I met the fun, uplifting Melissa Tagg at a My Book Therapy retreat a few years ago. Her sincere faith in Jesus and humorous way of stringing words together have always made me smile. She is one of the most encouraging people I’ve met, and I’m thrilled she’s joining me here today.
Please welcome . . .
Thank you so much for chatting with us today, Melissa. It’s great to have you here, and I’m so excited to have you share about your debut novel, which released on September 15th.
So, tell me about you. When did you first know—that bottom of your heart knowing—that you wanted to write? When did you begin pursuing publication?
Melissa: Well, I’ve always loved stories. I was a total bookworm as a kid—which probably made punishing me super easy for my parents. Forget spankings. Just take away a book. So I’ve always wanted to be a writer and tell stories of my own.
I started writing seriously in fall 2009 when I attended a My Book Therapy storycrafting retreat. That weekend was a huge game-changer for me—helped me find my voice, my genre, my niche. I’d say I started pursuing publication seriously, then, about a year after that when I attended my first ACFW Conference in 2010.
I’m grinning as I read about your passion for reading. One of my boys (who shall remain nameless) gets grounded from reading on a regular basis. Yes, it hurts him too.
What inspired the story of Miranda and Matthew in Made to Last?
Melissa: It started with the 1945 movie Christmas in Connecticut. It’s about a magazine journalist who is living a fake life and comes to the point when she actually has to produce the husband and home and baby and domestic-bliss-type life she always writes about…none of which actually exist. I took that “pretend marriage” angle and ran with it.
Now I know why you mention that movie in your book. How fun!
What were the most fun and most difficult aspects of writing this story?
Melissa: I had a ton of fun writing the banter, humor and romance in this story. There was just so much room for awkward moments and fun dialogue…I really had a blast with that. The hardest was keeping track of who knew the truth about Miranda and when—particularly because I rewrote this story SOOO many times. So I kept forgetting who knew what when. 🙂
Outside of the actual writing part, the most fun was getting that call about the contract…for sure. The most difficult outside the actual writing was continually trying to balance writing with my day job with my social life.
It seems many of us struggle with balancing “real” life and those things we love to do.
What is one little known fact about you?
Melissa: Haha, most of the little known facts about me are little known because I don’t want people to know them. LOL! But here’s one: While I don’t have a lot of the usual “girl” fears—not real bothered by snakes or spiders, for instance—I can get seriously frightened by bare-branched, craggy trees on moonlit nights. Something about the shadows…and feeling like the branches are arms and fingers…and, yeah, I get spooked.
And finally, why Diet Coke and Lime?
Melissa: Because it is delicious! And because to my knowledge, despite all the dire warnings and rumors, no one has ever actually died due to aspartame. 🙂
Melissa, thanks for the grins, and for being here today. It’s been fun getting to know you better.
I’m almost done reading Made to Last right now. If you like romantic comedy, you’ll love her book.
What about you? Do you have questions or comments for Melissa? If so, please leave them in the comments. She’ll be stopping in today to chat with us, as time allows.
Melissa Tagg is a former newspaper reporter and total Iowa girl. Her first novel, Made to Last, releases from Bethany House in September 2013. In addition to her homeless ministry day job, Melissa is 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, watching old movies and daydreaming about her next book. Melissa blogs regularly and loves connecting with readers at www.melissatagg.com.
During her reporting days, Melissa interviewed presidential candidates and llama farmers, rode a hot air balloon and flew a plane, and once came face to face with a buffalo. But today she gets her kicks by letting her characters have their own fun. She’s passionate about humor, grace, and happy endings.
Links where people can connect with Melissa:
Miranda Woodruff has it all. At least, that’s how it looks when she’s starring in her homebuilding television show, From the Ground Up. So when her network begins to talk about making cuts, she’ll do anything to boost ratings and save her show–even if it means pretending to be married to a man who’s definitely not the fiance who ran out on her three years ago.
When a handsome reporter starts shadowing Miranda’s every move, all his digging into her personal life brings him a little too close to the truth–and to her. Can the girl whose entire identity is wrapped up in her on-screen persona finally find the nerve to set the record straight? And if she does, will the life she’s built come crashing down just as she’s found a love to last?