Friday, May 16, 2008
FEATURED AUTHOR: Tina Ann Forkner
Tina Ann Forkner is originally from Oklahoma. She graduated with honors in English from CSU Sacramento before ultimately settling in the wide-open spaces of Wyoming where she now resides with her husband, beautiful daughter, and two amazing step-sons. Tina serves on the Laramie County Library Foundation Board of Directors and enjoys gardening and spending time outdoors with her family. She has held a number of jobs over the years including being an Executive Assistant for a technology company, a pre-school teacher, and even working at a bed and breakfast. Tina now works as a full-time freelance writer and novelist.
Ruby Among Us
Sometimes, the key that unlocks your future lies in someone else’s past… 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.
Ruby Among Us releases in May of 2008 from Waterbrook Press, a division of Random House
What would you like your readers to take away from your book?
Ultimately, I just wanted to tell a good story, but I hope readers will go away with a feeling of redemption. In the book, secrets and judgments hold people back from their true heritage, love, faith and family. While I don’t want to sound like a cliché, there is freedom in truth. For my characters, happiness can never be found until they step out of their comfort zones to seek the truth.
What did you learn while writing this book?
Good question. When I write, it is almost always because I have some kind of question to ask. One of the many questions I asked myself when writing Ruby Among Us was why do people keep secrets for so many years when they could just be set free by telling them? For my characters, secrets build and build like a house of cards until one day it seems like too much will be destroyed by telling the truth. By the time the grandmother, Kitty, realizes she could have told her secret decades earlier with difficult, but better, results she is convinced it’s too late to be redeemed to all the people she has hurt.
What is your favorite scene from this book?
One scene I really like is when Lucy, the granddaughter in the novel, is dressed in her Barbie night gown and walks out of her mother Ruby’s room wearing Ruby’s lipstick, high heels and beads. She just wants to look grown up like her mommy. I took this scene from my own life as a mother and I think it really drives home how much of an influence we have on our little girls as mothers, grandmothers, aunts, etc.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
As a fiction writer, I would tell non-writers that while yes, true events inspire fiction (Ruby Among Us is very much inspired by real life), in the end it really is all fiction. Everything isn’t autobiographical.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I most enjoyed the act of writing. This is my first novel, so I was writing it without too much thought of publication or anyone outside of loved ones reading it. Hardly anyone knew I was writing it for a long time, so there was a sense of purity to the process of writing the story. I had no censor inside or out to tell me I was doing it wrong. Maybe first novels all have the earmarks or mistakes of a first novelist, but there is nothing as innocent and pure as writing the first book.
There was no least favorite thing about writing, but if you add the business side (pitching, marketing, PR, networking, etc.) it was hard for me to put myself out there publicly at first.
What are three things you wish you'd known before you reached where you are now?
Only three? As far as publishing, I wish I’d known how slow publishing can be. Even after you get contracted, the publishing process takes a long time.
The other two, I will relate to life, which also relates to my writing since it is so relationship driven: Family is everything. And mothers and grandmothers seem much wiser when we are old enough to realize we don’t know everything.
What do you do to make time for yourself?
Gardening helps me to stay focused and sometimes it helps to just take a walk and get connected spiritually. I guess that one could argue that prayer isn’t really taking time for you, but it’s what rejuvenates me and when I’m praying outside I feel more connected to God. I can always tell when I have been remiss in doing this because the world starts to feel really heavy.
This month our theme is Resources on the Net. Can you give us five resources you use on the net?
Yes. I have many favorites, but here are five of them:
Novel Journey http://noveljourney.blogspot.com/
5 Minutes for Mom http://www.5minutesformom.com/
Writer Interrupted http://www.ginaconroy.com/groupblog/wordpress/
So You Wanna Be Published http://www.wannabepublished.blogspot.com/
Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?
Not to ever lose site of the act of writing. Blogging, 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 horse before the cart. It’s not that you should or shouldn’t do any of that, but work on your craft first. The only way to get better at it is to write as much as possible.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
I would love to hear from readers. My web site and blog are both at http://www.tinaannforkner.com/
and my email information is on the site too.
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