Former news reporter Melissa Tagg is the author of Made to Last (2013), Here to Stay (2014), and most recently From the Start from Bethany House. Her ebook, prequel novella, Three Little Words, also released last month.
When not writing, Melissa works with a homeless ministry and is the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for writers. Passionate about humor, grace, and happy endings, she enjoys hanging out with family, watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book.
Melissa lives in, and loves, her home state of Iowa.
You have a full resume! At what point in life did you realize you wanted to write books?
I’ve wanted to write books as long as I can remember, actually. I was the bookworm of all bookworms as a kid and at some point had this realization that, hey, there are people out there writing these books I love. I should become one of those people!
Just as all good novels include a plot twist, our Author and Creator sometimes writes in a twist that ultimately blesses us more than our original plan. Have you ever experienced such a “Divine Detour”?
Oh my, yes. Probably one of the biggest “divine detours” I’ve experienced was several years ago when I found myself leaving my newspaper reporting job (which I loved) in a Northwest Iowa town (which I loved) to move to Des Moines and work for a Christian homeless nonprofit. It happened incredibly quickly … big changes usually do happen quickly in my life. I think it’s because God knows I’d overthink or talk myself out of things otherwise. : )
Sure, From the Start is the first full-length novel in my new Walker family series. This series takes place in Iowa and centers around a father and his four adult children. The first book is about his daughter, Kate, a romantic movie scriptwriter and a former NFL quarterback, Colton. (And no, I have NO idea why I decided to write a book with a football player since I wasn’t exactly up on my football knowledge back when I started!)
Here’s the blurb about the story:
Kate Walker used to believe in true love and happily ever after. While her own love life may have left her brokenhearted, it hasn’t kept her from churning out made-for-TV romance movie screenplays … until a major career slump and a longing to do something meaningful send her running back to her hometown of Maple Valley.
Permanently sidelined by an injury, former NFL quarterback Colton Greene is temporarily hiding out in a friend’s hometown to avoid the media and the reminders of all he’s lost. Maple Valley seems like the perfect place to learn how to adjust to normal life. The only trouble is he’s never really done normal before.
An unexpected project gives them both a chance to jumpstart their new lives, but old wounds and new dreams are hard to ignore. Starting over wasn’t part of the plan, but could it be the best thing that’s ever happened to them?
Yeah! The prequel is called Three Little Words and it was my first foray into writing novellas. I had SO much fun with it. It’s about Seth Walker, a cousin to the Walker siblings, and a side character from my second book, Ava from Here to Stay.
Here’s the blurb for that book:
Ava Kingsley and Seth Walker might be the most unlikely friends ever. The only thing these two polar opposites have in common is a knack for wordsmithing. Back in college, they were known for their written sparring in the campus newspaper’s popular “He Says/She Says” column.
At a college reunion, they pick up right where they left off. Except this time their squabbling leads to a surprising turn: friendship and a year-long exchange of emails. So when Ava approaches a crossroads in her athletics department career in Minnesota, Seth is quick to offer the open apartment above the restaurant he’s been remodeling in Maple Valley, Iowa.
Ava doesn’t know where her career will lead her next, but she’s starting to suspect she might see Seth as more than a pen pal. Which would be exciting … except for the fact that he only sees her as a friend.
As Maple Valley grows on her, Ava wonders if there might be something here for her even though Seth is unavailable. And maybe, just maybe, after all the words the two of them have exchanged over the years, they’ll finally be able to say the three that matter most.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
I’m big on pizza. It just never gets old. I like it piled with vegetables!
When I’m deep in writing mode, I try to snack somewhat healthily—baby carrots, grapes, sugar snap peas. But I have a mega addiction to candy corn!
What Bible passage or story best describes your faith journey?
I love 2 Thessalonians 1:11 (MSG): Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time—pray that our God will make you fit for what he’s called you to be, pray that he’ll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something.
I grew up in a Christian home, have gone to church and, well, walked the Christian journey all my life. There have been ups and downs, spiritual plateaus and then times where it felt more real than ever before. But that verse above is a steadying verse for me…a reminder of what my life is about.
This website features musicians as well as writers. If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
OOH! Fun question. I’d like to think I’d be a southern Rock song simply because that’s my fave. (Yes, I love to gush endlessly about my favorite band NEEDTOBREATHE.)
But probably more realistically, I’d be a folk song. I’m an Iowa girl, a little flighty, restless at times … and folk music just seems to fit that. : )
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
Another great question! I’d like to think I’m the strong, female lead and I suppose I am at times. But probably most of all, I’m the girl next door.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
I don’t have any pets currently. I’m not home enough so I’d be a pretty bad pet owner, sadly. But I LOVE dogs … so much! When I was a kid we had a dog named Chubby (we didn’t name him—the former owners did) and he was cute and hilarious. Poor thing, though, we used to put his hair in ponytails and dress him up in doll clothes. I’m sure he really appreciated that.
Thank you, Melissa! It’s great to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
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