Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Interview with Author Tiffany McDaniel

Tiffany McDaniel
Author of
The Summer that Melted Everything!

Tiffany McDanielThe Summer that Melted Everything

1)      Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m an Ohio poet and novelist.  Other than writing, I love plants and gardening.  I also love art, and dapple in everything from charcoal to watercolors. 

2) In your own words, please describe the book.
The Summer that Melted Everything is about a man who one day puts an invitation in the newspaper, inviting the devil to town.  A boy, claiming to be the devil, answers the invitation, only this boy is not your stereotypical devil of red flesh and horns.  This so-called devil’s arrival coincides with the start of a heat-wave that threatens to destroy the town’s very sanity.  As the summer unfolds, the boy’s presence has tragic consequences on the town and everyone in it.  Who is the real devil?  That is a question The Summer that Melted Everything sets out to answer.

3) What was your inspiration behind your book?
I always say what inspires me are the characters.  I’m inspired by them to write their story and truth to the best of my ability. 

4) How did you come up with this title?
It was one of those hot Ohio summers that I felt like I was melting.  Out of true heat, the title was born.  I usually start writing a new novel with two things: the title and the first line.  These two things really lead the entire rest of the story.   

5) When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I’ve been writing since I was a kid.  Writing is the first thing I remember doing as a child without being told to do so.  There was an innate desire to write down what was in my head.  I’ve always written short stories and poetry.  When I was eighteen was when I wrote my first novel. 

6)Is there any author or book that influenced you in anyway either growing up or as an adult?
I came late to reading the authors who I consider to be among my favorites now.  I’ve always written more than I’ve read.  For some authors, they read more than they write.   Some of my favorite authors are Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, and Donna Tartt.  There is also the poet James Wright, who is from my land of Ohio.  I can’t say these authors have inspired me, because by the time I came upon them I already had a few novels written, but they are authors who I rank among my favorites thus far and authors I recommend everyone check out. 

7)How long does it take you to finish a novel?
On average it takes me about a month to write a novel.  When I say it’s a quick process to lay the bones down, you have to understand writing a book is like building a body.  You lay your bones down, and then you began to build up the layers of tissue, muscle, and skin in your drafting stages.  Then you add the cosmetic features, like freckles and moles, fingernails, and all those particular swirls of fingerprints.  These other layers can take longer as you’re drafting through.  In addition, the quality control comes during the cosmetic stages when you read the novel a million times to make sure everything is as it should be. 

8)  So far, what has been the greatest moment in your writing career?
 For me, getting published has been an uphill battle, so I'd say one of the greatest moments has been seeing one of my books on the shelf.    

9) Have you written a book that you love, but you have not been able to publish?
I have eight completed novels.  One day I hope to see all of these stories and characters out in the world.

10) What Advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Never give up.  While The Summer that Melted Everything is my first published novel, it’s actually my fifth or sixth novel written.  I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen, and wouldn’t get a publishing contract until I was twenty-nine for The Summer that Melted Everything.  It was a long eleven-year journey to publication, full of rejection and perseverance.  My writing is dark, and I was often told I was risky to publish.  If I had given up, I wouldn’t be where I am today, with a book on the shelf.  So to all the writers out there on the journey to publication, I say, don’t let rejection destroy you.  Let rejection empower you. 

1) If you had to describe yourself in three words, it would be….
I think the true test of our character is how others describe us.  But I know the things I would like to be thought of as being, which is kind, creative,and thoughtful.   
2) If you could be a character in any novel you’ve ever read, who would you be and why?
There are a few characters I’d like to step into the shoes of, so perhaps this is why my answer changes every time I’m asked this.  Today I’d say Hercule Poirot.  I love Agatha Christie and her detective is one character I always love to spend time with, so to actually be him solving these murders would be a pretty wonderful way to spend the day.

3)What’s your favorite movie?
I have a hard time pinning down my absolute favorite because I love film, but some of my favorite movies are Stanley Kubrick’s The ShiningLittle Shop of Horrors, and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.

4) If you were written about in the newspaper, on the front page, what would the headline say?
I’ve always wanted wings and to fly, so perhaps one day a headline will read: “Writer sprouts wings and flies away”

5) If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be and why?
There are lots of people I’d love to meet.  Today I’ll say I would like to meet Howard Carter.  But more than meet him, I would have liked to have been there when the tomb of Tutankhamun was unearthed.  I love archaeology so it would be pretty incredible to be present in a moment when one of the most astounding archaeological finds was discovered.  


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    - El

    1. Hello!!

      Thank you so much for your kind words. of course I will look at your blog and follow you back!