Building a novel

A woman raised in Webster City is returning this weekend to host a launch party for her first novel.

Melissa Tagg will host a launch party for “Made to Last,” a romantic comedy novel, this Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The party will be hosted at The Bridge, located at 905 Des Moines Street in Webster City. Tagg said she wanted to return to Webster City to show her appreciation for family and friends who supported her writing in her youth.

“Webster City is my hometown, so it just felt right to do it there,” Tagg said. “So many people who watched me grow up and supported my writing are there so I wanted to have something for them.”

In Tagg’s novel, the star of a homebuilding television show faces cuts from her network. Looking to boost ratings and save her show, the main character, Miranda Woodruff pretends to be married to her ex-fianc who ran out on her several years ago.

From there, a reporter starts digging into Woodruff’s life, and she struggles to keep her secret. “Made to Last” is now available in stores and through online retailers including Amazon.

Work on the novel began in late 2010 for Tagg. She said she originally was interested in writing suspense and thriller novels, but changed her mind after attending several writing retreats. When she was asked at a retreat what her favorite movies were, she said she enjoyed old black and white romantic comedies. It was from that base that she wrote “Made to Last.”

While she settled on the style, writing about homebuilding was a challenge for Tagg who said she’s not a “do-it-yourself girl.” Through going to home improvement stores and watching a lot of “This Old House” videos, she grounded herself in her main character’s interest.

Tagg also plans to release another novel in May of 2014.