Friday, May 16, 2014

Chatting with the cast of Here to Stay and Melissa Tagg!

Today, I'm beyond excited to once again have my amazing friend and author Melissa Tagg hanging out. Anytime she's here is going to be loads of fun. So prepare to laugh, ya'll. Melissa's second contemporary romantic comedy just released and I can tell you, it's one for your bookshelf! You can read my REVIEW on Goodreads.

JP: You said the idea for your first novel, Made to Last, came from watching Christmas in Connecticut. What inspired you or helped inspire the masterpiece, Here to Stay?

MT: Well, mainly the inspiration for this story was Blake. He first appeared in Made to Last, playing more of a secondary role and a total goofball. But a lot of people said he was their favorite character and the longer I worked on Made to Last, the more I realized this guy had a story of his own to tell. And though the story itself doesn’t exactly mirror a movie like Made to Last, Autumn, the main female in the story is loosely inspired by George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life—one of the greatest movies ever.

JP: I was a huge fan of Blake in book 1 and fell further in love with him in Here to Stay! And you’re right, It’s a Wonderful Life is one of the greatest movies ever. Since Blake was a minor character and a reader fave in Made to Last, who would you consider to be your favorite minor character in Here to Stay?

MT: Ah, good question. Blake and Autumn felt so huge and real to me writing Here to Stay, so thinking of a favorite minor character is harder. You know, I really like Ike the flight instructor. He’s only in a few scenes, but he’s this calming force in Blake’s life…but he also sees Blake’s deeper desires, his hopes, and he says just the right things. Like when he tells Blake he doesn’t have to see every open door on the way to his future…just the next one in front of him. I resonated with that quite a bit.

JP: I did too! It was great insight. I loved Harry. He made me laugh and I’d like to see Autumn’s sister have a story. She lost so much, it’d be nice to see her find love and purpose, hint hint. Well, we’re talking peeps, do you have pictures of who you would cast as Blake and Autumn?

MT: Actually…I saw the cover for Here to Stay before the characters had fully formed in my brain. So I picture Autumn and Blake from the cover as THE Autumn and Blake. I can’t even picture anyone else in place of those models!

JP: I can totally see Autumn as the cover model, but in my mind, I see Blake bigger with flippier hair. J Okay, it’s time for a round of Would You Rather with you, Autumn and Blake!

·        What is your favorite TV show? The one you can. not. miss.

Me: I can’t decide between 24 or Sherlock. Sherlock is smart…24 has the nostalgia factor for me. So, instead I’ll say Gilmore Girls. LOL!

(Jess—Yes! Gilmore Girls!)

Blake: I am seriously not the TV watcher type at all. But if I had to pick something, I think I’d watch From the Ground Up starring Randi Woodruff just so I could say to people, “Hey I pretended to be married to her for a month once.” (Am I allowed to pick a fake show for Blake?)

(Jess—I guess. It was pretty clever actually!)

Autumn: That one show on PBS with the guy who travels different places and tells you about it. (There’s a show like that, right?)

(Jess—Dr. Who???? Lol I don’t know. I don’t think so rofl!)

·        When you’ve had a bad day, what is your go-to food?

Melissa: It’s a toss up between pizza and Chinese.

Blake: Lasagna made by yours truly.

Autumn: Pop-tarts. Or really basically anything as long as my friend Betsy makes it.

·        What is your guilty-pleasure movie?

Melissa: What’s Up Doc. NOT because I feel guilty about the movie itself. It’s one of the greatest movies ever. The guilt comes in when I realize just how many times I’ve watched it. I mean…it’s ridiculous.

Blake: Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. Don’t tell anyone.

Autumn: Nacho Libre. LOL!

(Jess—These are hilarious!)

·        If you had one last day on this earth and you had to spend it doing one super-fun thing, what activity would you choose?

Melissa: This question makes me sad! But if I did have just one last day, I’d definitely want to hang out with family…and maybe just go on one long road trip all together. Maybe through the Appalachians. Because that’s my favorite place and car rides with the family are always hilarious and fun.

Blake: I would take Autumn flying. J

Autumn: I would tell Blake to take me flying. J

(Jess—Aaaww! I love that! Great answers.)

Thanks for hanging out today, Melissa. It’s been so much fun. Everyone, you really should buy Here to Stay. I know you’ll love it as much as I did. Lots of grinning, swooning, out-loud-laughing, and thinking…yes…thinking. Weaved into this story are some amazing truths to consider.

Buy the book! 
After playing nomad for five years, Blake Hunziker has finally had enough of adventure. Not sure what reception he'll get from everyone back in Whisper Shore, he's stunned at not only a warm welcome from his hometown but also a job offer. The job is his if he can successfully pull off the annual Christmas Festival. If only he knew the first thing about coordinating events...

If there's one thing Autumn Kingsley knows, it's Whisper Shore. For years, she's been stuck running her family's inn when all she wants is to see the world. Now she has a visit scheduled from a potential investor who could take over the inn, as well as a dream job offer in Paris. But with just two weeks to whip the inn into shape, her chance at escape is a long shot.

The Hunzikers and the Kingsleys may not get along, but Blake knows Autumn's the only one who can help him. She agrees to a trade--she'll help with the Festival and he'll help with inn repairs. But what was meant to be a simple deal quickly becomes much more than that when the guy who's done running away joins forces with the girl who can't wait to leave.

Okay, your turn! Answer one or all of the Would You Rather? questions in the comments.  Have a great weekend!


  1. Um, totally love Sherlock right now, so I'm with you on that one:) And I LOVED this book. Great to see both you ladies here in one place- gave me great smiles this morning:)

    1. YAY I'm glad you like Sherlock. Isn't it sooooo awesome!

  2. Two of my faves in one place!! :)

    I laughed really hard at Blake's favorite movie. But hey, it is a good movie. LOL.

    Guess my guilty-pleasure movie is Pride & Prejudice...guilty because it saps 6 hours of my time...but it's oh so good!

    1. I don't even know why I said that for Blake. LOL! Except he seems like someone who would think diving horses were cool. Isn't a good movie, though?

  3. If I had one last day on this earth to spend doing something, I would spend time at the ocean on the beach with my family. My kids are so happy and giggly, everything is warm, and it is a snapshot I'd want them to remember.

    1. That sounds like a wonderful way to spend a last day, Michelle. Although here's hoping none of us have a "last day" anytime soon. But it'd be fun.

  4. Go-to food would definitely be pizza, you really can't go wrong with that but it does have healing effects on a truly bad day :)

    LOVED this chatting post, your personality shines like always, Melissa!! Can't wait to review this book, Blake is such an easy character to love and this book is another winner :) Blessings Jess and Melissa!!

  5. I just finished Made to Last and love the permeable tender capable person Blaze (er, Blake) grew into. And Autumn's a great match.
    Last day? Voltaire's Candide closes by saying the wise advisor said he would keep tending his garden. I realize my version has changed from lovely distant earth places I would climb high to seeing the house clean, garden weeded, and family well-cared for and sitting around enjoying each other. So I'd better get out there and get to work.


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