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.
ABOUT TIFFANY MCDANIEL:
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.
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Tiffany McDaniel, author of THE SUMMER THAT MELTED EVERYTHING.
Hi Tiffany, thank you for taking the time to accommodate this interview.
Let's jump right in, shall we?
What is the first book that made you cry?
Donkey-Donkey by Roger Duvoisin. It’s a picture book my mother would read to me as a child. In one of the scenes, Donkey pierces his ear on a nail. The blood was illustrated, as was Donkey’s tears. At that young of age the scene of the bleeding ear was disturbing. I felt Donkey’s pain and his sadness. - That is so sweet.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
For me writing is energizing. What is exhausting is the publishing. I wrote my first novel when I was 18, and wouldn’t get a publishing contract until I was 29 for The Summer that Melted Everything, which is my first published novel but my fifth or sixth novel written. Getting published has been an uphill battle. I’ve yet to find rest, as selling the book now that it’s out on the shelf is just as exhausting. - Well maybe I can help you with that, in my own little way.
Which writers inspire you?
For me, inspiration comes from the characters and the story itself. But some of my favorite authors are Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, and the poet James Wright.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
The devil character in the book is thirteen-years-old, so I think the actor for this role will probably be someone new to the scene. As far as the 84-year-old narrator, I’d like to see Anthony Hopkins in the role. - Wow, Anthony Hopkins would be great!
How much research do you do?
If the story takes place in a particular time-frame then I’ll do just enough research to understand what was taking place in the world at that moment. For example in The Summer that Melted Everything, which takes place in the 1980s, I researched 1984 in particular and how the AIDS epidemic was casting its shadow. - I was a teenager in the 80s and remember that time, it was a frightening time in a lot of ways.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I think from the moment we come into this world we are instilled with the knowledge that words have an energy that can ripple our souls. Perhaps one the earliest experiences I remember being reminded of the power of words was when I was very young and first learned of books being banned. It was a reminder because it echoed the fact that words and story are capable of a great many thing. - That's great insight.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
The 1980 novel Neighbors by Thomas Berger.
What are your MUST HAVE must-haves when writing? (magic socks, lucky underpants, triple-caff caramel macchiatos, etc.)
My must-haves would be my mind, heart, imagination, and soul. For me, the cradle of creation and the essence of writing are internal. As long as you listen to the characters, they’ll lead you down the path of their truth.
I want to genuinely thank you for your time. I know that my readers (and I as well!) were really looking forward to this interview with you. Good luck with your future endeavours.
Tracy Lynn Shaw
If you'd like to read an excerpt from Tiffany McDaniel's THE SUMMER THAT MELTED EVERYTHING, click here: