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 13-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.
What do you think would happen if the devil came to town? That’s the premise of a new novel by Tiffany McDaniel titled “The Summer that Melted Everything.”
McDaniel’s parents are from Minford and she spent the summers of her early years on the family farm there, which inspired the fictional southern Ohio town of Breathed, Ohio, for her new novel.
“I thought that might interest your readers,” McDaniel told The Daily Times.
McDaniel does not mince words. The road to attempting to gain success in the writing business can be long and bumpy.
“I wrote my first novel when I was 18 and I didn’t get a publishing contract until I was 29,” McDaniel said. “So it was an 11- year struggle to get published.”
With that struggle she still has completed eight other novels and while “That Summer…” is her first published novel, she has had poems published mainly in magazines along the way.
McDaniel was born in Circleville, Ohio, and she attended Capital University where she majored in English Literature and Professional Writing.
“The novel mentions Columbus and Cleveland, so it has strong Ohio roots,” McDaniel said.
The story seems to take on a life of itself – “Madness. The compassing violin when in our head, the directionless chaos when out of it. Isn’t that what madness is, after all? Clarity to the beholder, insanity to the witnessing world. My God, what madness this world has witnessed. What beautiful, chaotic madness.”—The Summer That Melted Everything,” available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, as well as in the UK. It also has a Dutch translation.
The novel has already received reviews including one by Pulitzer Prize winning author Robert Butler – “Wonderfully original, profoundly unsettling…this is a remarkable debut by a splendid young writer.”
Donald Ray Pollock, author of “Knockemstiff and the Devil All the Time,” wrote -“Read as if Carson McCullers and Shirley Jackson got together with Nathaniel Hawthorne in some celestial backwater and decided to write the first truly great Gothic coming-of-age novel of the 21st century.”
“McDaniel is capable of stirring powerful emotions. An ambitious novel that will invite thought and surely spark discussion,” – Booklist.
The reviews go on an on and are available on her website – www.tiffanymcdaniel.com.
“I have always written fiction. That’s why it’s so hard to get published, because it really doesn’t have that commercial return that publishers like,” McDaniel said. “I have always written fiction. It’s just what’s in there to come out.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.