Made to LastMade to Last
Melissa Tagg
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Miranda Woodruff has given up everything to become the star of a home-building show. So when she discovers that her program could be cancelled, she agrees to let reporter Matthew Knox write about her closely guarded personal life. Desperate to keep her former fiance a secret, can she keep her real and onscreen lives from colliding?
     

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melissa taggMelissa Tagg  is a former newspaper reporter and winner of the 2010 My Book Therapy (MBT) Frasier Award. In addition to her work as a grant writer and corporate relations coordinator at Iowa's largest homeless ministry, she also serves as the marketing/events coordinator for MBT.

Favorite Bible Verse(s): Romans 15:13 (NIV)May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit:  my favorite verse for every day life. It talks about the God of hope filling us with peace and joy as we trust in him. I love that!

I also love 2 Thessalonians 1:11: 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. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely...especially as it’s worded in The Message paraphrase. It’s my “This is how I want to live life” verse.


 

 Christianbook.com Interview with Melissa Tagg


 

What is your favorite Bible verse, Translation too, please!  And why?

Can I cheat a little and mention two? Romans 15:13 (NIV) is probably my favorite verse for every day life. It talks about the God of hope filling us with peace and joy as we trust in him. I love that!

I also love 2 Thessalonians 1:11, especially as it’s worded in The Message paraphrase. It’s my “This is how I want to live life” verse. 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 for something. If your life honors the name of Jesus, he will honor you.

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a former reporter and total Iowa girl. During the day I work as a grant-writer and corporate relations coordinator at Iowa’s largest homeless ministry. When I’m not writing, I can generally be found hanging out with the coolest family ever (no bias, of course!), watching old movies, and dreaming about my next book. I’m passionate about humor, grace, and happy endings.
 
How did you choose a home show as the basis for your story?

You know, I’m honestly not sure—especially since I’ve always had a slight fear of hardware stores and I’m really not at all crafty.

However, I grew up adoring the Anne of Green Gables movies from the 1980s, and there’s an actress with a smaller role in the movies named Mag Ruffman. A few years ago, I learned this actress also hosted a couple DIY-type shows in Canada, wrote a ToolGirl column for a Toronto newspaper, has a “ToolGirl” blog etc. (Don’t ask me how I know this. I really do not spend all my time Wikipedia-ing people.) But I think that inspired my main character’s profession.

What was your motive to write Made to Last?

Well, I knew I wanted to write a story I’d like to read. Something to make me alternately laugh and swoon—like an old black and white romantic comedy. But also a story with, I hope, plenty of depth. Slowly the characters started gelling in my head and eventually Made to Last was born.

 

Is there a person or situation in your life that inspired you to write Made to Last?

To be completely honest, watching the movie Christmas in Connecticut, an old movie with Barbara Stanwyck, initially sparked this story. It’s about a magazine columnist who has basically created a fake identity for herself…and ends up needing to find a stand-in husband. Only problem is, she ends up falling for someone who is not said stand-in husband. Thankfully, I have never faced this situation in my own life. Haha!

How much research did Made to Last take?

I did quite a bit of reading-up on how HGTV-type shows are made, watched several This Old House videos online and even, gulp, hung out in a couple hardware stores. And while I’m pretty sure I’m not yet up to building a house, I think I could tackle installing crown molding or using a chainsaw. (And somewhere my family members are shaking their heads at that last part and hiding the power tools.)

What are the some of the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing Made to Last?

This may not be a fact, per se, but I learned a lot about the waiting game for TV shows—as executives wait to hear if their show is picked up for another season, what happens if a show gets canceled halfway through a season, etc. I’d just never thought that much about what goes on behind the scenes of a television show.

What other new writing projects do you have on the horizon?

I’m currently finishing up my second book, which features one of my favorite characters from Made to Last. It releases in summer 2014. And of course, a third book is percolating in the back of my head.
 
What message would you like your readers to take from reading Made to Last?

In Made to Last, both of my main characters struggle with basing their identity and worth in the wrong things. One finds her worth in her career. The other sees only his mistakes when he looks at himself. They both have to discover where their true identity is found.

And I think that’s something all of us have, at some point or another, struggled with—finding our worth in our achievements or careers or relationships. A lot of times, it’s when those things are stripped away that we discover who we really are—cherished and valued by a loving God.

What organizations are you involved with?

I work for a private, Christ-centered nonprofit that serves homeless and hungry men, women and children. I literally get to help live out Matthew 25 every weekday…and that’s a joy.

Writing-wise, I am the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy (MBT), a craft and coaching community for novelists founded by award-winning author Susan May Warren. MBT helped me find my voice as a writer, and the community, mentorship, and teaching I found there is just priceless. I’m also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and so appreciate that organization.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
 
Probably the biggest challenge is that ever-so-delicate “balancing time” thing. Staying on top of both my day job and writing career while trying to have some semblance of a social life—not easy. And yet, I’m thankful for each piece of the puzzle that makes up my life.
 
Who is the person who most influences your writing?

Honestly, my parents. They have always encouraged and supported my writing dream. I get my sense of humor from them, for sure. But also, the spiritual thread woven throughout Made to Last, the “truth tellers” in my characters’ lives, it’s all influenced by the “voice of truth” my parents have been in my life.

I adore old movies. So give me some popcorn and plop me in front of a Katharine Hepburn or Cary Grant flick and I’m happy. I also love laughing with my family and traveling to see friends. And oh, there is just nothing like a good bubble bath. With scented candles. And a good book. And…I think I know what I’m doing later tonight. 
 
Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I love stories…and I’m passionate about the power of stories to change lives. So getting to take this storytelling ride as an author…it’s a huge dream come true. And one of the most rewarding pieces is hearing from readers. I love to connect at www.melissatagg.com or on Facebook and Twitter (@melissa_tagg).


Thanks so much!!


 

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Made to Last - eBook

Made to Last - eBook
Melissa Tagg
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