The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel Book Review And Author Q&A!

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We were provided with a copy in exchange for an honest review. Let me start off by saying this is by far the best book we have read in 2016. Tiffany McDaniel wrote a beautiful, heartfelt, and powerful story that is captivating. Set in the Summer of 1984 in a town called Breathed, Ohio, Fielding Bliss meets a young boy named Sal who claims he is the devil. Being invited by Fielding's father, Autopsy Bliss, Sal is just a regular young boy, or is he? In a town that is predominately white, Sal, who is black, with beautiful green eyes is constantly attacked and blamed for what goes on in the town. Sal is having to deal with Elohim's dislike for him because of the color or his skin and because of who Sal claims to be.

There are many lines in this book that you will take away and hold onto like I have. But there is one line in particular that in the moment I read it, I knew I had fallen in love with the book.

"I knew he was old in the soul. A boy whose black crayon would be the shortest in his box."
This book has many life lessons in it. With all of the events going on in the world today, this book is being released at a perfect time. It shows how not to judge people by what you perceive as evil or good. How you should not judge by the color of someone's race or sexual preference, and just see past all of that and love someone for who they are. Tiffany created wonderful characters that were not complex but were very different, unique, and special. She created a world in which you automatically fell in love with each and every single one of the characters. You get to meet Autopsy Bliss, Stella Bliss, and Fielding Bliss in the beginning of the book. The Bliss' are a unique family who in reality just love each other and get along with just about anyone. You are then introduced to the brother Grand Bliss and then Sal comes in out of nowhere. That's when the Breathed summer turned into one of the hottest summers ever. The rest of the characters from Otis, Dovey, Elohim, to Dresden are slowly introduced as Fielding is narrating the story. You get to know a little background of each and start to understand how close knit this town is.

As I stated, the story is being narrated by Fielding Bliss. The chapters go back and forth from present to past memories which become more painful for him to talk about. This is a book I will recommend to high schools, to friends, to family, to everyone. It has a powerful message, one that we are trying to spread right now, love your neighbor. You will get angry reading this book and you will cry. It will take you on an emotional roller-coaster, one that you might not be prepared for but one that you will be grateful for. Tiffany McDaniel's writing is a true piece of art. It is raw, it is real, and it amazing. I'm excited to read what she will be releasing next. If it's anything like this, it will be another amazing book.

I give this book a 5/5 stars.  The Summer That Melted Everything is being released today! So make sure you go out and grab a copy. Want to win a copy of this amazing book? Enter below!

Author Q&A

Who or what was the inspiration behind the story?

  • The novel started first as a title.  It was one of those Ohio summers that I just felt like I melting into a puddle at my feet, and thus the title was born.  I always start writing a new novel with two things.  The title and the first line.  These two things lead the entire story.  I always say what inspires me are the characters themselves.  My characters feel very real to me.  Maybe I won’t get to physically meet them here in our world, but at some moment in infinity they will appear fully-formed in front of me.  For now, they hover like ghosts over my shoulders as I type their story.  Whispering to me to get their story right.  So that’s what inspires me.  It’s the characters demanding I get their story right.  That I tell their truths as honestly as I can.

Was the character development easy or hard?

  • Characters development is one of my favorite parts of writing the story because I’m getting to know these characters.  Layer after layer is being added to their existence and that is one of the true joys of being an author.  Getting to know the characters and fall in love with them.  

Would you like for The Summer That Melted Everything to ever become a tv series or a movie? We would love for it to become a TV series!

  • I love film.  And I write screenplays, so I do hope I’m fortunate enough for the novel to be translated to the screen one day.  I tend to love film more than TV series, but TV series do have that ability to go deeper into the story due to there being more time for a series to tell the story as opposed to a film that has a length restriction.  It would be wonderful to see an adaptation of the novel.  To see the story come to life in that way.  I do usually read the book before I see a film adaptation of it, just because I don’t want the visuals of the film competing with the imagery in my head as a reader.  But movies have the great possibility of becoming just another layer of the story to love.  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee comes to mind.  The book was beautiful.  The movie with Gregory Peck was wonderful as well.  That’s what I hope.  That an adaptation can add to the novel, not distract from it.  I will say I have my popcorn ready.  

Who is your favorite character in the book?

  • I love them all so I can’t say my favorite character, but one of my favorite characters to write was Sal.  He’s the one come to answer the invitation put in the newspaper inviting the devil to town.  He’s balancing life between being a thirteen-year-old boy, and possible being the devil, so he was interesting to write because I had to let him be both of those identities.  He had to be a believable kid, but also a believable, possible devil.  And it’s not often you get to write dialogue for the fallen angel himself, so it was very interesting to get in that mind-set as an author.  

What are you working on next?

  • I have eight completed novels.  I’m currently working on my ninth.  The novel I’m hoping to follow The Summer that Melted Everything up with is When Lions Stood as Men.  It’s a novel about a Jewish brother and sister who escape Nazi Germany, flee across the Atlantic, and end up in my land of Ohio.  While here, they create their own camp of judgment where they serve as both the guards and the prisoners.  It’s a story about surviving guilt, love, and the time when lions stood as men.  I do hope The Summer that Melted Everything does well enough for me to get a second book published.  It’s taken me eleven long, hard years to get published, and two years waiting for the novel to move through the publishing house, so all told, it’s been thirteen years waiting to see one of my books on the shelf.  With all the rejection along the way, I really believed I’d never get published, so July 26th will be a very special day indeed.  I doubt I’ll be able to stop smiling… 
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