Today we’ve got someone very special with us 😁 ! For my very first author interview, we have Tiffany McDaniel, author of The Summer That Melted Everything, winner of The Guardian’s 2016 “Not the Booker” prize !
When Tiffany first asked me if I’d like to do the interview, I didn’t know much about her book 😅. However, I did notice that it has been on my TBR for a while now 🙈. So, I finally got around to reading/listening to it and it’s ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT 😍 !!! Of course I listened to the audio-book since the hardcover was quite expensive. But I do plan on buying a physical copy since the paperback version has now been released 🙌.
THE SUMMER THAT MELTED EVERYTHING
The devil comes to Ohio in Tiffany McDaniel’s debut, The Summer That Melted Everything.
The Summer That Melted Everything is now available in paperback.
Synopsis (Goodreads) :
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.
Goodreads rating : 3.99/5
You can find the book on goodreads here
You can find the book on Amazon here
*Winner of The Guardian‘s 2016 “Not the Booker” Prize
*Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for “Best Fiction” and “Best Debut”
*Finalist for the Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award for Outstanding Debut
*Nominee for the Lillian Smith Book Award
*Finalist for Ohioana Literary Award
V: Welcome to A Bookish Human, Tiffany. Thank you for this lovely opportunity. Firstly, Who are your favourite authors ?
T : I love the storytelling of Ray Bradbury. His novel, Dandelion Wine, is one of my favorites. I always enjoy the Gothic atmosphere of Shirley Jackson’s work. I also love reading Agatha Christie novels. One of my favorite poets is James Wright, a poet from my land of Ohio.
V: Which fictional character do you most relate with?
T: I certainly fall for certain characters over others, but I haven’t really thought of any characters in terms of how I relate to them. I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps I’m just distancing myself so I can better know the character’s own story. With that being said, there are fictional characters I would love spending the day with like Hercule Poirot from Agatha Christie novels or Merricat Blackwood from Shirley Jackson’s book, We Have Always Lived in the Castle.
V: Did you always want to be a writer ? How did your journey as a writer begin ?
T: I’ve been writing ever since I was a kid. Writing is the first thing I remember doing as a child without being told to do so. There was an innate desire to write down what was in my head. I wrote short stories and poetry, and would make little books as a child. When I was eighteen I wrote my first novel. I wouldn’t get a publishing contract until eleven years later for The Summer that Melted Everything, which is my fifth or sixth novel written but my first published book. For me, it was an eleven-year journey full of lots of rejection and perseverance. It proved to be an uphill battle to get publishers to take a chance on my writing, which I was always told was risky. But the journey has made me the author I am today, an author who knows the value of perseverance and the value of each and every reader.
V: What genres do you like writing in ?
T: I never set out to write a particular genre. I only write what’s in my head. So far that has been described as literary fiction. Some may also peg it as Midwestern Literature.
V: The characters in your book have interesting names, how did you come up with these names ?
T: In the case of Autopsy, the patriarch of the family, his name has a bigger meaning for looking at the entire book as a body itself, on a cold slab, about to be cut open and examined. Fielding’s telling of the story is in essence one big autopsy of that summer and his life.
Another example of a character with an unusual name is Elohim. Elohim is used for the name of God in the Hebrew bible. So we have a character who is called god and another character who is called devil, and yet the one called god does not act godly, and the one called devil does not act devilish. It’s about taking these ideas and turning them on their heads. I could go on and on about the names, but I fear that would prove an essay-length answer, so I’ll leave it by saying, each name used serves a purpose to the story.
V: I know it’s unfair to ask this to an author, but who’s your favourite character from The Summer That Melted Everything ?
T: It is hard to say my favorite character, because I love them all, but one of my favorite characters to write was Sal. Sal is the one come to answer the invitation inviting the devil to town. He’s an old soul in a young body, and he’s a character who has his own mystery. That sort of character is always a joy to spend time with.
V: Mark Bramhall is the narrator of the audiobook and has been loved & applauded for it, why was he your choice for the role ?
T: Bramhall did a wonderful job with the narration and I was fortunate that he was willing to lend his voice to these characters. I wish I could take credit for casting him, but that’s all done through the audio publisher. In my case, Blackstone Audio. I think they did a great job casting Bramhall.
V: Is there anything interesting you would’ve liked to keep, but had to exclude from the book ?
T: With The Summer that Melted Everything, I was happy with the story from the get-go, which is always nice when there aren’t too many darlings to kill. I also tend to be ruthless when it comes to cutting something that is unnecessary, and these stages I tend to do on my own time, that way it’s as polished as it can be when it reaches the agent or the editor.
V: Lastly, are we to expect a sequel to The Summer That Melted Everything ? Do you have any other books in the pipeline ?
T: There won’t be a sequel to The Summer that Melted Everything, but I do have eight completed novels. I’ve returned to that very first novel I wrote when I was eighteen. It’s titled, The Chaos We’ve Come From. Just like in The Summer that Melted Everything, in The Chaos We’ve Come From, the fictional town of Breathed, Ohio will be the setting, as it is in all my novels thus far. Ohio is a land that has shaped me as an author. The Chaos We’ve Come From in particular is inspired by my mother’s coming-of-age in southern Ohio, in those foothills of the Appalachians, from the 1950s to the death of her father in the early 1970s. It feels like a good time to return to these characters and to this story.
V: Thank you so much for doing this interview. It was lovely getting to know you and your book, better. Wish you success with all your future projects.
T: Thank you for doing this interview with me and do have a great weekend !
Tiffany McDaniel is an Ohio native whose writing is inspired by the rolling hills and buckeye woods of the land she knows. Also a poet and artist, she is the winner of The Guardian’s 2016 “Not-the-Booker Prize” for her debut novel, The Summer that Melted Everything. The novel was also a Goodreads Choice Award double nominee in both fiction and debut categories, is a current nominee for the Lillian Smith Book Award, and a finalist for the Ohioana Literary Award and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award for Outstanding Debut.
You can find Tiffany and The Summer That Melted everything on her website.
That’s all for now fellow bookworms 😊 Hope you enjoyed reading this interview !! If you’ve read Tiffany’s book, let me know what you think of it in the comments below (keep it spoiler free for those who haven’t read it yet). If you haven’t read it, GO READ IT ASAP !!