Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m an Ohio poet and novelist who likes nothing more than a quiet place to read and write. Writing is really the most interesting thing about me. Other than that I’m pretty boring and quiet. I will say I would like to ride the back of Moby Dick across the great Atlantic.
When/what was the point you decided to be an author?
I didn’t ever decide to be an author, it’s just something inside me that I’m driven to do. As a child, writing was the first thing I remember doing without any external influence or direction. Writing is my compass. I can’t find my way home without it. I wouldn’t realize writing was a profession I could have until I was in middle school and the guidance counselor came to my class to talk to us about what we wanted to be when we got older. Writing was just so wonderful to me I didn’t think you could get paid to do it. My parents had jobs, very hard jobs that made them tired and not a lot of money. So I thought that’s what I would have to do. Have a job I didn’t like. Though it took me eleven long years to get a publishing contract, realizing I could have writing as a career, was like being told I could pocket all the stars in the night sky and have light with me forever.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I wish I could say I do something really cool like wear a foil hat and light a hundred candles, but I’m pretty boring. I just sit there and type.
What was the inspiration for The Summer That Melted Everything?
It’s hard to answer the inspiration question because it’s hard to nail creativity down to a science. For me, I always say the characters themselves really inspire me, demand even that I write their truths and their story as honestly as I can.
How did the title and cover come about?
The title came about during one of those Ohio summers. It was so hot I just felt like I was melting in to a puddle of myself on the green summer grass. The cover is decided by the publisher. As a debut author it’s in my contract that the publisher gets all say on the cover choice. For me, the US cover doesn’t represent the story. With its melting crayons and chunky font, it’s too Young Adult, which has been the consensus from readers thus far. I do think the UK cover captures the story much better.
Your book touched on several sensitive issues. Is there any subject you will never want to write about?
I don’t think so. When you say there’s something you won’t write about then that limits you. Being an author you have to be brave in writing about these things.
Are you working on a new material? What can we expect from you next?
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.
What are your preferred genres to read and which book is your ultimate favorite?
I read all genres whether it be literary, horror, mystery, non-fiction, poetry. Really as long as it’s a story I want to hoard in my soul then the genre doesn’t matter to me. It’s hard to say my absolute favorite book, but I really love Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. I want to be buried with this book.
Besides being an author, you’re also an artist. Can you tell us more about it?
I’ve always created images for my stories since I was a kid. For me, painting or drawing characters and scenes add another dimension to the story. It gives the characters another layer of life.
Let’s do some fun quickies 😀
I should have a favorite word, but there are so many words to love. How to choose? I’ve said before that I like the word “freedom.” More for what it means than anything else.
There are a few colors: pumpkin orange, storm-cloud gray, chocolate brown, purple in all shades but particularly dark.
I like autumn and I like summer. So can we mash them together? Sumtumn or aummer? A season of autumn leaves and summer grass, of warm winds and cool fall breezes.
Whenever I start writing a new novel, I get that fear an asteroid is going to flatten me before I get to write that last word.
Right or left handed?
I was born left-handed but my mother taught me to be right-handed. She just felt like the world was made more for right-handers and that it would be one less thing to worry about.
Print book or ebook?
I love an actual book. The smell. The weight of it my hands. The feeling of turning a page. For me, there’s nothing more beautiful than a real book.
Before we end the interview, do you have any last words for the readers?
I would like to say to readers that without you, there are no novelists to be had. Readers give meaning to an author’s words. So if you like a book, tell everyone you know. Be that book’s champion because if you do, you’re being a champion for the author herself. My only hope is that readers like what I’ve written. That they can count on me to deliver a story that is worth both their time and their hard-earned money. Nothing would make me happier than to know a reader has finished one of my books with the pleasure of having read it. That’s what I strive for as an author. To be someone’s favorite author as so many authors have been mine.
An 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.