I’m excited to welcome new author Valerie Comer to Literally Lori. Valerie’s novella, Topaz Treasure is the lead off book in the Rainbow’s End Collection from Barbour Publishing. We also share the same agent, Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency.
Thanks, Lori! I'm so excited to be here. I've enjoyed getting to know you a bit through our agent's email loop and to share your thrill at your recent contract. Congrats!Thank you. I know there will another contract in your future soon.
1. First off, tell us how it’s been seeing your book in print and stepping into the world of published author.
The moment I sliced the tape on the cardboard box and lifted out the first copy of Rainbow's End was surreal. My hands trembled as I stroked the gorgeous cover and touched the beautiful spine and back cover. Because I live in a rural area of Canada, I haven't had the pleasure of seeing Rainbow's End in stores, but lots of people have sent me photos of it on the shelves.Am I odd? I had to sit down and read the whole book from cover to cover. Somehow I needed to experience it as a reader, not a writer.
Having people tell me what part they loved best about the novella and ask me what happened to the secondary characters afterward has been rewarding. All in all, having a published novel (or novella, in my case) is an experience to be highly recommended!
2. What is geocaching and how did this idea come about? It’s very unique theme to base a collection on.
Geocaching is one of the few ways that technology gets people off the sofa and out the door exploring God's creation. It's basically a treasure hunt game using GPS (global positioning system) receivers that can be played singly or in groups. To find out more about it, http://geocaching.com"My husband and I began geocaching in 2008. It's introduced us to some areas of natural history and unique hiking trails in our region of British Columbia, Canada. It didn't take long for me to start daydreaming about how to incorporate the idea into stories, so when Nicole O'Dell and I began tossing around ideas for a collection of novellas to propose to Barbour Publishing, geocaching seemed a natural and interesting foundation. Thankfully, our co-authors and Barbour agreed!
3. Tell us a little about your story.
Rainbow's End consists of four novellas based on a fictional church outreach event--a geocaching hunt--set along the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. All of our characters participated in this event, and sometimes popped into each other's story for a line or two.
My novella, Topaz Treasure, is the first of the four. Lyssa Quinn is the volunteer coordinator of the event and it's her job to seek out donations and sponsors from the community. This might not be a big deal for some people, but Lyssa has always been reserved about sharing her faith, so publicly aligning herself with her church is a huge step for her. Imagine her shock when she finds her former humanities professor--young, cute, and very anti-Christian Kirk Kennedy--stocking shelves in Osage Beach's newest electronics store.
4. I’ve read many collections. Some have only a place connecting the stories, others have the characters interacting. Rainbow’s End did a fun job of including small cameos of the other characters. Was that hard to coordinate? As a reader it was fun to find familiar scenes and look at them from a different point of view.As the only author without other deadlines at the time of contract--and the only one experienced in geocaching, I wrote my novella first and sent it to the others to read and crit. This gave them some ideas as to where they could tuck my character(s) into their stories. When they had written their stories, they sent them to me, mostly to double-check the geocaching scenes. However, this also helped me see where their characters were at specific times during the collection's timeline so that I could give some of the (formerly faceless) walk-ons in my own story a bit more personality and a name.
As for the timeline, we chose the dates for the geocaching event's beginning, mid, and end points, then kept track using the calendar in our Yahoo! group. We plugged pivotal scenes into the calendar, especially if there was weather mentioned that might affect other characters. It actually was far more fun than difficult to coordinate.
5. What next for you? Any more novellas or books on the way?
Besides the release of Rainbow's End in May, 2012 has been "The Year of the Proposal." I have written several proposals that are out seeking a home, including two additional novella collections with other authors. My agent is working hard for me. We currently have a book (first in a 3-book series) under serious consideration at a publishing house, so we're hopeful--and excited!!--about that.
Thanks, Valerie for sharing your time with us. We’ll look forward to your next book. How can readers contact you?
If anyone is interested in learning more about upcoming books and promotions, I'd love for them to 'like' my Facebook page at http://facebook.com/valeriecomer.author and/or subscribe to my blog at http://valeriecomer.com/blog. You can also sign up for my 3-4 times a year newsletter from my website. Thanks so much for the invitation to visit on your blog, Lori!
BIO: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 http://valeriecomer.com.