Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tina Ann Forkner

Story featured in the Wyoming Libraries Roundup, Fall/Winter 2009

Tina Ann Forkner didn’t grow up with a library.
In fact, if not for her school library, along with her grandmother checking out books for her by mail, she wouldn’t have had much to read.
“As an adult I depended on libraries and when I was a single mom, the Cheyenne library was one of the few places I could hang out with my daughter that was free and educational,” Forkner says.
Not only does Forkner have a love of reading, but she also has a love of writing, as the author of two books. Her first novel, Ruby Among
Us, came out in May 2008 and Rose House, her second book will be released May 2009. Ruby Among Us is about three women who share one story and the secrets that bind their hearts together. It’s set in Sonoma Valley where the granddaughter Lucy tries desperately to learn about her grandmother’s secrets.
“It’s the only way she can learn more about her mother, Ruby, and the heritage of faith, land and love that Ruby wanted Lucy to have,” she says.
Rose House is also set in the fictional town of La Rosaleda and is about two sisters, a mysterious painting and its artist.
Forkner sees value in the library as an author too.
“I appreciate that libraries keep authors in print long after bookstores and bestseller lists have forgotten about them and their books. Libraries essentially keep authors in print, as well as allow readers to test drive books before purchasing them for their personal collections.”
Forkner is active in the Laramie County Library System as a member of the foundation board.
“The decision to serve was an easy one because I think that reading is so important at every age.”
Every year, Forkner says it seems like she hears statistics about how numbers of people reading are less and less, but says that reading is crucial to a society.
“I think that reading and being read to is very important for a child’s development and promotes life-long learning,” she says.
“Even as adults we can continue to learn by reading. I want to be reading a book when I’m 99.”
That’s what Forkner says is the nice thing about libraries, that it doesn’t matter who you are, the library services are there for you.
“Boy or girl, man or woman, young or old, rich or poor, educated or under-educated, and no matter your ethnicity, the library is open to all.”
“I think libraries are essential for preserving history for future generations, promoting life-long learning, and guaranteeing that everyone has access to books, information and education.”
She even worked as a library assistant for awhile, which Forkner says made her feel like she was in heaven.
If she wasn’t an author, she sees herself working in a library or a bookstore.
Fortunately for Forkner’s readers, she has no plans of leaving her job as an author.
“Like most authors, I aspire to write a book that is well-written and makes a big impact on society in some way,” she says.
She doesn’t mind that her books are somewhere between commercial and literary because it makes her writing more relevant to her readers.
“Someday I want to write a novel that has the kind of impact that Harper Lee or Toni Morrison have had on me. It’s a rare thing when that happens, but I might as well aspire.”
With every book she wants to improve upon her craft and work to make her writing more meaningful.
She often writes to answer questions to things that she doesn’t know.
“I don’t always find the answers, but I sure enjoy the journey.”
And she says on a lighter note, she likes that when she writes she doesn’t have to dress up, it can just be a t-shirt and jeans kind of day.
“After writing all day, I don’t have the time to fix up, so basically anything that isn’t a jogging suit can pass for dressing up when most people know you are an author. Of course I don’t always get away with jeans, but I often try.”
Only in her thirties, Forkner says God-willing she’ll have plenty of time to improve upon her craft and hopefully be able to make her impact.

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