Today I’m delighted to introduce Tiffany McDaniel for an author interview. Today is the release date for Tiffany’s debut novel, The Summer that Melted Everything, published through St. Martin’s Press. Here’s the trailer for the novel:
Q: Please tell us a bit about yourself and your debut novel.
A: I’m an Ohio poet and novelist who wishes I could ride the back of Moby Dick across the great Atlantic, make a web with Charlotte, and shoot the breeze (but no mockingbirds) with Atticus Finch.
As for The Summer that Melted Everything, it’s a novel about a man named Fielding Bliss who is looking back on the Ohio summer of 1984 when his father put an invitation in the local newspaper, inviting the devil to town. The one come to answer the invitation is a boy in overalls and with bruises. This is the story of what this boy’s arrival brings, which is a heat-wave of the flames of the sun and of the flames of the community itself, burning, burning until everything does indeed melt and drip to lost between their fingers.
Q: What was your inspiration for The Summer That Melted Everything?
A: I always say what inspires me to write any of my novels is the characters themselves. The characters are real people to me. They inspire me to get their story right. To tell it as authentically as I can. To write the story they deserve and are owed in truth.
Q: Is your book based on personal experiences?
While the story itself is not based on personal experience, the landscape certainly is. The story takes place in the fictional town of Breathed, Ohio, which is a landscape very much reflective of my childhood summers and school-year weekends spent in southern Ohio, where the hills speak, the creek paces in its own good time, and the roads are dirt-laid and grass-lined. That wildflower song, front porch chatter, and southern twang has shaped me as a writer. Having spent my childhood summers down-home was like being one of the rolling hills, forever rooted in rust and dirt and moon-shine magic.
Q: When did you first know that you wanted to be an author?
A: I came from the womb hungry for story. Thirsting for its presence. Writing is my guide down the weedy, torn path. It is my bridge over raging water. My light through the dark forest. I’m lost without it. How could I ever want to be anything else?
Q: What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
A: I read all kind of books from literary fiction to murder mysteries. Non-fiction to poetry.
As long as the story makes me want to live and die with its first and last line, it’s a book I’ll enjoy. I will say some of my favorite authors are Ray Bradbury, Donna Tartt, Toni Morrison, Agatha Christie, Poet James Wright, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Markus Zusak. I’ll swing into infinity with their beautiful words.
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
A: Gardening. I want a greenhouse I can turn into a jungle and stalk like a jaguar. I love reading. I want to be buried with books and rise in the afterlife to a library of them. I also love film. I hope one day I’ll be fortunate enough to see my novels translated to the screen. Sometimes there’s nothing better than watching a movie in Saturday night pajamas and with a Saturday night bag of chips.
Q: Do you have a new book in the works?
A: I have eight novels completed. Currently I’m working on my ninth novel. The novel I hope to follow The Summer that Melted Everything up with is When Lions Stood as Men. It’s the story of a Jewish brother and sister who escape Nazi Germany, cross the Atlantic Ocean, and end up in my land of Ohio. While here they create their own camp of judgment. Being both the guards and the victims, they punish themselves not only for surviving, but for the sins they know they cannot help but commit.
Q: Do you have anything you would like to say to readers? And where can readers find you?
A: That without readers, there are no novelists to be had. Readers give meaning to an author’s words. So if you like a book, tell everyone you know. Be that book’s champion because if you do, you’re being a champion for the author herself. My only hope is that readers like what I’ve written. That they can count on me to deliver a story that is worth both their time and their hard-earned money. Nothing would make me happier than to know a reader has finished one of my books with the pleasure of having read it. That’s what I strive for as an author. To be someone’s favorite author as so many authors have been mine.
As far as where readers can find me, I’m not on social media, but they can jump on to my website at www.tiffanymcdaniel.com
Readers can also connect with me directly through my website. That connection to readers is very important to me. As I’ve said, they’re the ones who determine an author’s entire career. How can I not give them some of my time, when they’ve given me some of their time reading my book?
About the Book
Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.
Sal seems to appear out of nowhere – a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he’s welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he’s a runaway from a nearby farm town.
When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.
About the Author
An Ohio native, Tiffany McDaniel’s writing is inspired by the rolling hills and buckeye woods of the land she knows. She is also a poet, playwright, screenwriter, and artist. The Summer that Melted Everything is her debut novel.