Saturday, April 26, 2014

Featured Debut Novelist: Melissa Tagg

Melissa Tagg is a former reporter turned author who loves all things funny and romancey.

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Melissa is the 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.

The following is an April 2014 interview with Melissa.

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ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
AT THE END 
OF 
THE INTERVIEW


Be in to win a copy of 
Here to Stay
by Melissa Tagg


One copy to be won
Contest open to entrants worldwide.
Contest runs from 25 April - 9 May NZDT


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Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a former reporter turned nonprofit communications coordinator. By day, that is. By super early morning and late at night, I’m a writer. I have the greatest family in the entire world—seriously, I do. In addition to my day job and writing, I’m also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for writers founded by Susan May Warren. Some things I love: classic movies, traveling, friends, Sherlock and French toast.


What inspired you to become a novelist, and did you always want to write?

Yep, I’ve wanted to be a writer since I can remember. I’ve always been a bookworm and at some point in my childhood, had the realization that someone was writing these stories I loved.  And from there on, my course was set.


What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

So much! You know, sometimes Christian fiction gets a bad rap—people assume it’s overly saccharine or that it over simplifies faith or, especially on the romance side, that it assumes falling in love is the answer to every life problem. Haha! But so often, the people who think these things haven’t even read some of the AMAZING inspirational fiction that’s out there now. Sure, not every genre is going to appeal to every person. Some people appreciate a very direct spiritual thread. Others like a more subtle approach.

Regardless, Christian fiction is significant because it makes room for a character’s spiritual journey in tandem with his/her external journey.  Stories in general are significant…because they change us. They make us think or challenge us or get us to ask questions we might not otherwise. They get us to feel things we might not otherwise. And within the inspirational market, there’s space for authors to explore our faith in really cool ways as we hang out with our characters. And I love that—both as a writer and a reader of Christian fiction.

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How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write? 

I hope they laugh. I really do. I love humor…I feel like so often in life, laughter paves the way for truth. It gets us all comfortable and settled in and prepped for the heavier stuff. And I hope readers swoon at the romance too…because, you know, that’s fun. But most of all, I hope there’s something on the page that makes the reader think—about life, faith, their own experiences. I hope my stories point to God and his love for us as the source of our identity and hope.


What has been the most surprising aspect to becoming a published novelist? 

Definitely one of the most surprising things is how much work there is to do after finishing the story. There’s a lot that goes along with being a novelist—rewrites, galleys, marketing, book-signings, blogging, etc. But I love it and I definitely wouldn’t trade it.

Another surprising thing has been how impacting it is hearing from readers. I’ve written a quickie note to an author before letting him/her know how much I liked a book. But now to get to be on the receiving end—and to realize how much a little two- or three-sentence email or Facebook message means to me—that’s been a happy surprise.


How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ? 

Ooh, this is a good question. Amazing author Susan May Warren said something at a retreat once that hugely stuck with me. She said, “If God doesn’t change you on the writing journey, then you’re missing the point.” I love that, and I think it’s so true. For me, some of the coolest moments have been when I realized that what I was writing on the page, well, it was meant for me. That God was speaking to me through my own characters. I love how God will get our attention in these personal, individual ways…and for us writers, I think it’s often through our own stories.

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Other than being a novelist, what other goals do you have for your life? 

It’s funny, I used to have these lists of goals and things I wanted to accomplish in life…and more and more, especially in the past four or five years, I feel like God has stripped away my need to plan and accomplish “x” amount of goals by “x” time or whatever. :) But that said, I would like to speak more. And travel more. Maybe at some point try my hand at creative nonfiction. I guess I’d like to stay open. And flexible. And see what God has in store next. :)


What do you like to do in your spare time? 

What is this “spare time” of which you speak?

Haha, just kidding. I’m in a crazy stage right now where I really don’t feel like I have much free time at all, but when I do have some, I LOVE watching old movies. They’re just my favorite. And anytime I can convince a friend to watch an old movie with me, I’m super happy. I LOVE traveling and road trips—possibly because many of my best friends live so far from me. I also love hanging out with my family, reading, taking walks…and sleeping.


What can you tell us about your debut novel? 

Made to Last is about a homebuilding TV show host who is trying to save her career while juggling a fake husband, former fiancé and a super sweet but nosy reporter intent on uncovering her secrets.

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What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead? 

My second book, Here to Stay, releases this May and features the aforementioned “fake husband” from Made to Last. Quite a few readers told me he was their favorite character in MTL so I hope they continue to enjoy him in Here to Stay.

And currently I’m working on my third book, titled From the Start, which will release from Bethany House in spring 2015. I’m also working on a novella, titled Three Little Words, which will preclude From the Start. And soon, I’ll begin work on a fourth book, which will release in fall 2015. So…lots of writing happening in my world. Haha!


What would you like to say to your upcoming fans in New Zealand and around the world?

I would like to say, “Can I come visit you?!” I would sooo love to visit New Zealand. And also, thanks bunches for connecting with me here.  I LOVE how stories can draw people together even when geography separates us.


Do you have any parting words?

Thanks so much for having me here today, Ellie. You’ve got such a great site. And I love your love for stories and your support for authors. Thanks!

Melissa blogs regularly and loves connecting with readers at http://www.melissatagg.com.


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Made to Last

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?


Purchase Made to Last (Where Love Begins #1)
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | 
The Book Depository]


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Here to Stay

After playing nomad for five years, Blake Hunziker has finally had enough of adventure. Not sure what reception he'll get from everyone back in Whisper Shore, he's stunned at not only a warm welcome from his hometown but also a job offer. The job is his if he can successfully pull off the annual Christmas Festival. If only he knew the first thing about coordinating events... If there's one thing Autumn Kingsley knows, it's Whisper Shore. For years, she's been stuck running her family's inn when all she wants is to see the world. Now she has a visit scheduled from a potential investor who could take over the inn, as well as a dream job offer in Paris. But with just two weeks to whip the inn into shape, her chance at escape is a long shot.

The Hunzikers and the Kingsleys may not get along, but Blake knows Autumn's the only one who can help him. She agrees to a trade--she'll help with the Festival and he'll help with inn repairs. But what was meant to be a simple deal quickly becomes much more than that when the guy who's done running away joins forces with the girl who can't wait to leave.


Purchase Here to Stay (Where Love Begins #2)
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | 
The Book Depository]



Buy Melissa's Books at The Book Depository

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

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Be in to win a copy of 
Here to Stay
by Melissa Tagg

One copy to be won
Contest open to entrants worldwide.
Contest runs from 

25 April - 9 May NZDT


Please comment about the interview, or leave a message for Melissa Tagg. Simply commenting about entering the draw or wanting to win the books does not qualify for valid entry into the draw. 
All entries must be made using the Rafflecopter contest to be eligible for drawing. Winning entries drawn will have their entry options validated before being accepted - if incomplete another entry will be drawn.


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