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Interview with Tina Ann Forkner

Captain's Log, Stardate 06.02.2008

Today I’m interviewing Tina Ann Forkner about her debut novel, 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 thoughts from the mother she can barely recall. Lucy senses her grandmother holds the key, but Kitty seems as eager to hide 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 of a heritage that seems long-buried with her mother, Ruby.

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

And now, here’s me and Tina!

If your heroine, Lucy, were a type of flower, what would she be and why?

What an interesting question, especially since garden images are a big part of the scenery in Ruby Among Us. Maybe Lucy would be a Shasta Daisy. The original Shasta Daisy was developed by Luther Burbank in Santa Rosa, California which just happens to be nearby the fictional town of La Rosaleda where much of the story occurs. Burbank took such care to cultivate only the brightest, whitest daisy to be used as a garden plant. In some ways, this reminds me of what Lucy’s grandmother, Kitty, tries to do with Lucy as she nurtures and tries to shield her from the world.

How about Lucy's grandmother, Kitty? If she were a flower, what would she be and why?

Kitty is definitely an heirloom Rose. I say heirloom because she is really stuck in a bygone era, which keeps her enslaved by her secrets. She is also sturdy and strong, ready to protect Lucy from harm and she is definitely the most resilient character in Ruby Among Us. And just as a rose has thorns one must get past to enjoy the fragility of the blooms, so does Kitty. Finally, when someone works their way into Kitty’s heart, they see she really is fragile and beautiful inside, like a real rose.

What's your favorite scene from the book?

I have to say that one of my favorite scenes is in Chapter Two (on page 16) when a young Lucy is playing paper dolls with her mother, Ruby. My editor really liked that scene and seemed very touched by the tenderness of that memory for Lucy.

All of my favorite scenes are of Ruby and Lucy together when Ruby was alive and Lucy was very young. That single mom/daughter relationship is so very real to me since I have been down that road with my own daughter before I met my husband, Albert.

Finish this sentence: Writing a novel is like ...

Composing a song or painting a picture. It’s art.

Confession time: What's your favorite chocolate? And if you don't like chocolate, why? (just kidding--if you don't like chocolate, what's your dessert/snack/junk food of choice?)

Who can NOT like chocolate? Hmmm. I love dark chocolate. I love DeBrand truffles the best and I’ve heard they are fat free. The person who said that might have been kidding, but I decided to take them at their word.

I so WISH they were fat-free!

You're off the hotseat! Any parting words?

Thank you for having me and supporting Ruby Among Us. As you know, releasing a first novel is both exciting and scary! Thanks for making it fun and helping to get the word out to readers. Readers can visit me at Come on over!

Camy here: Thanks for being here, Tina!

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