You can find out more about Tiffany McDaniel as well as links to purchase her novel on her website: Tiffany McDaniel
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 temperatures 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 wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.
Could you tell us a little bit about The Summer that Melted Everything?
The story is narrated by eighty-four-old year old Fielding Bliss looking back on his life and the summer of 1984 when he was thirteen-years-old and his father had put an invitation in the newspaper inviting the devil to their town of Breathed, Ohio. The one come to answer the invitation is a boy in overalls and with bruises. The summer unfolds in the flames of a hell-hot heat wave. It’s a story about the things that melt in our lives and how that very melting can haunt us without an end to the ghosts.
Who/what first inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing since I was a kid. When I first could hold a crayon and scribble what was in my head. Story has always been what I’ve loved to be around. Reading it, creating it, living with it. So nothing really inspired me to write. It was much more an innate desire to do so. I’m lost without writing in my life. It’s my compass. My lighthouse, safely guiding my ship to shore.
What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Writing is the easy part. I have eight completed novels, and am currently working on my ninth. The hard part is getting published. I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen-years-old and didn’t get a publishing contract until I was twenty-nine. So it was eleven years of rejection and fear I’d never be published. I really did not believe I would be published. I know I’m very fortunate to be in the position I am, about to see my book on the shelf for the first time when there are so many writers out there still struggling on their own journey to publication. To them I say never give up. It will happen for you. Believe it.
What are your thoughts on film adaptations of books? Would you ever like to see your work as a film?
I love film. And I write screenplays, so I’d definitely love to see my novels turned into screen adaptations. It adds that extra layer to the characters and their stories. Brings them to life in a way that adds additional essence to them. But I will say I always read the book before I watch the adaptation. I don’t like the visuals of the film competing with the imagery in my head as I’m reading a book. And sometimes film adaptations don’t get it right. Sometimes they do. To Kill a Mockingbird film with Gregory Peck comes to mind. It was a beautiful book and a beautiful film. That’s what I hope for. That readers can read one of my novels, go see the film, and find beauty in both those art forms.
What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring authors?
Again, to never give up. The road to publication is difficult. Especially when you write the genre I write, which is literary fiction. Publishers are not jumping at the chance to take a risk on literary fiction because it’s harder to sell than genre or commercial fiction and it generally doesn’t have that big financial return. Getting a book published is definitely the hardest thing I’ve done. So to all writers still struggling to get that foot in the door, I say you owe it to yourself to not turn your back on your dreams. Never lose that hope that you too will be published one day.
Do you have a favorite book? If so, what is it?
I love Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. Bradbury’s verse is beautiful, first of all. And the story he’s telling has that balance between joy and a melancholy so subtle, you’re being rippled as you read, with the ultimate wave coming at the end of the novel. I’ve read it several times. I want to be buried with the book so I have it by my side in the afterlife, or you know, in case I get lonely in the coffin.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise (music, other people around, etc)?
I prefer to write alone. Mostly in silence. Just go into the cave and listen to the bats squeak. I sometimes listen to music. But nothing with lyrics unless they’re lyrics that would make me want to paint my walls black.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
I love gardening. I hope to have my own greenhouse one day containing its own special jungle I can stalk like a jaguar. I find baking relaxing. The mixing of flour and sugar and butter. The simplicity of creating something for others to enjoy. I love reading. Taking that story inside me and allowing myself to slip into the reader role. And watching movies. Sometimes there’s nothing better than to lean back and just watch something unfold in its own good time.
Without spoiling the novel, is there any one thing you hope readers take away from your story?
That we are only as godly as the love we spread. We are only as devilish as the hate we spew. And that the things which melt are oftentimes done so by our own infinite flame.
What is one question you’ve always wanted to be ask (writing/book related or not)? Answer that question.
What would I do if I ever met Ray Bradbury (his ghost at this point)? I’d share a glass of Dandelion Wine and share a ride on a rocket ship to Mars where hopefully Shirley Jackson is waiting for us both in a house on a hill.
Here is the book trailer, for anyone interested.