Tina Forkner’s interview

» Posted on Jun 4, 2008 in Blog | Comments Off on Tina Forkner’s interview

Don’t forget to leave a comment with your email address (I have to have that) or email me at margaretdaley@gmail.com if you want to be entered in the drawing for Tina’s book, Ruby Among Us. The contest ends this Sunday evening.

Tina Forkner’s interview:
What do you write and why this genre?

I write contemporary fiction that focuses on the intricacies of family relationships. I choose to write in this genre because I’m interested in interactions and relationships in families, especially intergenerational. My mom has four sisters, plus all her sisters-in-law, so maybe growing up around all that estrogen is what shaped my chosen genre. As a result, I tend to write a lot about women.

Tell us a little about your debut novel, 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 author’s books do you enjoy reading?

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 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, 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.

What inspired you to write 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 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 I later married my husband that I pulled that file back out and it turned into a book.

Tell us a little about your favorite character?

It’s hard to choose between Lucy, Ruby, and Kitty, but their shared story is told by the youngest, Lucy DiCamillo. She is a gifted young college student living a very private, quiet life with her grandmother surrounded by books, music, and art. Her longing in life is to remember her mother.

Lucy’s character developed as the story unfolded, but because I already knew she was going to be struggling with trying to remember her mother, I shaped her personality around that. Lucy really had to be the kind of person who doesn’t watch television very often or care a great deal about the internet, or pop culture. So Lucy ended up being a very introspective person who doesn’t explore much beyond her own home and expresses her longing for her mother’s memories through artistic endeavors. She is in many ways a recluse surrounded by an artful life.

What message do you hope readers gain from your novel?

I hope they get lost in the world of Lucy, Kitty, and Ruby and fill satisfied and hopeful after they have read it. The book is about grief and redemption. Those are things I hope readers will be able to relate to.

Which reference writing book on your shelf is most worn out and why?

It’s a tie between Opposite of Fate, by Amy Tan and Faith of a Writer by Joyce Carol Oates (Not to be confused with Christian Faith, but having faith in oneself as a writer). Neither book is about the nuts and bolts of writing, but both are about the writing life. Both authors are years and years ahead of me in ability and success, so reading their thoughts challenges me.

What advice would you give to 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 horse before the cart. Work on your craft first. The only way to get better at it is to write as much as possible.

What new books are you working on?

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.