Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
A big thank you to Tiffany McDaniel, author of ‘The Summer that Melted Everything‘, for agreeing to be interviewed here today – read on to discover her enlightening, intriguing answers . . .
Q. Tell us a little about yourself.
A. I’m an Ohio poet and novelist who wants to plant a field of dandelions with Ray Bradbury, haunt some houses with Shirley Jackson, and always solve a murder mystery with Agatha Christie.
Q. When did you first decide to write?
A. As a child, writing was the first thing I remember doing without being told to do so. Just picking up that crayon and scribbling on paper what was in my head. Without writing and story, I’m lost. I can’t find my way home to happiness.
Q. Where did you get the inspiration for The Summer that Melted Everything?
A. I always say I’m inspired by the characters themselves. My characters feel very real to me. As if they are hovering just over my shoulder as I write their story. They whisper in my ear, encouraging me, demanding even, that I get their story right. I owe that to the characters. I owe that to the readers. To get the story right. To give to the characters the beginning, middle, and end that best speaks their truths.
Q. What is your writing process?
A. I never outline or pre-plan where the story is going to go. I like to sit at the laptop and what I type that work day, ends up evolving the story. If I try to write an idea down before-hand, that idea festers. It loses its essence for me. I’ve said before I don’t like to force the story out or put the hook in the fish so to speak. I like to just open the door between me and the sea and let the fish come swimming in on their own good time.
Q. Do you write using pen and paper or on a computer?
A. I work on a laptop. I wish I had started out on a typewriter, but I fear the laptop has ruined me for the ways of older technology. There is a beauty to a typewriter. By clanking those keys you feel as if you are calling the names of the literary giants of yesteryear. Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, F. Scott Fitzgerald. The typewriter is the Ouija board for summoning the ghosts of writers.
Q. Who is your favourite character out of your stories and why?
A. I love all my characters so I can’t say my favorite but I will say one of my favorite characters to write in The Summer that Melted Everything was Sal. He’s the one come to answer the invitation inviting the devil to town. Sal was interesting to write because I was in essence writing dialogue for the fallen angel.
Q. If you were a character in your story, which would you like to be?
A. I’d say Sal again because he’s a mystery even to me. I would trace his steps to where he comes from. See if he is indeed the devil.
Q. How and why did you choose the names for your main characters?
A. Because I do feel like my characters are real people, they are already named by the time I type their name for the first time on the page. My job as the author is to get their names right. I actually can’t write a character decently until I have their name down. I have to know who they are before I can tell readers that very same thing.
Q. Has it been a difficult journey to publication for you?
A. It has been a very difficult journey, as it is for most authors. I won’t take away from other authors and their struggles. But I will say 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 upon rejection. Those eleven years was like being in an abyss, screaming until my voice was hoarse. 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. Stand up when rejection knocks you down, and fight. Fight for your dream of being a published author. It will happen for you one day. Believe that your name is meant to be on a book and never lose faith that it will be.
Q. Do you have anything you would like to say to readers? And where can readers find you?
A. 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, be that book’s champion. 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.
As far as where readers can find me, I’m not on social media, but they can jump on to my website here at www.tiffanymcdaniel.com
Readers can also connect with me directly through my website. That connection to readers is very important to me. As I’ve said, they’re the ones who determine an author’s entire career. How can I not give them some of my time, when they’ve given me some of their time reading my book?
Thank you so much for answering all the questions, you’re inspirational replies and unique novel, Tiffany. I certainly look forward to reading more from you in future!