Tiffany’s debut novel, The Summer That Melted Everything, is being published by St Martins Press/ Macmillan this July 26th (you might get a treat if you pre-order).
In this literary fiction book, “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”. I am delighted to share with you my interview with the author.
The Summer That Melted Everything has not only a curious title but an intriguing premise. How did you come up with the idea for the book?
The novel started out as a title. It was one of those Ohio summers that I just felt like I was melting into a puddle of myself. And thus in that personal melt, the title was born. When I start writing a new novel, I always start with two things. That being the book title and the first line. These two things really determine the entire course of the novel for me. I never outline or have an idea in mind when I began. For me it’s about putting the water down and waiting to see what rivers it makes, hoping I can swim those rivers or at least not drown in them.
Just a few weeks before your big book release! How is the feeling of having your first book published?
I’m more nervous than anything I am also scared to get too excited because it’s taken me so long to get to this stage, I just feel like nothing will be certain until the book is sitting on the bookstore’s shelf. With a debut novel, the author always has to worry about finding that reading audience. I worry no one will even know the novel exists. There are so many great books out there, how can I possibly compete?
If there’s any success to the book it really will come down to the book bloggers who have taken the time to give the novel a chance. To read it and put out there their honest opinion of the story, sharing it with their followers. I’ve been really honored thus far to have crossed paths with book bloggers. They really do champion a novel, and to a debut author, that means everything.
Has it been a difficult journey? From the moment you wrote your first draft until you got a publishing deal?
It has been a very difficult journey, as it is for most authors. I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen-years-old. I wouldn’t get a publishing contract until I was twenty-nine, and not for that first novel, but for The Summer that Melted Everything which is my fifth or sixth book. The genre I write, which is literary fiction, is really hard to get publishers to take a chance on because it is not as financially returnable as commercial or genre fiction. Especially when you write darker material, like I do. For me, it was eleven years of rejection after rejection and fear I’d never be published. I can’t count how many times I felt like I was so close to getting my foot in the publishing door, only to have the door slam in my face. Those eleven years was like being in a dark cave, screaming until my voice was gone. Crying until I had no more tears to shed. I feel for those authors still on the journey to publication. To them I say never give up. Fight for your dreams. You are a writer. Believe it. That rocket ship to the stars is waiting on you.
Complete this sentence: You couldn’t have done it without…
I think this is a good time to ask you to tell us a little about yourself: Who are you, what motivates you, what inspires you.
I’m an Ohio poet and novelist who wants to stroll Fear Street with R.L. Stine, solve murders with Hercule Poirot and Agatha Christie. I want to spend my summers bottling Dandelion Wine with Ray Bradbury and spend my October haunting with Shirley Jackson. Within this short bio, you can read me like a long book.
Without spoiling us, tell us an interesting fact about the main character, Fielding Bliss.
He knows fire by name.
Without spoiling us, tell us an interesting fact about Sal.
He is the one come to answer the invitation inviting the devil to town.
Your book has amazing quotable material! Share with us one of your favorite quotes of your novel.
I have a soft spot for the first line of the novel because that’s the first line I wrote for the novel. That line is:
“The heat came with the devil.”
This is the line that started it all. I feel like the entire story is inside it.
And what are your next projects?
I have eight other novels completed. Currently I’m working on my ninth novel. The novel I hope to follow The Summer that Melted Everything up with is When Lions Stood as Men. It’s a story of a Jewish brother and sister who escape Nazi Germany, cross the Atlantic Ocean, and end up in Ohio of all places. Struggling with the guilt of surviving the Holocaust, they create their own camp of judgment where they struggle to stand tall in their sins and in their guilt.
Thank you so much for this interview, Tiffany. Please let us know where we can pre-order your debut novel, and what are the benefits of doing so.
Thank you for taking the time to interview me. One of the benefits of pre-ordering is that you can be entered into the pre-order contest I’m currently holding from my website. Up for grabs is one of the audio-books of the book, a signed limited edition print of one of my original watercolor paintings, or one of my favorite books including Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury or We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. All prizes come with a handwritten letter from me to the winner.
You can pre-order the novel in the US from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, where you usually like to order your books from. But I encourage readers to support their local independent bookstore and order the book through them. You can find your nearest indie store location at Indiebound here. (More information about the contest here)
While I don’t have social media, readers can connect with me directly through my website at www.tiffanymcdaniel.com
That connection to readers is very important to me. How can I not give readers some of my time, when they’ve given me some of their time reading my book?