Monday, August 12, 2013

Valerie Comer's Raspberries and Vinegar

In Valerie Comer's Raspberries and Vinegar, not only is the reader introduced to a sweet sounding title, but a sweet story, also. Written in a style that is very much like Karen Kingsbury, the story of Josephine Shaw and Zach Nemesek pulls the reader into a whirlwind of accidents, faith, and romance. Set in the northern most part of Idaho, Jo and Zach brings a whole new meaning to trusting in faith. Delightful read that most anyone will enjoy.

Read below for more about Valerie Comer and her book, Raspberries and Vinegar:

Tell us a little about your book and yourself.

I'm Valerie Comer, and my life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of my characters, my family and I grow much of our own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as our creation-care-centric church. I only hope my characters enjoy their happily ever afters as much as I do mine, shared with my husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

I write Farm Lit with the voice of experience laced with humor.

Breaking ground with the Farm Fresh Romance series, RASPBERRIES AND VINEGAR finds Josephine Shaw and her friends renovating a dilapidated farm with their sights set on more than just their own property. Transforming the town with their sustainable lifestyle and focus on local foods is met with more resistance than they expected, especially by temporary neighbor, Zachary Nemesek. Jo needs to learn that a little sweet makes the tart more tasty.

How did the idea and/or inspiration of writing this book come about?

I'm a farmer and a foodie who is involved in local food advocacy and try to live the life I promote. Our farm provides meat, honey, vegetables, fruit, and nuts, and we can buy other produce and grains locally. Not quite everything we need, but a higher percentage than I would have thought possible five years ago.
As you can see, the idea for my novel—indeed, the entire Farm Fresh Romance series—comes from my experience and that of my family. In particular, I've watched my adult kids grapple with the desire to be more in control of their diet and provide real food for their little daughters.

Your book has a strong faith element. How natural was this to write about?

I can't separate my faith from the rest of my life. I've become fascinated by how little Christians think of their relationship with food other than perhaps that gluttony is sin and we (possibly) shouldn't eat meat that's been sacrificed to idols. Other than that? What do food and faith have in common?
I've come to the conclusion that these topics are intrinsically linked on many levels: yes, within our bodies, but also in our relationship to the church and to the world in which we live. If you or your readers are intrigued by that statement, I'd love to have you poke around my website and think about where food meets faith.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

I hope they laugh and cry and think just a little bit more about where their food comes from.

Which of the characters in the novel is most like you and why?

I'd have to say the hero's mother. She's lived on the farm a lot of years and gotten tired of the difficulties of the lifestyle. For her, as it did for me, it took a little nudge to remind her of the things that are important.

Who is your favorite Biblical character and why?

I think my favorite changes depending on the current needs in my life. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about Esther, and how Mordecai told her, "Who knows but that you have come to your (royal) position for such a time as this?" While the future of Western civilization does not rest on me as solidly as the Jewish nation depended on Esther, I do believe that God has called me to write what I do "for such a time as this."

What’s your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer?

My favorite part is meeting all the new people in my head, hanging out with them, sharing them with readers, and having readers fall in love with them.
My least favorite is how long and messy the process is. You'd think after having written almost a dozen novels (most of which you will never read—I promise), I'd have things streamlined a bit more, but not yet.

What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?

Because I've been writing for 12 years and have struggled to find the methods that work for me, I have a lot of advice. So much so that I began a website and email course for beginner-to-intermediate writers who are grappling with the over-all scope of how to write fiction. You can find it at To Write a Story. The email course is free with a weekly lesson that takes the student from planning to plotting, writing, editing, publishing, and marketing. The blog also gets a new post every week on one of the same topics, but in no particular order.

You can also follow @towritestory on Twitter for writing quotes as well as links to the blog posts and course.

Other than writing, what else occupies your time?

This time of year, my garden is practically a full-time job in itself between the watering and weeding, picking, cooking, and processing.
But for fun? I'll read stories to my three little granddaughters (age three and under), bounce on the trampoline with them, or just tickle them. We also love to take our little camping trailer out beside a mountain creek and let God soothe our spirits through nature.

That's the most important thing, isn't it? That we spend time in solitude and silence, drawing strength from our communion with Him.

You can connect with Valerie Comer through the following links:
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