Valerie Comer is a gardener, beekeeper, and local food advocate, living on a farm in western Canada with her husband and various livestock. Besides writing, she loves camping and geocaching, snuggling her granddaughters, and eating dark chocolate. Not necessarily in that order.
Annalisa Daughety writes contemporary fiction set in historic locations. Rainbow’s End is her eighth release and she has three more novels scheduled to release in 2012. In addition to writing, Annalisa works for the National Foundation for Transplants. She lives in Arkansas with three spoiled dogs.
Cara Putman is an attorney and a homeschooling mom, living in Indiana with her husband and four kids. She's the author of a 14 novels: some contemporary romantic mystery, the rest World War II homefront stories.
Nicole O'Dell is the mom of six, including preschool triplets, and lives in Illinois. She's passionate about helping teens and parents and, as such, is the founder of Choose NOW Ministries and author of both fiction for teens and parenting books for those who love them.
Is there a particular genre you enjoy reading/writing and why is it your favorite?
Valerie: I enjoy both reading and writing contemporary romance, in part because our culture faces so many interesting challenges these days. I particularly enjoy stories that give insight into environmental issues from a Christian worldview.
Annalisa: I like to read to escape—so I enjoy light-hearted books (usually contemporary romance) that have a bit of humor. I also really enjoy cozy mysteries. I’m also a history buff—so I like to set my contemporary stories in a place where I can bring out a bit of the history of a place.
Cara: I love a good romantic suspense or strong suspense story. I want characters who are growing and changing throughout the story. And I love a historical set in a new time period – especially if it has strong characters with humor. Oddly enough those are also the types of stories I love to write!
Nicole: I like reading gritty books about issues—and that’s what I write. I particularly enjoy writing stories about people who overcome hardships and are faced with some tough decisions. I like to work out the consequences of choice through the story.
Valerie: I love camping by a mountain stream and picking
huckleberries on hot August days.
Annalisa: I just started taking tap dancing lessons and am also training for my first half marathon.
Cara: I’ve completed three mini-marathons, and my husband started talking me into a fall one before we ran our last in May. I have also taught classes at a law school, Big Ten university, community college, and currently an international graduate school.
Nicole: I turned in my first two books from my hospital bed while I was waiting for my triplets to be born. I haven’t slept since.
What five things do you love/like the most?
Valerie: My granddaughters, garden-fresh tomatoes, my morning mocha, my loaded Kindle, and my laptop.
Annalisa: My family/friends/dogs, Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks, a beach vacation, the feeling on Friday afternoon when the weekend stretches ahead, and college football season.
Cara: I love what everyone else had to say. Love Peppermint Mochas, college football, classic movies, my family (extended to include 20 nieces and nephews – it’s a clan!) and my Savior!
Nicole: My family, a nice long bike ride, a jacuzzi soak, a bowl of popcorn, and a movie. That also describes my perfect day!
If you could meet one person (besides Jesus, because who doesn’t want to meet Him!), who would you choose?
Valerie: Edward Brown, author of "Our Father's World" and a man who's done a lot to mobilize the church to care for God's creation.
Annalisa: I’m a huge sports fan—so I’m going to have to go with Tim Tebow. He’s such a good example to so many people and seems like a genuinely nice person.
Cara: Margaret Thatcher. I’ve long admired her conviction at a difficult time in world history and the fact she was a woman in a traditionally male role. The impact she had on Europe and the world in the 1980s is still being felt – the European WSJ had an article this week about how we need a new Maggie Thatcher. (though I wouldn’t mind being part of Annalisa and Nicole’s either!)
Nicole: Beth Moore. I’d love to pick her brain and raid her closet.
What is your favorite Bible story?
Valerie: I've been thinking a lot lately on Jeremiah 18 and how we are all lumps of clay in the Potter's hands. 2 Corinthians 4:7 makes it current: "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us."
Annalisa: I’ve always loved the story of Jesus calming the storm. It reminds me that no matter what is going on or how chaotic my life seems, He is in control.
Cara: I love the story of Esther and the idea that we are here on this planet for such a time as this. There’s no accident to the timing – besides I would have been stoned for not fitting into the tiny box women had thousands of years ago.
Nicole: I love the story of Hezekiah when God told him he was to die. Hezekiah asked for more time, and God granted it. To me it’s proof that prayer can change things, and that God hears and answers.
Amen to all of your answers! How do you choose your characters names?
Valerie: It usually takes a bit of searching online or in baby name books, because the name has to match the personality. Once the name is right, the character kind of clicks together.
Annalisa: Sometimes I name characters after friends or family. Or sometimes I hear a name somewhere and jot it down to use later. I’ve changed names right at the last edit because they didn’t feel right.
Cara: Often it’s a lot of prayer and flipping through baby name books. Sometimes I will borrow a name from someone I want to honor. Sometimes the name just comes to me. But often it takes some serious thought.
Nicole: I’m a little more haphazard at the choice. I really don’t spend a lot of time on it. I pick what comes to mind and then just wait to see if it sticks. I’ve been known to change a name if it’s not working out.
If you weren’t an author, what would your dream job be?
Valerie: I'm currently doing double duty by writing and managing a small-town flooring shop, which allows me to play with one of my other loves, interior decorating. I enjoy helping homeowners pull their desired look together.
Annalisa: I used to be a park ranger for the National Park Service. That was definitely a dream job. I’ve incorporated it into my writing by setting some of my books in National Parks.
Cara: I would love to be a judge or politician. For a long time I thought that or journalism was where I was headed. But I love the path God has me on.
Nicole: I’d love to have been a doctor of some kind. Or a politician—most people don’t know that about me. I have definite political tendencies.
What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a novella collection?
Valerie: Getting a complete romantic arc into 1/4 the length I was used to writing in. Oh the subplots and threads I had to chop out!
Annalisa: I agree! Making sure the story felt “complete” even though it was short was a little tough.
Cara: The key to novellas (I’ve found) is to focus on the romance with one other sub-plot. For Rainbow’s End, that subplot in mine had a suspense/stalker take. But I kept everything else focused on moving the romance forward in the setting of geo-coaching.
Nicole: I agree with Val, it was short. But it was a good exercise in using fewer words—something most novelists can use help with.
How did collaborating with this team impact you?
Valerie: For me, working with these awesome gals got me my first writing contract (and thus, my agent), so the impact was huge.
Annalisa: I really loved working with Valerie, Cara, and Nicole. Writing can seem so lonely sometimes. It was nice to have their support and input as I wrote. I’d do it again without hesitating!
Cara: As an extrovert I LOVED working with them. I already knew Annalisa and Nicole…and loved getting to be part of Valerie landing her first contract. It is fun to brainstorm, crit each other’s novellas, etc.
Nicole: I just LOVE all of these women and count it a great honor to be listed among them on this project. Not typically a group-project person, myself, I had my reservations. In the end, it was perfect and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Please tell us about the featured book, Rainbow's End.
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Join a geocaching adventure in the spectacular Lake of the Ozarks wilderness, with Lyssa, the reluctant volunteer whose former nemesis is now her chief sponsor; Madison, a city girl paired with an outdoorsy guy who gets on her very last nerve; cautious Reagan, who meets an equally cautious guy; and Hadley, who doesn’t know enough about guys to realize she’s met a womanizer. Will they find the treasure they’re looking for … or something else entirely?
Can you please give us the first page?
"Topaz Treasure" (by Valerie Comer) is the first novella in the book.
Lyssa Quinn clutched a bright-pink folder stuffed with advertising forms against her chest and squeezed her eyes shut. Please God. Help me be brave. She squared her shoulders and released each cramped finger individually. She could do this.
Frigid air conditioning laced with the odor of new carpet blasted into the Missouri humidity as Lyssa shouldered open the glass door of Osage Beach’s newest shop. This looked like the kind of corporate sponsor the Rainbow’s End Treasure Hunt needed, with a name like Communication Location: Home of Gizmos, Gadgets, and More—gadgets that included cell phones and GPS handhelds, if the posters plastering the windows were to be believed. Along with a smaller sign that announced Opening Soon. Well, she didn’t have time to wait, not if she was to have all the advertising and sponsorship in place before the middle of June. Only a month to go.
At least the door was unlocked and the fluorescents blazed down. Stacks of cardboard boxes lined the aisles next to partially filled shelves. Somebody must be around. If she was lucky, somebody sympathetic.
But what if they weren’t? Maybe she should come back another day. Or never. How had Noah talked her into this? She glanced at the folder in her hands, covered with decals from her third-grade class. Cute stickers with chalkboards and apples. #1 Teacher. If she could face twenty-nine kids five days a week, surely she could face one manager.
Where can readers learn more information about each of you?
You can discover our blogs, newsletters, and links to connect with each of us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc, on our websites:
Valerie Comer: http://valeriecomer.com
Annalisa Daughety: http://annalisadaughety.com
Cara Putman: http://caraputman.com
Nicole O'Dell: http://nicoleodell.com
Nicole (and the other fine ladies, I'm sure!) has (have) kindly offered to giveaway a print copy of Rainbow's End to one blessed winner. Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway. Giveaway is available to U.S. residents only.
For extra entries:
~Be a follower +1
~Add my button to your blog +1
~Post about this giveaway +2
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(please leave a separate comment for each extra entry)
Giveaway ends on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at midnight (Eastern time). Winner will be chosen using Random.org.