O, Research, What Art Thou? With Tinnean

April 8, 2016

O, Research, What Art Thou-

Greetings, everyone! I’m Tinnean, and I’ve been published by Dreamspinner since February 28, 2011. (I remember the exact date, since that was also the day I retired as head photo tech at my local Walgreens, thereby missing all the release day activities.)

The book that’s being released today is Whither Thou Goest, the second book in the Finding Home series, and the sequel to Call Me Church. Both take place during the Great Depression, and more specifically in 1933-34. While these stories are historical, they actually occur in an alternate reality. (Let’s face it—you’re not going to find saber-toothed tigers or wooly mammoths in this day and age!)

Whether I’m writing a contemporary or a historical, or even if either is set in an alternate universe where there are paranormal inhabitants or prehistoric beasts, I make a point of researching my story to within an inch of its life. It was interesting scouring the History Channel for Prehistoric Predators, which enabled me to include short-faced bears, mammoths, and saber-toothed tigers. The flying creatures were based on Haast’s eagle, which has its own Wiki page. Haast’s eagle was originally much smaller than depicted in the book—I took some liberties. *whistles innocently* I also relied on Roy Chapman Andrews’s book, All About Strange Beasts of the Past, something I’ve owned since I was a mere tot.

Research is enormously satisfying. As writers know, you can start looking into one thing and suddenly find yourself somewhere else entirely. Since this story wandered into the territory of ancient Rome, I ended up finding sites that have Roman and Greek names from approximately the first century A.D. Watching I, Claudius was a fun way to refresh myself on Robert Graves’s take on Roman history and was no hardship at all. Messallina, (alternate spelling) wife of the emperor Claudius, made a perfect villainess for my story. Marcellus, who led the Romans to the relative safety of Calvariam Insula—the island the occupants on the other side of the mountain range called Iwi Po’o—had a post in Pompeii, which was still thriving in 43 A.D. At that time, the eruption of Vesuvius was still thirty-six years in the future.

I remember my mother taking me to an automat similar to the one Church took Johnny to, (I refused to finish my cheese sandwich because someone was looking at me) and reading up about it was fascinating.

From: Wikipedia

It also helps for me to have a visual. Every once in a while, family or friends will send me emails that contain pictures, and I’ll say, “This is perfect as Iwi Po’o.” Although, of course, the island would have to be a good deal larger.


Credit: Wikipedia

Iwi Po’o is beautiful, but it’s also deadly. Would you be willing to travel with Johnny and Church and visit this island?

Or, “This is what Johnny’s Island of Many Waterfalls looks like!”


Credit: By Forest Wander from Cross Lanes, USA – Elakala Waterfalls Swirling Pool Mossy Rocks, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8025248

In Call Me Church, the first book of Finding Home, people had taken shelter in Central Park’s “Hooverville” so named after the president who’d been in office when the stock market crash signaled the start of the Great Depression. These people also suffered the attack by Chetwood’s Kitty, the sabertooth he brought back from Iwi Po’o. This is what Central Park looked like in 1930, when a shanty town was set up there.
(enter picture labeled Central Park 1930)

Right now I’m working on Book 3 of Mann of My Dreams. My characters pay a visit to Savannah, where they meet the family introduced in Best Laid Plans. And let me tell you: just because the action is set in 2003, that doesn’t mean there’s any less research. ;-)
Louis L’Amour once said something that has always stayed with me: When I write about a spring, that spring is there, and the water is good to drink. I’d like my readers to be able to trust that have my facts straight. (no pun)

Check out Whither Thou Goest today!



Johnny Smith meets Church Chetwood during the dark days of the Great Depression. He knows Mr. Chetwood can’t be his forever. Why would the handsome and charming director want to stay with a young man who has nothing but his body and skills in bed to offer? His Mr. Chetwood can have any women—or man—he wants, but Johnny is going to keep him as long as he can.
When they have to leave suddenly on the SS August Moon to evade the process servers trying to find Church, Johnny is glad they’ll have more time together. But the crew rises up against the good Captain Johansen, urged on by a stowaway who wants the August Moon for himself. Johnny and Church, together with the captain, the cook, a wireless operator, and the little girl Johnny saved from prostitution, are cast off into a small lifeboat—and doomed to the open sea. Their other option is to try to land on the island where Church once discovered a saber-toothed tiger. The problem is, the last time Church was on this island, twelve men paid the price with their lives. Will Johnny, Church, and their friends make it out alive this time?


Tinnean has been writing since the 3rd grade, where she was inspired to try her hand at epic poetry. Fortunately, that epic poem didn’t survive the passage of time; however, her love of writing not only survived but thrived, and in high school she became a member of the magazine staff, where she contributed a number of stories.

It was with the advent of the family’s second computer – the first intimidated everyone – that her writing took off, enhanced in part by fanfiction, but mostly by the wonder that is copy and paste.

While involved in fandom, she was nominated for both Rerun and Light My Fire Awards. Now she concentrates on her original characters. Recent novels have received honorable mention in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Rainbow Awards, and two of the 2014 submissions were finalists.

A New Yorker at heart, she resides in SW Florida with her husband and two computers.

Ernest Hemingway’s words reflect Tinnean’s devotion to her craft: Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it.

She can be contacted at:
Email: tinneantoo@gmail.com
Live Journal: http://tinnean.livejournal.com/
Twitter: @tinneantoo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Tinnean
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Tinnean/e/B004QS65KQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1391469662&sr=1-2-ent

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