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Friday, May 30, 2008

CFBA Blog Tour - Tina Ann Forkner and Ruby Among Us

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Ruby Among Us
( Waterbrook Press - May 20, 2008)
by Tina Ann Forkner


Tina Ann Forkner writes contemporary fiction that challenges and inspires. 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 and their three children. Tina serves on the Laramie County Library Foundation Board of Directors and enjoys gardening, spending time outdoors with her family, and works as a full-time writer.

by Tina Ann Forkner
Published by Waterbrook Press


Sometimes, the key that unlocks your future lies in someone else's past...

In Ruby Among Us, Lucy DiCamillo is safely surrounded by her books, music, and art─but none of these reclusive comforts or even the protective efforts of her grandmother, Kitty can shield her from the memory of the mother she can no longer remember. Lucy senses her grandmother holds the key, but Kitty seems as eager to hide from the past as Lucy is eager to find it.

From the streets of San Francisco and Sacramento, to the lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley, Lucy follows the thread of memory in search for a heritage that seems long-buried with her mother, Ruby.

What she finds is enigmatic and stirring in this redemptive tale about the power of faith and mother-daughter love.

"What an incredible story. As both mothers and daughters, Ruby Among Us struck a special cord in each of the four of us. Tina writes in a way that makes us feel like we're there; from the first line, we were captivated and drawn into an intricate weaving of the precious and fragile relationships that define us."
~Point of Grace

"Reading is a passion of mine, and when I find myself identifying with the characters, anxious to get to the next page to find answers to my questions, I know I'm into a good book! The daughter-mother-grandmother theme in Ruby Among Us pulled me in. Wonderful story-telling."
~Jordin Sparks~, 2007 winner of American Idol

"Highly recommended. If you're a mother or daughter, you're going to love Ruby Among Us. Forkner does an extraordinary job...I look forward to more from this author."
~Ane Mulligan, Novel Journey

"Don't miss this one! Tina Ann Forkner is a strong new voice in fiction and Ruby Among Us is an amazing story of trials, regrets, and, ultimately, redemption. Lucy and her family history in the historic wine country of Sonoma bring to life the Scriptures about the Vine and His branches."
~Kristin Billerbeck, author of The Trophy Wives Club

Buy your copy of Ruby Among Us today!

If you would like to read the first chapter go HERE.


1. This is your first novel. Congratulations! What gave you the inspiration for this story?

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. I think the setting lent itself to the book easily because I had absorbed so much of it during that time.

A few years later, I was living as a single mom in Wyoming and 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 know it sounds dark, but when one is a single mom, these things come to mind even if there is a father involved in the child's life.

During this introspection, I asked myself the question, "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?"

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.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

Probably quite a bit, especially the aspect of knowing what it is like to be a single mom, but actual people in the book are fiction. I don't mean that as a disclaimer, but things that happen to Lucy, Ruby, and Kitty in the story are only reflections of what I've observed in life as I've questioned and tried to learn about why things happen the way they do.

Perhaps some things I know about first hand and then they became fiction, but many things I've seen other people go through and wondered how they survived it emotionally and physically? How does one manage to go on when terrible things happen to them? These were questions I had and was trying to figure out the answers to when I wrote Ruby Among Us.

3. What themes exist in Ruby Among Us that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

Actually, nothing was overt from the beginning because at first I didn't realize Ruby Among Us was going to be a novel. I don't outline ahead of time, so I was really focused more on the story as it came and any themes evolved as the story progressed.

One theme that came through fairly early during the writing was the desire for at least some of my characters to find redemption with each other, and possibly spiritually. I have read many amazing books that really didn’t leave me with much hope or faith at all, so I think I needed to write a story that on some level was real, but would still leave me feeling hopeful. Other writers, including Francine Rivers with Redeeming Love, have done this before me, so it's not like it's a new thing, of course, but it's what I felt passionate about when I was writing the story.

Another theme that evolved during the writing of Ruby Among Us deals with how keeping secrets really puts people in bondage. I think that truth really can set people free emotionally and my characters are in bondage as a result of the secrets the grandmother, Kitty, keeps. She doesn't realize that her secrets aren’t protecting her granddaughter at all, but instead keep her imprisoned in a way that keeps Lucy from growing up.

4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

It's hard to write about death. It's not that I felt any writer's block about that part of the writing, but it was pretty emotional at times.

My favorite parts to write were the single-mom/daughter scenes between Lucy and Ruby. I know how that relationship and responsibility feels, so it came very naturally.

5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

My next book comes out in 2009. It's called Rose House and while it focuses on a sister-sister relationship, readers will get to see what happens to some of the characters in Ruby Among Us, including my favorite character, Kitty.

* * * * *

Thank you, Tina, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE copy of Ruby Among Us.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname or that it's available for viewing in your blogger profile. Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

* * * * *


Shelley L. MacKenzie said...

Please enter me in your book contest. This sounds like it will be a great read! My email is tabby20004 [at] hotmail [dot] com.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for hosting me Tiff. I love your site! And it was great connecting with you at CCWC!

Pamela J said...

I'm thrilled to see this book here. Tina talked about her book showing redemption between characters as well as spiritual. AND that she left us with a feeling of faith and hope. YUP!! Sounds like a book for me. Please enter me in your contest. Thanks.
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

tetewa said...

I've been hearing alot about this one, count me in!

Anonymous said...

the cover is so beautiful and it's sounds like a great read!

Carole said...

I've read so much about Ruby Among Us on blogs this week that I really want to read this book. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy - and congratulations to Tina on being published!

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Grateful Gramma said...

This sounds like a great read. Please enter my name in the drawing. Thanks!

Carolynn said...

I have heard so many good things about this book, I can't wait to read it myself . Thanks for the chance to win!

ChristyJan said...

I've also been hearing and reading wonderful things about Tina's first novel. RUBY AMONG US sounds like such a great read and I like knowing that there is another book in the future with characters from the first book.

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a winner for this drawing, and that is:


I've emailed you for your information so your book can be sent out.

NINE other drawing winners announced. Check out the posts on Rene Gutteridge, Vickie McDonough, Donita K. Paul, Nancy Moser, Marlo Schalesky, Gayle Roper, Tamera Alexander, Allison Pittman and Sandra Robbins.

Thanks, as always, for your support.