Tag Archive | Melissa Tagg

Inquiring Minds Want to Know (Part 1 of 4)

I asked some of my Facebook friends to ask me questions . . . so the next few weeks, I’ll be answering!

Why romance fiction? How long have you had the passion to write?

I’ve always enjoyed sweet romances. In my late teens early twenties, I was enamored of Georgette Heyer and Marion Chesney’s Regency romances. Clean stories without the explicit sex. I guess you could say I’m a romantic at heart and I long for that. My characters get the love and romance I don’t.

What made you choose writing? What keeps you writing? What motivates you?

I believe God led me to writing by telling me in a dream to do write for National Novel Writing Month (www.nanowrimo.org) in 2009. I think I had always been afraid to try and once I started the dam broke and I found out how much I love the process of writing a story. I haven’t stopped. Once the characters start forming in my mind and that first scene or general story concept and I start writing, I can’t stop until I’ve come to the end. It becomes like an obsession for me.

Which writers inspire you?

I admire the wit and whimsy of writers like Jen Turano, Mary Conneley and Karen Witemeyer, Brooke Williams, Sandi Bricker and Jan Thomson. I love the characters that Dee Henderson, DiAnne Mills, Ronie Kendig paint in her writing. Combined with suspense it is amazing. Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg, Loree Lough, and Lisa Lickel . . . I wish I could write like all of them, but I’ve had to learn that I have my style and I need to be okay with that.

How is fiction writing a reflection of your Christianity?

I love to encourage others. Jesus told parables and there is power in telling stories that can show the process of sanctification which I hope my characters will go through. I also believe we need to grow emotionally as well as spiritually. I hope I encourage others to persevere in their own journeys, spiritually, emotionally and relationally. And hopefully the reader will see biblical truths in a new light based on the journey of the characters to motivate them to persevere through the trials that come their way.

Pothole road damageWhat inspired the idea for this story?

For Pesto & Potholes I actually started with the concept of the potholes based on something I learned in my undergraduate studies. The idea that healing—whether emotional or physical—can be a rocky journey out of the pit and not necessarily an upward smooth trajectory. I labeled it potholes, my prof was a little surprised but to me, it stuck.

For the entire Orchard Hill series, for which Pesto & Potholes is the first book, I wanted to explore one of the things I didn’t understand early in my faith journey was why the church was so important. Especially when so many young adults walk away. Beyond worship and teaching, I realized it was about the relationships. While I agree that the theology of origins and understanding how science supports Scripture is important, but I believe the disenfranchisement of younger adults is deeper than that.

Peter Scazzero wrote a book called Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and he posits that when we come to Christ we are born into a new family and need to learn the new rules. Not the “do’s and don’t’s” but how to relate to others in a way that honors God and His other image-bearers. Many times the way we’ve been raised has not been as healthy as the design God has for us in relationships. We are not mature if we only grow spiritually and not emotionally. So . . . I hope that my stories show the value and importance of the new “family” how valuable those relationships are for us to grow up in Christ as well as cope with the ups and downs of life.

More questions will be answered in the weeks to come. If you have some, please write them in the comments below!

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From the Start (Book Review)

from the startMelissa Tagg has scored a field goal with her newest offering, From the Start.

Kate Walker may write romantic screenplays but a broken heart in her past leads her to believe that happily-ever-after is a dream she’ll never achieve. When her career hits the skids she runs back to her hometown of Maple Valley to help out with the aftermath of a tornado.

Colton Greene managed to sideline his own rising star on the football field with one disasterous play leaving him physically unable to return to the game that made him a star. He’s haunted by flashbacks he can’t understand as he tries to work with Kate to write his autobiography. Maple Valley becomes a safe place to heal and sort out his next steps in life.

Neither Kate or Colton were looking for love and direction for their lives and Maple Valley is the flash point for a budding friendship and romance. With starts and stops, working together and time apart, they realize the depth of their love. It’s happily-ever-after you’ll enjoy reading.

Writer Wednesday with Melissa Tagg

melissa taggMelissa Tagg, author of Made to Last and Here to Stay, is a former reporter and total Iowa girl. In addition to her homeless ministry day job, she’s also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for writers. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever (not that she’s biased), watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next story. She’s passionate about humor, grace, and happy endings.

When did you decided that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

I have always wanted to be an author. I loved books as a child and at some point my little kid brain realized that somewhere out there were people writing these books I loved. So I decided I’d do the same one day. That dream never left me.

What’s your pet peeve?

People who give me mean looks at stoplights when I’ve got my music loud in my car.  I’m sorry, I like to blare Needtobreathe when I drive!

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?made to last

I don’t embarrass too easily, but I’ll never forget winning an award, going up to give my speech and blurting out “holy crap.” Not exactly the composed speech I’d hoped to give.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

The biggest challenge has definitely been balancing my writing life with my fulltime day job with my attempts at having a social life. Juggling is hard, and this past year especially has been a challenge. But I keep thinking God doesn’t get us started on a path only to abandon us halfway down the road. So when my schedule gets overwhelming, I try to remember I’m not in this alone.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Ohhh those pesky reviews. I don’t yet have the self-control of some authors who just plain never read reviews. I definitely skim reviews and if I see a one- or two-star review, it’s similar to watching a scary scene in a movie when you know you should look away but just can’t. J Honestly, though, I have been blessed with somewhat thick skin…I don’t tend to dwell too long on negative reviews.

The couple times a not-so-great review has managed to get under my skin, I try to remind myself that not every story is for every person. And that very likely, the person writing the negative review doesn’t have anything against me personally…and also probably has no idea that the book they trashed was a piece of my heart. To them it’s just, you know, another book. I remind myself of all that…and then go eat ice cream.

Here to stayWhat do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

Well, I’m still very much a newbie, but I think finishing my third book has been my biggest success so far. I have no idea what reader reaction will be to this story (From the Start, releasing April 2015) but it was definitely the hardest thing I’ve written so far…so simply getting it done feels like a massive success.

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?

  1. Definitely, definitely focus on learning the craft…and the best way to do that is through joining a writing organizations like My Book Therapy. Hands-down one of the best things I ever did for my writing was to learn from award-winning authors like Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck who know the craft inside and out. Plus, the community and friendships I’ve formed through MBT are amazing.
  2. Find a craft partner…it doesn’t have to be someone who regularly critiques your work, although that can be beneficial too. But for me, simply having a craft partner to brainstorm with, to text when I’m stuck or frustrated, to share goals and prayer requests with, that’s such a wonderful thing. I have both a craft partner and a small group of writing friends who I work with and I can’t imagine doing this writing thing without them!
  3. Trust God. I know, it can sound like the most trite thing ever. And I’m great at talking about trusting God and not always so good at doing it. But I really, really believe he is capable of opening the coolest doors at the best times. There’s a lot of peace and rest that comes from handing our dreams over to him.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

Ooh, that’s a big question. I guess I’d like my legacy to be summed up in one word: love. I’d like to be remembered as someone who loves God and the people around me and who puts Gods love for us on display through my stories.

from the startWhat is your current work in process?

I just turned in the rewrites on my third book, From the Start, which releases next year. It’s about a jaded romance scriptwriter and a wounded ex-football player. She’s hungry for what she thinks is gritty, real life…and he just wants to keep living in the make believe world of his past fame.

Next up is book four which I’m plotting as we speak.

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Here to Stay (Book Review)

Here to stayI was asked by author Melissa Tagg if I would be willing to accept a copy of her book, Here to Stay and review it. I was delighted at the opportunity as I had enjoyed her previous novel: Made to Last.

While Here to Stay is a stand-alone romance it picks up a character from Made to Last and tells his story. You can read and enjoy this book without reading the first.

Blake Hunziker has traveled and lived a life of adventure for years as a way to cope with his grief. Finally, he decides to come back home and face the reality that some may still blame him for his brother’s death. No one could hurt him more than he does himself, because he knows the truth. He is surprised by a warm welcome by many and a chilly response from others. In attempt to redeem himself in the eyes of his town, he accepts the challenge of putting together the annual Christmas festival. The only problem is, he can’t do this alone.

Autumn Kingsley has been trying to hold the old family Bed and Breakfast together since her mother signed it over to her after her father’s death. The burden comes at a cost. Stuck in a small town she longs to travel and France has been her dream. Now a job awaits, but the B&B is struggling. Can she keep it going and hand it off to someone who will care for it while she jumps at her chance for adventure. The problem is that she needs a lot of repairs done and cannot afford to hire someone to do them.

Blake comes to Autumn to help with the festival and offers his handyman services in compensation for her help. This makes for a complicated relationship since his parents own her competition and her sister and his brother used to be an “item.” The problem is, she likes Blake, but can’t see giving away her heart which would also mean giving away her dream to leave this town. Blake is staying after having had his adventure. Can he let th woman he comes to love leave for hers?

Melissa is a great story-teller and her romances are complex and have a wonderful realism to them. This book makes me want to go back and re-read Made to Last to read them back to back since characters from the first book show up here. This was a wonderful story and unlike It’s a Wonderful Life where George Bailey gives up his dreams, Autumn and Blake do get to realize theirs.

 

Made To Last (Book Review)

made to lastI love the cover of Melissa tagg’s novel, Made to Last. The smirk o the mans face and the happy smile on hers made me want to jump in and read. (Great job with that Bethany House!).

Miranda is in a tight spot. She hosts a building show and really knows her stuff, but one lie told early on is snowballing and instead of dealing with the memory of one lost love, she as three very real men, includng the lost one, vying for her attention.

Unfortunately the one who grabs her heart is the nosy, yet handsome reporter, Matthew who has his own secrets to hide even as he tries to unearth hers.

But as far as Matthew and the public knows, Miranda is married. That means she is off limits.

Miranda has to decide if she’s willing to strip away the lies and rest in her value for who God created her to be, and maybe as she potentially loses everything, she’ll find the one thing she’s longed for the most. Real love.

This was a sweet novel filled with twists and turns that kept me wondering even till the end. If you like romance you may just want to snag Melissa’s book. It was definitely one I enjoyed and an author I hope to read more from.