April 30, 2011

Tim Tingle on Trickster

Author Interview:  Tim Tingle

By Marie PennyTim Tingle is a Choctaw author and storyteller who recently contributed to Trickster: Native American Tales-A Graphic Collection, a 2011 YALSA Great Graphic Novel for Teens book.

I had the pleasure of speaking with this gifted speaker and writer and what follows is his thoughtful response to my questions:

Were you familiar with the graphic novel medium before contributing to Trickster?

Yes. I perform storytelling at schools and know that most middle-school students are excited by graphic novels. Many librarians have shared this with me, how they have seen reluctant readers flock to graphic novels. There is such an instant appeal with graphic novels. I also appreciate narrative-driven games. Some are very well-written, and game imagery often correlates with the imagery found in graphic novels.

What did you think when Matt Dembicki contacted you to contribute to Trickster? (note: Dembicki states in his author’s note that some storytellers were reluctant to contribute due to uncertainty about the book’s intentions.)

I was leap for joy happy! In addition to storytelling, I write books, and trying to pitch a book to a publisher is not always a simple process. So when someone contacts you directly, it is an honor! When I saw the others on board, including figureheads in the storytelling and literary community such as Joe Bruchac, there was no hesitation. Every tribe approaches their stories differently. My mentor, the Choctaw tribal storyteller Charley Jones says, “tell the stories,” but make sure the origin is acknowledged. The Choctaw tribe is very open, you don’t have to be Choctaw to tell the story, but you must respect the tribal origins. Matt Dembicki understood this, as well as the importance of the trickster tale.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Trickster Nominated for Eisner Award and How Trickster Got Its Cover.

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