ABOUT THE BOOKFielding 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.
INTERVIEW WITH TIFFANY MCDANIEL
Tiffany, how did you get started writing?
Writing is what I’ve always wanted to do. It’s the first thing I remember doing as a child outside of any external influence or someone telling me to write something. I was instantly drawn to story. Reading it and creating it. Back in cavemen day I would have been the one scribbling all over the cave walls.
What do you wish you’d done differently when you first started the publishing process?
I wish I wouldn’t have been so hopeful. I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen and didn’t get a publishing contract until I was twenty-nine. Starting out as a young author trying to get published at eighteen, I was so ignorant of the journey to publication that I thought my entire future would be decided in a week. That’s the time standard of youth. I was so very optimistic and hopeful, I wish I would have been a little more realistic about how hard it truly is to get published. But even though you prepare yourself for rejection, it always hurts.
What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?
Getting it published.
What books do you currently have published?
The Summer that Melted Everything is my first published novel. It wasn’t the first novel I wrote, but more like my fifth or sixth novel. I have nine novels to date. Just waiting for publishing to catch up to me.
What’s the oldest thing you own and still use?
My imagination. It feels older than myself. Like maybe its childhood had with the dinosaurs and now in its old age it’s a million years old.
Do you have any secret talents?
I so wish I could say I know how to get a good boil going in a cauldron. I still want to be a witch, Hocus Pocus style. That’s not weird. Right?
Hmmm . . . I'll get back to you on that. If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?
PBS. When I was a kid my dad always watched PBS, and I thought it was full of boring shows. But then when I actually watched it I saw how amazing it was. NOVA science documentaries, NATURE documentaries, Masterpiece Classic. What more could you want? We never grew up on cable. I actually just recently even got cable, but I still return to PBS because you get entertainment and education. So this was a completely boring answer, huh?
Not at all. How often do you tweet?
I don’t tweet or Facebook. Shocker—I have no social media. My only online presence being my website www.tiffanymcdaniel.com.
What scares you the most?
My biggest fear is starting to write a novel and dying before getting to finish it. I get the feeling an asteroid is just going to barrel down on top of me before I get that last sentence down. Unfinished work is a very scary thing.
What’s your favorite beverage?
Milkshake. Easy on the milk. Heavy on the ice cream.
Have you had a Chick-fil-A peach milkshake? Oh. My. Gosh. What do you wish you could do?
Actually visit the Witches’ Supermarket from Susan Meddaugh’s book, The Witches’ Supermarket.
Where is your favorite place to visit?
When I dream I have recurring places I try to dream myself back to. They’re hard to explain while awake, but I never want to leave them when I’m there in sleep.
What’s in your refrigerator right now?
I don’t know what’s in the fridge, but I will say what’s in my freezer is frozen blueberries raised in my own garden. I love to just eat them straight out of the bag. Nothing beats a frozen blueberry. Except for maybe blueberry muffins and blueberry pie . . .
And peach milkshakes. Who is your favorite fictional character?
I’d love to hang out with Willy Wonka. But also solve a murder mystery with Hercule Poirot.
If you had a talk show who would your dream guest be?
Beetlejuice. We can eat ZagNuts together. All you Beetlejuice fans know what I’m talking about.
What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?
Currently it’s a desert scene. For some reason I’ve always wanted to live out in the middle of a desert with plenty of cactuses. I blame the house full of cactuses in the Gene Tierney movie, Leave her to Heaven.
What’s your favorite smell?
The smell of chocolate cooking. But I also love Shalimar. And the smell of an approaching thunder storm. And the crushed smell of autumn leaves. My nose can’t decide.
And peach milkshakes. Oh. Sorry. What’s your favorite color?
It’s a toss up between the gray color of storm clouds, chocolate brown, that orange of Halloween pumpkins, and the dark purple of eggplant. You’ll notice I have trouble naming my absolute favorite of something.
What is your favorite movie?
There are so many. I love Beetlejuice and Little Shop of Horrors, Misery, and Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Don’t ask me to choose between them. We’ll be here for eternity.
Understandable. I'm afraid to ask this one, but I will . . . do you have a favorite book?
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. I want to be buried with it.
What are you working on now?
I hope to follow The Summer that Melted Everything up with my newest novel, When Lions Stood as Men. It’s a unique story of a Jewish brother and sister who struggle so much with their guilt over surviving the Holocaust that they create their own camp of judgment in which their souls are tested and where they try to understand how they exist in relation to one another. It is a story about love above all else, and the oftentimes undeniable torment of that very emotion. Lions have stood before, the novel tells us, are we brave enough to stand with them?
ABOUT THE AUTHORAn 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. The Summer that Melted Everything is her debut novel.
Tiffany is holding a pre-order contest. Readers have a chance to win the audio book, free books, or original prints of her painting. For details, go here.
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