More About the Author
Tim Tingle is an Oklahoma Choctaw and an award-winning author and storyteller. His great-great grandfather, John Carnes, walked the Trail of Tears in 1835, and his paternal grandmother attended a series of rigorous Indian boarding schools in the early 1900's. Responding to a scarcity of Choctaw lore, Tingle began collecting tribal stories in the early 90's.
In 1992, Tingle began mentoring with Choctaw storyteller Charley Jones. He retraced the Trail of Tears to Choctaw homelands in Mississippi and began recording stories of tribal elders. His family experiences and these interviews with fellow Choctaws in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Oklahoma----and surprise encounters with Choctaws as far away as Bethel, Alaska----are the basis of his most important writings.
His latest middle grade novel, HOW I BECAME A GHOST, (Roadrunner Press, June 2013), pulls heavily from these interviews. It is a fictional first-person account of a young boy who "becomes a ghost" on the Trail of Tears, but stays on the walk to help family and friends survive. Filled with humor and elements of traditional lore to soften the tragedy, HIBaG includes a shape-shifting panther/teenager, a five-year old ghost sister, a talking dog, and a headstrong teenage girl who refuses to give up. In the June 28 issue of Kirkus, HOW I BECAME A GHOST received a Starred Review, Tingle's first!
Also, in late June of 2013, DANNY BLACKGOAT, NAVAJO PRISONER will be released. A HiLo novel, for teens who read on a more basic level, this tale follows the misadventures of a tough sixteen year-old on the Navajo Long Walk of 1864. Danny fights bullying soldiers, rattlesnakes, and his own fiery temper, till he meets an older prisoner who devises a dangerous escape plan.
HOUSE OF PURPLE CEDAR, Tingle's first adult novel, is set for release in January of 2014. Fifteen years in the crafting, this novel describes the struggles of Choctaws in pre-statehood Oklahoma, through the eyes of a young girl who witnesses the burning down of New Hope Academy boarding school. Filled with hope in the most tragic of circumstance, HoPC is Tingle's testiment to Choctaw elders who continue to watch over the well-being of the Choctaw Nation and its people. An adventure novel with strong elements of magic realism, HOUSE OF PURPLE CEDAR is already generating much interest among reviewers.
Every Labor Day, Tingle performs a Choctaw story before Chief Gregory Pyle's State of the Nation Address, a gathering that attracts over ninety thousand tribal members and friends. In June of 2011, Tingle spoke at the Library of Congress and presented his first performance at the Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C. He was also a tribal storyteller at "Choctaw Days," a celebration honoring the Oklahoma Choctaws at the Smithsonian. He has been a featured storyteller at festivals in forty-two states, including five appearances at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee.
From 1986-1990, Tingle took regular trips to Mexico, collecting Hispanic ghost stories. He spent his summers in intensive language schools in Cuernavaca and San Miguel de Allende, obtaining a level of fluency in Spanish. Many folktales he learned from these journeys appear in his books for middle school readers, including three versions of "La Llorona." This tale is one of his most requested oral performance pieces.
Tingle received his Masters Degree in English Literature at the University of Oklahoma in 2003, with a focus on American Indian studies. While teaching freshmen writing courses and completing his thesis, "Choctaw Oral Literature," Tingle wrote his first book, Walking the Choctaw Road. It was selected by both Oklahoma and Alaska on the "One Book, One State" program, and was read by students and adults in communities throughout these states. The Anchorage Daily News sponsored Tingle on a two-week tour of Alaskan cities, including remote towns accessible only by sled and frozen rivers in the nine-month winter. WTCR is now studied at universities across the United States and abroad.
As a visiting author and performer, Tingle reaches audiences numbering over 200,000 annually. In 2009, he received a fellowship to write and produce a documentary film, "The Choctaw Lighthorsemen," a historical look at the tribal police force. The film premiered in Honolulu in September of 2011. He has completed eleven speaking tours for the U.S. Department of Defense, performing stories to children of military personnel stationed in Germany.
His first children's book, Crossing Bok Chitto, (Cinco Puntos Press, 2005), garnered over twenty state and national awards, including Best Children's Book from the American Indian Library Association, and was an Editor's Choice in the New York Times Book Review.
In 2010, Tingle welcomed the release of two books; Saltypie, a children's illustrated story of his childhood. Salty was awarded BEST CHILDREN'S BOOK from the American Indian Library Association. Also in 2010, Tingle contributed a story, "Rabbit's Tail Tale," to a multiple award-winning anthology, TRICKSTER.
MORE SPOOKY TEXAS TALES, the second in this series from Texas Tech Press (2009 release), includes scary stories for the 4-7th grade reader, set in modern times: Goth big sisters, runaways, Chupacabra prowlings, La Llorona at a San Antonio wedding, and suburban night-frights. Spooky Texas Tales, released in 2008, has won multiple awards.
For the adult reader, Tingle's short story, "Six Dead Cabbies," appears in the long-awaited anthology, LONE STAR NOIRE, set for a November release at the Texas Book Festival, on the grounds of the state capitol.
And....for fans of CROSSING BOK CHITTO, Tingle has completed a three-book series for the Young Adult reader, describing the adventures of Martha Tom and Lil Mo AFTER the miracle crossing. Expect a dose of kid-friendly American Indian history and Choctaw lore, including witchery, good and bad, evil death owls, snake people, and little men of the swamps and forests. No release date has been set for this exciting series.
For Tingle newcomers, Tim is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. His great-great grandfather, John Carnes, walked the Trail of Tears in 1835. From 2002 to the present, Tingle has performed a traditional Choctaw story before Chief Gregory Pyle's Annual State of the Nation Address at the tribal gathering in Tushkahoma, Oklahoma, a Choctaw reunion that attracts over 90 thousand people!
Tim completed his B.A. degree in English Literature from the University of Texas in 1975, and in 2003 received his M.A. in Native American Studies from the University of Oklahoma (football Saturdays are very interesting!). His stories are inspired by his own childhood and life experiences, and interviews he has conducted with Choctaws in Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, and Alabama over the last twenty years. Since the publication of his first book in 2003, the multiple award-winning WALKING THE CHOCTAW ROAD, Tingle has enjoyed a prolific and busy career. When not performing stories and speaking at festivals, universities, and many, many schools of all grade levels, Tingle divides his time between collecting Choctaw lore in Oklahoma and relaxing and writing on the shores of Canyon Lake, Texas. For a complete listing of books, reviews, and awards, visit his website: