Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Interview with Tina Ann Forkner and giveaway of Ruby Among Us

What was the best gift you have ever received?

First would be the gift of my daughter. She is the precious inspiration for my whole life. Second would be the gift of my husband and two sweet stepsons. They are a blessing I never asked for and never knew I needed until they came along.

Tina, please tell us a little about yourself.

Originally from Oklahoma, I graduated from CSU Sacramento before ultimately settling in Wyoming where I now live with my husband and our three children. I stay busy serving on the Laramie County Library Foundation board of directors and also enjoy gardening and spending time outdoors with my family. I am also a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and American Christian Fiction Writers and work full-time as a writer.

I always wonder how writers come up with their ideas for their books. Where did your inspiration come from for Ruby Among Us?

For a time I lived in Sacramento and spent a few weekends a month visiting relatives in Santa Rosa and driving through the Sonoma Valley. The beauty of it really grew on me and served in many ways to heal my heart as I went through some tough moments known only to me at the time. I think the setting lent itself to the book easily because I had absorbed so much of it during that growing period in my life.

One evening a few years later, I was living as a single mom in Wyoming and feeling particularly down about my situation in life. I began to think about my daughter and worry about what would happen to her if I were to die while she was still young. I asked myself the question, “What would she be told about me?”

And then like a typical writer, I expanded my questions to the hypothetical. “What if someone decided to take her away from everything that has to do with me? How would she feel? Would she try to find out about me?” And I sensed she would, so I typed out what amounted to a few paragraphs of fiction, or maybe a few pages, I can’t remember, and then I called it Ruby Among Us and closed the file. It wasn’t until I later married my husband that I pulled that file back out and it turned into a book.

Tina, please tell us a little about Ruby Among Us?

Set in the lush vineyards of present and past Sonoma Valley, Ruby Among Us weaves a story of three generations of women and the memory that binds their hearts together. Journey with Lucy as she searches for a heritage long-buried with her mother, Ruby, in this stirring tale of remembrance and redemption.

What do you enjoy most about writing Christian fiction?

I enjoy the hope that it brings in the end. There are many great books out in the general market that don’t have hopeful endings. I don’t think that every ending needs to be tied up with a pretty pink bow. In fact, I personally prefer a more complex ending, but I do like to see some kind of hope be the ultimate outcome of a story. That is definitely something you find in the Christian Fiction market.

I also enjoy the community of support from readers and writers, which seems to be very strong.

What would like readers to take away from Ruby Among Us?

Ruby Among Us is about grace and the redemptive power of faith and mother-daughter love.

I hope readers will enjoy this first novel of mine for its story and I would love if Ruby Among Us challenges some and brings hope to others. It’s a story from my heart and while I keep saying I didn’t have an agenda when I wrote it, sometimes the heart of a writer is a funny thing and manages to say things we didn’t know would surface in the story. But mostly I just wanted to tell a good story.

When you are not writing or marketing your books, what do you do in your spare time? I know that I have three children so spare time is a little foreign to me.

Like you, I have three children, so we stay very busy. We spend lots of time together as a family doing things outside or planning fun family nights in our home. I also stay really busy volunteering on the foundation board of directors at my local library. In addition, I stay involved with my MOPS group and whenever I can, I garden.

Do you have any advice for novice or aspiring writers?

Not to ever lose site of the act of writing. Blogs, conferences, writing loops, etc. etc. are great networking tools, but can take a great deal of time away from writing. Doing too much of it before you are published seems to me a little like putting the cart before the horse. Work on your craft first. The only way to get better at it is to write as much as possible.

If you would like to purchase a new copy click on this linkRuby Among Us: A Novel

If you would like to win a copy of Ruby Among Us please leave a comment and be sure to answer the question. We all have had to say goodbye to loved ones, and Lucy in the story would love to spend another day with her mother. Who would you like to spend another day with if you could? I would spend time with the grandparents I miss so dearly. I did not spend enough time with them listening to thier stories as a child or teen and I regret not learning more about them.


Golden Parsons said...

My mom passed away June a year ago and I thought we had talked about everything we needed to. But several times this year I have wanted to ask her about several things - simple things like "Which coconut pie recipe did you use?" My debut novel is based on her family heritage. I wish she could have seen it published. Please enter me in the giveaway.


Cheryl said...

I have tried to win this book several times. It sounds like a great book. Please enter me in the drawing. My email address is shryackmom[@]charter[.]net

Anonymous said...

The person I wish I had spent more time with is my grandmother. Although I'd known her all my life, I didn't know everything about her. It was difficult for me to have a full conversation with her, because she spoke mostly Italian, and I can't understand much of it. I usually needed someone to interpret for me. What a language barrier.

Please enter me in the book drawing. Thanks a bunch!

Deborah Piccurelli

Carole said...

I would have to say my mother also, Donna. I'm an only child and we were extremely close. I wish I had spent more time with her at the end - but then there's so much to look forward to in Heaven!

I've wanted to read Tina's book since the first review came out. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Stacey said...

The book sounds great! Please put my name in the drawing. Thanks. Also, a great question, Donna! It made me realize that I really didn't leave anything left unsaid with those I've loved and lost. However, my father was killed in an automobile accident before I was born, so I would choose to spend a day with him.


Pamela J said...

I already love the characters in this book just from reading posts and interviews around this and other blogs. Please enter me in your drawing. Thanks.
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Bethany said...

My mother-in-law died 7 years ago, very suddenly and unexpectedly. I only knew her for about 7 years, so I wish I had more time with her, and that she could have met our second son.
I have been wanting this book also, so please enter me in the drawing.
Thank you so much,

luv2read said...

I would like to spend a day with my birth father who I never met. I was adopted at 13 months of age and in my thirties met my birth mother for the first time. Enter me in the drawing. spowell01(at)bellsouth(dot)net

stampedwithgrace said...

one of my grandmother's died when I was 8 months old and my other one died when I was 19. I would love to spend a day with each of them. one, getting to know her and the other appreciating time with her. hopefully in heaven!

Doreen said...

I have a Sister that I never met--she would be older than me. She passed away as a little baby. I wish I had her to talk to during some rough times and just have her here with me but I know she's in a much better place than here on earth--heaven! I know I'll meet her someday!! Please enter me into this contest. Thanks. purposedrivenlife4you AT gmail DOT com

Becky C. said...

I would give anything in this world, to be able to spend another day with my parents, although that wouldn't be long enough.

Ilost my beloved mother, in April of 2004, and my dear Dad, in May of 2005.

I'm afraid, it still hurts, and I misst them so much!

Please enter me in the contest.

Thank you,

Becky Carden

Theresa N. said...

Great interview, the book sounds wonderful. I would want to spend time more time with one of grandparents. I wouldn't be able to choose which one,they were all wonderful people.
Theresa N

Tina said...

Hello all. Thank you so much for sharing your heartfelt comments. Many blessings to you all and your loved ones.