Author interview with Kevin Tinto of ‘Mortimer Mouse’

Author Interview with Kevin Tinto

Mortimer’s life as a mouse is a mix of anticipation and then overwhelming fear. His days are spent underground in a burrow, waiting for dusk, when he must sneak about, gathering pine nuts to feed his growing family. His greatest fear is the eagles, that sometimes hunt over his forest at twilight. When the worst happens, Mortimer begins a terrifying yet breathtaking journey.



What does the future hold for Mortimer now that he has been pushed out of his burrow onto this terrifying journey? Kevin Tinto, the author behind the thrilling ‘ICE’ series has returned to today to share the wild ride that has led to his fantastic foray into the world of children’s books. Kevin, it’s great to see you back here at! I always love chatting with you as you’re always been busy beavering away which means you always have something new and interesting to share with us about your author journey. What’s been going on since we last chatted in early March?

ICE GENESIS published on March 26th, 2018 and is an Amazon Bestseller. ICE GENESIS is the second book in the ICE Trilogy. ICE REVELATION is due out late fall. I’m thrilled to see readers embracing ICE GENESIS. It’s always an author’s concern (terror) after selling a debut bestseller that you’ll fall into the sharpened-bamboo-boobytrap known as the ‘sophomore jinx’ that haunts so many authors.


The first book, which they’ve worked on for years is a smash hit, then in a short period of time, they’re required to deliver a second novel. The second novel is a major letdown, to the reader. It’s a career killer for many authors.


It was especially important I didn’t fall victim to the ‘jinx’ because ICE GENESIS was the second book in a three book series. If it went south, then no one would read (besides my mom) the third book. Even though the first book knocked it out of the park…it’s toast as well.


Writing a series right off the bat is a double-edged sword. If you hit it out of the park, you’re set up with a built-in audience, drooling for the second, and third. If you can keep the momentum and reader interest in the second book, you’re home free on the third!


If the second book dies on the vine…that might be it for the writer. It’s high stakes poker, but as a new author, it has the ability to send your writing career ballistic in short order.


Thanks to Ed Stackler, my editor, and a world-class and New York Times #1 bestselling editor, GENESIS hit it just right. Ed understood better than I did, the importance of having a fantastic product–and to avoid, at all costs, a losing follow up. He was relentless in bringing out the best I could write, and I re-wrote a lot, until I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and better understood when he said, “This is not ICE. Try again.”


Having said that! I’m here to introduce and promote my latest thriller: Mortimer Mouse. This one is off my normal genre. It’s a children’s book.



I’m really looking forward to seeing how you took on the challenge of writing book for children as it’s so different from ICE. And of course we will get to it, but after following your journey in the ICE series for so long, I just want to spend a little more time delving into the power of “This is not ICE. Try again”. What steps did you take to make sure that ICE GENESIS wasn’t just a pale imitation of ICE, and was instead a new, forward-moving instalment of the series?

I had to do a lot of rewriting on ICE GENESIS, solid, for three months prior to the Amazon publish date of March 26th. I was still solving problems and making changes based upon Ed Stackler’s suggestions, a month before the drop date. I went into a seven-day-a-week writing mode, and I still maintain that pace today.


After a week of that total immersion, my writing got a whole lot better, and it felt like I was inside the story and the characters, not working from the outside. You don’t know what day it is, but it blows open the right side of the brain. The step-up in creativity is startling.



It’s interesting that you found this step-up in creativity while working so many hours, as I’m sure many people would find working under that level of pressure would see a decline in creativity. Now that you’re experimenting with a seven-day-a-week writing schedule, do you find that writing has turned into a more energizing or exhausting pursuit?

Both. I’m laying awake at ten at night, looking at my watch, waiting for 4:30am to come around so I can get back at it…but by 4pm, I’m wiped out.



Well, we can’t let you be wiped out here, so let’s make sure you’re still energetic by turning our attention to Mortimer Mouse! What’s the tale of Mortimer Mouse about?

I’m here (today anyway) to talk about Mortimer Mouse. In the course of writing thrillers, we deal with conflict, anger and fear within every page. Everyone, even non-fictional, must handle emotion. Emotion, developed in humans to survive life and death situations by charging the body with adrenaline, allowed them to escape a predator, for instance.


Mortimer lives in a forest burrow. He is frightened all day and all night. It consumes him – it has always consumed him. His fear and his existence are centered on twilight. For only a few minutes day he must venture outside the burrow and search for nuts to feed the family.


He is snatched by an eagle and the worst has happened. Mortimer is headed for his death, yet, as the eagle flies down low over the river, Mortimer can’t help himself. The flight over water, the crushing burden of fear, waiting for the worst is now gone. He suddenly shouts out in joy. The eagle, now curious why Mortimer is shouting for joy, facing his demise, lands on a cliff top. Thus begins Mortimer’s adventure. Mortimer learns that facing his fear head on, changes his life in ways he could not anticipate.




Obviously, Mortimer makes it beyond what he initially expected, otherwise it would be a rather short story, so we know there’s more to his adventure than seeing the world from the top of a cliff. Looking back, what thoughts led up to the development of Mortimer’s adventure on top of the cliff and beyond?

The most toxic emotion known to man and women is anger. The counter to anger is fear. While fear can be seen as (generally) less destructive, it is every bit as toxic as anger to the individual. People are spending more and more time in safe and controlled environments. You would think would eliminate fear, yet, this isolation, internal or external, intensified it.




Oh, there’s so much to be said about the fear and isolation in today’s world and what it is doing to people, that we could talk for days about these topics. Or at least I can, you might not get at a word in edgewise! With so much to be said about these topics, what was the central idea that you focused on?

Life is full of challenges and opportunities. Needless to say, that success in life, of any type involves taking on challenges. Now, challenges, are being morphed into something to be afraid of… Instead of taking something on as a challenge, that needs to be broken down into workable parts, that challenge becomes something akin to a lethal beast.


A white shark charging you from two-hundred feet down is something to legitimately fear. Feel free to allow those natural hormones and skills to kick in–like walking on water. Here anger might even be appropriate. So, swearing at said fish is perfectly okay.


Being afraid to tackle something as simple as a manuscript, for instance, applying for a new job–or any job at all, getting out of the house, trying and experiencing new things…these are NOT TO BE FEARED. Yet they are…


Mortimer lives in fear – and he has legitimate fears. Eagles, claws and what happens if those should be seen up close and personal. When the worst happens, as bad as it could possibly be, he loses the burden of fear he has carried his entire life. He might only live a few more minutes, but he lives those moments in ecstasy. The fact that he’s not reacting as the eagle expected, leads to a whole new series of events–events that Mortimer could have never dreamed of, while shivering down in the burrow, dreading with his every fiber, the coming twilight.




It really is sad that so many people find that challenges are no longer things to be embraced, rather only things to be feared. As we’ve been chatting about your books for a while now, I know that you’re not going to let a little fear take over your life. How has your attitude towards fear, and your life experiences influenced the direction of this book?

People label me as a risk taker. Without this debilitating emotion burdening you with a thousand pounds of chains, like Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol, there is no limit to what you can accomplish, and easily accomplish!


Operating without fear doesn’t mean you take lethal risks or non-calculated risk. Drink half a bottle of wine and get in a car behind the wheel?


These are the same people who won’t put a toe in the ocean, for fear said Great White will bite it off. Nor will they venture or take on a new sport or hobby, a business, etc.


They don’t fear the obvious; getting killed in the car…yet avoid even the most benign of behaviors, that could improve their life, or their families lives.




It always amazes me that people are terrified of things that statistically are ridiculously remote, like those Great White shark attacks, but continue to get behind the wheel of their cars. But I’m glad to see that you have a more accurate perception of risk because it has enabled you to write awesome books like this one. So, how did you go about crafting the characters, their personalities and of course their attitudes to risk to highlight the world of opportunities and challenges?

These characters are an amalgamation of peoples and behavior I watch everyday, as a writer and a member of the human tribe. More often than not, observing these behaviors are cautionary tales on what not to do or how to act.


A perfect example in the news recently, right here in Marin, was a bike rider named Jeffrey Smock. He gets into a shouting match, ends up pulling this guy from a truck, and beats him half to death. Now, Jeffrey isn’t some transient. He’s a Silicon Valley, startup genius, who started and sold tech companies for millions of dollars. He’s got it all, living in Ross, family and kids. Now thanks to one outburst of anger, he’s a convicted felon, went to prison, and the guy he beat up is probably going to liberate him from the balance of his ten million dollar savings account. Not to mention the damage he’s done to his wife and kids. Damage that YOU CANNOT UNDO. That’s an example of how anger will destroy a person in the wink of an eye.


Fear is much more prevalent. It’s a pandemic. Almost everyone I know is paralyzed with fear, to the point where they effectively, do nothing their entire lives!


The Navy SEALs have the perfect saying. “Embrace the suck.” “Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.”



*Laughs* Embrace the suck! I love it! I’m not sure if it’s going to cure the fear pandemic, but I hope it helps! Was ‘get comfortable with the uncomfortable’ the biggest thing that you learnt to do while taking the plunge into kid’s books, or was there something greater that you learnt along the way?

It’s a concept that I would occasionally think about. But during the writing of Mortimer, and certainly after, I get up every morning and thank God, that I’m not enslaved by fear.


Nike has it right: ” Just do it.” You have the balance of eternity to lay in a coffin, not taking any chances, seeking out challenges that make life worth living, doing things that have a significant impact on you, your family, even the planet.



As someone who isn’t enslaved by fear, I’m guess that this isn’t a thought that you at the front of your mind when you write. So, what do you keep in your mind as you write?

The characters. They all live inside me. They pretty much dictate the direction of the story.



Okay, I’m not going to get you to answer the next question about if we’ll get to see these characters again because that really gives away the direction of ‘Mortimer and the Eagle’, so instead, can you share a bit about your characters who we will get to see in the future.

Wow…I’m booked solid right through 2020. I have another children’s book, ready to publish in May. This is a more epic adventure, that features a blind hippo named Marus, leading his clan of hippos across Africa in search of the River in the Valley of the Sun.


ICE REVELATION is under way, and I will be buried during the summer making sure it rocks the reader from page one, right up until the ambulance arrives to administer a shock to the chest, they’re so invested in the characters.


First of the year I’m writing VORTEX, based upon an unsold film treatment written AEI. Wow! What a story…this is a standalone book. Two more kids books: Bolo and the Island of Death, the sequel to Marus, and Miranda’s Search for the Great Humpback Whale.


After VORTEX, I have a prequel to ICE called ARK.



Wow, being booked up to 2020 is amazing! With so many projects listed there, you might actually be booked beyond that, but I’m either way, I’m excited to see how it goes! However, I hope that you’ve scheduled in a bit time to travel during this period. Perhaps a little travel to take a literary pilgrimage. I’m not sure if I’ve asked you this before, but have you been lucky enough to have gone on a literary pilgrimage?

I’ve been all over the planet. It all gets stored up in the human equivalent of The Great Library in Alexandria for future use. I spent a lot of time in the southwest, researching for the ICE Trilogy. My kind of literary pilgrimage would be flying aboard an aircraft carrier onboard the COD transport, hooking a three wire, then spending a couple days watching flight operations.



That would be awesome! I think you need to find a way to make that happen! Maybe you can drop your name as an up and coming fabously famous author to get this done. How has your work been going on your author branding strategy been progressing across your work?

Sure. To that point, the ICE TRILOGY is a brand. Once you have the three books complete, it can sell so many other ways; film, foreign language rights, video games, TV series, etc. I also created my own publisher: Three Dog Publishing.



I really love that you’ve taken the time to bring this brand together to make sure it has the greatest impact possible. As an author who is taking so much time to build a strong brand and products, do you feel that your writing voice has progressed, and continues to progress as you keep writing?

I continue to get better at making characters so real, readers love them, or hate them, and let me know about it…



You’ve certainly done that, and if I’m not mistaken I think I can hear them calling you, so I’d best let you return to them. We’ve certainly run the gamet over the topics, but was there anything we missed?

A couple important points on execution. Writers might avoid picture books, because of the cost of the illustrations. All my illustrations were done for $5 a piece, via So was the cover!



I remember that you got your cover for ICE from Fivver too, so I’m glad to see the site is still working for you, and helping bring your voice to the world of readers. Kevin, thanks so much for dropping in today to chat about your newest adventure ‘Mortimer Mouse’, and I can’t wait to see more in the future!



Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Mortimer Mouse ( ASIN: B07CPC9BL3 )‘.

Want to find out more about Kevin Tinto? Connect here!

Author interview with Kevin Tinto of ‘ICE’

Author Interview with Kevin Tinto

Archaeologist Leah Andrews stumbles upon something inexplicable in southwestern New Mexico: inside a dark cavern lies an undiscovered, Native American cliff dwelling abandoned for 800 years. While twisting through one of the narrow underground passageways, Leah’s flashlight illuminates the remains of a violent massacre. Ancient human remains—all slaughtered in a long-ago massacre—cover the cavern floor, along with a number of brilliantly colored, granite crystals. The rare crystals are native to only one place on earth: a frozen mountain range in central Antarctica. Could Native Americans have traveled to the frozen continent of Antarctica 800 years prior to the first known human exploration?



What has Leah stumbled upon in the underground caverns and where will it lead her? Kevin Tinto, the best-selling author behind the thrills in ‘ICE’ has returned to for the third time to share where his amazing author journey has taken him since our last deep dive into your writing career up in early 2017. Kevin! It’s fantastic to chat with you again! What’s been going on since we last explored your author journey? Where has your authorship journey taken you?

Ellen! Working on the sequel to ICE: ICE GENESIS. GENESIS launching KINDLE ON 3/26/18. The paperback version will follow about 14 days later.



That’s super exciting. We’ve got to chat a little about GENESIS in a minute because I want to know how it’s going, but let’s set the screen and of course, we need to check in on the statistics for Ice. What do the numbers look like as of today?

ICE has sold more than 300,000. 2,140 reviews–up from the 600 when I first promoted on IWN.



Those are some awesome stats! And I love that you’re not shy about sharing them because I think it gives other Indie authors solid proof that a writing career can really happen. For the readers who are just being introduced to ICE, can you share a little taste of the early days in your writing career where ICE was just some thoughts in your head?

The concept for ICE came about after living in New Mexico for a couple of years. A big mystery is why Native Americans, known as The Anasazi, or The Ancients, lived in these very dangerous cliff dwelling for a period of 200 years, out of ten’s of thousands before, and a thousand afterward. What compelled this radical departure from the norm?



When you’re talking about a radical departure from the norm, my first thought is that your characters will have to very strong willed to work through the resistance that comes from deviating from the norm. How did the characters grow into existence around this question of operating outside of the norm?

That’s a hard question to answer. My characters form pretty fast. Once they become ‘real people’ for lack of a better term, in my mind, they have their own set of behaviors emotions, motivations.


One of the keys to writing successful fictional characters is that in your head, they are not fictional. Real characters can be a real pain in the ass. I might want them to load onto a helicopter, in a snowstorm at night because they have to crash two pages later, in order to move the plot forward.


One of my main characters, Jack Hobson is a seasoned, world-class mountain guide. He’s survived numerous helicopter mishaps. There’s NO WAY Jack gets on that helicopter. He tells the author off in no uncertain terms, then gets a couple of horses in order to make it over the mountain pass with both feet on the ground, thank-you very much.



*Laughs* Go, Jack! The horses sound like a much better choice!

Of course, at some point, Jack might be swearing to himself, wishing he’d taken the author’s advice because he’s pinned down by bad guys. If your characters are simply ANOTHER PLOT DEVICE NECESSARY TO MOVE YOUR STORY FORWARD–YOUR BOOK WILL FAIL. Don’t fall into that trap. Readers love characters–NOT PLOT. That’s what made Seinfeld work. “It’s about nothing!” Just hanging out with great characters.



You’re exactly right, that’s what made Seinfeld work, but you can’t fool me, I know that your book is about more thing than nothing. What was the central something that you wanted readers to engage with as they read the ICE series?

One of the large themes in ICE is one of world stability. If one country located a stash of hyper-technology, highly advanced technology-by thousands of years, how would the balance of the countries around the planet react? High technology would upset the balance of power. All pretense of detente would fly right out the window; we’d be on the edge of nuclear war. Where this technology came from–that question you’d think would shake our culture to its very foundation, quickly takes second place to getting a hold of those technology jewels, regardless of the cost.


In Ice Genesis, this theme continues and what appeared to be a miraculous gift, becomes a curse.



World stability and the impact of technology are all the flavour of the news at the moment, but are there other aspects of Ice that you have a more direct connection with, like were the things that you took from your life and included in the series?

ICE and ICE GENESIS are taken right from my experiences as a high-altitude climber, pilot, diver and adventurist. A lifestyle that places you squarely in a situation where, in-action, results in death.


If you’re climbing off the summit of a mountain, and you’re suddenly so fatigued, you cannot continue, you can’t call a timeout, game over, etc. If you stop climbing down–you die.


So digging deep, way deeper than 99.9% of people ever dream of, drawing strength, mental and physical you had no idea existed within your body and mind, creates a whole new way of thinking. Nothing that happens in ‘regular life’ bothers you.


You watch people panicking over the most inane situations and thank God you haven’t lived in a bubble, where minor occurrences are emergencies.


The result: alcohol and opiate abuse.


Navy SEALS have a saying: Embrace the Suck. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Set goals and execute. Life is combat. Think it’s tough now? Wait till you’re 60, and by avoiding challenge and conflict, you finally broke. I see that everyday. Taking the easy path ain’t so easy. Don’t fall for it.



Since you’re an adventurist and are always exploring those not-so-easy paths, I have to ask, have you used had the chance to take a literary pilgrimage adventure yet?

Sure. I try to get to as many places that are in my novels as I can. To that end, I’ve been pretty much everywhere on the planet. That’s not as important as it used to be. With Google, you can travel to some amazing places never leaving your kitchen table.



Google really is handy for those last minute spur of the moment adventures! And there’s definetly some adventures in the ICE books that would lend themselves for a nice Google tour. Now, we’ve mentioned GENESIS a few times now but haven’t really gotten into it, so for those who aren’t familiar with the series, how does do the ICE adventures fit together?

I wrote ICE as a stand alone novel. After ICE, I immediately finished another novel, using the same key characters called ARK. After ICE published and reached bestseller status, it was obvious readers wanted to continue the ICE narrative. Publishing ARK, while expedient, would have thrown readers for a loop, since it took the characters on an entirely different journey, with no relationship to ICE. The more difficult path was developing, from scratch, more in the ICE narrative. Not just one additional book, but two. For readers who love a series, this gives them a chance to enjoy the characters for three books, while getting a satisfying pay-off and ending with book three. Book three, in the ICE series is ICE REVELATION. That should hit Amazon in the early fall, 2018.



Early fall 2018 is not long now! It must be incrediblity satisfiying to see yourself towards the end of the ICE series. Looking back over the course of the series, where do you feel you learnt the most?

For ICE I had all the time in the world. For ICE GENESIS, I’m was on a short leash time wise. I had no idea, when I started, where the ICE story was headed for one more book, much less two.


This, I think, is one of the biggest causes of the Sophomore Jinx that authors struggle with during the process. You’re shocked you’ve written a bestseller. You’ve got to promote said bestseller You have to write a sequel that can MATCH UP with a bestseller, and do it on a shortened time frame. You go from being a literary bohemian, hanging around with writers who will never finish their novel, drinking coffee–and suddenly you’re professional writer who has to deliver. Topics you brushed over on your first book–they are back, and you can’t brush over them this time.



Did you find the transition from literary bohemian to professional writer energizing or exhausting?

I placed GENESIS on the 90 day pre-sell on Amazon, December 16, 2017. Sure, I thought, I’m in good shape. Manuscript is solid. Then I send it to my editor. Not in such great shape, after all. Nothing like pressure to bring out your A game. The interview is March 2, 2018. I’m working day day 66 in a row–no days off. I won’t make that mistake again. Still, when you’re at that level of immersion–you brain kicks into creative warp drive. You don’t know what day of the week it is–but those chapters are just as real as your own family. It is exhausting, but you’re also doing something you enjoy.



Check with your editor before publishing release dates! Probably not one of the most often relayed bits of author advice I’ve heard, but it certainly is one of the most important ones. With 66 days non-stop work under your belt there must be times when you’re exchausted. What thoughts have kept you going and helped you maintain that creative warp drive mode?

Two things are critical to me. Emotion and movement. Sometimes I say I write like I use a GoPro sports camera. A GoPro is designed to be used up close and personal. Sucking your video audience into a ride down the Colorado River, for instance, to the point they have to get up and change their clothes because they feel like they just fell out of the boat, along with you and the GoPro.



Do you feel that you’ve been making better videos with that GoPro now that you’ve been solidly progressing on your writing adventure?           

I reminds me of riding motorcycles. At first, it’s all you can do to focus on staying on the road. After thousand and thousands of miles, you see everything in every direction. You know what cars will do, before they do it.



As you can now see your writing from all of these new directons and it’s position in the wider market, what direction have you pursued with your own author brand?

I learned a lot from author, A.G. Riddle. Gerry Riddle is one of the original indie authors to earn mega-seller status. He’s sold more than 5,000,000 books, film options, you name it. He spent time building a brand online. He also sells his own hard copies and paperbacks, through his own publishing company.


I did a presentation at ThrillerFest in New York City last July. Lee Child said he sticks with Reacher because everyone knows the character, they know what they will get when they buy a book.



It’s always a great idea to learn from the best, and you’re certinatly doing that with A.G. Riddle and Lee Child. So, let’s take a leaf out of Lee’s book and look at what we can expect from the both you and ICE series in the near future. What can you share?

With ICE GENESIS Inbound, my focus will switch to ICE REVELATION, the last in this series. After two in a series, you’re on a roll, and you know the ending. As an indie writer, promotion never ends. You’ve got to push at 100% everyday. You might have the best book on the planet, but readers have to sort through up to 15 million kindle books to find it. The vast majority of those books, not very good.



But as you’ve mentioned in our earlier chats, if you can make a name for yourself in those 15 million Kindle book options, you have a bright future, and Kevin, you’re one of those with a very bright future. Thanks so much for sparing a few moments to chat with me today, and I’ll be eagarly awaiting the rest the series with your growing legion of readers!


Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘ICE ( ASIN: B01557MW80 )‘.

Want to find out more about Kevin Tinto? Connect here!

Author interview with Kevin Tinto of ‘ICE’

Author Interview with Kevin Tinto


125,000+ Sales, 1,400+ Amazon Reviews, Amazon Debut Bestseller Selection: Prime Reading, Motion Picture Rights: AEI. “Archaeologist Leah Andrews stumbles upon something inexplicable in south-western New Mexico: inside a dark cavern lies an undiscovered, Native American cliff dwelling abandoned for 800 years. While twisting through one of the narrow underground passageways, Leah’s flashlight illuminates the remains of a violent massacre. Ancient human remains—all slaughtered in a long-ago massacre—cover the cavern floor, along with a number of brilliantly colored, granite crystals. The rare crystals are native to only one place on earth: a frozen mountain range in central Antarctica. Could Native Americans have traveled to the frozen continent of Antarctica 800 years prior to the first known human exploration? If so how? And why? There’s only one person who can get Leah to those mountains in Antarctica: her estranged husband and climbing guide Jack Hobson. At their destination they make a stunning discovery that will change history and science forever. But Leah’s team is far from the only interested party. As her secret makes its way to the highest levels of government, a race to seize the Russian-claimed Antarctic territory brings the world to the brink of nuclear conflict.”



Today Kevin Tinto has returned to for a second time to chat about what has changed around his book ICE since he was last here in August 2016, when his fervent goal was to get to 1,000 reviews of Ice in the Kindle store (at that time he was at 600). Kevin, thanks for coming back to chat again with me. Since the last time you and I caught up you’ve seen a great amount of progress with ICE and I’m very excited to get into this with you. But to catch anyone up who isn’t familiar with ICE, can you take us through where this book started.

The ideas for ICE came about after living in New Mexico for a couple of years, and visiting the Anasazi Cliff Dwellings. These Indians lived peacefully for tens of thousands of years on the mesas and forest floor. Yet, for a period of only a few hundred years, forced themselves into some of the most dangerous cliff dwellings on the planet. After a couple of hundred years, they were abandoned.



I haven’t been to the Anasazi dwellings but they must have really evoked a strong response in you to really start working on the ideas behind this book. Did you layer visiting these cliffs with experiences with other experiences in your life to build up the plot? And can you elaborate a little on these adventures?

All the ones that didn’t kill me… There were plenty of ‘experiences’ where I wasn’t sure which way it was gonna go. That includes high altitude mountaineering, flying as pilot in command of aircraft, jumping out of airplanes more times than my Mom would like to remember, travel all over the planet, studies of cliff dwellings in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and more.



With all of that action in your own life I can see how ICE has become so action-packed. Was it important to temper some of this action with research?

Sure. Thank goodness for the Internet! Within the internet, Youtube is gold, because it can put you right into a situation that makes great copy, but crashing a DC-3 isn’t on the top of your first person To-Do list. Hop on a motorcycle, plane, bike and hit the road. Nothing brings a scene more alive than having the author experience it first person.



That is a neat idea. I really hope another author decides to take that on! So when you’re watching these videos can you see your characters in these positions? Actually, a better question is what kinds of people do you think your characters are if they are doing these kinds of things?

I dream up characters that are interesting to me. I might love them, hate them, have a love/hate thing, etc. Characters ARE NOT plot tools used to move a story along. Readers have NO INTEREST in your AMAZINGLY ORIGINAL SERIAL KILLER PLOT! They are only interested in characters that reach off the page and into their heart on the first page. If your book does not start out with two characters in conflict and engaged in dialogue, then chances are you’re sunk in the Kindle world. Readers will yawn, and roll on to the next book in the queue.



No-one is doing much yawning when they are reading your books! Your story has a strong enough emotional connection between the characters along with enough action that it would really translate into a great movie. Who would you pick to cast as the main characters?

Yeah. Good one. I’d have to go for The Wolverine, Hugh Jackman, playing Jack Hobson. Angelina Jolie is a natural for Leah. Hard edged, would bite a tomato can in half if it served her, but needing to take a fall in order to find out what’s really important.



Solid choices. It sounds like a winning team to me. Now, would you have a cast party with the characters in your book if they could come to life?

Oh sure. Are you kidding? You’ve got a billionaire like Al Paulson with a Gulfstream V fueled and ready to go; unlimited funds and no rev-limiter on fun… What a crew.



I’m afraid that’s a little out of my budget for today, but when I find that billionaire it’s something we can totally work with :). You mentioned earlier it is important to have strong characters who have deep connections to the other characters. Is that character connection the most important thing you wanted to say in your book, or was it something else?

ICE had to have a basis in reality. Sure, it’s fiction, but it must be anchored in reality. To that end, there’s not a lot that goes on in ICE, that I haven’t done myself. While it does ‘touch’ science fiction, I wanted readers to wrap their minds around something that has real possibilities. It is amazing how many readers send me notes, thanking me for giving them real lessons in Anasazi history, New Mexico history and geography. A climb on Mt. Everest that seemed so real, they had to open a bottle of oxygen just to keep from passing out, along with the characters. I also made a statement, as an author, that the most important part of any fiction are the characters…by a light-year. If readers love characters, they’d be happy if they hung out with them in a virtual bar for 200 pages, shoulder to shoulder as they snark on the other pub-goers, and each other.



I have to ask, what did you find the most rewarding thing about writing this book?

I’ve out-sold just about every traditionally published book on the planet… If you want to have an off-the-chain bestseller, don’t waste your time with the traditional publishers and especially agents. Several identifiers come to mind…but I think ‘clueless’ hits the mark. If your manuscript has game, it will blow up into a bestseller as an indie way before a publisher even gets out of bed. If you’ve got a great book and it’s not selling, chances are it will come down to the following: Price: Set your price at $0.99 (Sorry, you’re not Steven King yet.) Kindle Unlimited: GET-YOUR-BOOK-ON-KINDLE-UNLIMITED. This is where you will make a fortune. Because KU pays based on the number of pages read, I make about $2.50 per book read cover to cover on Kindle Unlimited. I’m well past 10,000,000 pages on KU. Your book is priced at 0.99 cents. Excellent. Now, you’re gonna promote the hell out of it on the Kindle fan blogs, etc. Price ranges from FREE-$100 to promote. You get 5 days to promote FREE with Kindle Unlimited, (each quarter). Promote ALL FIVE DAYS! This will give you REVIEWS and KINDLE UNLIMITED members will pick it up. Scan down on and find your promotional partners. The best? E-Reader News, Book Bub, etc. I did a FREE promotion with Bookbub, (FREE) on December 19th, and busted out 70,000 Kindle copies and KU in two days.



I think that your results say it all. If you have a quality product and promote it well self-publishing is awesome! What are you top self-publishing tips?

Create Space is where to start. It’s an Amazon publishing company, and they will turn your manuscript into something right out of a publishing house for $199.00. For a cheap cover, use I spent $5.00 on my cover.



That is a pretty awesome cover for $5.00. Now with that track record, you are a full time writer correct?

I’ve always been a writer. As a full-time author, I simply now have permission to hangout at Starbucks all day, doing exactly what I want to do. If you love working in a cube for someone with an IQ 2 points below Neanderthal, I’d recommend working with traditional publishers. Even if published, you’ll never escape the cube. As an Indie writer? The world is your oyster, kids. Get that Ferrari brochure and start picking out colors.



*Laughs* Apart from the ability to get yourself that Ferrari, why do you write?

When you can bust out a novel that has readers exhausted after reading for 24-hours straight, then you know you’ve got a rare gift. I have a sense of the roller coaster ride I’m sending readers on. I know that when they hit that first big drop, it’s not stopping at ground level, I’ll send it right to the gates of Hell, if I think that will get everyone in the train screaming.



How of the rollercoaster ride do you know about before you start writing? Or does the track emerge as you go?

You have to have an endgame. That said, the endgame may change and all the rest? I never know what’s gonna happen until I sit down at the keyboard.



What happens when you sit down at the keyboard? Do you have any techniques to get you there?

For someone getting started, I think it’s critical to have a set number of words, and write EVERYDAY. For me, somedays I write a lot, others I get caught up on the research, or I circle back to the already-published novel, like ICE, and do the promotional work.



Do you run into writer’s block when you’re writing and how do you handle it?

Sit down at the keyboard, get a huge latte. If I’m not sure what’s happening, I just pick a scene I know should be in the book, or a character and just rip on it. Sure, the first couple paragraphs might be junk, but in a few minutes, you can’t stop. Never, Never, try to see to the end of the trail by standing at a high point and look over a million miles of trees. That will drive you insane. Get down in the forest. Aim for one tree, and head for it. Manuscripts are like ground-game football. It’s a game of inches, in the mud.



And when you are in the mud does it make it easier to edit? Do you edit yourself?

I edit a lot myself. Ed Stackler is my content editor. Ed is a master thriller editor, and you CANNOT WRITE A BESTSELLER without a master editor. I’m not talking about copy edit. Someone who is invested in your story, loves it, and knows how to make it better. You are DEAD without a master editor…



What words do you think really makes your work suffer either before editing?

I think Stephen King has it exactly right here: “I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops.” Once your manuscript is ‘finished’, first thing, go through and unload all those, seemingly, incredibly, wonderfully, important adverbs.



And the final question for this section of the interview, What’s currently in your writing queue?

ICE GENESIS, the next in the ICE series. I’ve planned three working this storyline. ICE, ICE GENESIS, ICE REVELATION.



Just before I let you go I have a batch of random, hopefully thought provoking questions that allow me to poke at your grey matter. Let’s start with the first one: Are you a valuable asset on a quiz team?

If the subject is hobbies that can kill you…yes, I’m a whiz.



What is your zodiac sign?




What is your favourite ocean?

Pacific. I live on it, I fish, scuba dive, free dive and spearfish in it nearly everyday in the summer.



If you invented a monster what would it look like and what would you call it?

It’s already out there, by the millions. They go by names like; Ceres, Vesta, Pallas, Hygiea, Euphrosyne, Interamnia. They are planet killing asteroids, that strike the earth around every 60 million years, and wipe out all life. We’ve had five of those already since the beginning of life on this planet, and we’re overdue for number six.



Are you introvert or extrovert?

I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older, to mostly just keep my mouth shut.



What is your favourite quote?

“The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday.” Navy SEALS.



If you ruled your own country, who would you get to write the national anthem?

Dr. Dre…



Continuing on the music theme, what is your favourite song or music to work by?

Generally, I put one song on repeat. I crank up the headphones until the rest of the world is just a white blur and zoom; I’m in another universe with Jack and Leah. The music can vary from AC/DC, Puddle of Mud, Megadeth, Eric Clapton, etc. No disco….



Disco doesn’t seem to match your writing style. Have you ever danced in the rain?

Not yet. I’m still waiting to get caught in the middle of an out-of-control wildfire, and have the hand of God throw down at gusher. We’ll all be moon-walkin during that one.



Are you left or right handed?




How are the colours in rainbows made?

I’m always focusing my GPS on the end of the rainbow for the pot of gold. I miss the colors every time.



What color socks are you wearing?




What is your favourite flavor of ice-cream?

Anyone that has those big hunks of chocolate. Like a shot of Meth, just as I’m blowing up the next chapter. Perfecto.



That is some impressive chocolate! What’s the most unusual name you’ve ever come across?

Felicity Gibbins. It’s a classic brit name, but the first time I heard it, I was sure she’d been named after some character in Chitty-chitty Bang, Bang.



Do you have any philosophies that you live by?

Don’t be that guy/girl. No direction in life, no focus, afraid to try anything new, goes with the sheep, thinks drinking a bottle of wine a night and watching Netflix is having made it. Get the hell off the couch, slacker, and get it done.



Solid advice right there. Finally, we’re just about at the end of today’s action packed interview. Is there anything that you think I missed?

Think we covered it. Remember authors, here are the keys to success: Write a great manuscript where your characters are the plot. No one cares about that cure for cancer sitting in the Amazon jungle…at least in fiction. Get an editor who is your coach, loves your work, has a track record. Publish using Create Space and Kindle. Price at 0.99. Promote, Promote, Promote. You LOVE you LIVE for Kindle Unlimited.



Kevin thanks for the coming back and reminding our readers about ICE. And I can’t wait until your book has another 1,000 reviews and 10,000 more sales!


Want to find out more about Kevin Tinto? Connect here!

Author Interview with Kevin Tinto of ‘Ice’


Archaeologist Leah Andrews stumbles upon something inexplicable in southwestern New Mexico: inside a dark cavern lies an undiscovered, Native American cliff dwelling abandoned for 800 years. While twisting through one of the narrow underground passageways, Leah’s flashlight illuminates the remains of a violent massacre. Ancient human remains—all slaughtered in a long-ago massacre—cover the cavern floor, along with a number of brilliantly colored, granite crystals. The rare crystals are native to only one place on earth: a frozen mountain range in central Antarctica. Could Native Americans have traveled to the frozen continent of Antarctica 800 years prior to the first known human exploration? If so how? And why? There’s only one person who can get Leah to those mountains in Antarctica: her estranged husband and climbing guide Jack Hobson. At their destination they make a stunning discovery that will change history and science forever. But Leah’s team is far from the only interested party. As her secret makes its way to the highest levels of government, a race to seize the Russian-claimed Antarctic territory brings the world to the brink of nuclear conflict.
Today I’ve had the pleasure to discuss the novel Ice with it’s author Kevin Tinto. Kevin, thank you for joining me today. Your novel threads through the the concepts of crystals in New Mexico, mountains in Antarctica and the Native American culture. Where did you have the idea to use these and other elements together to create a single story?

Having spent a lot of time in the southwest, the questions started from what happened to the Anasazi, or Ancients. Why did these Native Americans, who lived on the mesa tops for hundreds of thousands of years suddenly, and only for a period of 200 years, stuff themselves into these incredibly dangerous cliff dwellings.

So you consciously chose to use themes in your book?
Sure. As an author, you’re writing so much more than a story. To keep readers interested, you want to incorporate themes that encourage thought, exploration and raise legitimate questions, even in regard to the bizarre. “It’s all true! Except where it’s not…”

And did you do research to make sure that the true bits were really true or not true as the case may be?
Endless hours, days, weeks, months and years. The way you pin fiction is make everything, even the implausible, possible. I’m also a mountain climber, pilot, amateur archeologist with a lot of life experience behind me. It’s easier to write something people can relate to if you’ve been around the block one or twice, especially if that block has tried to kill you on more than one occasion.
So on one hand you have fabulous experience for the plot side of your novel, but you also had to make your characters relatable to the audience. Do you have such vast experience in relationships as well, or were your characters formed another way?
Interesting question. I saw a recent review for ICE, where a reader, who wasn’t fond of Dr. Leah Andrews, said, “The author choose to write her in this way.” The characters wrote themselves, I was along for the ride. If I could rein her in, I would, but she’ll have none of it.

Since the characters were writing themselves, did you have any characters who were your favourites to write, or ones that you wanted to work with longer than they would allow themselves to be in the storyline?
Well, I love working with all of them. I’d have to say, ‘Mac’, the mechanic who works for Al Paulson. Paulson is a hard driving billionaire with a passion for vintage ‘warbirds.’ Most people are scared to death of Al Paulson. Not Mac.

Do you ever dream about your characters?
Not unless they’re monsters…

Is there any character that you would want to meet in real-life? Like go to the pub with?
Al Paulson for sure. Here’s a guy who is self made, an amazing drive and imagination. He’s taken enough punches in the mouth trying to summit Mt. Everest; he understands that at some altitude, every man, or woman, has to put on their pants one leg at a time, like everyone else. His employees are fiercely loyal, and when he throws down on adventure, he can pick up the phone and call the President of Chile, or just as easily, order out pizza.

I love that image of that self made man like Al that you’ve painted here. Did you find creating characters like that the most rewarding thing about writing the book, or were you driven more by something else more rewarding?
The ability to bypass traditional publishing and write the story I wanted to write. I love that readers ‘get’ what I was working to accomplish, and although it’s fiction, I raised some real questions about the fate of the Ancients. While the world was relatively calm when/while I wrote ICE, it occurred to me all that detente would go right out the window with the discovery of something that could change the balance of power. Governments would be at the brink of nuclear war in a heartbeat. Never trust anyone in elected office to do anything except look out for their own well-being.

I think that’s a very wise thing to say considering some of the elected officials in power in the world at the moment. I’d like to touch a bit more on your experiences self-publishing or ‘bypassing traditional publishing’ as you’ve put it here. What do you think about the ability to self-publish?
It’s a revolution, a super nova happening right now. Indie writers will be most of your future best sellers. Once readers discover Kindle, or the Kindle App, (I use with iPad), the library is obsolete, as are traditional publishers. I sell more Kindle editions in one month (4,000-5,000) than a traditionally published hard cover will do total. I own the rights forever.

Those really are some impressive sales that you’ve quoted. Do you have any tips for other self published authors who want to make an impact like that?
Write everyday. If you cannot write everyday, move on to life plan B. First drafts suck. They are simply a way to get to a more advanced outline. First Drafts are not a measure of how good a novel will be, or not be. A poorly written manuscript is simply not finished. Get/hire an editor. They are your coach. Do not show manuscripts to friends and family. Once you have a finished manuscript, use Fiveer for your cover. Use Create Space to professionally set your book for $199. Price at 99 cents, and let Kindle Unlimited pages, at .005 a page pay you a mint.
All of that advice is just value bombs as far as I am concerned. Can we just expound on a few of these points that you’ve mentioned. Firstly writing, you’ve mentioned that an author needs to write every day. Do you measure how much you write a day?
I work to write a thousand words a day, on first-draft work. Let’s be honest here. First drafts suck. They draw the life out of you. On the other hand, it’s a bit like hitting that one awesome golf shot. (If I golfed.) You can muddle through all day, and suddenly, you’re writing the most amazing scene you’d never even imagined in all of the outlines.

And then we get to editing. How do you go about the editing process? Do you do a large amount of editing the books yourself?
Wow. Here’s where being an Indie writer takes some toughness. You don’t have the huge crew that Random House would assign to you. I hire and depend upon one of the greatest thriller editors around: Ed Stackler. He is as much responsible for the success of ICE as I am as the author. Getting a perfectly clean line edit out of 110,000 words is nearly impossible, even with help. We are on the 2nd Edition of ICE, with some edits and additions, including the first two chapters of ICE GENESIS.

I’ll come back to Ice Genesis in a minute, but I’d just like other authors to get a bit more value from your experience. How did you get your book cover?
Fivver. $5 to design my cover. Boom. Use it.

How did you feel when you got your first book review?
I needed another 999 to get to a thousand… I’m at 600 now, so I need 400 more.

That’s a great goal and I’m sure that you’ll hit it, you’re already over half way there. How long did the process of writing Ice take?
Nearly 10 years.

Now you’ve mentioned Ice Genesis, what is it?
The sequel to ICE, called ICE GENESIS. I also wrote another Jack and leah novel, called ARK. The search for Noah’s ARK in Iran, not Turkey. It is a stand alone. When readers started to scream for a sequel to ICE, I shelved it for now, in order to keep the ICE story line alive.

Are you lucky enough to be able to devote all of your time to writing?
I’m a writer by trade. I own with more than 50,000 subscribers. I have also written for the SF Chronicle and more.

An on the other side of being a writer, you must also be an avid reader. Who are your favourite authors, and do you believe that they have influenced your writing style?
King: Amazing characters, and he has no fear writing about anything.
Preston/Child: Fun imaginative story lines, outside the box.
Koontz: Prolific, funny, scary.
Andy Weir: The best researched Hard Science Fiction/Plausible story ever
Rowling: The ability to imagine an engaging narrative that spans 7 novels.
Herbert: Dune…
Flynn: Gone girl, Sharp Objects, Dark Places. Great writing! She can take on subjects guys couldn’t write about without getting blasted for chauvinism.

Great choices of authors there, a very strong list. Are you reading anything from these authors at the moment?
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.

And when you were little, what was your favourite book?
Bullwhip Griffin. The first book I read on my own.

Who is your favourite literary character?
Odd Thomas, from the Koontz series.

And, now we’re on to my favourite round, the Quick Fire Round. Kevin, have a go at answering the following questions as fast as possible.
Do you have any philosophies that you live by?
Bite down on it, drive hard every day.

Is there a book that you wish that you would have written?
I would have loved to have penned the screenplay for Alien.

What is your favourite quote?
It’s all true, except where it’s not!

Can you stand on your hands unassisted?
Sure. If not, mountaineering would have already killed me.

If you could steal one thing without consequence what would it be?

Can you curl your tongue?
Negative, Ghostwriter.

Which are cooler? Dinosaurs or Dragons?
Kevin, I’d like to thank you again for being so generous with your time and I wish you the best for your promotion of Ice, and getting to 1,000 reviews with the novel.


Want to connect with Kevin?  You can find him here: