Tina Ann Forkner writes fiction that challenges and inspires hope and is the author of Ruby Among Us and Rose House from Waterbrook Press.

(Tina loves this video Waterbrook Press made of her several months before Ruby Among Us was released because it reflects all of the wonderful and crazy emotions of a first time novelist journey)

Tina grew up in a small Oklahoma town and now lives in Wyoming with her husband and is mom/step-mom to three bright children. Tina stays busy with being a mother, serving on the Laramie County Library Foundation Board of Directors, and trying to keep up with her faithful dog who is part mutt and part Pharaoh hound. You can learn more about Tina and her books at

Librarians Lucie Osborn & Carey Hartman at the Library which hosted launch party for Ruby Among Us.

Kitty DiCamillo's Mantecada recipe from Ruby Among Us served at the launch party - they are beautiful and yummy.

Scrumptuous food from launch party of Ruby Among Us. I loved it. Here's the link for the receipe

Book signing with Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller at Mardels during Journey 08 in Colorado, so much fun.

You are one busy lady, when do you find the time to write?
What time of day works best for you? Where do you enjoy writing most?

Between the activities of my lovely daughter and two sweet stepsons, I sometimes meet myself coming and going, but my kids keep me grounded. Sometimes it is a challenge to find writing time, but I simply have to make it a priority. I am very grumpy when my writing routine slips.

My best time is to write around five in the morning. I can’t say it’s always that early, but it is my best time. I write some during the day too and my favorite place to write is in my living room near a sunny window where I can glance out and daydream when I’m stuck.

Some writers plot out what they are going to write step by step and other say they write by the seat-of-their-pants, which style of writing best describes your style?

I don’t plot ahead of time because the story emerges better for me as I write. I always begin a new novel by free writing. Once the characters come alive and motivations become clear I will go back and fill in the holes. It usually takes me about five chapters to really shape the story. Being a “seat-of-the-pants” writer usually means more editing, so constant self-editing is key during my process.

Where did you get the idea for Rose House? Did you have any say in the cover? What was your working title?

Rose House was born out of my first novel, Ruby Among Us. In Ruby Among Us, there is a house that one of the characters has taken care of during the years he was estranged from his wife. Over three decades of his hoping she would return, he tended and trained rose vines to grow up over the house. It earned the nickname, Rose House and was destined to become very famous among tourists who would visit the fictional Sonoma Valley town of La Rosaleda and see the house as a symbol of hopes and dreams.

In my latest novel, Rose House, a woman buried in grief finds the Rose House to be very meaningful in her own life and goes back to it to find strength and hope. As for the mystery of the novel concerning a certain painting, that just emerged out of the story. There are all these wonderful art galleries in the Sonoma Valley and I’m sure that visiting some of those planted the idea in my mind.

My working title has always been Rose House and I am blessed that Waterbrook Press decided to keep it

I have had the opportunity to have a say in the cover to some extent, but both times I haven’t needed to give much input at all. The cover artist, Kelly Howard, perfectly captured the meaning of my story in the cover of both novels. I have been more than pleased about the design both times.

Is your husband a hands-on kind of partner? Does he help youwith your writing?

That makes me smile. He would never want to help me with my writing and the feeling is mutual! He is really very left-brained and I’m right-brained, so it would never work. That said, he is extremely supportive of me and is very involved in my career. His talents are in business and he is a huge motivator. He is the one who has always encouraged me to keep an eye on the business side of writing. If not for him, I might not have ever been published.

Could you please share some of your testimony with us? How has that impacted your writing?

This picture is of me, my mom and sister. I am so blessed to have grown up in a Christian home. I was saved when I was eight and have always had the reassurance of salvation to get me through, and it is a good thing since my life hasn’t been perfect. I left home at eighteen when I married my high school sweetheart. He was in the military and we spent some good years living in England and in California. I wish I could say it had a happy ending like in the movies, but that’s not how it ended up for me.

The great thing that came from all that, besides rediscovering God’s amazing grace through my divorce and single motherhood, is my daughter. She is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. She is such an amazing child. Sometimes I feel bad and worry about what divorce has done to her and to all my children, but I see God’s grace shining through them all the time. And that is what has impacted my writing.

While I don’t have an agenda when I write, it is grace that blankets the entire story. People fail, people make mistakes, and bad things happen to innocent people, Christian or not. Everyone is looking for hope, I don’t care who you are. I hope my novels show that hope to anyone who reads them.

How much of you is in this story? Please explain? If you are in this story, does it make it harder or easier to write? Please explain.

I think the hurts I’ve gone through in my life manifest themselves in my writing because it’s a way to work things out in my own heart. That said, I can take the knowledge I have and put it in a different situation. For example, I have been through a divorce, so I understand the grief that comes with losing a mate, but I didn’t write about divorce in Rose House. Instead, I wrote about a widow who grieves for a deceased husband.

I think knowledge of the emotions I write about makes it easier to write books, but only when I’ve had distance from the situation I am borrowing from. I would never be able to write about something I am experiencing right now.

It’s only distance that allows me perspective and gives me the freedom to take an experience I’ve known or observed and form it into fiction so that it no longer resembles my reality. I also borrow from the emotions of others I know or have known. It’s all about what perspective a writer has about a certain situation, but it always turns into fictional.

I've heard authors say that their characters come alive and took them places they didn't expect to go? Did this happen in any of the books that you have written?

Yes. This is what happens in all of my stories. When I start, I might have a character in mind, but I don’t really know her until I start writing about her. I certainly never planned to go down the roads that Kitty went down in Ruby Among Us. She took me places I really didn’t want to go, but I had to because she had to go there to find redemption.

In Rose House, I certainly wanted to go back to La Rosaleda again in my second novel, but I wasn’t expecting the sister relationship to be quite as imperfect as it turned out. I have a great sister in real life who would never do some of the things that the characters in my novel do to each other, but it had to happen that way for them. Their conflict developed as I got further into the story.

How hard is it for you to come up with names for your characters? Please describe how you went about coming up with the final names for your characters in this story?

I’m not really good at names, but if it has a connotation that I think fits the story then all the better. In Ruby Among Us, the names were more significant than in Rose House because I was trying to show the mother-daughter-granddaughter relationship and how each woman was different, yet connected.

I did seek to choose a name for the main character that showed her personality and that would also be a clue from her mother as to her true heritage. For that one, I asked a Latina friend to help me make the right choice and it really helped since the name we came up with was very evocative of the merge of cultures in this particular character’s life.

I like to borrow names from my own family just for fun and if it fits the character. Two character in Rose House are named after family members.

Out of all the characters you have written or read which ones are most like you? Why? Which one would you secretly want to be? Why?

What an intriguing question! Well, I am not sure! Maybe I might like to be Paige in Rose House. Paige owns a beautiful bed and breakfast in La Rosaleda and while she isn’t a perfect person, she’s come to a place in her life where things are good for her and she seeks opportunities to help others. She’s ready for an adventure, which she tries to have through her friend, Lillian, the main character of Rose House. She’s also cute and confident, which are both things I’m lacking in!

What three things are you most thankful in your life for? Why?

My Blended Family – For awhile, I viewed my family as God’s fall back plan for my life, as if the failure of my first marriage made me undeserving of happiness and I was just darn lucky to have found my husband. I now know that my marriage to Albert isn’t an accident, but a destination and I’m so grateful for the family we have built. It’s not that I believe divorce is okay, but what I’ve realized is that God always knew what would happen and where I would end up. He was ultimately in control and I am grateful for his providence in my life and family.

My Family I Grew Up With – I grew up in a family that is so accepting and never gives up on anyone. In our family, you can always go home no matter what you’ve done. I have the greatest parents and the most wonderful brother and sister. And I have a ton of aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. who are amazing and inspire my life and my work.

My Daughter – Besides God, of course, my daughter has been the constant in my adult life. We have been through so much together and our journey has created a bond that is not necessarily better than other mothers and daughters, but different. Having her in my life has kept me centered and focused on what is important, even when other things tried to pull me off course. She has been my saving grace in life.

This is the family Mutt!! What a Hoot!! Thanks for sharing this picture Tina.


1. If you were trapped in a dangerous and life threatening situation, which fictional character would you choose to save your life? (this could be a cartoon, comic book character, a super hero, a movie persona, etc. ) Why?

It would definitely be MacGyver. My family used to watch it all the time in the eighties and that man can get out of a life threatening situation with a toothpick!

2.What two places do you love to shop? Why?

I’m not a big shopper in general. It makes my feet hurt and gives me a headache. I can never find anything that fits and I feel guilty spending money on clothes. Now, put me in a bookstore and I don’t feel guilty anymore! Thank God for libraries or my budget would really be in trouble.

3.What special quality or talent do you have that would surprise people? What special event have you experienced that would surprise people?

Oh my goodness. I am so untalented! The only thing I can really think of is that I can convince the kids that just about anything is fun. I don’t believe we have to spend money to have fun. For example, we plan camping vacations and when the kids get bored, I just suggest that a rock or a stick could be this or that and the next thing I know they’ve created an entire activity out of it. Our kids have the best imaginations once we take away the Wii and television.

4. If you had all the time in the world (and just as much money); to do ANYTHING you wanted, what would you do?

I would build new houses for my parents and my mother-in-law, but I would make my kids help build it. We would have our own version of Extreme Home Makeover. Then I would leave my kids with the grandparents in their fun new houses and my husband and I would take a tropical vacation. As amazing as our family is, it is hard work! Every parent in a blended family deserves a romantic vacation with their spouse, take my word for it.

5. If money is not a problem where is your favorite place to have breakfast? What is your favorite thing to order there? Where would you go for dinner? What would you eat?

Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill for breakfast. We don’t have one here, but we’ve been there twice in other locations. Amazing. I don’t remember what it was called, but I had a layered dish of blue corn tortillas and eggs and the tortillas stayed crisp. So good.

And the menu had these little jalapeno muffins that are divine!

For dinner? I would go to The Melting Pot. My husband and I love the food and the pace. We only splurge on it once or twice a year, but it’s always worth it. We like the dessert best and I get to choose, so I pick the white and dark chocolate mix.

6. If you found a magic lamp and the genie inside was going to grant you three wishes, what would your wishes be?

I would ask for a professional housekeeper, a leaner body, and good health for my family. Haha. Does that sound shallow? Honestly, I am not really sure what I would ask for. There are so many needs that I see in my community, friends and family that it would be a tough call. So, I go back to the first three things that I said.

7. They have recently invented a machine where you could change ONE thing about yourself; you have been given the opportunity to use that machine. What would you change? What would that change look like in your life?

I would turn the dial of that machine to Be More Organized. As a result, my mostly clean, but very lived in house would be free of clutter, everything would be in its place. My bookshelves would be in alphabetical order, I would be able to find the peanut butter in the cabinet, and my fridge would be clean and orderly. My laundry would all be folded and my closet would be as clean as my husband’s. He is a neat freak when it comes to his own things. I am envious!!! Sometimes I go into his closet and switch things around just because I’m jealous. Haha. I’m not kidding! Ask my mom.

8.What are some of your favorite books you read as a child?

When I was a child, my Daddy gave me a small stack of books that were his when he was little. I started reading them just because they were his, but I fell in love with Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and Black Beauty. I also loved Island of the Blue Dolphins.

9.Say you were chosen to be a guest speaker on a TV talk show, which show would you most want to be on and why?.

I would want to be on The View. It is my guilty pleasure. My husband really doesn’t get them at all, but I think those ladies are a riot. They are so funny! Especially that Sherry. I identify with her down-to-earth personality. I would love to get on there with them.

10. If you had to be a super hero for a while who would you be and why? (you can mix and match the powers and make up your own clothing line (Ha!) you are the author here – be creative).

I would want to be Mrs. Incredible. She is so stretchy and I imagine that stretchy arms and legs could really come in handy as a mother. I would definitely change her outfit though. It really doesn’t give her bottom any forgiveness at all, so I think I would add a sort of sheath top that covers the behind a little more and ditch the whole cape thing. And I don’t really think she should have to wear red and black like her husband, so I would make it hot pink and black. If I am going to be a Super Hero, I might as well have style.


I just want to say thanks to you for having me on here, Nora, and thank you to my readers. I really believe in the power of Women’s Fiction and think it touches so many lives. I have been amazed at the wonderful response from readers who read my books looking for hope. What they don’t realize is that the stories They tell Me in their emails actually bring me hope, as well.

THANK YOU for hanging out with me today Tina. I appreciate helping my readers get to know you better. Blessings on the writing journey the Lord has you on. I hope your travels bring you to Atlanta and book club :D!!


Nora :D


.****DISCLAIMER: Entering the give away is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.Void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents, odds of winning depend on number of entrants****

CONGRATULATIONS TISHA on WINNING a copy of Rose House--Thanks EVERYONE for leaving such encouraging comments. ALL THE BEST TO YOU****


  1. I love Island of the Blue Dolphins too! I think I read that about a dozen times as a kid. Great interview, guys. Congratulations on all your success, Tina!

  2. Great interview as usual Nora. I really liked reading about Tina!

    Gail Mundy

  3. I look forward to reading Tina Forkner's books. She has a lovely family. Good interview.

    Marlene Rauch

  4. I loved this interview, and am intrigued by the books. I am looking forward to reading them.

  5. Wonderful interview! I especially loved the comment about wanting to be Mrs. Incredible. As a mom of a 6 year old and 2 year old I can so relate. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book.


  6. As always, Nora, you have the best interviews on the web! I adore Tina, and I loved Rose House. Hope to see you in September, Tina!

  7. Nora & Tina
    Great interview! It's fun to get insights from the person writing the book! The books sound like books I need to read! Looking forward to doing just that!
    Nora, see you at book club in a few days!

    Ann Kinamon

  8. Great interview, very nice family. Thanks for the chance to win!

  9. Mrs. Incredible, awesome! She would definitely be high on my list too. And the hot pink is an improvement. :)


  10. It's a good book! Lots of deep issues.

  11. Love your reviews/interviews!

    A book about hope and strength is definately a plus in my library!

  12. I agree that The View would be a great show to be on. It's neat to see everyone being able to express their opinions exactly the way they feel.
    wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

  13. i appreciate tina sharing about her life. "rose house" keeps catching my attention in the book store. hope to read it soon.

    angela r.

  14. facebook comment by Carole Sue Jones August 27 at 7:40pm


    I read Tina's interview and i have to agree with her about Elasta Girls outfit.. not a forgiving style when your a little "hippy".

    Thanks for asking her about her favorite childrens books... Didnt we all read those... Isnt there some right of passage that says to enter your teen years you must read Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Black Beauty. If your a girl the reading list includes Little Women and if your a boy it includes Treasure Island.

    Thanks for sharing your passion

  15. Nora, Enjoyed the interview with Tina. Can't imagine enjoying anything at 5:00 in the morning, especially writing, though. Rose House sounds like a great book; I look forward to reading it. Tisha

  16. CONGRATULATIONS TO TISHA on winning a copy of Rose House.

    THANKS to all of you for leaving such encouraging comments for Tina. This is really a powerful book. I'm thankful that I've gotten to know the special lady that has written it. I look forward to books by her in the future.


    Nora :D

  17. Ladies, Thank You! I am glad that others related to Mrs. Incredible! Love her! ;-)

    Ane, I WILL be at the ACFW conference in September.

    And thanks for those of you who plan to read my books. You are too nice. I really hope you enjoy them! :-)

    And for you who read it, thank you and thanks for saying such nice things about it.

    And I love all of your comments, Ladies. Thank you so much for your sweet encouragement. I hope you all are blessed beyond compare.

    Congrats, Tisha.

    Thank you, Nora. You are a blessing and the sweetest.