Today, we welcome Melissa Tagg to the Lightning Blog! Melissa is our featured author from the August edition of Spark.

What stories have inspired your writing the most?

Is it okay if they’re not book stories? ‘Cause if so, I would definitely have to say Golden Era Hollywood romantic comedies . . . 1930s and 40s black and white movies with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart and Carole Lombard and Rosalind Russell and . . . I could go on forever. I love the wit and the charm and I especially love the dialogue.

What classic are you ashamed to admit you haven’t read?

Ummm so many. So very many. Honestly don’t know if I’ve ever made it through an entire Hemingway work, for instance, and I fall woefully short where Shakespeare is concerned. But the thing is, I’m not actually that ashamed about it. LOL!

I love characters that embody sacrificial love….

Which hero/heroine/mythological/medieval character do you most admire or despise? Why?

I could list tons, but I think I’ll have to go with a recent one—Charlie Lionheart from Joanne Bischof’s The Lady and the Lionheart. I love characters that embody sacrificial love, and Charlie does that sooooo poignantly and beautifully.

If your writing life were a sport, which one would it be?

Hockey! Because I get in lots of fights with my characters, and sometimes trying to push through scenes when my creative well is dry feels like getting repeatedly checked against Plexiglas. And so many things have to happen perfectly for the metaphorical puck to hit the metaphorical net. And half the time I feel like I’ve lost track of the puck altogether. And, it’s like, I just wanna be a Zamboni and completely clean the ice and start over—hence my habitual story rewrites. (Wow, I am suddenly really proud of myself for making that analogy work.)

BUT . . . other times writing feels beautifully slick and everything on the figurative ice is coordinated just right . . . the characters and plot and emotional layering and storyworld all play their part . . . the story basically starts writing itself . . . and eventually, YAY, goal.

What are your writing quirks?

I will legit spend waaaaay longer than is necessary picking out a coffee mug before I sit down to write. I want one that matches my mood or the mood of the scene I’m about to write or that or gives me the feeling/emotion I need in order to get into my character’s head. (Or I’m just procrastinating.)

Tell us what’s coming for you in the rest of 2017.

Well, I just finished my third rewrite of my next book…so at the moment, I’m looking forward to lots of intentional unproductive-ness. Haha! I have lots of scheduled fun coming up, including basically following my favorite band around the country.

But writing-wise, the final book in my Walker Family series, All This Time, releases on September 28 (my birthday!) and then the third novella in my Enchanted Christmas collection will release in late fall. Plus, the full Christmas collection will release in paperback for the first time.

Enter to Win All This Time

Bear McKinley’s past refuses to let go. 

Ten years ago, Bear gave up everything—his freedom and his reputation—for his mess of a family. But after years of distance and too many attempts at starting over, he finally has a new life doing noble work in Brazil . . . until his past catches up to him once again. Suddenly he finds himself back in Maple Valley, charged with the care of his missing brother’s children, convinced he’s out of second chances to make his life count. And yet, with every day that passes, these kids, this quirky town and the woman he never stopped missing help patch the holes in his heart. Maybe this is the fresh start he’s been longing for all along. But as his newfound hope grows, so does the mystery surrounding his brother’s activities—and when the threat reaches into the lives of those he loves, it’s clear he can’t run away this time.

Fear holds Raegan’s future captive. 

Raegan Walker is fine. She’s happy working a slew of part-time jobs, still living in her childhood bedroom and rarely venturing from her hometown. At least, that’s what she tells everyone . . . and herself. But she can’t help wondering what might’ve happened if she hadn’t abandoned her art so many years ago—and if Bear McKinley had never left. When Bear returns and she’s commissioned for a painting that just might revive her artistic ambition all in one week, it’s time to finally reach for more than fine. But doing so means facing the fears that have held her back all this time, including admitting the secret she’s kept from Bear and her family. With her dream and her heart on the line, how much will Raegan have to risk to finally chase her happy ending?

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Meet the Author

Award-winning author Melissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant-writer and total Iowa girl. The second book in her popular Walker Family series, Like Never Before, was named to one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Spring 2016 Top Ten lists. Her most recent releases include Keep Holding On (Sept 2016) and One Enchanted Eve (Nov 2016). Melissa has taught at multiple national writing conferences, as well as workshops and women’s retreats. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever–not that she’s biased–watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. Melissa loves connecting with readers at and on Facebook and Instagram.