Tuesday, December 15, 2015

25 Days of Christmas Stories: Interview with Valerie Comer, author of Merry Kisses

Merry Kisses is A Riverbend Romance Novella written by Valerie Comer. 

Merry Kisses will be available to you, my dear readers, for free on Amazon.com from December 19-23, 2015! So there's no book giveaway contest today because you can order it for free during those dates. Here's what the cover of Valerie's book looks like:

Valerie is here today for an interview about her lovely Christmas story. I hope you will enjoy learning about Valerie as an author and you may find out why she calls this book "Merry Kisses" instead of "Merry Christmas"! 

*Words by Alexis are in bold, words from Valerie are not in bold...

Alexis: Hi Valerie! Thanks for agreeing to another author interview. I am delighted to feature your Christmas story Merry Kisses on my blog today! Let’s jump right in with those interview questions…Merry Kisses is such a wonderful and unique story! Tell us the “story behind the story.” How did you imagine that title?

Valerie: I'll credit my daughter with coming up with the title and opening premise several months before I began writing the story. "Merry Kisses" sounded fun and definitely Christmassy! I love starting with a title then working it into the narrative. Almost all of the Riverbend romance novellas were written with the title as inspiration.

Let’s talk about your leading lady, Sonya Simmons. What does she look like? Why does her boss not want her saying “Merry Christmas” to customers?

In the opening scene, we find Sonya wearing a bright green uniform with a screen printed giraffe peering over her shoulder. She works at a toy store, after all! Her boss is very anti-Christmas and anti-religion and is doing the socially correct thing of not allowing the traditional greeting in her store. It's somewhat ironic that she's in a business where Christmas purchases keep things afloat for the rest of the year.

Early on in your story, Sonya gets fired when she tells a good-looking man, “Merry Kisses” as a holiday greeting while she is at work in the store. I found it interesting how that man (Heath Collins) is the hero of your story. Tell us about him. What does he do for fun? What were his first thoughts and reaction when Sonya told him “Merry Kisses”?

Heath is a fun-loving and hard-working guy who owns his own landscaping and snow-removal business. Add the mall Santa gig to his life, and December is a busy time, but he sticks with it because he loves making a difference in kids' lives. When he heard Sonya's words, they made him laugh and take a second look. It pleased him that he'd flustered her so much…at least until it became apparent that her boss believed she'd said the forbidden words.

What is it about Heath that causes Sonya to fluster and blush?

The direct, warm look in his eyes. His compassion for her and others. And the fact that he's perfectly willing to gently tease her.

What is it about Sonya that makes Heath want to kiss her?

She's so endearing when she gets flustered, yet she seems to carry a heavy load. He wants her to keep her chin up, but when she does, her lips are right there.

Why do Sonya’s parents disdain Santa Claus? Did you have a particular audience in mind when you wrote that part of the storyline?

I didn't have an audience in mind, actually. I don't plan much of a story out in advance, so much of what happened — even this type of backstory — didn't become clear to me until I was writing it.

What did you love the most about telling Sonya and Heath’s story? 

Is it shallow to say the kisses? How about watching Sonya blossom? How about the fun of letting readers catch another glimpse of Elena and Sophie, the two little girls who "matchmaked" their parents in Pinky Promise?

What was the most challenging part of writing Merry Kisses?

Getting into Sonya's head and figuring out what lines she drew over Christmas, and why. And writing about snowstorms on hot summer days!

What’s the moral of the story? 

Hmm. Don't make a snap judgment about cultural things without examining them and their history.

Complete this sentence: If someone told me “Merry Kisses” instead of “Merry Christmas” this year, I would _____________________.

If someone told me “Merry Kisses” instead of “Merry Christmas” this year, I would pretend not to notice because I'm shy like that! 

Thanks for the interview, Valerie! God bless you and Merry Christmas!

Author 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 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 creations enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Valerie writes Farm Lit where food meets faith, injecting experience laced with humor into her award-winning Farm Fresh Romance stories. 

Book blurb for Merry KissesFired from her retail position for saying Merry Christmas to a customer, Sonya Simmons chafes at the over-commercialization of the season and the difficulties of finding a new job. If only she’d actually SAID Merry Christmas instead of Merry Kisses to the tall, good-looking man buying enough toys for at least a dozen children. How embarrassing!

It was fun to fluster the pretty toy store clerk, but Heath Collins, the mall’s volunteer Santa Claus, hadn’t meant to get her fired. When his elf assistant comes down with a bad cold, Heath offers Sonya a few days’ work, only to discover she believes Santa is nothing but a liar and a fraud instead of an opportunity to make a difference in children’s lives.

Can Sonya and Heath embrace each other — opinions, traditions, and all — in time to share merry kisses for Christmas?

Buy Valerie's book:

Amazon.com - http://amzn.to/1QmZlEP
Connect with Valerie:
Website - http://valeriecomer.com

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/valeriecomer.author
Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/valeriecomer/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/valeriecomer
YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/user/valerierco

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