Welcome, Tinnean, and thanks for being here. I’ve had a sneak peek at the excerpts we’ll be posting here, and I’m anxious to get started on the conversation, so here goes…
Q: Before talking about your work, I’m hoping you’ll share a little about you, Tinnean the author. I noticed in your bio you mentioned you transplanted from New York to Florida. Do you think the change in environment affects the way you write, or the type of writing you do? What made you turn your attention to M/M romance?
A: I think I’ll always be a Noo Yawk gal, but the writing seems to flow down here in Florida. Maybe it’s all this sun. (Although the ceiling fans help keep things cool.) I started writing M/M in 1999 when we were still in NY, so moving down here didn’t affect what I wrote. However, the majority of my work was produced down here, so that does leave me to wonder if I’d have been quite as prolific in NY.
It was actually an actor who started my journey into M/M, although Matthew Ferguson has no idea. He played the character Birkoff in the original La Femme Nikita on TV, and Kane in the movie Love and Human Remains. A friend challenged me to write the further adventures of Kane and David, and it just took off from there.
Q: Are you a morning writer, Tinnean, or do you burn the midnight oil? How do you get warmed up to the writing task when you sit down at your keyboard? Any rituals, good luck charms, other prerequisites?
A: I was able to retire earlier this year, so I’m able to write at any time, (of course taking sporadic breaks) starting in the computer room, segueing out onto the lanai, and then returning to the computer room after dinner. I keep the stories I’m working on, music that’s inspiring me (although it might have nothing to do with the story itself), and all manner of research on a flash drive. I’ll pick out one of the stories and try to add to it. If that doesn’t work, I’ll move on to another one. Sooner or later one of them has to give. It does help if I don’t watch television, since I find that really distracting. *g*
Q: Bless Us With Content strikes me as an unusual title, particularly for a romance. That piques my curiosity about the story, but I also wonder where the title came from. How did you choose it?
A: In order to get a story to begin, I’ve found that for me, I have to have a title, even if it’s nothing more than ‘Disclaimers in the Prologue’ or ‘gay vampire story’ (and we’ll get to that later. *g*). So it didn’t surprise me when this novel underwent quite a few name changes. I’d finally decided on No More A-Roving, in spite of the fact that I still wasn’t pleased with it — the more I wrote, the less that title seemed to have any connection with Ash’s story. During research into Robert Burns’ To a Mouse, I came across his A Grace Before Dinner. The last line called to me: Lord, bless us with content. This was Ash. So much had been denied him, but he still did his best to carry on, and eventually he was blessed with content.
Q: BUWC definitely has the standard historical, slightly dark, romance feel. Is this a sub-genre you particularly enjoy writing? What authors or novels influenced you in writing this style?
A: Actually, this is a tough sub-genre to write, simply because it calls for so much research; I want to keep it as authentic and accurate as I can, and I wind up exhausted. Having said that, I am toying with the idea of perhaps doing a novella from Geo’s POV, and maybe I’ll finally be able to use No More A-Roving as the title. *laughs* Contemporaries are easier; I can pretty much go by my own memories. (although the recent closing of Borders has caused a problem.) Georgette Heyer and P.C. Wren influenced me in writing this style, and Louis L’Amour in the researching: he said that when he wrote of a water hole, it would be there and the water would be good to drink.
Q: Ashton, an underdog but personally confident and experienced, with some sexy spectacles, is more than a bit of a heartthrob. In the excerpt we’ll post here, John’s fear, confusion, and longing come through very clearly, and make him quite an empathetic character as well—and Ashton clearly thinks all would be right with the world if only he had John. If you’re willing to share, I’d love to hear your opinion on which of these delicious men is the sexiest? The strongest? The most vulnerable?
A: John is Ashton’s first love, but John loves someone else and actually uses Ash as a way to punish himself for this forbidden desire. He’s blind in that he’d so used to seeing Ashton as ‘Awful’ that he doesn’t realize what’s there before him. Each is strong in his own way, but what makes them strong is also what makes them vulnerable. (Is that cheating? *g*) Ash stayed behind and cared for his land and his people, leaving himself at the mercy of those who hold Sir Eustace’s vowels, while John’s love for his brothers would have him willing to see his reputation in the dust to protect them.
Q: Your cover is quite sexy, too, fine work by artist Paul Richmond. Did you have much say in what went on the cover? Whose decision was it to have Ashton’s face not visible (except a hint of his spectacles), but Geo’s face—and much of his body—fully visible?
A: Thank you! I’m really pleased with what Paul Richmond was able to do for my cover. Yes, I had a good deal of input on the cover, which I appreciated more than I can tell. I’d originally wanted the two characters riding together with Laytham Hall in the background, but since that had already been taken, we went with this choice. It represents the scene where Geo is telling Ashton why he’ll never allow himself to love anyone. He’s sprawled comfortably on the bed, but Ash is at a distance. If you look carefully, you can just see the scars on Ash’s back, and there’s also the scar on Geo’s thigh. The hint of spectacles is sheer genius on Paul Richmond’s part, as is Ash’s fair hair. I’d originally seen him as a brunet, but this works so much better.
Q: The excerpt from Come By Night, your work-in-progress, appears as though it couldn’t be more different from BUWC. I’m curious to know what brings you to this sub-genre, and also if there were certain influences. Would you be willing to give us a little blurb? I’m wondering where the romance will come into play—if it does?
A: Remember what I said about needing a title in order to write? This started life as ‘gay vampire story.’ And as a matter of fact, the file is still called that. *g*
I’ll give any sub-genre a try. (I’ve even written F/F.) A call was put out for vampire stories that had a twist, and I came up with this idea that there was a symbiotic relationship between vampires and a specific type of humans who had delayed puberty and something like hemochromatosis, which is too much iron in the blood. To make things a little easier for them, they’re destined to fall in love with the vampire who comes to them. Of course that lasts only as long as they’re together, and they’ll love the next vampire just as much. The editor suggested I expand the short, something I’d intended because the entire tale couldn’t be told in 10,000 words or less, and so that’s what I’ve been doing. Oh, and just to let you know, it goes from 3rd person, as the reader will see in the excerpt, to 1st when Ty starts talking.
I’m still working on the blurb for Come By Night, but this is what I have right now. As it hints, Ty does find romance, although it isn’t exactly what he’s expecting.
Tyrell Small knew he wasn’t an ordinary kid. First off, there was that birthmark on his throat below his right ear – it looked like someone had cut his throat. Second off, he didn’t like to be touched, not by friends, not by his Dad. That was just the way he was.
He wasn’t thrilled by those first two, but they hadn’t freaked him out as much as the fact that while all his friends were now topping six feet, he hadn’t grown an inch or gained a pound since he was twelve.
Now, on his sixteenth birthday, his father was going to reveal the truth of Ty’s heritage to him. And no matter how much Ty objected to it, he wouldn’t be able to shrug it off. This was his destiny: he belonged to a race whose sole purpose was to feed vampyrs.
Well, not Mr. Small’s little boy! Ty intended to not only object but to run away!
But then he met Adam, who would one day be his vampyr, and suddenly his destiny didn’t seem quite so horrific.
Q: What’s coming up for your readers—do you have any details yet about the future of Come By Night? Anything else bubbling on the stove?
A: Although I know where I want Ty and Adam to go, it’s taking a bit of time to get there, and I’m still slogging away at it. (I blame the research. The Black Plague figures in this, as well as a villain who was turned in the fifteenth century, so I had to learn what I could of those periods.) I’m also working on my Spy vs. Spook trilogy. This was originally Mann of My Dreams, but if I can drum up some interest in it, I’d like to see it published.
Q: Final request: for your fans, a one line explanation of what makes you tic, as an author.
A: Actually, this is a quote by Ernest Hemingway:
“Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure only death can stop it.”
Closing: Tinnean, thanks for being here and letting me ask these nosy questions. I’m sure readers will enjoy your answers as much as I have. Best wishes for your continued writing success.
Thanks so much, Lou! I always enjoying talking about my characters and what I’m working on, and this has been a real pleasure.