Must Meet Monday: Melissa Tagg

I’m drawn to the witty, clever, and funny exterior with a warm, gooey and deeply spiritual inside.  And that’s Melissa Tagg in a nutshell. Okay, not a nutshell, but in real life. (refer to Wayne’s World.)

I have no idea how I stumbled upon “Tagg’s” blog. I call her that. I don’t know if she likes it or not. But it doesn’t really matter, now does it? No one ever asked me if I liked being called “Little Oz” “Ozzy” or “Short Oz.” I digress. My point is, Tagg’s personality and fun writing style caught me up and she’s one of the very first people I hunt down on MWF. Yep, I enjoy her blog that much! Go see for yourself. 

Native Iowan and former reporter Melissa Tagg, is a big fan of love and laughs…which is why she writes humor-laced contemporary romance. (Well, that and the amazing paycheck she’s sure will come any day now.) In addition to her homeless ministry day job, she is also the marketing/live events coordinator for My Book Therapy. She won the 2010 Frasier Award and finaled in the 2010 ACFW Genesis Contest. 

JP: See? How funny is she? Congrats on your awards, Tagg. When did you get the writer’s bug?
MT: Oh goodness, I think around the time I got teeth. (Uh, because I’ve always liked to “chew” on a good story…? Okay, should’ve let that one go.) Seriously, though, I’ve loved stories as long as I can remember. Sometime in my childhood it must’ve dawned on me that stories don’t just happen – someone writes them. And I decided I must be one of those someones. J
JP:  Badump, bump, ching! Tell us one favorite line in one of your WIP’s and tell us why?
MT: Okay, I promise I’m not being lazy here, but I’m going to give you the first line of my book! I’ve had about 12 different first lines and thanks to inspiration from Susan May Warren’s  teaching AND a blog post by awesome friend/upcoming debut author Beth Vogt, I finally have an opener I love.
             Here it is:
                 On any other day of the year, she could almost forgive herself for the lie.
JP: Ooooh! Good one. I’d tell  you if I hated it. What day of the year is that? I ask. And almost means she never has forgiven herself. Well, done, friend. Well done. I could camp on this for a bit longer but I won’t so let’s move along. Do you listen to music while you write? I totally feel a Coldplay plug-in coming on.
MT: Oh, I love Coldplay so much Cupid should probably recruit me. Their new album, Mylo Xyloto, is fab-u-lous!!
But actually, I rarely listen to music when I write because it’s too easy for me to start singing instead of staying immersed in the scene. If I do, it’s usually instrumental – and something fitting to the mood of my scene. Oddly (or really not so oddly if you know me) my best music for writing is a strings orchestra recording of Rogers & Hammerstein’s greatest hits. OR (and feel free to laugh), I have a string quartet album of Coldplay songs.
JP: Thanks for permission. I’m giggling. I’ll admit, yah know since you said I could feel free! So, what genre do you like to read? Do you write that genre?
MT: I adore romantic comedy with lots of hilarity, but also character depth (think Jenny B. Jones) – which is definitely what I aspire to write. But I read lots of genres: I enjoy both women’s fiction and contemporary romance – though I will confess to being slightly picky with romance. I also love a good thriller or suspense and even the random fantasy here and there. (I’m a massively huge fan of Ted Dekker’s earlier books, especially the Circle series.)  And, thanks to both Susan May Warren and Deeanne Gist’s fabulous historicals, I’m now a historical fiction fan, too. Someday I’d love to try writing historical for the fun of it.
JP: Well, I can’t wait to read your books. If you could pick one villain from a book to be for a day, who would you choose?
            MT: First of all, kudos on seriously fun questions.
            JP: Thanks! I do like to try and keep things fun. Is everyone having  fun? If not, please lie and say “yes.” 
MT: I’d have to say Captain Hook from Peter Pan. Because he gets to hang out in Neverland and has fabulous hair. Although, the hook would make typing and playing piano a challenge…
JP: He does have great hair! Great answer. Fall is here, what one thing do you love most about this season? What one thing do you like least about this season?
MT: I love so many things about fall – by far my favorite season – but probably my faves are all things pumpkin: Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice creamer, pumpkin bars, pumpkin scented candles.
            Least favorite is definitely its length. Autumn is way too short.
JP: I agree. I am making gooey-pumpkin butter cake for Turkey Day. Bet you wish you were gonna be here, huh? I’ll send you a picture. Speaking of pictures, do you hunt down any of your characters from the internet? Care to share what your hero and heroine look like with us from your current WIP?
           MT: Sometimes I do that, yes! For my current book, here’s who we’ve got:

Put Levis and a tool belt on her, and Lauren Graham IS Miranda Woodruff, my heroine.
JP: I like her! But you know, I’ve never watched Gilmore Girls or Parenthood. Chics in toolbelts. Awesome. I see some comedic scenes for sure!
MT: Honestly, I didn’t mean for this to happen, but I’ve been picturing my main male character, Matthew Knox, as Jason Ritter. (Both Graham and Ritter are in the TV show Parenthood.)
JP: Are they paired together on the show? They look cute together! 

And if you give Owen Wilson a black moptop instead of blonde, he’s totally Blake “Blaze” Hunziker, my other main dude. (Apparently I’ve filled this book with dark haired folks.)

JP: I tend to gravitate toward dark haired males myself. Okay, I’m so fanning myself right now. 🙂  What would your characters say about you if they had the chance?

MT: Oh dear, they’d totally ruin the cool and confident vibe I’m sure I give off around real people. (Real people, please stop laughing.) No, my characters would probably gab about my writing mood swings. If they behave and a scene goes well, I go all giddy. When they don’t cooperate, I sink into the depths of despair. They’d also probably express concern over my need to speak dialogue out loud as I’m typing and act out scenes…
JP: OMG! I do that too! Or if I’m picturing a scene while I’m driving sometimes it comes out my mouth before I realize it. I always hope people think I’m singing or on a bluetooth! Your characters are great now give us a peek into the story!
           MT: Sure thing! Here’s a blurb for my second WIP, From the Ground Up.
Since the first season of her popular homebuilding show, celebrity Miranda Woodruff has entertained viewers with stories of the husband who taught her all she knows. Too bad said “husband” abandoned her before the season aired…and before the wedding. Now facing teetering ratings and with media curiosity at an all-time high, Miranda’s producer insists she come up with a husband – real deal or not. Mock mate in tow, she sets out to save her show. But then nosy reporter Matthew Knox lands on her doorstep, lugging his own set of personal baggage and desperate for a breakout story. The only thing worse? The reappearance of her former fiancé.
Juggling secrets and supposed spouses, Miranda’s heart is in for a major renovation as God shows her where her true identity lies.
JP: Okay, I’d buy this book today, yah hear me? It sounds awesome! Thanks so much for coming by and hanging out with us today, Tagg. It’s been a blast and I’ve been smiling and giggling the whole time. Is there anything you’d like to ask the peeps that hang around my “waterfall” cooler? They’d be happy to answer, as they are the most awesomest people around!
I loved your question about what villain I’d be for a day if I could. So can I copy you and ask that one to everyone else? And thanks so much for having me. How fun!!

Okay, everyone, if you could be a villain for one day, who would you be? Get creative, get dark, get on it! Tell us! 

And even more importantly connect with Melissa on facebook, her blog, and twitter

21 thoughts on “Must Meet Monday: Melissa Tagg

  1. I don't think I've ever read Tagg's blog or interacted with her. Thanks for introducing her! The premise of her next book sounds really cute. I love Dekker's earlier works too.

  2. Jessica,
    M-Tagg on your blog! Whoot!
    (You call her Tagg, I call her M-Tagg. Whatever works.)
    What a fun, fun post … and now I'm thinking villains and talking dialogue out loud while I drive (which I do, and I hope the guy in the car next to me thinks I'm on my cell) and wondering what I'm going to make for Thanksgiving that might rival that yummy cake you mentioned …


    I'm not a villain kind of gal. At all. So I will wimp out and go with Gru of Despicable Me. Maybe we'd have a tea party. Or maybe he'd let me hang with the minions Dave and Jerry.

  3. I recently met Melissa! She took on my online survey and won books! She's great!

  4. Great to meet you, Melissa! I can't really listen to music when I write, either. It throws me off because I start focusing on the lyrics. Classical music works better for me.

    If I could be a villain….hmmm…Maybe Malificent from Sleeping Beauty. That woman had style, even if she was pea soup green, lol. And she had a raven that perched on her shoulder and did her bidding. Did I mention she could turn into the scariest dragon I've ever seen?

  5. So much fun to be here!! Totally brightens my Monday.

    Jessica, nice to meet you…especially since you're a fellow Dekker fan. Sometimes I feel his newer stuff is a bit hit-and-miss for me, but I think he's brilliant, all the same. I drove to Chicago just to hear him speak once…totally worth it. Especially when he asked me if I was my sister's twin…she's actually 10 years younger than me. Score!

    Beth!! I'm cool with Tagg, cool with M-Tagg, even cool with Milly. (That's what British friends called me.) Confession: I've never seen Despicable Me. It's not on my must-see list so I can picture you as the villain. 🙂

    Yay, for winning books from Katie! Also, I think your new site is beautiful. Everyone should check it out:

  6. Brandi, I looove Sleeping Beauty. It's my all-time favorite Disney movie! I especially love the fairies when they're trying to make a dress and cake for Sleeping Beauty's birthday without using their wands…

  7. Fun interview, ladies!

    Great to meet you, Melissa!

    When I was little, I always wanted to be Catwoman on the old Batman show. She was always beautiful, and I loved the cat suit.

    For laughs, Sauron, from LOTR. If you're going to be a villain, you might as well go big.

  8. What a great interview!

    Hmm…villain…I'd have to say Saul from the Bible, before he became Paul. (Hey! He was a villain! In the beginning.) I'd like to get inside his head and find out what he was thinking when the mob was stoning Stephen and throwing their coats at his feet.

    Melissa — Nice to meet you! I'm going to go check out your blog. You're book sounds great! I'll have to keep an eye out for it! 🙂

  9. You girls are having way too much fun. 🙂

    So, short oz, are you short? 🙂

    Thanks for the interview, Melissa. Loved your answers, especially the one about what your characters would say about you.

    I've never been one to romanticize about being a villain. Can I think on that answer?

  10. Great interview, Jessica! So nice to meet you, Melissa!

  11. What a fun interview! I had the privilege of being MTagg's 2010 ACFW roomie. What a blast we had…"Do you want to in over or marche with me?"

    Great interview!

  12. Loree: I think you win the award for picking the scariest villain ever – Sauron! Freaky!!

    Gwendolyn: I never would've thought of Saul. It would be cool to get into his head…especially if you could stay there through his conversion to Paul. Though, those few days of blindness would be freaky.

    Sheri: Feel free to think long and hard about your villain choice. Because, it's a very important question… hehehe …

    Donna: Nice to meet you too!

    Lisa: No, *I* had the privilege of being *your* roomie! 🙂 Best text ever! Such fun memories…

  13. What a fun interview, ladies! I've seen Melissa's name around Twitter but never officially met her.

    Melissa, I'm a big rom-com fan myself and LOVE the concept behind your book! Please, please get it published someday so I can read it, 'kay? 😉

  14. Another Iowan, yay! I don't see that too much. Your book sounds like a lot of fun. Good luck on your publishing journey!

  15. I will check out her blog. And she picked two of the characters from my FAVE show Parenthood!

  16. Sarah: From your mouth to publisher's ears. Hehehe… 🙂

    Stacy: Yay, an Iowan!! I'm originally from Webster City, but now live in the Des Moines area…

    Maggie: I love Parenthood too! Another coworker and I are both crazy about the show, so every Wednesday morning we gab about what happened the night before.

  17. I'm sitting here snickering at the computer and my kids came over to see what I was doing. I got an eye roll – thanks for that:) Great to meet you Melissa! I'll patiently wait for you to finish that book and get it published (you will) so I can read it – loved the blurb, and your character pics of your leading men aren't too shabby either.

  18. What a great interview! I have a hard time concentrating with lyrical music too (and apparently with The Suite Life of Zach and Cody playing on the DVR, because reading this took about three times longer than it should have!)

    I tried to be all intellectual and choose a literary villain, but I got nothin. I'm going with Ben Linus from Lost, because he's one of the most interesting and complex characters I've seen.

  19. Susan: I just love a good leading man. Must be why I felt compelled to include two in this book. 🙂

    Tinroofsky: I think I need to watch Lost sometime. I tried a few episodes of the first season, but I think I was distracted…if I would've kept with it, I have a feeling I would've been sucked in entirely!

  20. I love meeting new authors!!
    And you're right Captain Hook DOES have great hair! He'd be a villain I'd consider being for that reason alone. LOL

  21. Hey everyone! How much fun has this been? Y'all have some seriously cool villains going on. Loree, wow! Good one. And if I weren't terrified of cats, I'd so go with Cat Woman. Meow!

    Melissa, thanks for hanging out and sharing your WIP and pics. Way cool!


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