We have something a little different for today's post. We interviewed Tiffany McDaniel, an award winning author and overall really sweet person, about her and her debut novel The Summer That Melted Everything. here's what she had to say:
Why did you want to start writing?
I've been writing since I was a kid. Writing is the first thing I remember doing without anyone telling me to do so. There was just an innate desire to write down what was in my head. Writing is my compass. I'm lost without it.
What is your favorite book to read?
There's still a lot of reading to do in my life, but so far some of my favorite novels are Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I also love About the River: The Collected Poems of James Wright, a poet from my land in Ohio.
What inspired The Summer that Melted Everything?
the novel first started as a title. It was one of those hot, Ohio summers that I felt like I was melting. From true heat, the title was born. I always say that what inspires me are the characters. I'm inspired by them to write their truth to the best of my ability.
What is the preface of the setting and the basic synopsis of the book?
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.
Does the cover art contain a particular significance?
As the author, I don't have any say on the cover. That's up to the publisher and their design team. I will say I am really happy with the paperback cover, which releases July 3rd.
About how long did it take to finish the writing process for the novel?
I wrote the novel during the summer I was 28. It took me a month to write it. That may seem quick, but on average, for all the eight novels I have written thus far, it takes a month to lay the bones of a story down. I like to get into the story as quick as I can because if a story sits for too long, it can began to lose its essence. After the bones are laid down, then you can really begin to add the other layers of the story, and this process can take longer. Added to that is the cop-editing stage, when you read the book a million times to make sure everything is as it should be.
How do you stay motivated during the process?
Because I've been writing since I was a kid, it's something that is just a part of my life. The characters themselves are really a driving force, as is the dream of publication. I want to make a career out of writing, and that's enough motivation unto itself.
Why should people read your book? What is this book trying to convey in terms of a message or theme?
My goal with writing is not only to entertain, but to write stories that are part of that larger conversation about who we are, and, ultimately, who we want to be. Furthermore, the novel is tackling subjects that are relevant to today's world. Novels have always served as another lens through which to look at our reality. I only hope that my novel serves some of that purpose.
Which character(s) in your novel can you relate to the most?
I think I'm in each of the characters. I can only hope there is more of me in the heroes than there are in the villains
Lastly, where and how can people buy the book?
The hardcover is available for purchase now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all other major retailers, including your nearest indie bookstore. The paperback of the novel releases July 3rd, just in time for those summer vacations. The Summer that Melted Everything is just as it sounds. It's a novel with heat and one hot summer, which makes it a great companion for these days in the sun.
The Green Mile is written in the first-person narration of a man named Paul Edgecomb, he supervises the prison guards at the Cold Mountain Penitentiary. In the book, Paul Edgecomb describes the year John Coffey came to E block, and how it changed him. The story takes place in 1932 in E block of the Cold Mountain Penitentiary–home of the coldest killers. This book is a mystery/crime fiction book, and the King conveys the message that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Stephen King is well-known for a plethora of his other works such as The Stand, It, The Shining, Cujo, Carrie, and more. He is an astounding author not only because of the appeal of his books, but the “truth inside the lie”. If you haven’t read a King novel yet I suggest to start with this one. The Green Mile will change how you see the world.
This trilogy is a mystery/fantasy novel and our main man is Jacob Portman. He has suffered from severe night terrors throughout his life and now has lost the most important family member he ever had in his life, his grandfather Abe Portman. He sadly got attacked by animals and Jacob found him right before the last breath, and his last words turned out to be a cryptic message for Jake. Those words paired with a letter Jake found from a Ms. Peregrine lead Jake and his father to an island in Wales, which we know as Abe’s old home. There Jacob learns about his grandfather’s past and how that intertwines into Jacob’s present. This has the unique integration of photographs to coincide with the story and quite literally brings the story to life. The writing style is so marvelous, it just holds onto you and never lets go. So far I have only read the first two books, however I am going to finish the last book hopefully very soon.
Ransom Riggs has wiggled his way into my top ten authors I have ever read. This isn't saying much, but it’s something. Most authors really bore me when they go into long tangents that are just describing one thing, and that for me is a total bore and I skip over that really quickly, but what he does is try to make you read the descriptions of everything because either they will be very important to the story later on, or are phrases just instantly make you connect to his vision and what he is seeing. There is an unique style in his book, where he likes to take things he likes and want to share and as to not overwhelm people with his ideas, he just weaves everything into one big concise entity. -M
After Tamlin’s betrayal and Feyre’s sisters becoming fae themselves, Feyre returns to the Spring Court with Tamlin again. This time she won’t be as blind as she was the last time. Feyre’s goal is to destroy the Spring Court like an apple rotting from the inside. Just like the last two books, Maas keeps this book in first-person narrative to better understand Feyre’s motives. This book takes place in Prythian, not specifically in one court but many. Throughout the book, Feyre learns what her position as High Lady means, not just for herself but to the other members of her court as well. This book is like the “Deathly Hallows” of the Harry Potter series. Decisions are made and ends are met, but Maas still has more to say because the series will continue in 2018. Let’s applaud Maas for writing two killer series, staying on top of her work, and providing accurate release dates.
I loved this book, but many people have commented that this was the worst book of the series, but the truth is this book was ALL plot. There was some character backstory, but it was mostly continuing the plot and following through with plans. There was less romance than A Court of Mist and Fury and that probably disappointed some readers. This book provides a satisfying relief to those of us who were destroyed after A Court of Mist and Fury. I recommend finishing the series by reading this book.
This is such an under-appreciated book. This, to my knowledge, is a well-known book, but no one ever talks about it enough. The original book was written in Portuguese, which unfortunately I do not speak, however the English translation has got me in love with this book. I wouldn’t know whether to classify it as a young adult or just an adult novel, so I will let you make your own judgement. The story follows this boy named Santiago. He lives in Al-Andalus and is a shepherd, who seemingly lives a very independent life. One day, he goes to the city to see this woman, a psychic of sorts, in order to find some meaning within his recurring dream that he has been having. The woman says that Santiago needs to go to the Pyramids in Egypt to find out the true meaning, and that the fortune-telling wants a percentage of whatever treasure Santiago finds. He meets some peculiar people along the way, and goes on this journey that’s bursting with the importance of life and nature and the connection between anything and everything else.
This story is so close to my heart. It deals with spirituality and self-reflection. This book really makes you wonder what it really means to be at peace. A side note is that it has information on the religion Islam and not many things might be clear right away if you are not aware of the religion, so I would highly recommend that you try to research on ideologies that you are not familiar with. However, all that aside, it is a moving novel. The writing style is pure poetry. The book is not even that long and I assure you it is possible to finish this book in one sitting, and I suggest that you try to read it that way as well. -M
In A Court of Mist and Fury, Feyre’s story continues as she goes back to live with Tamlin at the Spring Court. She expects monthly visits with Rhys, High Lord of the Night Court, but he surprisingly doesn’t come to get her. Feyre begins to grow weary of Tamlin and his court as the months go by until she can’t take it anymore and calls out for help in her mind. Concurrently, Rhys comes to her aid and takes her with him to the Night Court. Feyre begins to enjoy the company at the Night Court with Rhys, her bitter hatred turning into something… sweet. Maas writes this book in first-person narrative, keeping that close connection between reader and protagonist. The book takes place in the mysterious Night Court instead of the Spring Court, providing explanations behind the façades of the Night Court that Feyre (and the reader) would never have guessed. Through A Court of Mist of Fury, Maas expresses unending loyalty, unlikely love, and how those two things are what make not just a court but a family. Sarah J. Maas is an astounding author who is simultaneously writing the A Court of Thorns and Roses Series and the Throne of Glass Series.
Maas wrote a sensational fantasy novel loved by many young adults across the world. I personally think that my favorite (so far) would be A Court of Mist and Fury because it builds up the characters and is impossible to put down. There are new characters, but you wouldn’t know because by the time you are shy of halfway through it seems as if they have been part of the story since book one. If you haven’t read A Court of Thorns and Roses then you should read that first otherwise this book won’t make sense. If you have already read A Court of Thorns and Roses then you MUST continue the story!! You can’t go wrong this Sarah J. Maas book. -K
This trilogy is a contemporary must read. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is a romance/ coming of age book for young adult readers who just want that perfect pick-me-up contemporary book. The first novel is about Lara Jean, a sixteen year-old girl who lives in Virginia. She lives with her father and two other sisters, her being the middle child, and is the stereotypical introvert who loves everything cozy, baking, and is a craft master. She is also really sentimental, so whenever she has a crush, and he does not “like like” her back, she writes him a lover letter, but there’s a catch, she never sends them out. She instead saves them all in a hatbox that her deceased mother gave her. One day, all her letters got mailed out, This story is the aftermath of the letters’ impact. She is gravely pushed out of her comfort zone, she gets placed in these situations that to her seem as if she’s been placed in a fairy tale.
The rest of the series is just a continuation from the first book, but the way every book is introduced, I believe that if one picks up any of the three books or only reads two of the three or any combination, it will just appear a seamless piece of work. It sounds strange, I am aware, but it’s a unique quality I noticed in the series. The other thing is Han has really tried to make the books strike a chord with our internet driven generation. She references phenomenons that have only become popular within the last five years, maybe at most a decade. I do think this helps the reader familiarize the content they are receiving with what they are already accustomed to, however has the capability to distance itself from the readers who don’t really know what Instagram is. This is a great book, no doubt, but I think you will find it less enjoyable if you are not somewhat familiar with social media and just the inner workings of the Internet. -M
A Court of Thorns and Roses is a fantasy book about a human girl named Feyre who is taken to live with Tamlin, a High Fae Lord, when she unknowingly kills a faerie. Feyre unwillingly goes to the Spring Court, and her hostility for Tamlin and his court changes as she spends more time there. Maas has written this book in first-person narrative which makes it easier for the reader to connect with Feyre and her emotions, this connection makes the reader feel as if he or she isn’t just reading about Feyre but understanding why she makes certain choices throughout the book. This book takes place in an early time where there is magic and no technology. A Court of Thorns and Roses emphasizes the strength of love in dark times, and how any modicum of good can overpower any amount of bad. It isn’t just a fun read but an inspirational one, as well. Sarah J. Maas is the author of the Throne of Glass series as well as this one.
I believe that A Court of Wings and Ruin is probably one of the greatest books I’ve ever read. Feyre is a lovable character because she is just so darn relatable (the first-person narrative totally helps with this). Also, all the characters are well-developed and have their own personalities, making it easy to envision their visages. I STRONGLY encourage anyone who enjoys a good fantasy book to read this! It provides (a plethora of) romance, adventure, and action. Maas is such a brilliant author that any book written by her would be worth your while. -K
Set in a world, where the world is just about to end. We All Looked Up revolves around a group of teenagers who are living their rambunctious, creative lives in local Seattle high school, when suddenly there is news from NASA that there is an asteroid that has the potential to kill life on Earth and is quite possibly going to hit the planet in approximately two months. The book is about a group of teens all in the same school with seemingly drastically different lives and no interaction with each other to somehow interlace into this one beautiful book about the uncertainty of life. The book is written in third person omniscient point of view, yet changes focus every so often from one character to another to make sure all aspects of the story are covered. The book, thankfully, does a pretty good job at changing perspectives and does not leave the reader confused on any situation and actually allows the reader to take in multiple points of view of one event in many occurrences throughout the book. The book is basically dealing with the chaos of people who are afraid of the nearing of the end along with these teens trying to find some hope and some adventure before everything is burned to ash and dust.
It is a good read. It was a great portrayal of the constant struggle that humans have between wanting to take risks all the time and not doing anything because life is going to end after all. The book seems to place the reader in a situation where they have to evaluate themselves and see whether they are living their life as they want to, at least that is what I was doing after reading this book. Overall, it is a worth it read. -M
Looking for Alaska is a fiction novel about Miles Halter. He is a Florida boy who lives with his family, however is going to a boarding school in Alabama, a couple hundred miles away. The book starts off with the chapter names indicating that a major event will take place and the story is a recalling of the days before this event which is there to provide context to the story and help you keep up and sort of anticipate the big event. The writing style itself is in a way as if this was a day-to-day telling of Miles’ life, which is meant to just connect the reader and the narrator and is done beautifully. Within the first few pages, we learn that the narrator’s boarding school, Culver Creek Preparatory School, is the protagonist’s first step in order to find some real meaning in life. He preferred to call it “seeking a Great Perhaps”, as described by the poet Francois Rabelais. Later as the book develops and the story line unfolds, we learn that this is in fact about his time in this school and what adventures he partakes in during his time.
I would like to tell you a lot more about this book, however this is a book one must read and not have much information about before reading since it ruins the mystery aspect of it. Some details about the book is that it is John Green’s first book he ever published and this was around 2005. He did include some of his own experiences within this book, for example he also went to a boarding school away from his home. Looking For Alaska is an amazing piece of literature about young adults and is catered to that audience. This does not mean that an adult can not enjoy this book. The book is written in such a way that i believe can accommodate most adult’s personal library. It has experiences most people face in life, metaphorically and literally, which overall makes for an excellent read. Plus there is nothing detrimental in reading a John Green book. -M