I'm delighted to have Valerie Comer as a guest on The Borrowed Book today. Valerie'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 here.
You have a book that is releasing soon. Give us a short blurb about it.
Rainbow’s End is a 4-in-1 collection of contemporary romance novellas releasing from Barbour on May first. Eeek! That's nearly here. The four stories are set in Osage Beach, Missouri, and all the characters participate in the Rainbow's End Treasure Hunt. My novella, "Topaz Treasure," is the 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?
Rainbow’s End makes one think of a pot of gold. What significance does the title have to the stories in the book?
That's exactly what we wanted you to think of! The four novellas center around geocaching, which is basically an electronic treasure hunt. And what represents searching for treasure like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow? We created a church outreach geocaching event for all our characters to participate in and called the event Rainbow's End, which also became the title of the collection.
Writing a novella anthology requires working closely with other authors. Did the four of you do a lot of brainstorming?
The basic concept of the treasure hunt that became the collection's foundation was hammered out by Nicole O'Dell and I in chat. When Cara Putman and Annalisa Daughety came on board, we fine-tuned the event somewhat to meet the needs of all our ideas. After that, we all created our own stories. I critiqued early drafts for the other three authors. I was the only one with any geocaching experience, so I paid particular attention to that aspect of their stories.
I only recently learned about geocaching as a hobby. For our readers who aren’t familiar with this pastime can you explain how it works?
Sure! Geocaching is one of the few ways technology can help people be active outdoors, which is one of the reasons I love it. You need either a smart phone with GPS (Global Positioning Systems) ability or a specific handheld GPS machine. Most people start by going to http://geocaching.com and putting in their zip code (postal code for us Canadians!) You'll be amazed how many caches already exist in your area. You enter the GPS coordinates on your handheld and when you arrive at the location, use the clues (provided on the website) to help you find the physical cache, where you sign in. As people get into the sport, they begin planting caches of their own and uploading the coordinates to the website so other people can seek out a new one.
What is your heroine searching for and what does she find?
My heroine is searching for boldness. She's never stood up publicly and said she was a Christian. To her, it's a huge step to go into her local businesses and seek sponsors for a church-run event. Imagine her shock and dismay when one of the first people she runs into is the young, handsome professor that shredded her best friend's faith in their college days! This was so not what she was looking for. I'm not sure I should tell you what she finds, but you can probably guess since it's a contemporary romance story!
What else are you working on right now?
My agent is shopping a couple of proposals for me at the moment, one for a completed novel in which a local food advocate falls for the fast food junkie next door. We also created a proposal (based on an editorial request) we're waiting to hear back from. In the meantime, I'm continuing to write that novel.
What advice would you give to authors still waiting to make that first sale?
First of all, be patient. If you don't enjoy the ride (ie: the actual writing and revising) you should quit, because there is no guaranteed destination at the end of the ride. And if you're having fun along the way, you'll be more apt to be patient as you wait for "the call." Secondly, keep writing. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Have a book ready to send out to agents or editors? Great. Kick it out and write another one. Then another. Don't sit around waiting for that one perfect book to sell (see #1).
Thanks for having me, Sandra!
It was a pleasure having you today, Valerie. We'll expect to see you back soon with another book and happy geocaching!