Interview with Valerie Comer, author of Raspberries and Vinegar

Welcome, Valerie. We both have had previous books published by Barbour, and I am happy to welcome you to my site to let others know about your newest book–Raspberries and Vinegar. Thanks for stopping by to let us know more about you and your writing.

Tell us about your favorite book as a child and your favorite book as an adult. Can you see a connection between those books? 
I’m not sure I could pick just one favorite book from my childhood (or from now, for that matter!) But there’s a book I remember about an inner city child whose apartment looked down on a garbage-filled empty lot. This child motivated the neighborhood to clean it up and create a garden there. Working as a group brought everyone together, plus they had a place to meet and enjoy each other afterward. I cannot for the life of me recall the book’s title or author, or, as you can see, the child’s gender!
I don’t find many books with these themes of recycling and reclaiming poorly utilized space these days. Perhaps it’s why I write them?

Kudos to you for writing something not often written about. What is your favorite Scripture?

A passage that means a lot to me is the first chapter of 2nd Peter. Verse 3 reads: “His divine power has given us everything we need to experience life and to reflect God’s true nature through the knowledge of the One who called us by His glory and virtue.” The passage goes on to give practical guidelines for living a life so “you will never be ineffective or unproductive in your relationship with our Lord Jesus the Anointed” (v 8).

Do you also have a favorite Scripture that encourages you in your writing?
Psalm 19:14 (NIV) falls into this category: “May these words of my mouth (hands) and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what setting would you choose?
This is a fascinating question because I write about local food, and that can’t be separated from its setting. So I think this question must mean what local cuisine would I most like to explore—both in my taste buds and in a story! I’m Canadian, so my answer will be the Atlantic province of Newfoundland and Labrador—sounds like two places but it isn’t. I love seafood of any variety, so research would be right up my alley. :D

My husband and had the opportunity to tour the two provinces south of there–Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, last summer and really enjoyed them–the scenery, the ocean, the people, and of course the food!  I often wonder if I would write if I had to do it the old-fashioned way without computers and spell-checks and email. Is there anything about technology that you don’t like? Or anything about it that you feel enhances your writing?
I wrote my first novel longhand in 2002, typing a few chapters at a time into the computer. So it was possible for me, at one time, to write without much technology. Frankly I can barely read my own handwriting after a few days have gone by, so it’s not a good option for me. At first I had to train myself to think with hands on the keyboard. My other thinking/plotting mechanism is mind mapping on my large whiteboard, also quite low-tech.
I love writing on my laptop, connecting with readers as well as other authors online, and having research at my fingertips. I don’t think I’d have enjoyed writing novels nearly as much in the pre-computer days.

As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone?

Digging deep into emotions and psyche seemed like a good answer at first, but the biggest stretch is putting myself out in front of people. Like many writers, I’m an introvert, so it’s challenging to contact people and ask them if they’d like to buy, read, or review my novel.

In my younger days, I was an extrovert, but now also lean toward introvert. What advice would you give to a beginning writer that you wish someone had given you?

I struggled for years to figure out where I fit into the plotting/pantsing spectrum. I wish someone had told me most writers fall somewhere in between. I wish I’d learned earlier some of the techniques I could experiment with to find what worked for me. I teach this now through a free writing course (via email) on my website To Write a Story.

7. Do you want to add anything about your book such as how to order it?
Links to purchase Raspberries and Vinegar in paperback and digital versions are available on my publisher’s website: Choose NOW Publishing.

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 and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their creation-care-centric church. She only hopes her characters enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.
Valerie writes Farm Lit with the voice of experience laced with humor. Raspberries and Vinegar, first in her series A Farm Fresh Romance, released August 1, 2013. Visit her at
A Farm Fresh Romance Series:
A Farm Fresh Romance.This unique farm lit series follows the adventures, romantic and otherwise, of three college graduates who move onto a reclaimed farm where they plan to take the rural area by storm with their sustainable lifestyle and focus on local foods.      
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.
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