I have loved following this author’s facebook posts, even before I’d read one of her books. She’s all kinds of delightful and real, and I have total decor envy about her cute home. I had the privilege of meeting her at this year’s CFRR in Cincinnati and I’m pretty sure my friends and I had her rethinking her decision to attend when we ran squealing out of the hotel to greet her (and Courtney Walsh and Katie Ganshert) in the parking lot 😉
Author Melissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant writer and total Iowa girl. She writes romantic comedies in the banter-filled style of her favorite 1930s and 40s classic films. Her books have made both the Publisher’s Weekly Top Ten and Amazon bestselling lists. When she’s not writing she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever, watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book.
Her new book, All This Time, released September 28th.
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?
Hi Melissa! Welcome back to the blog! You’ve been here for guest posts but never for a chat! I’m excited 😀
Melissa: Apples! Because they remind me of fall. And because I love apple orchards. And apple cider. And pink lady apples with peanut butter is basically a staple meal in my life. ALSO honeycrisp apples are one of God’s greatest creations!
Carrie: Amen & amen & amen.
Melissa: Okay, people all over Iowa would groan to hear me say this but, honestly, lately I’m all about winter. Don’t get me wrong—I love a good, breezy, carefree summer evening. But the older I get, the more I love winter. I looooove snow. I love how it sparkles. I love being inside with a good book by the fireplace during a blizzard. Winter just feels romantic to me.
Carrie: Yesssss! Exactly how I feel. And we don’t get nearly enough winter down here in Kentucky…
Melissa: Dogs. I don’t really see how there can be any other answer to this. Some things in life are personal preference, but some are just right or wrong, black or white. And “dogs” will always be the right answer. 🙂
(Although, if baby goats were an option…)
Carrie: You totally had me until you went for ‘baby goats’ LOL. I was desperately trying to find a place to stay in ATL not too long ago, and one b&b boasted ‘baby goats’. Nope. #farmanimalphobia 😉
Melissa: I have both a t-shirt and a coffee mug that say, “I drink coffee like a Gilmore Girl.” I think that answers the question.
Carrie: haha! yes…
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Melissa: My superpower would be saying the alphabet backwards really fast. It’s a pointless superpower, but it’s my superpower. My other superpower is aunting…something I take ultra seriously. I believe hardcore in ultra-spoiling my nieces and nephew and doing every little thing they ask me to do, even if it means climbing inside a cardboard box or teaching them how to slide across the kitchen floor in socks or reading the same book eight thousand times.
Carrie: Aunting is the super-est of superpowers!
Q: If you knew you were only going to be allowed FIVE books for the rest of your life, besides the Bible, which five would make the cut?
Melissa: I love this question and you’d think it’d be super hard for a bookworm to answer, but I (mostly) know exactly which five I’d pick!
–Christy by Catherine Marshall
–The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof
–The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton (I actually struggled to pick which Lori Benton book because I adore all of hers—hence why I said “mostly” above! In my ideal world, all five would be available in one mega-collection and it’d count as one book. LOL!)
–Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
–Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson
Carrie: oooo yes! Those are all excellent choices! The Lady & The Lionheart would be one of mine too.
Q: If I sneaked a peek in your purse right now (which I would never do, I promise!), what would it tell me about you?
Melissa: Haha! Oh my, I think it would tell you I’m not nearly as put-together as I might hope to be. You’d find half a bag of baby carrots. This is not abnormal. You’d find a thousand gum wrappers. You’d find this cute little polar bear bag that is supposed to hold my chapstick and lip gloss and other items, but no…it’s unzipped and all those things have spilled out. You’d see two pairs of sunglasses because I lost one pair, so I bought a second pair, but then I found the first pair…
Q: Bear and Raegan have been supporting characters in the previous Walker family books. Did you have their story (and backstories) already planned when you first introduced them or did it evolve as you went along?
Melissa: Nope, I definitely didn’t have their backstories planned. Not even a little bit. Bear just sort of accidentally appeared in the first Walker story—the prequel novella—but as soon as he walked onto the page, I had the sense that there was more to his story. But I was always so caught up in other characters that I simply didn’t have a chance to delve too deeply into his backstory.
And Raegan…all I knew about her was that she was the one Walker sibling who’d never left home…and that she was pretty much head-over-heels for Bear from the day she met him. (Because, I mean, he’s Bear.)
So approaching this final story was interesting because I had these two characters I loved, but barely knew. I’d dropped little hints in past stories, but I really didn’t know what any of those hints meant. It was a slow process of discovery, but the more I got to know Bear and Raegan, the more I realized that—just like with all my past stories—I was meant to write this story at this time. It ended up being very personal, very vulnerable…and I wouldn’t trade the journey for anything.
Carrie: I love that! Their backstories are so rich in ALL THIS TIME. I’m also partial to this hero (even though Logan still exists) because my brand new nephew is called Bear (short for Barrett) ♥ I’ll have to find him a Raegan 🙂
Q: As the Walker Family series comes to an end (wail!), what is something that you personally have treasured from each book?
Melissa: Oh, what a lovely question! Thank you for giving me the chance to look back…
Three Little Words: This was the first novella I’d ever written and it was just a complete and total joy to write from start to finish. I discovered how wonderful it feels to write something a little shorter, a little simpler, and just let myself savor the romance angle rather than get caught in the weeds of so many subplots and layers.
From the Start: Hardest book I’ve ever written, hands-down. Mostly because Kate Walker probably has more of me in her than anything I’ve ever written. I didn’t treasure it at the time, but now I can look back and be grateful for the way God whispered exactly what I needed to hear during a tough season in my life as I wrote that book.
Like Never Before: Logan! Logan! Logan! I just treasure Logan forever and ever. If he were a real person, I would have no choice but to push Amelia aside and insert myself into his life and insist he marry me. That book, to me, helped me discover the joy of writing again and I’m thankful to this day.
Keep Holding On: What I treasure from this book is the fact that when I started writing it, I thought it was about holding onto faith even in the hardest seasons…but by the time I reached the end, I realized it was really about how God holds on to us, even when we’re ready to let go. It was a reminder of his faithfulness.
All This Time: Writing this book felt so hefty and emotional and I know it’s partially because I so badly wanted to finish the series well. But I also felt more freedom with this book than I’ve ever felt before. I feel like I pushed myself further as an author…and that was exciting! Mostly with this one, though, I just treasure the joy of having written this series…looking back, it’s just been such a cool journey and I am immensely grateful.
Carrie: I love so much how we can see God’s fingerprints all over each book – your insights make that even clearer. ♥
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from All This Time?
Melissa: There’s a spot in All This Time where Raegan and her dad are finally getting honest with each other about some things and Raegan makes the remark, “Why do we keep anything from the people we love?” And to me, that’s what her whole journey is about…it’s about being honest, about being in real relationship. It’s about facing the fears that have kept her from living the life she was meant to live. It’s about being vulnerable. To me, personally, that’s an incredibly hard thing. Even with the people I love most, I’m not always willing to bare my heart. I heard someone say once that most people are willing to go 90% of the way in relationships, but that even with the people we’re closest to, we leave 10% unsaid. That’s stuck with me ever since he said it. Raegan’s journey is about being brave enough to go that last 10%…and I hope that’s something that impacts readers as much as it impacted me.
Carrie: So important!
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Melissa: I’ve got my final Enchanted Christmas novella coming out later this fall—One Enchanted Noel. Plus, the whole Christmas collection will come out in paperback. And after that, I’ve got some options in the works, but mostly I’m not making any decisions until after the holidays. I can say that I don’t think people have seen the last of Maple Valley…and there are definitely some side characters readers have already met who are antsy for their own stories. 🙂
Carrie: YAY!!!! Yay!!! Yay!!!
Melissa is offering a copy of All This Time (winner’s choice of print or ebook) to one of my readers (US only). This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? If you’ve read the Walker Family books, which character/book is your favorite? If you haven’t read them yet, which book interests you the most?