Interview with Tiffany McDaniel

Congratulations to Tiffany on her first published novel, THE SUMMER THAT MELTED EVERYTHING, from all of us here at HEA Novel Thoughts!

 

I’ve had the pleasure of reading/reviewing this breakthrough novel and getting to know Tiffany. She is truly a special person, talented writer, and artist. She was kind enough to consent to an email interview so we may get to know her a little better.

I hope you enjoy getting to know her as I have!

 

Hi Tiffany! Thank you for agreeing to do this interview with me for the HEA Novel Thoughts blog. 

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be interviewed.

So, shall we get down to it?

Yes, let’s get down to it.

What can you tell us about yourself that we don’t know?

In a dream or in another life I would have liked to have been a blue whale swimming the oceans before ships were in the water, before hooks and whalers were there to catch me.  Just swimming, swimming as a gentle giant of the blue, writing with each flip of my tail, each splash of my fin.  Maybe I’d even meet up with Moby Dick and we’d cross the waters as myths together…

What inspired you to write The Summer That Melted Everything?

The Summer that Melted Everything started out as a title.  It was one of those Ohio summers that I just felt like I was melting and thus the title was born.  It’s hard to bring creation down to a science, so it’s always a little difficult to answer the “inspiration” question.  I always say the characters themselves inspire me.  I owe it to the characters to write them the best beginning, middle, and end of a story I possibly can.  

What made you decide to write a story about 1984?

When I was thinking of the setting of the novel, I thought of the 1980s.  With its neon colors, big hair, and cool-tan music, the 1980s has always felt like a decade-long summer to me.  I was born in 1985, so I don’t know how the decade really was.  I can only go on how photographs and video captured at that time makes me feel.  The reasoning behind 1984 is because of the association I wanted with George Orwell’s novel, 1984.  Orwell’s book is about the loss of individual thought, among other things.  1984 the year was a natural fit for my story, if only because it’s the title of Orwell’s novel.  

Is Breathed, Ohio based off a real town?

The landscape is reflective of my childhood summers and school-year weekends spent in southern Ohio, where the hills speak, the creek paces in its own good time, and the roads are dirt-laid and grass-lined. That wildflower song, front porch chatter, and southern twang has shaped me as a writer. Having spent my childhood summers down-home was like being one of the rolling hills, forever rooted in rust and dirt and moon-shine magic.  

Who were the inspirations for your characters? Did you inject their personalities into the characters?

My characters aren’t based on anyone.  They are their own identities and are very real to me.  They exist with their own souls even.  As if I may not get to meet them here, but in some other plane of the universe or afterlife I will be able to shake their hand, give them a hug, walk with them down a summer road.  

Why the devil?

I always start writing a new novel with two things.  The title and the first line.  I never write with any plan in mind, so when I wrote this first line one day, it wasn’t because I had intentions to write about the devil.  It was because the first line was written and it decided the entire course of the novel.  

What project are you 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.

Do you have any weird writing habits?

I’m pretty boring.  I just sit there and type.  There is one thing I do from time to time, but it’s too weird to say…

Are you currently reading anything?

With all there is to do leading up to publication, I haven’t had time to read.  The author I’ll probably read once things calm down is Agatha Christie.  I find her novels relaxing, if only because they are like visiting an old friend.  

Who is your favorite author(s)?

I can’t really choose who my favorite author is.  That’s like choosing what heart-beat is my favorite.  I need them all to live.  I need all my authors like Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, Kazou Ishigaro, Agatha Christie, Donna Tartt, Harper Lee, Poet James Wright.    

What is your favorite book(s) of all time?

I love all of Ray Bradbury’s writing, but I really love Dandelion Wine.  I want to be buried with the book so my ghost can have it in hand in the afterlife.  I also love the entire writings of Shirley Jackson.  We Have Always Lived in the Castle was the first book I read of hers, and I have read it many times since.  Remains of the Day by Kazou Ishigaro is a really beautiful, subtle story.  To Kill a Mockingbird has one of the most famous bonds in literature between Atticus and Scout, a love that is both wise and infinite. Others include The Secret History by Donna Tartt, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and Above the River which is the collected poems of James Wright.      

Is there a specific genre you prefer?

I write literary fiction but I read all genres from non-fiction to poetry.  Horror, mystery, history.  As long as it’s a solid story I want to hoard in my soul than I don’t care what genre it is.

This being your debut novel, do you have any advice for those who want to become a published author?

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 fear I’d never get published.  This is the narrative so many authors have.  The journey to publication is hard work.  And it can take a long time to get a foot in the door.  I don’t say this to discourage authors on the journey to publication.  I say this so those authors know to never give up.  The journey can break your heart.  The rejection can make you feel like you will never be published.  But don’t give up.  Believe you will be published.  Believe that rocket ship to the stars is waiting on you, because it is.   

Thanks again to Tiffany for sharing a bit of her world with us. Below is some of her water-color works:

 

THE_TRUE_DEVIL_EXISTS_IN_THE_START_OF_A_MAN_TiffanyMcDaniel

“THE TRUE DEVIL EXISTS IN THE START OF A MAN”

Original Watercolor by TIFFANY MCDANIEL

 

“Madness. The compassing violin when in our head, the directionless chaos when out of it. Isn’t that what madness is, after all? Clarity to the beholder, insanity to the witnessing world. My God, what madness this world has witnessed.  What beautiful, chaotic madness.”—THE SUMMER THAT MELTED EVERYTHING

 

AND_SO_WE_BURN_TiffanyMcDaniel

 

“AND SO WE BURN”

Original Watercolor by TIFFANY MCDANIEL

 

“Truth be told, I thought a miracle would come, yellow and soft like a peach.”—THE SUMMER THAT MELTED EVERYTHING

 

I_MELT_WITH_YOU_FOR_THAT_ETERNAL_ALWAYS_TiffanyMcDaniel

 

“I MELT WITH YOU FOR THAT ETERNAL ALWAYS”

Original Watercolor by TIFFANY MCDANIEL

 

“It was like seeing American flags impaled on white picket fences.  He had been red, he had been white, he had been blue and July Fourth.  But now, the mythology of him was over.  He who was so handsome, as children all the girls thought they would marry him and leave the earth for the stars.”—THE SUMMER THAT MELTED EVERYTHING

 

To see more, please visit Tiffany’s website.

To purchase THE SUMMER THAT MELTED EVERYTHING, click here.

The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

The Summer That Melted Everything Trailer Reveal

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