This week I’m delighted to bring you chats with three of my fun writer friends, reviews of their new books, and giveaways of those new delights. I hope you’ll enjoy this breath of fun! And be sure to read to the end of each post so you can participate in the giveaways. I wouldn’t offer them if I didn’t think they’d delight the readers who will find these titles in their mailboxes! So grab a mug of your favorite drink and meet my friend Melissa Tagg.
Here to Stay is a beautiful story many of us can relate to. Either we’re the heroine who feels trapped and just wants a chance to live her dreams, or we’re the hero and our past has kept us running and now we just want to grow past it and put down roots. Add in some family rivalries, a past tragedy that overshadows the present, and delights of humor and romance, and this was a book I could barely put down! I so wanted Autumn and Blake to grow past their difference, family hang-ups and find a way to forge a future. Both have to sacrifice dreams that made me ache for them. Yet the small-town life, the fantastic cast of characters, and the sweet message of faith and hope kept me glued to the pages. And I loved the cameo by Miranda from the first book. This book is a keeper for all fans of contemporary romance laced with humor and lifted by a gentle message of faith.
Now I’m delighted to introduce you to my friend Melissa.
Melissa, In Here to Stay you’ve created a perfect mix with a heroine who can’t wait to leave and a hero is back to stay. The history between them is rich and multi-layered with loss and challenges. How did the characters first arrive in your mind?
Blake first appeared in my debut novel, Made to Last (a fun book that I endorsed!!). In that story he pretty much played the comic foil—a goofball pretending to be a celebrity’s husband. But I heard from a lot of people that he was their favorite character and as I wrote that first story, multiple times I had the feeling, “There’s more to this guy’s story.”
So going into Here to Stay, I knew Blake on the surface level but I had to dig in deeper and figure out who this guy was underneath his funny exterior. I started by asking myself, “What would make a man walk away from his life and agree to play someone’s fake husband? And what does he want now that he’s returning home?” As for Autumn, I’m not exactly sure how her character first arrived in my mind. She ended up being sort of a female George Bailey a la It’s a Wonderful Life. So maybe I’ve just watched that movie enough times…? There’s a lot of me in Autumn, too, even though my life looks pretty different than hers.
I think a little of me creeps into many of my heroines, too. I had such fun watching the interaction between Blake and Autumn. Did the chemistry come naturally or did you have to watch a bunch of classic movies to catch the vibe?
LOL I do watch tons of classic movies! I’m not sure I watched them specifically in order to help build Blake and Autumn’s chemistry, but they had to have helped. 🙂 I think one of the things that helped build their chemistry was asking myself (and them), what do you like about each other? What makes you right for each other? What is it that pulls you together even though all these outside elements should be tearing you apart? I love walking that romantic tight rope of “why DO these characters belong together?” and “why DON’T they belong together?” That tension is what makes a story fun to read…and to write!
Those are great questions to ask your lead characters! Did you know when you wrote Made to Last you’d tell Blake’s story next? He’s got a heavy background. Have you ever faced anything like that?
When I was first drafting Made to Last, there was a little niggle in the back of my mind that Blake’s story should come next. And then during revisions as I worked to strengthen his motivation, I definitely realized there was more to his story…and I couldn’t wait to tell it. Honestly, I haven’t faced anything like his background. Even just imagining what he’s been through was hard for me. I remember one moment, writing one scene in particular, when I started thinking about what it’d be like to lose a sibling at all, let alone in such a tragic way, and I pretty much broke down.
What do you hope stays with readers after they close the cover on this novel?
Well, I hope they’re still sighing over the ending. That last scene in Here to Stay is one of my favorite scenes I’ve ever written (I hope it’s not weird or cocky to admit that) and so I hope it gives readers the same gooey, happy feeling it gives me.
But too, the underlying themes of this book ended up being different than what I originally planned…and they resonated with me in a very personal way. I hope readers find themselves pondering life and dreams and the questions the story raises. Like: What do you do when your dreams collide? When the thing you’ve always wanted is at your fingertips…but now a new dream comes swooping in? How do you deal with that feeling of “Am I missing out?”
My favorite line came from that scene. It was a movie perfect ending…loved it! So tell us what’s next for you?
Well, I’m very close to turning in my third novel, From the Start. It’s the start of a brand new series that I’m really excited about and releases spring 2015. Then I’ll be writing a novella, Three Little Words, which will come out before From the Start and will bridge both series. Then it’ll be time to write book four, which is due later this year. So…what’s next for me? Lots and lots and lots of writing. 🙂
Yeah! I can’t wait to read those! Where can people connect with you?
All over the place. Here are my main hangouts:
- Website: www.melissatagg.com
- FB: www.facebook.com/AuthorMelissaTagg
- Twitter: @Melissa_Tagg
- G+: +MelissaTagg
- Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/MelissaTagg
- YouTube: www.youtube.com/melissatagg
- Instagram: melissatagg
I’m also on Pinterest, but I think I might be the only girl in the world who doesn’t really love it even a tiny bit, and on LinkedIn, though I don’t know why.
Cara again: I think you can see why I love Melissa — she’s got a great sense of humor and loves classic movies. Be sure to enter for a chance to read her book below. You can also check out Regina Jenning’s here and Beth Vogt’s here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway