Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Author Q and A: Melissa Tagg

Melissa is totally my real life friend and my facebook friend! I am very proud of BOTH of these things. I am also proud that she writes lovely books and enjoys such great success!!!!  I am halfway through Here to Stay and it reminds of the Gilmore Girls ( one of the many passions Melissa and I share). She has  been a wonderful encouragement to me and talks me off ledges! and is just a swell egg!

1.) What is the one thing that has surprised you most about the publishing process?

How much work there is to do after turning the book in. LOL! Galleys, rewrites, marketing, guest blogging and interviews, etc, etc, etc. But it’s fun, so I’m not complaining.

Actually, you know what else surprised me? How much I’ve come to crave the input of my editors. I’ve heard some writers talk disparagingly about getting that ten-page revision letter or not liking what they’re asked to change. My experience has been incredibly positive. The editors have never asked me to change the heart of the story…instead, they’ve helped me explore and deepen and expose that heart in new and improved ways. I know without a doubt that Here to Stay is a much, much better story because of their input. (By “their” I specifically mean Raela Schoenherr and Karen Schurrer at Bethany house.)

2.) A lot a LOT of reviewers hone in on how humorous your work is. Is this something that just happens as part of the process; or is it something you are aware of while writing?

Honestly, a little bit of both. My favorite is when a funny line or moment just slides into a scene without me seeing it coming—when it makes me laugh as much as I hope it makes a reader laugh.

But there are other times when I do work at the humor. I can think of specific pieces of Here to Stay, for instance, when I felt like either I had too many heavy or serious moments in a row or when a first attempt at a humorous scene fell flat…and I had to go back in and ask myself, “Where’s the opportunity for humor here? Where’s the funny in this situation?”

3.) What is the one piece of advice ( or more than one, we’re not picky ) you would give to aspiring writers?

First off, join a community. J One of the very, very, VERY best things I ever did for my writing was to join My Book Therapy. Also, find a partner! And you know, it doesn’t have to be a critique partner. My writing partner (the fabulous Lindsay Harrel) and I adapted as we realized even more than feedback, what we really needed was accountability. Someone with whom to share our goals, excitements, disappointments, prayer requests, etc. I don’t know what I’d do without Lindsay and her daily texts.

Also, embrace rewrites. Writing a first draft can be fun. (Or in my case, terrifying…but that’s my own fear-of-the-blank-page exposing itself.) But in my experience, it’s in the revision process where the real magic happens. It’s as we plunge into the deep end of our stories that we discover layers and spiritual pearls we didn’t see before.

Oh and lastly, trust God for open doors. I know…I know. It’s easy to say, especially on the other side of that first contract. But more and more I’m just that convinced that so much of life and faith comes down to trusting God. He can open the most amazing doors in the most amazing ways.

4.) If you could live in Stars Hollow for a day, what would be on your list of things to do?

I love this question!! Here’s what I’d do:

Obviously eat breakfast at Luke’s first thing. Assuming he and Lorelei are still a thing, I would, however, refrain from flirting with the man. Then I’d take a nice long walk around town…stop in and say hi to Miss Patty, Gypsy, Andrew at the bookstore, Kirk, Babette and Maurry, etc. Then I’d have lunch at the Dragonfly Inn prepared by the awesome Sookie during which I’d ask her and Jackson to have an arguing match about vegetables just for old times sake.

And then I’d begin my real quest of the day: Searching for grown-up Jess, finding him, making him fall madly in love with me, all the while snickering to myself about what a ridiculous person Rory is for not realizing what a good thing she had when she had it…er, him.

Another option: I would also be perfectly happy with Max, I think. So if we’re in Stars Hollow circa the early 2000s versus now, in which case Jess is still in high school, then instead, not being the cradle-robber type and still assuming Luke is taken, I would track down Max.

WOW. That became an intense and confusing answer… :)

5.) List three favourite CBA books

This is HARD because there are sooo many I love. So these are the first three that come to mind in this minute…but there are many, many more on my favorites list.

1) Kristy Cambron’s The Butterfly and the Violin. This book hasn’t even released yet, but I love it sooo much. It has a dual contemporary and WWII storyline. And it’s just…beautiful.

2) Susan May Warren’s Daughters of Fortune series. Totally cheating here and lumping all three books together. This series just blew me away…it starts in the 1920s and by the third book is up to WWII. I adored…adored…adored these books.

3) Just Between You and Me by Jenny B. Jones. Not only did I love the story and connect SO much to the main character, but it was really the first time I saw that humor could be a main ingredient in a CBA romance.



Kristy Cambron said...

Melissa - I cry! Thank you, THANK YOU for mentioning Adele's story here. And you know what? Your Here to Stay is top on my list too! (Go figure that?) It's every bit Austen, with a dash of Stars Hollow threaded in. I grew up in part in Northern MI and it's every bit how you wrote it. Thanks for taking me back "home" for a time. Hugs!

Amber Perry said...

Melissa!!! I cannot wait to read your stuff, I hear only amazing things. So happy for you!!!! Rachel always does a great job, too doesn't she?!?! So fun, ladies!!