Interview with debut novelist Tiffany McDaniel

novelist Tiffany McDaniel joins
me today to chat about her work of literary fiction, The Summer that Melted Everything.
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” and the winner of
Ohioana Library Readers Choice Award 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 Women’s
Fiction Writers Association Star Award for Outstanding Debut.
Welcome, Tiffany. Please tell us about
your current release.
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
What inspired you to write this book?
The novel
started first as a title. It was one of those hot Ohio summers that I felt like
I was melting. Out of true heat, the title was born. I always say I’m inspired
by the characters, to write their story, to the best of my ability.
You can use this link to read an
from the publisher’s site:
What exciting story are you working on
I’ve returned
to that very first novel I wrote when I was eighteen. It’s titled, The Chaos We’ve Come From. I have eight
completed novels, and just like in all of them, in The Chaos We’ve Come From, the fictional town of Breathed, Ohio
will be the setting. 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
When did you first consider yourself a
It was when The Summer that Melted Everything was
published. I should say that while The
Summer that Melted Everything
is my first published novel, it’s actually my
fifth or sixth novel written. I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen, and
wouldn’t get a publishing contract until I was twenty-nine for The Summer that Melted Everything. It
was a long eleven-year journey to publication, full of rejection and
perseverance. After such an uphill battle, seeing one of my books finally on
the shelf certainly made me feel as if I was an author.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
For the
most part, I just sit there and type. It’s boring, but out of that, comes
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
I’ve been
writing since I was a kid. I wrote short stories, poetry, and made little
homemade books out of notebook paper and cardboard. I certainly always wanted
to write, but as a kid I never associated writing with a job because I never
considered it work. My parents had jobs. Hard jobs that made them tired and not
a lot of money. I thought that’s what I would have to do with my life, too. Have
a job I hated. I wouldn’t have that distinction between a job and a career
until I was in middle school. I started on the journey to a writing career when
I was eighteen, when I wrote my first novel.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
I don’t have
social media, but readers can always reach me direct through my website.
I personally
answer every email. I also Skype with book clubs. Having that connection with
readers is important to me.

Thanks for being here today, Tiffany!

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