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AuthorIamA co-writer with my Son for "Blood of Invidia", a Dragon Award Finalist SciFi/Horror novel, in the cloud. We've never met. Ask Me Anything. AMA!

Sep 10th 2017 by AZpiR8king • 5 Questions • 120 Points

I am Tom Tinney. Morgen Batten, my co-author and son, has said, "Some kids build soapbox derby cars with their fathers. My dad and I built an entire universe."

While father-son collaborations are nothing new, our is unique. We've never met in person. Not once. Circumstances have kept us apart for the last thirty-two years.

Morgen was raised, and resides, in Adelaide, AU. I currently live in Hartford, WI. We're both talented and creative writers with a love for the same genres. Two years ago, I wrote a "We should write a book together" text to Morgen, the ensuing string of texts formed the backbone of plot and beginning of the universe we would build. That's when we began this project in earnest. The first goal was to produce a unique and exciting novel, which has yielded stellar results. The second goal is to use the proceeds from its sales to fund our first meeting.

https://www.tomtinney.com/blood-of-invidia/

Q:

Back in the 70s ;)

A:

Some people don't like it, a lot of people voted for it in cover contests. It is original art done by John Gallagher (https://www.uncannyknack.com/) and captures the mood of the first chapter.


Q:

Could you clarify these circumstances? I get it that you two live a great distance apart, but at some point someone must have gone somewhere. How does a Wisconsinite father an Aussie? (Logistics, not biology.)

There's a story here, I suspect.

A:

There is...and without treading into what will end up being a war of words with "The other biological contributor", Morgen's Mom and I met while we were stationed in Iceland in 1982. She became pregnant, told me a tale (not mine sort of thing), and moved on. Had him in USA (FL) and moved to Aus with a man. Eventually she married him and he adopted Morgen (Hence the last name). Fast forward 18 years and I see her name on an Military reunion site. Give the old "Hope your life turned out well" post and get back the "You have a Son" message.

Fast forward four more years, and he and I still had not spoken, a lot of "dangling", "not yet", and games. I sent a care package to him, since he had joined the Aussie Military by then. I was editing a Motorcycle (Biker) magazine at the time to make some extra scratch.

I don't hear anything for awhile. Then I get a weird email from a guy in California. He says "I was told to find a biker mag guy that goes by "PiR8" and tell him to call this number." The number was like 12 characters long. I used to get "Put my naked girlfriend in your magazine" emails all the time, and the whole Russian scam call thing was hot at the time, so I shelved it.

A couple of weeks later, I get a message over Yahoo from his Mom and he is asking for my number.

My brain has one of those "connections" moments, so I find the email and check the time in Australia. I had to get international calling turned on my phone, but I call the number that morning.

"Hello?" (Aussie accent) "Hi, my name is Tom. They call me PiR8. I was told to call this number." "Yeah, mate, my name is Shannon, and I got a story for ya."

What was I gonna do? Cool Aussie accent and this guy wanted to tell me a story, whoever he was. So I listened. He continued "See, when I was 8, my Mum comes to me and says my Dad died. Just like that. I was sad, but what could I do? Anyway, years later, we're having a row, me and Mum, and she says 'Why don't you just go live with your father then' and she throws me his phone number."

Now, I have had some shitty things done to me, but what Shannon's Mom did to him? Bad. Anyway, Shannon continued,"So, anyway, me and my Dad got to talking and became best mates. So, with that out of the way, here's your son."

And he handed the phone to Morgen. First time we ever spoke. it still give me goosebumps.

Shannon was Morgen's roomie in the service, and had read the magazines I sent. He kept after Morgen that no matter what he had been told, or he thought he knew, I seemed like a pretty cool guy. That was it.


Q:

I think it's great that you guys are writing together and also trying to fund a way to meet... but do you have an alternative plan of meeting up instead of waiting for success? If either of you can be a bit flexible you could get a cheap flight to finally meet... It seems sad to me that you have never yet met, whatever the circumstances that have kept you apart, but there are ways to meet sooner before it could be too late...

A:

Our path to meeting has been curtailed in numerous ways over the last 10 years. Documentation, Finances, Personal lives, Influential interference from outside forces, etc.

We finally created a funnel (royalties) that would be under OUR control. A coffer solely used for this effort. Not a dime gets pulled from it that is not about making or marketing the book and putting those returns back in.

We didn't want to just ask people for help or charity, we wanted to give them something that would entertain them for a reasonable cost and use the profits to fund this venture.

I also wanted to give him an outlet for his creativity and springboard for an alternative income in the future as an author. He is a brilliant writer and, like any Father, I want him to succeed.


Q:

"Unable to be in the same room, or even easily call to discuss minor plot or character points, planning and technology became their allies"...

Did you start writing this pre-Skype, pre-FaceTime, pre-Internet?!

A:

The 16 hour time differences (he lives in Australia, me in the USA) and overseas call rates that were what hindered us. We had to have sessions where his work and my work allowed us to spend some time Skyping, messaging and texting.

And it was started pre-skype. We sent Text messages back and forth about a book idea phone (Even those cost more at the time).

It was back burnered until I published my first book "Threads" and realized he and I could really turn our ideas into a book.


Q:

I'm sure it's 14.5 hours difference, not 16? Between Adelaide and WI? I live in the UK and my best friend lives in Australia so I understand the constrictions of time differences...

Kudos for working on this together for so many years - I mean I was using Skype back in 2003!

Good luck and hopefully you guys can meet sooner rather than later...

A:

thanks.