Thursday, September 5, 2013

Interview & Giveaway! Melissa Tagg ~ Author of Made To Last!!


Welcome to Christian Bookshelf Reviews, Melissa!! Will you tell us a little about yourself? 

Sure! I’m a former reporter—loved that job!—turned author. Humor and romance are two of my favorite things, so that’s why I write romantic comedy. I also work full-time for a Christian nonprofit serving those who are homeless and hungry in Iowa. I have the coolest family ever, adore old movies and have met both a Secret Service agent and an FBI agent. That last part has nothing to do with anything, but it’s fun to say. :)

What is your debut novel, Made to Last, about? 

At its core, Made to Last is about discovering who we really are and in the process, finding a faith and love that’s, well, made to last. :) Here’s the premise:

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 fiancé 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? 

What is something the average reader wouldn't know about you? 

Let’s see, I’m going to guess most readers don’t know I once saved a goat’s life. At a fair. While everyone else was watching a runaway cow. Yes, it’s an exciting story.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 

Oh, I’m your typical “I’ve always wanted to be a writer” girl. As a kid I was (and still am) a definite bookworm. Somewhere along the way, I realized someone wrote these stories I loved…and I decided I wanted to do the same.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? 

Whenever I’m stuck in a scene, I pop in an episode of Gilmore Girls. For some reason, the quirky and quick-paced dialogue on that show always gets my brain going again. I can watch it for just fifteen minutes and suddenly be refueled and ready to write again. (And to any fellow Gilmore Girls fans, I am always up for a Dean v. Jess v. Logan debate. And I’m always going to vote Jess.)

Where do you like to write? 

I write in every room of my place, but I do have an actual writing room which is where I do the bulk of my writing. I also like to camp out at coffee shops now and then. But my favorite place to write is at my mom and dad’s house, in their sunroom overlooking their backyard ravine. It’s so peaceful there. And there’s no wi-fi (i.e. so much less distraction)!

What is the best and/or worst part about being a writer? 

The best is definitely that feeling of knowing I’m doing what I was created to do. I believe storytellers, artists, songwriters—really, all of us in some way or another—get that creative bent from the ultimate Creator. So I love that.

The worst part, no question about it, is writer moodiness. :)

What do you like to do when you're not writing? 

I love hanging out with family and friends, playing games and watching old movies. I also read, paint and play piano. And sometimes I like to pretend I’m good at sports, too, and whack around a racquetball or put my ridiculously long arms to good use in a game of basketball.

What is your favorite genre to read and why?

Ooh, that’s hard one because I love quite a few genres. I love a good rom-com, of course. But I also enjoy both contemporary and historical fiction, the occasional suspense and even a fantasy now and then.

Is there a place you’d like to visit, but haven’t yet? 

Oh, so many places. Ireland. Prince Edward Island. Italy. Russia. (I have no idea why, but Russian history fascinates me.) And I’m dying to go back to England and Scotland someday…SOON!

Do you have a favorite Bible verse? 

For sure. Romans 15:13 is one of my faves—it talks about the God of hope filling us with peace and joy as we trust in him. I also love 2 Thessalonians 1:11, especially as its paraphrased in The Message: “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. If your life honors the name of Jesus, he will honor you.”

Do you have a favorite song and/or movie? 

Another hard one. Can I give my favorite band instead? Coldplay is my favorite band ever, ever, ever (partially out of nostalgia for the time I spent in London), with Needtobreathe as a close second.

As for movies, I am slightly over-the-top in my love for classic movies. If Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn or Jimmy Stewart stars in it, I probably have it memorized. I also adore What’s Up Doc, a screwball comedy from the early 1970s, which was actually partially inspired by Bringing Up Baby—another favorite from the 1930s with Grant and Hepburn and…and now that you’ve got me talking about this, I may not stop and you may regret asking the question… :)

What is your favorite holiday? 

Presidents Day. Just kidding! I mean I like presidents and all, I just think it’d be funny if that really was someone’s favorite holiday. But no, mine is probably Christmas. I love everything about it.

A few this-or-that questions:

Snowstorms or Thunderstorms? OOH, probably thunderstorms BUT living in Iowa, I’ve come to accept and even embrace the occasional (or, fine, frequent) snowstorm as well.
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate!!
Tea or Coffee? Coffee, for sure. But I did get finally hooked on tea in London.
Call or Text? Usually, text.
Cats or Dogs? Dogs. I love them. I do not like cats. Now, if kittens didn’t grow up, that’d be a different story, but cats…shudder.
Early-bird or Night-owl? Both! I’m totally serious. I used to be solely a night owl but a couple years ago I trained myself to become a morning person. But I still love late nights. Thus, sleep and I are a little strangerly at times.
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook is my fave, but I’ve made room in my life for Twitter, too.
Sneakers or Sandals? Sneakers. Here’s the thing: I trip in sandals. I don’t know what it is, but I do. So, for my own safety, sneakers.

Are you currently working on any new novels? If so, could you give us a hint? 

I’m currently working on rewrites for my second book, Here to Stay, which will release from Bethany House on May 1, 2014. It features one of my favorite side characters from Made to Last.

Thank you so much for being here! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and where can we find you on the web?

Well, I’d love to simply say THANK YOU to readers. I always knew it’d be exciting to have a book published. What I didn’t know was how amazingly blessed I’d be by readers…I’ve found a sort of author-reader kinship with so many, and I can’t tell you how much I cherish that.

As for where readers can connect with me, here are my main online hangouts:
My website/blog: www.melissatagg.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorMelissaTagg
Twitter: @Melissa_Tagg
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/MelissaTagg
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/melissatagg


Book Giveaway!

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Made To Last by Melissa Tagg! US and Canada only. Ends 9/19.

How to enter: Sign into the Rafflecopter form below (it might take a moment to load) and click “enter” on each of the entries you complete. Commenting alone will not get you entered – you must click enter on the form. Happy entering!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

70 comments:

  1. Enjoyed the fun post, & learning more about you & your books, Melissa! If you could train yourself to be a "morning person" - maybe there's hope for me (lol)!

    Love the paraphrased bible verse!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it such a great verse? I've heard people talk about having "life verses" before and I never really felt like I had one. But after I read that one, I thought, hmm, this might be it. :)

      And yes, training myself to be a morning person was not easy. A friend who is an early riser actually texted me each day around 5:10 a.m. to make sure I was up. But now that I'm in the habit, I just do it.

      Delete
  2. Very cute cover! I can't believe you once saved a goats life. I'm not even going to ask how!! I am an avid reader and I love romance. Oh, and dogs too. We have 2 and they are the best. Thanks for the giveaway and continue on with great writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL to be honest, my goat life-saving story mainly consists of me realizing a goat who was tied to a fence had fallen over and was choking and shaking. I was like, oh my goodness, he's going to die! So I nudged the 4-H kid he belonged to and said, "Uh, I think your goat is in trouble." And so the kid untied him and helped him up. And then his dad poked him and said, "Jon, tell the nice reporter lady thank you for saving your goat." So really all I did was tell someone ELSE to save the goat's life...but since the dad gave me credit, I took it. Haha!!

      Delete
  3. Congratulations on your debut novel! It sounds really good and I'll be reading it whether I win a copy or not. Thanks for the giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a bunch, Amanda! Hope you enjoy it!

      Delete
  4. Thanks for the interview and the giveaway. Of places to travel to, Italy is also high on my list, and I'd also like to go back to Scotland even though it was really cold there. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, I kick myself often for not making it to Italy during my time studying in England. It was cold when I went to Scotland too, but oh so gorgeous...and, well, magical. Which might sound silly, but that's how it felt. :)

      Delete
  5. Melissa I loved this interview. I have gotten to know you a little bit better. I absolutely love the This and That questions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had fun with the This and That questions too!

      Delete
  6. Congratulations on your first book. Wishing you many more in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Replies
    1. Haha, it just seems like holidays like Presidents Day and Flag Day must feel left out whenever people talk about their favorite holidays...

      Delete
  8. Fun interview with Melissa! I'm not a sandals kind of girl either. :)
    amyc

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to know I'm not alone. I just ALWAYS trip when wearing sandals!

      Delete
  9. Great interview!!! Looking forward to putting this book on my TBR list. :)

    strgth4yu@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for the intro to Melissa! I don't normally read a lot of contemporary fiction, but this seems to be the year of contemporary fiction reading for me. Would love to add this to my stack.

    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's certainly been a bunch of fun contemporary books this year. Becky Wade, Carla Laureano, Susan May Warren, Rachel Hauck, Beth Vogt...they've all released wonderful contemp books this year!

      Delete
  11. Hi Melissa! I have been following your blog for a little while now, and I always find your writing to be so engaging and full of spunk. If your book is anything like your blog, I think I am going to enjoy it very much. Thanks for the opportunity to win this book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OH, thanks so much for following the blog. I enjoy writing blog posts...it lets me get some of my "random" out. :)

      Delete
  12. This book looks really good. I enjoy reading historicals, but think we need more contemporary romances in CBA that aren't suspense. There's room for all. I'm also glad to hear about a sequel that's coming out next year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Sylvia, I so agree with you! I LOVE reading historicals, too, but I've been really happy to see contemporary making somewhat of a comeback in the past year or two. I hear it's on the upswing...yay!

      Delete
  13. She sounds like a super funny person! Looking forward to reading her book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Heidi! Hope you get to read it. :)

      Delete
  14. Enjoyed the interview! Can't wait to get my hands on one of your books!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Fun interview. Ireland is awesome! I spent a semester studying in Dublin and then traveled around the country. Great memories. Hope to win a book. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, a semester studying and traveling around Ireland sounds heavenly!

      Delete
  16. Replies
    1. Good luck in the giveaway, Michelle. :)

      Delete
  17. This looks like a fun book.1 Thanks for doing the giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Enjoyed the interview as this is a new author for me, story sounds good and would like to read sometime, I have also joined the "Fall into Love " contest too where you are shown.
    thanks for sharing today
    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That Fall into Love contest has SOOO many great prizes included!!

      Delete
  19. I'm excited to read this book! I love Melissa's blog and her wonderful sense of humor. always brightens my day. : )

    Thanks for the giveaway Melanie! So excited when I saw its open to us Canadians!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, Cathy!

      Delete
  20. I am willing to read all of the nice love stories of the universe!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I would love to hear more about this training to be a morning person. I've been waiting and waiting for that to happen to me, haha. The best I can do is get excited at night because I can drink coffee the next morning, hehehe!

    I'm not entering the giveaway as I just received my copy of Made to Last yesterday! Very fun interview, ladies!

    Beth

    ReplyDelete
  22. I've heard such great things about this novel. I really want to read it, so maybe I'll win it! Thanks for the great interview questions, Melanie. And Melissa, I loved getting to know you! It's always been a mystery to me how author's get their inspiration and how they come up with all the plots and dialogue...now I know...The Gilmore Girls! Ha! I love classic movies also, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart...they just don't make them like that anymore!!
    Debbie Lester

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love books about discovering oneself, especially when there is humor involved.

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

    ReplyDelete
  24. Love the goat story. Proof that sometimes it takes so little to get credit. Sound like a fun book that I will look forward to reading.

    ReplyDelete
  25. As a girl who knows her way power tools and home renovations, this book really intrigues me! :-)

    Thanks so much for the giveaway! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Just added this to my to read list. Ireland is marvelous! Spent 10 days with my church choir singing our way around Ireland and playing tourist! Great country, great people! Forty shades of green and great castles.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I would defiantly read your book it sounds fun and very interesting. I like books like that.
    And it has been fun getting to know a little about you. Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  28. I absolutely love this interview! Melissa you sound like such a fun person who has a heart for saving goats rather then watching runaway cows! ;) LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thanks for the giveaway! this looks great!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I've been following Melissa's blog for awhile so have been hearing about her new book. It sounds delightful! I really enjoy good romantic comedy. Thanks for the interview with Melissa and the chance to win Made to Last.

    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

    ReplyDelete
  31. Your book sounds delightful, Melissa! I would love to read it! :)

    It was nice to hear a little of the "background" too :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. FUN interview! Can't wait to read your book, Melissa. And you saved a goat's life? Wow.

    Thanks for the giveaway, Melanie!
    inspiringdaring (at) yahoo (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi Melissa. Congratulations on your debut novel. Know it makes you feel good. Can't imagine having a book out on the stands that said Maxie Anderson on it! Good interview. I am a night owl, but until I was alone started sleeping later.
    I would like to hear the rest of the goat story. LOL I see you are into the GOOD movies girl. Good taste, I would love to win your book. Please put my name in. Thanks and wish you many years of writing. GOD bless.
    Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  34. I like Coldplay and old movies too. Maybe it's a generation thing.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Looks like we have a lot of likes in common, expect maybe the thunderstorms. :) Great interview and can't wait to read the book.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Wonderful & interesting interview. Your book sounds great. Very happen for you. Thank you for the opportunity for the chabce to win your book.
    Barbara Thompson
    barbmaci61(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thank you so much for coming by to do the interview Mrs. Tagg! Just reading your light, fun interview makes me wonder about what the book is like! I would really like to read it. I am definitely going to look it up on Amazon! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Sharon Richmond BryantSeptember 7, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Enter me this book looks soo thrilling and I can't wait to win and read it!!!
    Sharon Richmond Bryant
    Conway,SC.
    sharonruth126@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  39. Great interview! I'm very much looking forward to reading this book! Thanks for the giveaway.

    Please tell me how you trained yourself to become a morning person and how long it took! My body simply does not seem to understand that mornings actually DO exist!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Melissa,
    This looks like a really cute novel.
    I hope to win/read/review it.
    Thanks for your generous contribution.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Thanks for the fun interview! You have such a great sense of humor, Melissa :D I've seen your book around the blogosphere a lot lately and it sounds so good! I would love to read it :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. When I was a County 4-H Educator in Oklahoma I saved a pig, the week before the fair. The lady called seeking help for her stressed hog. The vet, FFA teacher, and my Ag boss were all out of town...it was me, in high heels. Called my husband (we had show pigs)for help. So...I run to the concession stand (office at fairgrounds), get the vinegar and a sponge. My secretary yells from the other end of the building...HE'S DOWN! I clop clop outside to hand THE owners the stuff but they've opened the trailer & help me in. I sit down, they put the big pigs head on my lap and I soak the sponge with vinegar & hold it over his nostrils for several seconds, doing this for 10 minutes. Told them to drive to the other side where it was warmer. By then the vet, FFA & my boss arrived & look at me cooing with the pig. He won first in his class several weeks later!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I've been wanting to read this book ever since I first saw the cover. So happy there is a giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Love the cover and can't wait to read this book! :)

    ReplyDelete
  45. would love to read this book. would also like to know more about the saving the goat

    ReplyDelete
  46. want to read this book

    ReplyDelete
  47. Great post! Congrats on your release. The cover is so sweet. Your story sounds wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  48. You are so funny, Melissa :) I've met an FBI agent too :) lol

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment - I love reading them! Comments are moderated and I reserve the right to not publish any comment that I find to be offensive (i.e. foul language, inappropriate content, etc.) or spam.

Thanks for stopping by and for commenting! =)

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8

Some of the links in my blog posts, tweets, social media posts, etc. contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.