Author Interviews

Interview with Tinnean on 24-February-2014

Author's Interview

Let's start with you telling us a little bit about yourself, Tinnean.
I’ve got three kids and two grandkids. As my bio states, I’ve been writing since third grade. While I was involved with raising my family, writing had to go on the back burner, but I never stopped, and right now, I’m living my dream, because not only do people read what I’ve written, but I get paid for this.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
I didn’t discover ma;e/male until 1999, but once I did, I was like a kid in a candy store and couldn’t get enough of reading or writing it.

When did you start writing, is it something you've always been interested in, or did it develop later in life?
I’ve always loved writing, and wrote on and off since the third grade. I’d tell myself stories before I fell asleep and write them down the next day. Of course at that time I’d remember them the next day, but those days are long gone. Now I keep a notepad on my night table, which is very helpful. Except, of course, when I can’t decipher my own writing.

Has it been everything you thought it would be or not?
Definitely yes! There’s nothing I’d rather be doing. I take my laptop with me when we travel, whether that’s going up to NY to visit family or cruising in the Caribbean, and I always keep a notepad handy, not only on my night table but in my pocketbook and with me when I go walking.

How did it feel when you realized that your very first book was going to be published?
I was seriously over the moon, especially since they contacted me. When the box containing the author copies of my book arrived, I almost made love to it. ::laughs:: My husband thought I’d lost my mind.

What's your favorite part of writing a book?
I love the entire process, but my very favourite thing is when it all falls into place and the words flow. When that happens, it’s like Christmas and my birthday rolled into one.

Do you get time to read for pleasure? If so, which books do you enjoy?
I really don’t have much time to read for pleasure, but when I do, I enjoy Andrea Speed’s Infected series and Jordan Castillo Price’s Psycop books.

Are there any other genres you'd be interested in writing?
I’ve written scifi, historical, alternate historical, contemporary, m/m, f/f, and even f/m. If it beckons me, I’ll write it. ;-)

Please tell us a little about your most recent release.
Where the Heart Chooses is actually a spinoff of my Spy vs. Spook series. Because it’s f/m, Dreamspinner was unable to accept it, but JMS Books very kindly gave Portia Mann a home. She’s a gutsy lady, and in spite of the time period she grew up in, thinks nothing of making her way through the darkened streets of Berlin to prevent her husband, a CIA officer, from being kidnapped. In addition, she’s devoted to her family and friends. The family has the belief that when they love, it’s forever. Some of them are lucky enough to find their “one” while others go through life making do. Portia was one of the lucky ones. Unfortunately, she lost Nigel Mann in 1978. This book stretches over the period from 1958 to 2002, and touches on events that happened, something I enjoyed incorporating into the book. I hope my readers will enjoy that as well.

What can we look forward to in the future from you?
I have a follow-up to Portal to Eden that I’d like to finish and submit to JMS. Readers will recognize Jacob Forrest, the acerbic scientist who has no friends, either on Terra or in Eden.. We’ll get to see the reason behind his hostility to Emma Bradley, who headed the expedition to Eden. And maybe he’ll come to accept the man he loved wasn’t worth it and that there’s someone who looks at him the way he looked at his lover.

Anything you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for coming along for the ride with me! I hope you’ve had as good a time reading as I’ve had writing.

Tinnean's recent releases:
Portal to Eden

Terra is overcrowded, but a solution may have been found—tucked away in Roswell is alien technology that leads to the creation of a method of space travel known as portaling.

A party of soldiers and scientists led by Dr. Emma Bradley, Colonel John Berger, and Dr. Layton Tremayne are about to take what they believe is the first step into the unknown. But what they discover there is not only a wonder but a puzzle. The city of Eden has obvious Terran influences. Who was there before them?

When Emma, John, and Layton return to Terra, they're dismayed to find things even worse than they were when the trio left. The atmosphere is on the verge of toxicity and the population is reaching Malthusian proportions. Worse, there are plans afoot to portal the excess population off Terra to planets which may not be what their new inhabitants expect. Most won't survive.

Then they learn that a platoon of soldiers were portaled to Eden for a planned invasion of Nibiru and the surrounding planets. Emma, John, and Layton scramble to stop the military action, but will they be able to take back the city that’s become their home?

Where the Heart Chooses

Portia Sebring was born into a family that’s considered royalty in the intelligence community, and the fact that she’s a woman doesn’t preclude her from joining the “family business”. A linguistic genius, she’s recruited by her older brother for the Venona Project. While at Arlington Hall, she meets Nigel Mann, a CIA officer known as Mr. Freeze, who’s been vetted to the NSA. Unbeknownst to Portia, her father is behind the meeting.  Rumor has it that Portia, called the ice princess, is also a lesbian, and at this time in America—the late ’50s—it could negate any veracity to the codes she deciphers. A match with an equally cold man who won’t distract her from her work seems the ideal solution in her father’s eyes.

Things don’t go quite according to plan, as both Portia and Nigel develop strong feelings for each other. They marry and eventually start a family.  However, the lifetime together they anticipate is cut short when Nigel’s jet crashes. Devastated, but with a thirteen-year-old son depending on her, Portia has no choice but to go on after Nigel’s death.

When Quinton, her son, is approached to join the US Equestrian Team for the 1980 Summer Olympics, she’s pleased and proud. However, those plans are dashed due to the government’s boycott of the Games. To distract him, Portia takes him to France on a wine-buying trip, and it’s there that Quinton first feels an attraction for someone of his own sex. Since Portia herself had a same-sex affair in her early twenties, she’s very accepting of this.

Along with Gregor, her trusted bodyguard and devoted family friend, she watches as Quinton follows in his father's and her footsteps in the "family business," and finally finds a partner worthy of him, WBIS agent Mark Vincent. She’s happy for them, but sure that she won’t love again, since Sebrings have their “one” and she's lost hers, but is she right?

Excerpt from Where the Heart Chooses:
I was working a code that I’d been given earlier when the in-house phone buzzed. “Yes, Tony?”

“How do you do that?”

“Do what?” I laughed to myself, knowing full well what he meant. I could tell unerringly when my oldest brother was on the line.

“Never mind. Listen, I need you in here right now. Jefferson’s forwarded a new code to us, and there’s something about it that’s driving me out of my mind.”

“I’m on my way.” I pushed my chair away from my desk and stood, digging my fists into the small of my back and arching to work out the kinks. Then I made sure my blouse was tucked neatly into my skirt. Just because it was nine at night, and everyone else had gone home, there was no reason for me to appear looking sloppy.

His door was closed. I tapped briskly and walked in. “What have you got, Tony? Oh!” I halted abruptly. He wasn’t alone.

The other man had one hand braced on Tony’s desk, his attractive face tight with impatience.

I had seen him occasionally in Arlington Hall, in the corridors, on the stairs. We’d passed each other with nothing more than cool glances. Occasionally I’d wonder if his glance concealed as much fascination as I knew mine did.

He was about average height and appeared to be a number of years younger than my brother, which would make him about twenty-nine. A lock of sable brown hair spilled onto his forehead, and eyes a changeable hazel regarded me with interest. His vest was unbuttoned over a flat stomach, his shirtsleeves had been rolled up revealing muscular arms dusted with dark hair, and his tie loosened.

Abruptly, I was reminded of the seascape that I’d purchased in that little London bookshop. I couldn’t decide to whom I should give it, and I’d wound up hanging it on my bedroom wall, where it was the last thing I saw every night.

There was something about this man that spoke to me of that expanse of sea, aloof, alone, contained, stretching to meet turbulent clouds…

I shook that fanciful notion out of my head.

He gave me a slow, deliberate smile and straightened, and my knees went weak with desire.

“I’m sorry.” I reached up to make sure my hair was tidily confined in its French twist, something I never did, and I felt my cheeks heat. I touched my tongue to my lips.

His eyes seemed to catalogue each of my movements.

“Portia, this is Nigel Mann. He’s been vetted to us from Bryan’s department. Nigel, my sister.” He became aware that Mr. Mann was staring at me. “Yes, we’re aware there’s a resemblance, so—”

“Actually, she’s much prettier than you or either of your brothers, Sebring. Miss Sebring, it’s a pleasure.” He crossed the geometrically-patterned area rug that took up most of the floor in Tony’s office, his hand held out.

“Please, call me Portia.” I’d overheard the secretaries in Arlington Hall discussing him in the ladies room, calling him Mr. Freeze because apparently he’d turned down a play made by one of their number who was decidedly pulchritudinous.

“Portia. And I’m Nigel.” The skin of his palm was smooth and warm, free of calluses, and I fought back a shiver as I wondered what it would feel like stroking over my skin. His eyes, suddenly green, remained fixed on mine, and I was lost in their depths.

Tony cleared his throat. “People?”

How long had I stood there, staring into those mesmerizing eyes?

Nigel turned to my brother with an absent smile. “Sorry, Sebring. You were saying?”

“I was saying that if you’d let go of my sister’s hand, maybe she could take a look at this code and make some sense of it.” But he looked taken aback rather than irritated. He’d never seen me react that way to anyone. Ever.

Nigel slowly… reluctantly?... released my hand, and a line from Romeo and Juliet crossed my mind… and palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss…

I shivered and stared down at my palm, certain I would see my heart line glowing.

“Mann,” my brother growled, “would you stop distracting my sister so she can see if she can make heads or tails of this code?”

I shook myself out of my daze and approached his desk. “What is it, Tony?”

“There’s something about this line….” He handed me the paper, and I studied it. After a moment, I spoke the Russian words aloud.

A soft sound came from Nigel Mann, and when I looked at him, there was an expression on his face that took me by surprise.

“Do you find my pronunciation amusing?”

“Not at all. I haven’t heard anything that flawless outside of Mother Russia.”

“Mother Russia?” I read it over again, and it hit me all at once. “That’s it! The key to this code is in Tolstoy’s War and Peace!” I went to the bookshelf and pulled down the huge tome.

“Portia, are you sure?”

“Tony, I’m more than sure—I’m positive!” I was almost vibrating with excitement as I thumbed through the book and found the passage I wanted. “There! See, there! Oh, that sneaky so-and-so! This is Sidorov’s work, isn’t it? He did something very similar with Anna Karenina. The man has a weakness for Tolstoy.”

“Nicely done. Nothing like a fresh pair of eyes!” My brother had a satisfied grin on his face. “I’ll give this to the team to finish deciphering.” He cleared his throat and looked at his watch. “Mann, why don’t you and my sister go out and grab a bite to eat?”

I frowned at him. Was he trying to set us up on a date? “That’s quite all right—I still have a few hours of work left to do.” I could hardly offer the excuse of having a sandwich at my desk, since I didn’t, and the cafeteria was long closed. However, I was reluctant for my brother to see how eager I was to spend time with this man. Was this what Barnabas Sebring had felt when he’d first seen his Rachel? “Besides, I’m sure Mr. Mann… Nigel… has plans of his own.”

“Portia.” Tony growled at me this time. “It’s been a long day, and I think you could do with a break. Consider it a reward for a job well done.”

“I never say ‘no’ to the man in charge.” Nigel rolled down his sleeves and fastened the cuffs, took his suit jacket from the back of a chair, and slid his arms into it.

Nigel couldn’t see, but I crossed my eyes at my older brother. He ignored that and reached for the telephone, pausing to say, “Just remember, you both need to be back here bright and early in the morning.”

 “Miss… Portia?”

“Just let me freshen up.” I needed a moment to get myself back under control. Where had the ice princess gone? “I’ll meet you in the lobby.”

I went back to my office for my purse, locked my desk, and hurried to the ladies’ room. I patted some cold water onto my wrists. My nipples were tight, and I felt as if I were burning up from the inside out. However, my reflection in the mirror showed just a hint of color high on my cheekbones. I took the compact from my purse and smoothed the powder over my cheeks. My hands were shaking slightly as I applied a fresh coat of lipstick and blotted my lips.

I made sure I didn’t have any lipstick on my teeth, drew in a steadying breath, and blew it out. I stared coolly into the mirror and tucked a stray strand of hair into place. “You are a Sebring. You will behave as such.”

Giving a decisive nod, I returned to my office to collect my coat. Once I had the door locked behind me, I went to meet Nigel Mann.



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