The Summer that Melted Everything is my favorite book of the year, and one of my favorite reads of all-time. It is provocative, deeply unsettling and beautifully written. You can read my full review here.
Hello everyone! Today, I have for you an author interview with the wonderful Tiffany McDaniel- author of the Summer that Melted Everything. I’m deeply honored that Tiffany volunteered to be interviewed on my blog. I don’t have enough praise for this book; I finished it over a month ago, and not a day has passed by that I haven’t thought of the shockingly moving story and the characters who feel like people I knew and loved. I sincerely hope some of you will consider picking up Tiffany’s story.
Well first off, would you mind introducing yourself to everyone reading this post? Tell us more about yourself and your debut!
I’m an Ohio poet and novelist who loves Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, Harper Lee, Donna Tartt, and the poet James Wright. We mustn’t forget Agatha Christie too. I wish I could give you a more exciting author bio like I wrestle alligators or something, but outside of my writing I’m rather quiet and boring. As far as the novel is concerned, The Summer that Melted Everything is my fifth or sixth novel written, but my first published novel. It’s about an eighty-four-year-old man named Fielding Bliss, who is looking back on his life during one summer in 1984 when he was thirteen-years-old and his father, Autopsy Bliss, invited the devil to their small town Breathed, Ohio. Who answers the invitation ends up being a boy in overalls and with bruises. This boy’s arrival comes the first day of a hell-hot heat-wave that carries through the entire course of the summer. This is not just a story about the heat, but a story of everything that melted in that heat. Family, friendships, innocence, and even lives. Puddles of all of these things melted down. That is what this story is. A man trying to survive ferrying these puddles, which to him have become oceans he must cross to once again find the bliss of his name.
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer? What were some of your early works like?
I’ve been writing since I was kid. The desire to do so was something that has always been with me. I just knew I wanted to read story, create story, and live with story. I wouldn’t realize writing was a profession I could have until I was in middle school and the guidance counselor came to my class to talk to us about what we wanted to be when we got older. Writing was just so wonderful to me I didn’t associate it with work. My parents had jobs, very hard jobs that made them tired and not a lot of money. So I thought that’s what I would have to do. Have a job I didn’t like. My early works were short stories, plays, poetry. I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen, just after high school.
You have such a distinct writing style- so full of vivid imagery and lyrical language. Who would you say some of your influences are?
I think that’s just my natural writing style. I do think life itself is a major influence. Life adds layers to oneself, and these layers help turn the creative wheel inside us all.
What is the perfect writing atmosphere for you?
For many years I didn’t even have a desk to write on so I’d type with the laptop on my lap on my bed in a room with three broken windows that would not open. It wasn’t the most creative of atmospheres, but I wrote. Now I do have a desk in the small corner of my bedroom. I dream of that perfect writing nook all writers do, but as long as the story is there, all I need is the time to write it out.
Creating tentative playlists for my favorite books is something I love to do, and I was wondering if there’s a song that you think captures at least some of the essence of your book?
I think the playlist companion to your favorite books is a great idea. I tend to think of instrumental music in terms of fiction, and I think with The Summer that Melted Everything something with that 1980s synthesizer vibe that picks up on the eerie quality of the story. But for something with lyrics I’d go old school and say Johnny Cash’s recording of Hurt. He recorded the song later in life when his voice was aged to a beautiful fragility and tone. It’s a song and a voice I think Fielding, the narrator of the novel, would possess.
What else can we expect from you in the future? Any projects you’re currently working on?
I have eight completed novels and am working on my ninth. The novel I’m hoping to follow The Summer that Melted Everything up with is titled, 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. Struggling with the guilt of surviving the Holocaust, they create their own camp of judgment. Being both the guards and the prisoners, they punish themselves not only for surviving, but for the sins they know they cannot help but commit.
Finally, do you have any advice for aspiring writers or people who are trying to get their work published?
I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen. I wouldn’t get a publishing contract until I was twenty-nine. It was eleven years of rejection and perseverance. This is the narrative so many authors have. The road to publication can be long, heartbreaking, and discouraging. I say to those still on the journey to publication, or just starting out on it, to never give up. Don’t allow rejection to defeat you. Believe your name is meant to be on a book, and never lose faith it will be.
Thank you so much for answering my questions, Tiffany! Could you tell us where we can purchase a copy of your book?
Thank you so much for giving me these questions. They were indeed a pleasure to answer. You can find The Summer that Melted Everything at all major retailers.
Here’s a handful of links:
I also encourage you to support your local indie store and find your nearest location at Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250078063
All buy links can be found on my website at: www.tiffanymcdaniel.com
I don’t have social media, but readers can always email me direct through my website.