I caught up with author Valerie Comer on the eve of the release of her second novel, Wild Mint Tea. Hi, Valerie!
Hi there. It’s great to be here, but I’m sorry to remind you that Wild Mint Tea doesn’t release tomorrow but on Saturday, March first.
Oh. Well, almost eve, if you must be literal. So tell our readers about your new Amish novel.
Amish novel? My book isn’t about the Amish.
No? I thought it said something about the simple life. Where did I see that again . . .
Simple isn’t the same thing as Plain. The concept comes from I Thessalonians 4:11: “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.” (NLT)
Those things sound Amish. A quiet life, minding your own business—though I’m sure an Amish woman or two has been a meddler—and working with your hands.
Well, yes. There can be some similarities in goals without being Amish. I mean, that’s why all these readers—Hi, Readers!—come to Not Quite Amish Living every day. They are interested in the Amish, but that doesn’t mean they want to be Amish.
Okay, that makes sense. So how do the characters in your book lead a quiet life? No bonnets or suspenders, but no big parties, either?
True on all counts. Claire Halford is a homebody. She’s a chef who, along with her two friends, bought a farm so they could grow their own food and lead a sustainable lifestyle. Claire’s kind of shy, but she’s determined to pay her share of the farm’s expenses and continue to lead the lifestyle she’s dreamed of for years.
Wait. I remember you now. You don’t write Amish at all. You write romance. So I suppose there’s some suspenderless man in this story, too. Poor guy.
You don’t believe in love? You don’t think the “poor guy,” as you call him, might actually be looking for something?
What kind of guy falls for a farmer girl? I mean, that’s not your average, every day scenario.
You need to get out more. There are plenty of guys who wouldn’t be intimidated by a female farmer. Take Noel Kenzie, for instance.
Oh, let me guess. Noel is . . . um . . . a farmer, too! He probably raises pigs. No, goats! That’s cheesy. Get it? Goat milk cheese?
Sigh. You’ve got the wrong guy. Noel owns a reforestation company. As the story opens, he’s in the neighborhood of Green Acres Farm—where Claire and her friends live—looking for a chef for his tree-planting crew.
Of course. He hires Claire, they fall in love and she joins his crew, following him wherever he goes. The end.
What do you mean, wrong story?
I mean, you didn’t guess what happens. It’s more complicated than that. A lot more complicated. First of all, he hires someone else, not Claire.
Are you supposed to tell your readers that? It’s probably meant to be a surprise.
Maybe, but it happens in chapter two, so I don’t think it’s a big spoiler.
She’s rooted deep. He flies free.
Local-foods chef Claire Halford envisions turning Green Acres Farm into an event destination. Weddings prove trickier than she imagined when the first one comes with a ruggedly handsome brother-of-the-bride, who has everything but a fixed address. Oh, and faith in God.
Noel Kenzie loves the freedom his reforestation company affords him. Why worry about deep stuff like God and commitment when he’s in his prime? Except there’s a woman who might make it worth giving up his wings . . . and digging in some roots. If he dares.
Catered weddings? Brother of the bride? Where did that come from? And I didn’t see a thing in there about her cooking for his crew.
Trust me, it makes perfect sense in context, so you’ll just have to read the book to find out.
It’s a romance novel, and not even an Amish one, at that.
True. But I’m pretty sure you’ll like it, anyway. It’s sweet, it’s funny, and you might even cry a time or two.
That’s a recommendation?
Maybe. Why don’t you give it a try? Janice Thompson, Loree Lough, and Gail Sattler are all well-known contemporary romance authors, and they all liked it.
Really? They liked it? Where’s can I find out more?
Find Wild Mint Tea right here. You can read the first chapter and, if you’re hooked, you can even pre-order a copy. Even though this isn’t quite the eve of its release, Saturday’s not long to wait.
Okay, I’ll go have a look. Just to see what you did to that poor tree-planter guy. I feel sorry for him already . . .