February 15, 2011

Made It Moment: Tina Whittle

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 11:38 pm

The Dangerous Edge of Things

I am very happy to welcome Tina Whittle to the blog–it’s always fun to feature a writer whose work I can discover along with all of you, and Tina’s debut novel looks like a doozy. Her Moment also happens to be the most poignant I’ve ever had the privilege of reading–and this forum privileges me with every post. Read on and you’ll see what I mean.

Tina Whittle

We all remember our “aha” moments — the call (finally!) from the interested publisher, the advance check in the mail, the first time someone introduces you as a writer. These are my “made it” moments, for sure. And yet as identity-altering as these slices of memory are, none is as precious as the hour last week right before Dress Like Your Favorite Author Day at my daughter’s school.

We debated sending her as Edgar Allan Poe (which needed only a stuffed raven and a fake mustache) or perhaps one of the Greek dramatists (which needed only a sheet). In the end she decided to go as . . . me. The ingredients were simple — black sweatpants, flip-flops, glasses shoved into a nest of bedhead, the ensemble topped with a t-shirt my mother gave me which reads “Careful, or you’ll end up in my novel.” A stack of crime-writing research books and a mug of coffee completed the portrait.

I filled her pockets with business cards and shipped her off. She said that everyone got a kick out of the costume, and in the end, I scored an invite to be the keynote speaker as her school’s graduation assembly. As seat-of-the-pants promo opportunities go, this one turned out to be pretty successful,

And yet what I hold closest to my pitter-pattering heart is watching this girl child of mine — my sweet brilliant dear daughter — be so proud of me that she was willing to “be” me for a day. To know that I inspire her. To know that if nothing else, I have been an example of persistence, that I have demonstrated the pragmatic faith of those who try again. And again. And yet again, one more time again.

Tina Whittle is a mystery writer living and working in Southeast Georgia. THE DANGEROUS EDGE OF THINGS, her first novel, debuts February 2011 from Poisoned Pen Press. Set in contemporary Atlanta, this is the first book in a series featuring gun-shop owner Tai Randolph and corporate security agent Trey Seaver.

Tina’s short fiction has appeared in The Savannah Literary Journal, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and Gulf Stream, which selected “Lost Causes and Other Reasons to Live” as the 2004 winner of their Mystery Fiction contest. Tina is also a columnist and feature writer for The 11th Hour, a local alternative newspaper, and a professional tarot reader. When not writing or reading, she enjoys golf, sushi, mini-pilgrimages, and spending time with her family (one husband, one daughter, one neurotic Maltese and three chickens).


  1. Hi Jenny! Thanks for having me here today, and for your marvelous introduction.

    Comment by Tina — February 16, 2011 @ 10:32 am

  2. Neat story, Tina, and congratulations on getting your novel out there. Best of luck to you.

    Comment by G Thomas Gill — February 16, 2011 @ 10:35 am

  3. What a sweet story! Kind of the opposite of my experience yesterday, when, in my son’s elementary school parent-teacher meeting, I found that he was only behind in a couple of literature-related areas and he retorted: only in the areas that don’t really matter. Cue sinking heart. :( Your daughter really gets it…and she must’ve lit up your entire month! How sweet. (And I love the portrait you painted of bedhead and stacks of books! lol). I think the one thing we writers do pass down that’s vital–even if our kids think literature doesn’t matter as much as science or math–is that “try, try again” attitude. Because, really, who can get through life without that?

    Comment by Savvy — February 16, 2011 @ 10:43 am

  4. What a wise point, Savvy. I never would’ve thought to say that. And yet, you are so right. Tom, thanks for stopping by. And Tina, you’re more than welcome. I’m thrilled to have you!

    Comment by jenny — February 16, 2011 @ 10:47 am

  5. That was a wonderful moment, for sure! Thanks for sharing it!

    Comment by Judy — February 16, 2011 @ 11:43 am

  6. Thank you, Thomas! And Judy! I really appreciate your dropping by.

    And thank you, Savvy, for that excellent point. I get disheartened to think that literature gets short shrift in learning today. Our stories are our moral legacy. And writing is the best instruction I know of in “try, try again.”

    Comment by Tina — February 16, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

  7. That’s a wonderful ‘Aha’ moment, Tina! Thank you so much for sharing and thank you, Jenny, for hosting Tina today.

    I do agree that it’s a very sad thing culturally if literature isn’t given the focus it deserves. With the spread of electronic devices and modes of reading and even the big chain-stores doing poorly (see Borders), this is the sort of encouragement that kids need. :)

    Thank you both! This was a wonderful pick-me-up after all the rotten news on the web.

    Comment by Becky Hancock — February 16, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

  8. Judy, and Becky, thanks so much for stopping by. And Becky, try not to worry about Borders, though the news hit me a bit hard today, too–but if it founders, there will just be more room for excellent stores like yours!

    Comment by jenny — February 16, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

  9. Awww thank you, Jenny! I must admit that my personal outlook is really quite rosy regarding Borders. I think it’s sad that they’ve made such errors and I know that it will hurt publishers and authors rather hard, but… where they flounder, just as you said, stores like mine can step up to the plate. :)

    Comment by Becky Hancock — February 16, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

  10. What a terrific validation for any writer! That had to be one of the best times ever for any parent, writer or otherwise.

    Comment by Lelia Taylor — February 16, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

  11. I had the pleasure of meeting Tina last month at Love is Murder. I look forward to reading her new book and the ones that will surely follow after that.

    Comment by Jeff Markowitz — February 16, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

  12. What a great story! What are your daughter’s plans for Halloween?

    Comment by Warren — February 16, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

  13. Welcome, Jeff & Warren! Love Is Murder must’ve been a blast!

    Comment by jenny — February 16, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

  14. Thanks, Becky! I do enjoy reading about successful bookstores — shout out to Debbie at Statesboro’s Book and Cranny here for being my “home” store — and I cherish the great job they do. So big kudos!

    Comment by Tina — February 16, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

  15. And you’re right, Leila — this was a marvelous moment for me as a mom. I joke about what a great promo op it was, but truly, it was a mommy moment pure and simple. Good to see you again in another virtual meeting place!

    Comment by Tina — February 16, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

  16. Lovely story, Becky! It’s so normal to be overlooked by those close to us that it’s truly wonderful when you realize you truly are a star in their eyes.

    Comment by Donna — February 16, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

  17. Hi Warren! My daughter wants to be a vampire prom queen this year — she was a vampire ballerina last year (see the theme?).

    And hi again, Jeff! Coincidentally, I just got YOUR book in the mail (I started at the beginning of the series with Who is Killing Doah’s Deer?). I’m looking forward to it (and I had a blast at Love is Murder).

    Thank you both for stopping by!

    Comment by Tina — February 16, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

  18. You know, this is such a touching moment that here I am, 11 days later, still thinking about it. I shared it with my family. Because, as a wanna-be writer myself, repped by a good agency, of course I find myself committing those fantasies: “Diamonds! Cruises! Book signings!” But when the end of your life comes, and you look back, is it the money that’s going to matter? Or the impact you made on your kids’ lives? I know I would be deeply honored if what I can do professionally/artistically impacted my kids.

    Comment by Savvy — February 26, 2011 @ 11:12 am

  19. Savvy, this is such a nice second comment, I forwarded it on to Tina. And I so agree with every word you said.

    Comment by jenny — February 26, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

  20. Nice to ‘see’ you here, Tina. Enjoyed our chat at ‘Love Is Murder’ in Chicago – Best wishes, John

    Comment by John Desjarlais — March 1, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

  21. Hi again, Savvy. Thank you SO much for sharing that story (and to Jenny for passing it on). That means a lot this deadline-ridden morning. Remembering what’s important every day, not just when it’s gob-smacking obvious.

    And good to “see” you again, John! I hope we can have the chance for another chat very soon! I really enjoyed it, and I learned A LOT too. Thanks for stopping by.

    Comment by Tina — March 3, 2011 @ 10:10 am

  22. Wow. Tai is great. Can not wait for her next adventure,

    Comment by judith knight — March 5, 2011 @ 11:34 am

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