 11 are published or are queuing up for it. The rest… you don’t want to know about. My apprentice works don’t deserve to be published.
What is next for you?
I’m hard at work on the next Farm Fresh Romance novel, Plum Upside Down, which I expect to release this summer. Between now and then, I’m releasing two novellas in my Riverbend series, Pinky Promise (April) and Sweet Serenade (June).
The first book in the Farm Fresh Romance series, Raspberries and Vinegar, is free on all e-book platforms. It’s a great place to start!
Thanks for sharing with us, Valerie. It was fun learning about your office space and your book!