Melissa Tagg: The Writer & her Book (with giveaway)

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Love this interview with the talented Melissa Tagg about Autumn, Many Sparrows, and a character once called Jamie! Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a copy of All This Time.

 

The Writer

Please describe yourself in three words (ask your best friend or family if you are struggling!)

Creative
Daydreamer
Bookworm :)

What’s your favourite season, and why?

AUTUMN!! It is my very, very favourite forever and always. I love crisp morning and evening air. I love the colors—the changing of the leaves. I love bonfires. I love pumpkin spice everything. I love getting to wear warm clothes. I love it all.

What is the best part of your day?

The moment I get to put on my pajamas! Or, completely the opposite, those first moments waking up. Over the years, I’ve more and more become a morning person. I love grabbing a cup of coffee and sitting in bed reading…or plopping on the couch in front of the fireplace…I love the feeling of a fresh start.

What do you miss most about your childhood?

Honestly, I miss the simplicity of it all. I was incredibly blessed to grow up in an incredibly wonderful family. My parents are the best-ever and my siblings are a blast. I had a fun childhood, a peaceful childhood…and a simple childhood. My days were filled with books and learning, daydreaming and family fun. I’m sure there were hard seasons and bad days in there somewhere, but what stands out most in my mind is a very loving, secure home where life was simple. And while I’m thankful to still maintain that close bond with my family, life doesn’t feel as simple anymore.

Which TV talk show host would you like to be interviewed by? Why?

I just want to totally cheat and say Steve Carell. But, um, he’s not a TV talk show host. He used to be on the Daily Show, though. Can that count? I just love him.

Hmm, who else even is a TV talk show host? Oh, I know. I’m going to say Ellen solely because she did a segment with Kristen Bell once where they talked about Bell’s love for sloths and, to this day, it’s the funniest talk show thing I’ve ever seen

You are at a fruit market – what do you reach for first?

Honeycrisp apples!! Or Pink Lady apples. It’s a toss-up. I love both. But next stop would be the peanut butter aisle for a jar of Skippy Natural. Apples and peanut butter is a daily staple for me.

What was the first Christian Fiction novel you read?

Does Christy count? I’m not sure “Christian Fiction” was totally a thing when Christy was published, but I’m guessing it’d be classified as such today. And I read it over and over and over as a kid. Oh, and also, Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke. Definitely one of the first CF books I ever read.

One author and/or book you always recommend?

I always recommend Lori Benton books. She is my very favourite author and every book she’s written just completely blows me away. I also constantly recommend The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof, which is one of my favourite books I’ve ever read! (I’m sorry, I think I cheated there with two answers!)

What book character has stuck in your mind from a book you have read this year?

Basically every single character in Lori Benton’s latest release, Many Sparrows. But I was especially drawn to Jeremiah—such a layered, honest and wise character, but one who isn’t without his flaws.

 

The Book

All This Time

Bear McKinley’s past refuses to let go…

Ten years ago, Bear gave up everything–his freedom and his reputation–for his mess of a family. But after years of distance and too many attempts at starting over, he finally has a new life doing noble work in Brazil . . . until his past catches up to him once again. Suddenly he finds himself back in Maple Valley, charged with the care of his missing brother’s children, convinced he’s out of second chances to make his life count. And yet, with every day that passes, these kids, this quirky town and the woman he never stopped missing help patch the holes in his heart. Maybe this is the fresh start he’s been longing for all along. But as his newfound hope grows, so does the mystery surrounding his brother’s activities–and when the threat reaches into the lives of those he loves, it’s clear he can’t run away this time.

Fear holds Raegan’s future captive…

Raegan Walker is fine. She’s happy working a slew of part-time jobs, still living in her childhood bedroom and rarely venturing from her hometown. At least, that’s what she tells everyone . . . and herself. But she can’t help wondering what might’ve happened if she hadn’t abandoned her art so many years ago–and if Bear McKinley had never left. When Bear returns and she’s commissioned for a painting that just might revive her artistic ambition all in one week, it’s time to finally reach for more than fine. But doing so means facing the fears that have held her back all this time, including admitting the secret she’s kept from Bear and her family. With her dream and her heart on the line, how much will Raegan have to risk to finally chase her happy ending?

What was the working title?

Actually, I knew this book would be titled All This Time very early on. I came up with it after writing book two in the Walker Family series (All This Time is book four). It felt right because we get little glimpses of Raegan and Bear, the two main characters, in all the previous books…so by the time we get to book four, we’ve all been waiting “all this time” to finally hear their story.

Describe your book in 5 adjectives

Swoony
Heartfelt
Small-town-y (totally just made up that adjective!)
Mysterious (Kinda? I hope? It’s my first attempt at anything suspensey)
Humorous

Which character took you by surprise?

Bear!! Bear, Bear, Bear. Here’s the thing with Bear: We see him in pretty much every other Walker book leading up to All This Time, and he’s always the guy with something wise to say, some piece of encouragement or advice or, you know, just a deep, heartfelt thought. So I assumed he’d be this strong, capable, wise person in his own story. But the deeper I got into his backstory, the more I explored his character, the more I discovered the cracks in his armor. His weaknesses. His hurts. I like to think he’s still strong…but he’s definitely stuck in a hard season. And suddenly, all the wisdom he’s able to dole out to everyone else seems evasive in his own life.

That definitely took me by surprise…and it made me love him all the more.

What was the latest you stayed up working on this story?

True confession: I rarely stay up late writing anymore. I used to stay up to all hours…even pulled an all-nighter here and there while on deadline with older books. But I hit a point where I had to stop with that. My body and mental/emotional state couldn’t handle it, but more than that, it was causing me to miss out on everyday life. I spent a few too many days glazed over and dazed in the presence of people I love. I decided it wasn’t worth it.

Thus, I don’t pull any crazy hours any more. Not at all really. Instead, what I do is try to find long weekends here and there where I can spend 8-10 hours a day writing. But I always start early. You’ll rarely ever find me writing past 9 or 10 p.m.—and even that is pretty infrequent.

Which character’s name was the hardest to choose? Why?

There’s a side character named Sara and I don’t know why, but I changed her name so many times! For awhile, it was Sara Jane and suddenly, mid-course in my second rewrite, I dropped the Jane.

Bear’s name is my favourite, though…he’s named after the lead singer of my favourite band. Way back in the prequel novella for this series, his name was originally Jamie. But halfway through writing that novella, I realized I had two characters with the same name as Needtobreathe band members. So I went back and changed Jamie to Bear. Obviously I put a lot of deeeeep thought into my character names. LOL!\

What’s something that didn’t make it into the final copy?

There’s a whole post-date scene I ended up cutting where Bear and Raegan wake up in a basement and they end up doing this cutesy “Berlin Wall” thing that was meant to pay homage to the hilarious “Walls of Jericho” scene in one of my favourite classic movies, It Happened One Night. The scene turned out soooo cute and I loved it. But my savvy editor pointed out that while it might be cute, it wasn’t necessary to the story. It did nothing to push the plot forward. Scrapping it was the right thing to do…but still… :)

Annex - Colbert, Claudette (It Happened One Night)_04

Thanks Melissa!

Award-winning author Melissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant writer and total Iowa girl. She writes romantic comedies in the banter-filled style of her favorite 1930s and 40s classic films. 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 loves connecting with readers at www.melissatagg.com and on Facebook and Instagram.

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27 Responses to Melissa Tagg: The Writer & her Book (with giveaway)

  1. Can’t wait to read this book!

  2. I love series’ that continue with various family members and friends! One that recently had me thrilled for new books to release is the Jonquil Brothers series by Sarah M. Eden.

    • I loooooooove the Jonquil Brothers series. I got hooked on her books a few years ago and now, every time she has a release, I read the day it comes out. Love, love, love!

      • I love Sarah’s books, too. Her Jonquil brothers series is great, as well as her Hope Springs series. I have some I need to catch up on, and I can’t wait until I can get to them! I love her writing.

  3. It’s older/second love that I often want to read about. I told Melissa awhile back that I want a romance about Case Walker, the father in this series. Also, I would love to hear about the love story of the mom and her second husband in Kristi Ann Hunter’s Hawthorne House series.

  4. Ok. So Ronie Kendig’s characters Ram and Tzivia from the Tox Files are not “minor” characters…but I would love to read more about this brother-sister duo. I think I read somewhere that Ram may possibly get his own book? Or is that just my hopeful imagination?

  5. Having just read The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, I would love to read more about her friend Piper–I hope a sequel is in the works!

  6. I enjoyed Melissa’s other books, and am looking forward to reading this one. I could name so many secondary characters that I wanted to have their own story, so I will just pick one author. When I read Susan May Warren’s Where There’s Smoke about Kate & Jed, I could hardly wait to read Liza & Conner’s story. Than I could hardly wait to read Reuben & Gilly’s story. But these characters are also in her other series, and I could hardly wait to read Kacey & Ben’s story. Then I loved Ben & Willow’s sweet story. Then I could hardly wait for Gage & Ella’s story. Now I am impatiently waiting to finally hear if Ian & Sierra finally get their happy ending when Troubled Waters comes out January 2nd of next year.

  7. After finishing “The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck” my fingers are crossed Mrs. Turner will write a sequel about Piper (Sarah’s BFF).

    Also, I CANNOT wait to read Ian & Sierra’s story from Susan May Warren. They grabbed my attention from the first book in the Montana Rescue Series and their story has been a long time coming. And if wishes really do come true….there will be another book about all the warrior ladies of Zulu from the fabulous Ronie Kendig. Pleasepleaseplease…pretty please!!

  8. I’m looking forward to Dani Pettrey’s last book in the Chesapeake Valor series to read what happens to Luke!

  9. I would love to read more about Charley in Irene Hannon’s Hope Harbor series.

  10. I love Dani Pettrey’s Chesapeake Valor series, Ronie Kendig’s Tox Files, Sarah M. Eden’s Jonquil family and Hope Springs series, and, of course, Melissa’s Walker family. Kristi Ann Hunter’s Hawthorne House series is amazing. There are so many wonderful books that I love.

  11. How about every minor character in every book I’ve read?? HAHA…I know that’s not specific, but when an author creates some fantastic characters, you want to get to know them all! It’s a big part in why I love series books, especially about family members. They become your own & you feel like you could met them around town :-)

    I have some of the Walker Family series books on my shelf, thanks for the opportunity to add to my collection!

  12. Awww I loved this interview so much!! And I really, really, really want to read this!!! <3
    I am so excited to read about Rae and Bear! :)

  13. I have not had the opportunity to read any of Melissa’s books and would love to win a copy of this one. Thanks for the chance. 😊 Characters that I can’t wait to read more about are Karen Kingsbury’s Baxter family.

  14. The latest minor characters that I want to read more about are Annie and Krina from The Victoria in My Head.

  15. All of Kara Isaac’s books have had Kat as a minor character. I’m looking forward to reading a book where she is the main character and finally finds her man.

  16. The minor character I’m looking forward to reading is Jane in the Tradd Street series by Karen White. Would really like to read “All This Time”. Sounds like a great read.

  17. I love It Happened One Night (swoon!). I would love to read that deleted scene; I’m sure it was completely adorable. Also, I can’t wait to read Kat’s story, a minor character in Kara Isaac’s books.

  18. Melissa,
    am so excited to read this last installment in your Walker Family series! I may just have to do some rereading before I start it!

    Congratulations.
    :)

  19. I love Melissa’s books! This series is on my MUST read list.

    I enjoyed reading Ty Porter’s story. Becky Wade’s Porter family series is wonderful!

  20. I am currently reading a couple of non-fiction books and starting Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey, so I am blank on the minor characters I would love to see have their own story.

    I really want All This Time, it looks amazing.

  21. There are lots of secondary characters I have loved, but most recently I found myself reading Courtney Walsh’s Hometown Girl and am crossing my fingers Beth’s siblings each get a story of their own someday!

  22. I know that it’s a standalone, but I recently stayed up all night reading Dear Mr. Knightley. Sam’s friend Cara who’s so rough around the edges would make a wonderful redemption story!!

  23. I’m looking forward to reading the final in the Walker series!

    Let’s see, there are so many characters in books I would love to see get their own stories. All of the Whitaker siblings in Courtney Walsh’s “Hometown Girl,” Shannon (the best friend) in April McGowan’s “Hold the Light,” and Harrison Sinclair’s sisters in Jen Turano’s upcoming book are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

    I suppose if every author wrote stories for every one of their minor characters, they’d never get to move on to new series, though.

  24. I enjoy reading the Guideposts Series. One of my favorites is the “Tea Room Mysteries”. It is a tea room run by two cousins, Jan and Elaine. I can’t wait for the next book to see what they have gotten into this time.

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