by Tiffany McDaniel
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Adult, Literary Fiction
Publication: July 26th, 2016 by St. Martin's Press
Connect: Website | Goodreads
Q&A with Tiffany McDaniel
- Please introduce yourself and your book.I’m an Ohio poet and novelist who wants to live on the greenest summer leaf on the highest tree.
- How do you come up with the idea of the book? What is your inspiration?I always say the ideas come from the elements that make me. All those tiny little connections, all those big bangs, rippling my soul, crafting its edges and turning its center. Somewhere in that chaos and that impact, there’s an origin of the story. Whether it be a deep well or high mountain peak, the ideas exist there only to drift toward me like smoke I can’t grasp but can decipher. I know this answer is very dream-like, but to me, the craft of story itself is a dream.
- How long on average does it take you to write a book?I wrote The Summer that Melted Everything in a month. I have eight completed novels and on average they took me about a month. One novel, Because of the Indians, I wrote in eight days. I’m still not sure how that happened. And another novel, When Lions Stood as Me, took about four months. It’s a novel that takes place during WW2 so there was more research involved and I had to be a bit more concrete with dating.
- How do you set up your book? Do you outline them first, or did you just spin the story?I never outline or pre-plan. I like the natural flow of allowing the characters and scenes to come out on their own. It’s like setting up a lantern on a dark porch and waiting for the moths to chatter around the light. I listen to that chatter, capture it, all the while the moths freely fly in their own good time.
- What did you like most about writing this book?What I like about writing all my books is being introduced to the characters for the first time, falling in love with them, and feeling like I can never let them go, hoping I’ll never have to.
- What's the best thing that happened to you since becoming an author?It hasn’t happened yet. And that is when I’ll get to see my novel on the bookstore shelf for the first time. I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen and didn’t get a publishing contract until I was twenty-nine, so it was eleven years of rejection and fear I’d never get published. I honestly never believed I would. I know I’m very fortunate to be in the position I am, about to see my book on the shelf for the first time. I feel for those authors still on the journey to publication. To them, I say it will happen. Have faith that the best thing as an author is yet to happen to you too.
- Grade your book. How many stars out of a perfect score of 5 stars? Please give the reason too.This is a dangerous question. If an author answers they’d give their own book five stars, they may appear over-confident or egotistical. But if an author rates their own novel too low, then why should a reader even bother reading it? So I’ll tiptoe around the danger and say I’ll leave the rating up to the readers who, in their fair and honest judgment, can best rate the novel.
- What are you working on right now?The novel I hope to follow The Summer that Melted Everything up with is When Lions Stood as Men. It’s a story of a Jewish brother and sister who escape Nazi Germany, cross 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, realizing in the end, it was each other they truly had to survive.
- Please say something to your readers.You readers have all the power. It’s not the agents or the editors or the publishing houses as a whole that determine a writer’s career. It’s the readers. Without readers buying books, there are no novelists to be had. Readers give meaning to an author’s words. So if you like a book, tell everyone you know. Be that book’s champion because if you do, you’re being a champion for the author herself. My only hope is that readers like what I’ve written. That they can count on me to deliver a story that is worth both their time and their hard-earned money. Nothing would make me happier than to know a reader has finished one of my books with the pleasure of having read it. That’s what I strive for as an author. To be someone’s favorite author as so many authors have been mine.