There's a lot of buzz going around about the new book by Tina Forkner - Ruby Among Us. I'm glad to host her on this blog.
Probably quite a lot, but the final result is purely fictional. In the case of Ruby Among Us, several characters were inspired by experiences I have had or observed in others. For example, the mother-daughter concept was inspired by my own experiences.
It’s not that I have had every experience of the mothers and daughters in the book, but I can relate because of where I was at in my life when the book was first conceived. I was a single mom for awhile and so are Ruby and Kitty. How I got there was different than my characters, but I know what it’s like to be alone and feel solely responsible for another person’s life.
So, there are many aspects of my characters that are born out of reality, but once the big picture of the story opens up for me, everything is fictionalized. It has to be since my life just isn’t all that interesting.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Some of my friends think that my being a writer is quirky. I do like putting potato chips on my sandwich. Does that count?
Sounds interesting. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I have always known as far back as I can remember that I am a writer. 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.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books 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 other books have you written, whether published or not?
My next book, Rose House, is due from Waterbrook Press in 2009, and I am working on three other books right now.
I'd love to feature an interview with Rose House. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Pray desperately. Really! Sometimes it helps to just take a walk and get away from everything.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Honestly, I just pick names I like. As the story unfolds, names change. I misnamed one of my characters in Ruby Among Us and my editor and I worked hard to rename her. I ended up consulting some Latino friends who helped me come up with a name (Maria Lucero DiCamillo) that reflected the character’s heritage and the feelings of her mother when she named her. She eventually became Lucy.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Besides being a mom? It would have to be finishing my first novel and having it published.
Yes, that is a special accomplishment. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
My daughter and step-sons play this game too and they are always things like monkeys, raccoons, and puppies. The last time they played it, my daughter told me I was a fawn deer. I don’t know why, but I hope it’s because I’m her mommy and I’m nice.
What is your favorite food?
I love Italian and Chinese, but I think my favorite has to be Mexican. My sister and I love to find the closest Mexican restaurant and have chips and queso any time when we are together. And when my sister-in-law and mom are there, it’s even better.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I have to admit that as far as the act of writing itself, I have not had any big roadblocks, but I think time is the biggest challenge for me when it comes to writing as a career. I am only in my thirties, but I have been writing my whole life, so it seemed like I would never be able to even finish a novel, let alone have it published. I’d already had so many other things rejected, that I just expected to continue to be rejected forevermore. Maybe that’s why when I wrote Ruby Among Us, I told myself I would just write it and not worry about publishing at all.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
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.
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 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.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
www.tinaannforkner.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tina, thank you for spending this time with us. I just love your cover.
Readers, as always, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book.
Tomorrow I'll choose winners of three other books, so come back or sign up for FeedBlitz under my profile so you won't miss a single post.