Tina Ann Forkner is a debut author whose book about three generations of mothers and daughters released in time for Mother's Day. Tina writes full-time from her wide open spaces of Wyoming where she resides with her family and serves on the local library Board of Directors. I don't remember how I learned of her book but because I enjoy women's fiction0--and because it has a beautiful book cover--it caught my eye. Welcome, Tina!
Tina, thanks for stopping by my blog. I'd like to begin by asking about your beginning. How did you get started writing?
I’ve written since I was a little kid. I wrote a great deal of poetry, essays, and some fiction when I was in college, but finding time was difficult when I became a single mom. At that point I had to focus on working full-time, as well as doing the mommy thing. That’s just what was more important at the time.
It wasn’t until I later married my husband that I had time to write the novel. I went to a writing conference the same year I finished the book and was invited by an editor to submit my manuscript. It would be cool if I could say, “and he decided to publish it!” But it was ultimately rejected. It wasn’t until I had an agent that it finally sold to Waterbrook Press. That was a fabulous day.
What kinds of books do you read most?
I primarily read women’s fiction. I love a variety of authors, including Elizabeth Berg, Sue Monk Kidd, Jane Kirkpatrick, Amy Tan, Lisa Samson, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Colleen Coble, and others, but I am more of a favorite book person than a favorite author person. Some of my favorite books are The Mark of the Lion series, as well as Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, Open Houseuse by Elizabeth Berg, The Hundred Secret Senses and Saving Fish From Drowning, by Amy Tan, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Watching the Tree Limbs by Mary DeMuth, The Trophy Wives Club by Kristin Billerbeck, and Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. On occasion I like to read a good fantasy. My recent favorite is Auralia’s Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet.
I see we enjoy many of the same authors and even some of the same books. I too like women's fiction, which is what attracted me to your novel. What inspired you to write an intergenerational story about mothers and daughters?
I have always loved to hear my mom tell stories about her mother and my grandmothers and I was always very close to my paternal grandmother when I was growing up. She told me story after story about her own family. I think those stories really taught me some good life lessons. Plus, I have so many aunts that I can’t help being interested in intergenerational relationships between women. I think the wisdom that older women pass down to the younger generation is very important.
How does faith play a role in your storytelling?
I think the redemptive qualities of my stories are where faith plays out, although I’ve had readers email and tell me other ways that faith has touched them after reading Ruby Among Us. I think redemption to each other and to God is really a universal thing that people relate to, and if the reader is a Christian, then the meaning probably goes even deeper for that reader.
I also received a compliment recently from a reader who said that after reading Ruby Among Us, she realized (and I’m paraphrasing) that we can see and learn about God in every day life and experiences. That was a compliment because I do feel that way. I love church, but God teaches me so much through living and His words are made real for me when I see His promises carry through into every day life. That probably comes through in my writing even though I don’t plan it that way.
The journey to publication is unique to each author. What has surprised you most about the publishing process?
Probably how slow the publishing process is. Everyone tells you how slow it can be when you first get contracted, but it’s still a bit of a surprise. A publisher’s calendar is not the same as a writer’s.
Based on your experiences, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Not to ever lose sight 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 horse before the cart. Work on your craft first. The only way to get better at it is to write as much as possible.
LOL! I think you were talking to me in that last response! Moving on... (and still laughing)
Tina, you're a library supporter. How important are libraries in the ever-changing new media world we live in?
I think libraries are extremely important. My library, the Laramie County Library in Wyoming, has incorporated new technology and it has worked wonderfully for our community. We have more computers and we have internet, DVDs and CDs, but we still have books on every floor that remain very popular. I think libraries are changing to reflect the culture, but books will always be important.
Newer types of media in today’s world might make everything seem temporary, but I think that stories will always remain. Libraries will always be a crucial part of the preservation of books and history whether we are talking about fiction or non-fiction, no matter what forms books take in the future.
I do admit, I hope we always have paper books with covers that we can hold in our hands, no matter what else we have to choose from.
Me too! I get hit with a sense of nostalgia every time I browse a library and have loved introducing my sons to the pleasures of library patronage.
Tell us one thing about you that readers would be surprised to know.
Even though I write about women who don’t seem to have much support from men in their lives, I’m a daddy’s girl. I have a wonderful father who is very supportive.
How wonderful! From one daddy's girl to another, I'm glad you stopped by and look forward to reading your book.
Patricia, thank you so much!
Learn more about Tina and Ruby Among Us at her website: http://tinaannforkner.wordpress.com/
Peace & Blessings,
Stay focused. Move Forward. Believe.
Peace & Blessings,
Stay focused. Be deliberate. Believe.