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We all know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover. But this cover. is. beautiful! Surely it contains a wonderful Christmas story… 😉 I am excited to introduce you to Melissa Tagg and her newest novella, One Enchanted Eve. Before we begin, let’s take a quick peek at the story.
After years of mistakes and regret, Colin Renwycke finally has a plan: Hone his baking talent at the Denver Culinary Institute and embark on a new career as a pastry chef. If he’s lucky, he might even manage to earn back his family’s respect. But despite his skills in the kitchen, Colin’s a mess in the classroom and his ongoing disasters are proving too much for his prickly instructor. If he loses his spot at the school, he’s out of backup plans.
Culinary school instructor Rylan Jefferson has the chance to reclaim her dream of running her own bakery. But she only has until Christmas Eve to come up with the perfect recipe to impress an eccentric investor. She has no time for holiday parties or family plans . . . and especially not for the unruly student baker who couldn’t follow a recipe if his life depended on it.
But Colin has the one ingredient Rylan needs most—talent. Lots of it. And when he makes a proposal that just might solve both their problems, Rylan can’t say no—even if it does mean traveling all the way to Iowa. It just might be that the snow-covered plains and a charming small town full of postcard Christmas cheer are exactly what her hungry heart needs . . . along with a man who is much more than he seems.
Welcome, Melissa! Tell us a little about One Enchanted Eve. Do you have a favorite character from this story? Why is this character your favorite?
Definitely Colin Renwycke! We first met Colin in the Christmas novella I released last year, One Enchanted Christmas. And in that one, he was a handsome but incredibly selfish person whose life was pretty much a wreck. But I had this sense even back then that there was more to his story. So it was really fun to sort of dig into who he really is. When this story opens, we see a man who wants more than anything to get his life together and earn back his family’s respect—and yet, he hasn’t quite shed his playful, trouble-maker side.
He sounds like he has an intriguing story! Why did you choose this particular setting, and have you been there?
This story is set in a made-up town—Maple Valley—in Iowa. It’s loosely based on a couple real towns—one of which I grew up in. So far, I’ve written three full-length books and two novellas set in this town. It’s quirky and charming and everybody knows everybody—which is both a good and a bad thing. Maple Valley feels so real to me and is as much a character in the story as the people.
Oh, yes. I love small towns and their personalities! What do you hope your readers take away from this story?
Like pretty much every story I’ve written, One Enchanted Eve is a story about dreams and hopes and what happens when your dreams and hopes let you down…or don’t turn out like you planned. A lot of authors tend to have a running theme to their writing. A very personal message they come back to over and over in stories—whether they mean to or not. It wasn’t until my fourth or fifth book that I realized I think this is my theme, and I’m not even sure why I keep coming back to it…except that I honestly do believe God has dreams for us. And sometimes those dreams don’t look like what we assumed they would. Or they feel forever lost due to circumstances or failure. Or a new dream completely catches us off guard. I love exploring how that looks in my characters’ lives.
That’s a theme everyone can surely relate to! What a great hope to share. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you most like to go?
There are SO many places I’d love to go, but if I could only pick one, I’d probably end up traveling back to a place I’ve gone several times—London. There are people I just absolutely love there, memories I treasure like crazy. So I’d love to catch up with British friends. Maybe I should set a book there sometime to give myself an excuse.
LOL — oh, to be able to justify all our trips like that! 😉 Authors are busy people. How do you juggle all of the demands on your time, so that you can maintain your sanity?
This is such a great question! And I used to think I had the perfect answer. If this were two or three years ago, I’d say something here about balancing and scheduling and having a plan. But, um…things change. Or rather, I’ve changed. I’ve realized something in the past year…I am not the girl who has the perfect plan or the perfect schedule or the perfect ability to balance. I can’t do everything and do it well. And I can’t be the woman I long to be if I’m tied to a pretty, color-coded planner with all my days planned down to the hour. I just can’t. It’s not me.
So these days, I’m living a much freer, more flexible lifestyle. I have a nonprofit day job that is incredibly important to me—in some ways, even more so than writing. And my family is more important to me than both those things. I always want to be able to say “yes” to my family and to my friends. I want to be faithful to the people God has put in my every day life. That’s meant saying “no” to some other things. I’ve let go of things like blogging regularly or being on social media constantly. I’ve stepped back from attending lots of writing conferences.
In other words, I’m embracing everyday life and the people around me and trusting God to give me time to write when I need it. The crazy thing is, I’ve written more in 2016—much more—than I ever did back when I was uber scheduled and Type A about it!
Hmm. I think I needed to hear that! It’s not so much about planning, but about priorities… Can you give any hints about what you’re working on now?
Absolutely! In the next month or so I’ll be working on a novella as part of a collection with some of my favorite authors—Susan May Warren, Courtney Walsh and Deborah Raney. Soon after that, I will be writing the final book in the Walker Family series—Raegan and Bear’s story. And then…then I’m starting something new and I am c-r-a-z-y excited about it. I just had the fun of brainstorming it with a couple awesome author friends and now I’m super antsy to write it!
How fun! We’ll have to keep an eye out for all of them! 🙂 Thanks so much for taking the time to share with us today, Melissa!
Your turn! Are you a color-coded scheduler, or are you more flexible? Can you relate (like me!) to Melissa’s encouragement to prioritize rather than plan?
More about Melissa:
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. The second book in her popular Walker Family series, Like Never Before, was named by Publishers Weekly to their spring 2016 “Religion and Spirituality” Top 10 list. 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. Melissa loves connecting with readers at www.melissatagg.com and on Facebook and Instagram.
‘One Enchanted Eve’ Giveaway:
Melissa has generously offered to give away an e-copy of One Enchanted Eve. Giveaways are subject to the Giveaway Policy.