Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight! This week I have Tiffany McDaniel with her debut novel, The Summer that Melted Everything. Tiffany shared a bit about herself in an interview, but first…
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. She is the winner of the Not-the-Booker Prize for her debut novel, The Summer that Melted Everything, which was a Goodreads Choice Award double nominee.
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 temperature 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 wrestle with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.
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Keep reading for an interview with the author:
Why did you decide to be a writer?
Writing is the first thing I remember doing as a child without being told to do so. I’ve always had an innate desire to write down what’s in my head. I never decided to be a writer. I just embraced the story within me.
What inspires you to write?
For me, the inspiration always comes from the characters. I’m inspired to write a story that honors the characters and honors their truths.
How long does it take you to write a novel?
I have eight written novels and on average they’ve taken me a month to write. One novel I wrote in eight days. My pace may sound fast but I don’t like for the story to sit for too long or it loses its essence. The quality control comes in the drafting and copy-editing stages, which can take longer.
What are your goals as an author?
My goal would be to make a career out of words. I hope to be an author that readers can trust with their time and that I not only entertain with my writing but that I also write something that encourages thought. I hope to be part of a larger conversation. A conversation about who we are. A conversation about who we want to be.
What do you enjoy doing aside from writing?
Aside from writing, I enjoy the outdoors and doing things in nature like gardening. I also like baking. Art is a big part of my life and I use all mediums from charcoal to pastel, pencil to paint. I also love film.
How many books do you have on your “to read” list? What are some of them?
I have quite a few. The new Shirley Jackson biography by Ruth Franklin and Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco among them.
What is your writing process?
I never outline or plan the story ahead. I like for the story to evolve one word and one page at a time. Directing a story too much can domesticate it. I like to preserve the story’s wild soul.
How do you come up with the titles for your books?
I always start writing a new novel with the title and the first line. These two things put me on the path to the rest of the story. Titles can come from anywhere. In the case of The Summer that Melted Everything, it was one of those Ohio summers that was so hot I felt like I was melting. A little arranging of words, and the title was born out of true heat.
Do you have any advice for other authors?
My advice would be to never give up. I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen. I wouldn’t get a publishing contract until I was twenty-nine for The Summer that Melted Everything, which is my first published novel but my fifth or sixth written. For me it was a long eleven year journey full of rejection and perseverance. For those writers still on the journey to publication, it’s important to never give up and never turn your back on your dreams.