After reading The Summer That Melted Everything, I got the opportunity to interview the talented author responsible, Tiffany McDaniel.
S: So Tiffany, why 1984?
TM: I knew the story was going to take place in the 1980s, and for some reason 1984 kept jumping out at me. So I did my research of that year. Found out the important news and events that happened and it lined up perfectly with the story itself.
As the story developed more and more, I realized a certain atmosphere was coming about in the community I was writing, an atmosphere I remembered quite well from George Orwell’s beautiful novel, 1984. I’d like to say I chose the year but I think it chose itself.
S: Do you have a new book in the works? If so, can we have a clue of what it’s about?
TM: I have eight other novels completed. Currently I am working on my ninth novel. The novel I hope to follow The Summer That Melted Everything up with, is called When Lions Stood as Men. It’s a story about a Jewish brother and sister who escape Nazi Germany, across the Atlantic Ocean, and end up in Ohio of all places.
Struggling with the guilt of surviving the Holocaust, they create their own sort of camp where they punish themselves. They realize in the end it was each other they truly had to survive.
S: That sounds amazing! Very unique take on a sensitive theme. Next question.
Do you believe Sal really was Satan in the guise of a 13-year-old boy?
TM: Great question! I think it’s a question readers will definitely ask themselves after reading the novel. We have our clues as to his identity, but Sal is a mystery even to me.
S: Homosexuality is one of the big themes in your book. Seeing as Fielding believed it to be a sin, how is it that his most meaningful adult relationship is with another man? Do you think his longing for his older brother played a part in his choice?
TM: So we have our narrator who is an eighty-four-year-old Fielding, looking back on his life as a 13-year-old. It was that version of himself, young Fielding, who very much worried homosexuality was a sin, simply because, as he says in the book, he didn’t know any better. The older he gets, the more he realizes homosexuality is no sin at all, but the beautiful connection of one man to another.
I think in many ways, Fielding’s relationship with another man was in part due to his longing for his big brother as you say. I’m not even sure Fielding would have had a homosexual relationship if not for what happened to his brother and the great sense of love loss that Fielding felt.
S: If the events took place in the present day, do you think things would have ended differently for the Bliss family?
TM: I don’t think so. Times may change but people are in essence the same. I think if this were to happen now in 2016, and not 1984, only the coverage would have been different. Splashed all over social media, commented on by everyone around the world. Captured by cell-phones and journeyed to YouTube for the masses.
But the story itself and its ending, for the most part, transcends time periods and becomes a sort of universal ending for all times because it explores those basic human emotions that we have always had, and always will have.
S: We are big fans of wine here at Booknista 😉 How about yourself? Red or white?
TM: Can I have a whiskey instead? I’ll quote Mark Twain, “ Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough. ”
The book itself is a pretty serious tale. Heavy with imagery and loaded with huge themes, it’s hard to believe that Tiffany wrote it 😉
She’s just so sweet and down to earth. I loved all aspects of doing this project with her. Starting with reading her fabulous novel, the review and finally this interview.
To gear up for her exciting debut of The Summer That Melted Everything, Tiffany is holding a fun pre-order contest on her website.
It’s been a pleasure working with her and I can’t wait to read her follow-up novel, When Lions Stood as Men.
Don’t forget to check out my review of The Summer That Melted Everything!
Images(2)Giphy, T. McDaniel