Local author’s career is ‘Here to Stay’

An author with local roots visited Webster City Tuesday to talk with community members about her newly published book.

It was an accomplishment for Melissa Tagg, who grew up in Webster City, when her first book, “Made to Last,” was published in September of 2013. The novel has romantic and comedic tones and tells the story of the star of a homebuilding television show. When the show comes into trouble, the star pretends to be married to her ex-fiance to save it. The story of that ex-fiance and Tagg’s humorous writing style continue in her newest work, “Here to Stay.”

“After the first book came out, everyone kept telling me that he was their favorite character,” Tagg said. “So, he is the main character of ‘Here to Stay.'”

Tagg described that character, Blake Hunziker, as a prodigal son. He has traveled all over the world and finally comes home at the beginning of the book. During the story, he ends up in charge of the biggest event of the year in his hometown and aims to prove himself to others.

In contrast, the lead female character of the book, Autumn Kingsley, longs to leave her hometown. She looks to save her family’s dying inn and sell it so she can leave and see the world. Tagg said the conflicting desires of the main characters reflect her own.

“I’m the person who always wants to travel but always loves to come home,” Tagg said.

Other experiences also lent themselves to the story. Tagg has worked as an event planner and incorporates her knowledge of that into “Here to Stay.” However, as with the homebuilding aspect of “Made to Last,” she had to do some research for her new book.

“I had to look into how running an inn works and how does finding investors for your family business work,” Tagg said.

Research was not the only challenge for Tagg. She wrote her first book before it was contracted and could take her time with it. For “Here to Stay,” she found herself on a deadline.

“I felt like the pressure was much bigger because I wanted to impress the publisher and I wanted it to be better than the first book,” Tagg said. “It felt way harder, and the third book I’m working on now feels way harder than book two.”

Other work, like editing and marketing, came easier the second time around. Now, she’s working on a novella to tie “Made to Last” and “Here to Stay” into a new series.

Tagg discussed her book at Kendall Young Library on Tuesday evening with about 20 people in attendance. She said many of her readers enjoy her work because of its comedic value.

“For me, the humor of the story is as important as the romance,” Tagg said. “I love to make people laugh.”

“Here to Stay” is available online and at major bookstores. For more information, go to the author’s website, melissatagg.com.