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Author Interview: Tiffany McDaniel and “The Summer that Melted Everything”

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Hello, and welcome to the VERY VERY FIRST author interview ever hosted by yours truly, Princess Penguin!

Today, I welcome Tiffany McDaniel to my little corner of the Bookish Block–thank you SO MUCH for taking time out of your schedule to sit down and chat with me a bit, Tiffany!

Penguins, can we get a HUGE flipper hello to the author?!

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About the Book:

The Summer that Melted EverythingThe Summer that Melted Everything
by Tiffany McDaniel
St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: July 26th, 2016
320 Pages
Magical Realism / Literary Fiction
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

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.

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About the Author:

Photo Credit JENNIFER MCDANIELTiffany McDaniel is an Ohio native whose writing is inspired by the rolling hills and buckeye woods of the land she knows. Also a poet and artist, she is the winner of The Guardian’s 2016 “Not-the-Booker Prize” for her debut novel, The Summer that Melted Everything. The novel was also a Goodreads Choice Award double nominee in both fiction and debut categories, is a current nominee for the Lillian Smith Book Award, and has recently been announced as a finalist for the Ohioana Literary Award and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award for Outstanding Debut.

“Sometimes this world is like red fences in the snow.  There ain’t no hiding who we really are.”—THE SUMMER THAT MELTED EVERYTHING


The Interview of EPIC

1.      If you could talk to any animal for a day, which animal would you pick and what would you talk about/ask?

 I would have loved to have had a conversation with my cat Fancy.  She recently passed on May 22nd.  She was twenty-one years old, so we came-of-age and lived a long time together.  I would have loved to have been able to talk to her and hear her side of those twenty-one years.

 2. The Summer that Melted Everything is your debut–congratulations!  Tell us a little bit about the book? (non spoilery, of course!)

Thank you so much for the congratulations.  The Summer that Melted Everything is about a man who one day puts an invitation in the newspaper, inviting the devil to town.  A boy, claiming to be the devil, answers the invitation, only this boy is not your stereotypical devil of red flesh and horns.  This so-called devil’s arrival coincides with the start of a heat-wave that threatens to destroy the town’s very sanity.  As the summer unfolds, the boy’s presence has tragic consequences on the town and everyone in it.  Who is the real devil?  That is a question The Summer that Melted Everything sets out to answer.

3. You wake up to find you’re suddenly a mythical creature!  What form have you taken, and what do you spend the day doing?

I would say a winged horse, or some other mythical-winged creature.  I’ve always wanted wings and the ability to fly over all the land.  Imagine flying above jungles, close enough to run your fingers through the foliage of the treetops.  To fly over the oceans, just above the whales, and onward to the highest mountaintop, steering clear of Icarus’ sun.  And then, come nightfall, to be able to fly all the way up to the stars.  I doubt there would be a better way to spend a day.

4. Do you have any weird or interesting writing rituals, such as yo-yoing when “stuck” or writing for one hour at 2 am once a week?

I wish I could say I do something really weird or interesting when writing, but I’m pretty boring in that I just sit there and type.  In my downtime, I garden, paint and draw, bake, watch movies, and spend time with all the animals in my life.  These things really prove to be great ways to step away from writing, and come back to it, re-energized.

5. What advice would you give aspiring writers/authors about publishing/the world?

To never give up.  While The Summer that Melted Everything is my first published novel, it’s actually my fifth or sixth novel written.  I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen, and wouldn’t get a publishing contract until I was twenty-nine for The Summer that Melted Everything.  It was a long eleven-year journey to publication, full of rejection and perseverance.  My writing is dark, and I was often told I was risky to publish, which is something I think female literary fiction writers often encounter in contrast to their male counterparts.  But if I had given up, I wouldn’t be where I am today with a book on the shelf.  So to all the writers out there on the journey to publication, I say, don’t let rejection destroy you.  Let rejection empower you.

   6. What piece of advice has most helped you with publishing/the world?

I have to go back to my answer in the previous question because the biggest piece of advice is to never give up.  That’s not only true in publishing, but in everything we do in this world.

7. If you could make a scarf out of words, what type of words would you use: your favorites, to hold close, or your least favorites, to remind you how to be strong?

I would make a scarf out of my favorite words.  Names of people and of animals I have loved, and of words that give me comfort.  To be clothed in the words that make me the happiest, that would be an ideal world.

8. Give us a few words from your word-scarf? What do these words mean TO YOU if they’re your favorites / why don’t you like them if they’re not?

The words I would use are words that would remind me of my favorite things. My favorite seasons, favorite colors, and words that have to do with nature and plants, because I love gardening.  There would also be the names and words of artists and authors I enjoy.  But also, the names of the people and animals I have loved in this lifetime.   A scarf that would ultimately be the story of my life, a story I could hold close and hold dear for all of time.

 9. Anything nifty tucked up your sleeve for your next project you want to give us a “sneak peak” into?

I’ve returned to that very first novel I wrote when I was eighteen.  It’s titled, The Chaos We’ve Come From.  I have eight completed novels, and just like in all of them, in The Chaos We’ve Come From, the fictional town of Breathed, Ohio will be the setting.  Ohio is a land that has shaped me as an author.  The Chaos We’ve Come From in particular is inspired by my mother’s coming-of-age in southern Ohio, in those foothills of the Appalachians, from the 1950s to the death of her father in the early 1970s.  It feels like a good time to return to these characters and to this story.

10. If you could sit down with any writer, alive or dead, who would you pick? What would you talk about? What do you expect they’ll choose for dinner?

There are a few authors like Ray Bradbury and Shirley Jackson that I would like to chat with.  Agatha Christie, too.  My answer seems to change each time I’m asked this, but today I would say Sylvia Plath.  I think we would talk about all the things we keep under the bell jar, in one way or another.  For dinner, I think she would choose a cake she’d made the day before.  Sometimes cake itself is the perfect dinner.


HUGE thanks, once again, to Tiffany McDaniel for sitting down and sharing these awesome answers with me–I had so much fun asking these questions, and hope all you Penguins out there had fun READING them and getting to know this author a little!

You can find out more about Tiffany McDaniel, The Summer that Melted Everything, and MOAR by visiting her website (just click the flowers, Penguins–CLICK IIIIIT!):

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Until next time, and as always, happy book-ing!

 

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Book Blitz, Q&A, Teasers, and Giveaway: Down & Dirty

 

Down and Dirty
by Annette Fields
Publication date: June 1st 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Women come and go from my bed but they’ll never have my heart.

There’s only one girl I’m committed to and that’s my six-year-old daughter.

Every dirty deal I make is to secure a good future for her.

When I find Natalie in the back of my truck ready to die fighting, everything gets flipped upside down.

I saved her life and took her home. Her stay was supposed to be temporary but I don’t want her to leave.

I want to feel her soft, sweet body writhing underneath me, begging for more and never stopping.

But what’s really got my head spinning?

My daughter wants a mother.

I escaped Hell only to run right into the arms of another demon.

But Solomon says he won’t hurt me, not in that way.

He’ll keep them from finding me, but can I trust him?

He’s just another criminal working with the one who captured me.

I feel ruined from what I’ve been through but somehow, he makes my body come alive again.

He reminds me what pleasure feels like and I can’t get enough.

I’m beyond torn in multiple directions but that’s not the most confusing part.

How can a tattooed, muscle-bound criminal also be such a caring, devoted father?

Down and Dirty is a full-length standalone bad boy romance in my Small Town Bad Boy series. Absolutely no cliffhangers and guaranteed HEA!

Goodreads / Amazon

Q&A with author Annette Fields:

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Somewhere around 8-10 years old. My dad was always writing, be it journaling or poetry, so I picked it up early in wanting to be just like him. I also read a lot as a kid and had teachers that encouraged creative writing at that age.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I can’t sit in one place in a writing session. At some point I always have to move from my desk to the kitchen table, or to the floor, or to the library or coffee shop. I’ve given up trying to fight this and found that I write more and better if I switch up my space a little.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Google is amazing tool, haha! I use the internet for nitty gritty details but a lot of my ideas are based on what I have actually experienced, either firsthand or through people I know. For example my character Liam is inspired by people close to me who have worked in law enforcement.

Also at one point I worked in a brewery like my character Aubrey in Big Bad Boss. She’s loosely based on a couple of awesome female coworkers I had at that time.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I was around 14 when I made my first attempt a novel. I was really into vampires and witches at the time (pre-Twilight days!) and wrote a story that would probably be considered YA urban fantasy. That one’s never been published though! I’m not sure if it still exists…

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I do yoga, read books whenever I have the chance, and play boardgames with friends. I love gardening and may have an obsession with plants (there’s definitely a little of me in my character Dahlia from this series!)

What do you think makes a good story?

Complex and flawed characters. The ones that make you want to cry, cheer, and scream “Noooo, what are you doing!”

 

Author Bio:

Get Her Soldier, a military bad boy novella for FREE when you sign up for emails at: http://www.subscribepage.com/hersoldier

Annette Fields is a soft-spoken California girl with a big and filthy imagination. She’s always daydreaming about her next hot bad boy story to share with you, her readers!

Aside from writing fiery hot romance and lounging in the equally hot California sun, Annette loves coffee, gin, and her bad boy husband.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook

 

GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Blog Tour, Teasers, Interviews, Giveaway, and Review: Finding Molly

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Finding Molly, Volume 1: An Adventure in CatsittingFinding Molly: An Adventure in Catsitting
by Justine Prado
Illustrated by Jenn St-Onge

Genre: YA Graphic Novel
Release Date: January 2017
Emet Comics

Summary from Goodreads:

Finding Molly: An Adventure in Catsitting is a graphic novel about Molly Sanchez-Talebi, anunemployed art school grad who hesitantly starts catsitting to pay the bills. She dreams ofbreaking out of suburbia and her artistic rut, but she has a lot of self-discovery todo before that happens. The comic follows her funny misadventures as she learns that maybe these (sometimes) friendly felines are just what she needs to get her life on track.

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The Making Of

Promo Creating Finding Molly

Interview and Goodies (Justine Prado)

Meet Justine Prado page 1Meet Justine Prado page 2Meet Justine Prado page 3Meet Justine Prado page 4

Interview and Goodies (Jenn St-Onge)

Meet Jenn St-Onge page 1Meet Jenn St-Onge page 2Meet Jenn St-Onge page 3Meet Jenn St-Onge page 4Meet Jenn St-Onge page 5

About the Authors

Finding Molly author info

GIVEAWAY: a Rafflecopter giveaway


bookreview

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: adorable, GORGEOUS artwork; loved the humor, the snark, and the true-to-life characters; some heavy subjects interlaced with catty mischief; this was such an entertaining, beautiful read!

Huge thanks to Justine Prado, Jenn St-Onge, Carey Pietsch, and YA Bound Book Tours for sending me a free digital galley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

GIVEAWAY Finding Molly shirt

Let me just start by saying: OH MY PENGUINS, THIS ARTWORK! Seriously guys, the art in this graphic novel is so gorgeous and drool-worthy and just… GAAAAAH! I found myself stroking my Fire tablet like a deranged penguin, eyes star-struck and huge, because so many pretties I cannot even! The color choices are gorgeous, the backgrounds are so so well-rendered, and the entire thing is just… THIS. This is what I love about graphic novels–how they can, when done correctly, draw you into the world and refuse to let you leave it. Even now, hours later, the artwork in this book is vibrantly painted across the backs of my eyelids. I will, I fear, be dreaming in these colors tonight. And that is not at all a problem in my world.

The panels are also complex and well-done. It’s obvious, just glimpsing through this, that the gals who worked on it knew exactly what they were doing and exactly what they were aspiring to accomplish. The flow is smooth and natural, the lettering was chosen well to both work with and stand apart from the rest of the graphics… Every detail was considered carefully, and I so appreciate that in graphic novels. There is also a section in the back that gives readers a glimpse into things like creation process and character drafts–things we don’t normally get to see in a comic or graphic novel, that somehow made me love this read even more.

But the kicker? These characters. Their personalities are just as vibrant as the artwork, they come to life within these pages, and they handle some pretty big messages about life and living. Their interactions with and reactions to the world around them, and each other, only helped solidify them in my mind–and the artists did a gorgeous job of highlighting the subtle emotions that might otherwise have been missed out on.

Finding Molly sample

This was a gorgeously vibrant, entertaining read–filled with CATS! which, I mean, only made it about a thousand times better in my opinion. The artists did an amazing job capturing and bringing these characters to life for me, and I cannot wait to see more from them in the future. I recommend this to lovers of comics/graphic novels, stories about cat sitting gone wrong, and gorgeous artwork. It’s time to let the cat out of the bag, penguins–and pick this read up!

Blog Tour Organized by: YA Bound Book Tours

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