This is one book I’m excited about! I’ve heard some good things about it and I can’t wait to read it.
Read on for the book summary, and an author Q&A.
Fielding 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.
The Author is holding an awesome Pre-Order contest on her site with the following prizes:
Participation is open only to residents of the US. Must include proof of pre-order and your US mailing address in your entry. Entries should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: TSTME Pre-order
Contest is open now and ending on 7/25/16 at midnight EST.
Welcome to Cover2Cover and thanks for taking the time out for a quick Q&A!
- Could you briefly describe your book for the readers?
The Summer that Melted Everything is about eighty-four-year-old Fielding Bliss looking back on his life and one summer when he was thirteen-years-old. That summer took place in 1984 and was the summer Fielding’s father, Autopsy Bliss, invited the devil to their small town of Breathed, Ohio. Who answers the invitation ends up being a thirteen-year-old boy in overalls and with bruises. He says to call him Sal. So everyone does as a heat wave bakes the town from the inside out. All told, this is a story about what it means to come face to face with the devil and face to face with hell. They are not always the same thing.
- Is your book inspired by personal experiences?
While the story itself is not inspired by personal experience, the landscape certainly is. The story takes place in the fictional town of Breathed, Ohio, which is a landscape very much inspired by my childhood summers and school year weekends spent in southern Ohio, where the hills roll, the creek strides in its own good time, and the roads are dirt laid and grass lined.
- Tell us about the main characters.
Fielding Bliss is the eighty-nine year old narrator who is telling the story about his coming of age when he was thirteen. Autopsy Bliss is Fielding’s father. Autopsy is a lawyer who struggles with the consequences of his decisions, and this is what leads him to invite the devil to town. Stella Bliss is Autopsy’s wife and Fielding’s mother. Her fear of the rain keeps her from leaving the house, so she has created a world within the house, decorating each room as a country. Grand Bliss is Fielding’s older brother. Grand is who everyone pins their hopes on. Sal is the thirteen-year-old boy who answers Autopsy’s invitation. Sal is the one who changes everything.
- Do you have a favourite ? Who and Why?
I never say my absolute favorite character, but there are several characters who were my favorite to write. Grand was definitely one of those characters. I’d also say Sal was really interesting to write because I had to get into a ‘fallen angel’ state of mind. He’s only a thirteen-year-old boy but I had to write him as if he had ages on him. As if he’s been to infinity and back. It’s always a lot of fun to write a character like his. They’re the type of character that seems to come from the outer reaches of the universe, so it was a thrill to be able to shake the star-dust off him.
- Could you share a favourite quote from the book? Why is it your favourite?
“The heat came with the devil. It was the summer of 1984, and
while the devil had been invited, the heat had not. It should’ve been
expected, though. Heat is, after all, the devil’s name, and when’s the
last time you left home without yours?”
This paragraph opens the book and I think that’s why it’s one of my favorite quotes. It’s also the first part I wrote in the novel. It’s really the beginning of everything.
- Did you have difficulty with writing a particular part or writing about a particular character? If so, why?
I really loved writing this novel. I think for me the most difficult thing in anything I write is making sure I capture the honest emotion of the moment. I always wonder will I make the reader laugh in those places I hope are funny? Will I make them cry, in those places that are sad? Will I create a story that the reader has an emotional response to in the end?
- Are you working on anything new at the moment?
The novel I hope to follow The Summer that Melted Everything up with is When Lions Stood as Men. It’s a story about a brother and sister who escape Nazi Germany, only to realize the true thing they must try to escape is each other. It’s an unusual story about survivors’ guilt and the lengths we go to in trying to feel as if we deserve to survive in the end.
I enjoyed having you on my blog today and I wish you success with your future writing!
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.
Reviews from authors:
“Tiffany McDaniel’s The Summer That Melted Everything is a wonderfully original, profoundly unsettling, deeply moving novel that delivers both the shock of a fully realized reality and the deep resonance of parable. This is a remarkable debut by a splendid young writer.”—Robert Butler, Pulitzer Prize winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
“Sometimes a book comes along that is so good that it defies all descriptions, but I’ll give it a shot anyway: Tiffany McDaniel’s astounding and heartbreaking The Summer That Melted Everything reads as if Carson McCullers and Shirley Jackson got together with Nathaniel Hawthorne in some celestial backwater and decided to write the first truly great gothic coming-of-age novel of the twenty-first century. There, I said it. Now read it.” —Donald Ray Pollock, PEN/Robert Bingham award winning author of Knockemstiff and The Devil All the Time
“Sometimes there is a novel so strange and beguiling it makes you give up your world for another world. Such a story is Tiffany McDaniel’s tale of an enchanted boy—who might be the devil—welcomed into a family with no right to their name, Bliss. It will frighten you, and charm you, and break your heart if you allow it . . . and you will allow it, because once this world has hold of you, it won’t let you go.” —Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times bestselling author The Deep End of the Ocean (the first Oprah Book Club selection)