This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Author Interview - Tina Ann Forkner

Tina Ann Forkner, author of A Ruby Among Us has joined us for a great interview. I have to admit, the title is quite intriguing and I love the new cover. Tina will be giving away a copy of her novel to a lucky winner from today's drawing, so be sure to leave a comment.

Jenn: Describe yourself for our visitors. (ex. hobbies, favorite music, ministries)

Tina: I love my library, so I stay busy serving on the Laramie County Library Foundation board of directors. I also love ministries that help all moms, so I volunteer for one of our local MOPS groups and I also volunteer to write articles on occasion for another great, but newer, faith-based organization called Moms @ Work (

As far as hobbies, I really enjoy gardening and spending time outdoors with my family. Both can be a challenge living in the Wyoming area due to weather, but we do our best! I am also a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and American Christian Fiction Writers and work full-time now as a writer.

Jenn: How do you find time to connect with God?

Tina: It’s so easy for me to get caught up doing everything my way, so I have to check in with Jesus often and make sure I’m not taking the whole world on my shoulders when I don’t have to. Sometimes it helps to just take a walk and get away from everything.

Jenn: Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?

Tina: I love a variety of authors, including Elizabeth Berg, Sue Monk Kidd, Cindy Woodsmall, 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 books are The Mark of the Lion series, as well as Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers, Open House, 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, To Kill a Mocking Bird, by Harper Lee 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.

Jenn: Tell us about your journey to publication.

Tina: I was a little kid when I told my parents I wanted to be a writer and they said, “Okay.” Much of that early writing was really bad, but my parents’ tendency to brag only encouraged me. It was a long road to publication. I majored in English in college, wrote literary poetry, lifestyle columns for my local newspaper, children’s books, etc. My children’s books were all rejected, by the way and so were many of my poems and essays.

At one point, I went through a divorce and experienced a time as a single mom when I was forced to focus on working full-time, as well as doing the mommy thing. That’s just what was more important at the time, so I didn’t get to write much during that period.

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.

Jenn: Tell us about your current book.

Tina: This book is all about grace and redemption. I really hope readers can connect. No matter what relationship we each have with our mothers, daughters, or grandmothers, those relationship in many ways define us. Lucy, Ruby, and Kitty are in many ways your average women dealing with circumstances that if we have not experienced, have touched friends or loved ones.

Here is the description: 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.

Jenn: How did you come up with ideas for this book?

Tina: 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, when I was living as a single mom 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 a question like, “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 later, after I got married, that I pulled that file back out and it turned into a book. It just goes to show that things definitely happen in God’s time, not ours.

Jenn: What's next for you?

Tina: I have a second book coming out from Waterbrook Press in 2009 that is a standalone, but gives a glimpse of some of the characters from Ruby Among Us. I also have three other books in the works that are as yet un-contracted, but I’m hoping for the best.

Jenn: Where can visitors find you online?

Tina: Visitors can find me online at my site and blog, both at I also blog occasionally over at Writer Interrupted

Tina, Thank you for joining us!

If you'd like to be entered in the drawing for Tina's debut novel, please leave your email address and at least a first name in the comment section. I'll contact the winner by email for a mailing address.


Great interview. Please put my name in for the drawing.


The book sounds wonderful!! Excellent interview, too. Tina, I think it's amazing that the idea for you new book came to you a long time ago--title and all (since I'm struggling with a title right now! :)). And even more amazing that you were able to jump right in and write it much later. You're so right about God's timing.

Jenn, please enter me in the drawing!


Sounds like a lovely book. Like the questions you asked.
Please place my name in the drawing.

This book sound great and the interview was wonderful. Please enter me.

I hope I didn't miss the drawing. Enter me in. Thanks. spowell01(at)

The cover is beautiful!
I would love to win a copy :)

Hi everyone! Thanks for all your comments!

Missy, I think this book weighed on my soul before I wrote it and that's why I could jump in.

And I have to admit I love the cover too! The artist is magnificent. I don't think I could have come up with it on my own.

Blessings all and come visit me sometime at my blog. :)

I would love to win this book. Please enter me in the drawing.

I am reading Tina's book now and it is wonderful. My father died on New Year's Eve, and as I have been reading this story, there are times when tears fill my eyes. Tina has mastered the technique of showing grief in her characters. I highly recommend her novel.

Rita Gerlach