Tule is thrilled to have Tina Ann Forkner here with us today, chatting about what a special place home is in books and in life. Her novel, Waking Up Joy, is only $0.99 for a limited time! Take it away, Tina.
Writing Waking Up Joy was a little bit like going home for me. I grew up in an area of Oklahoma that is very similar to character Joy Talley’s hometown. A large part of Oklahoma is part of the Great Plains, but Joy’s town, Spavinaw Junction, is special. It rests in the Northeast corner of Oklahoma, just a few miles from Arkansas and Missouri in the foothills of the Ozarks. This area of Oklahoma, also called Green Country, has a decided Southern influence and its heavily wooded landscape, rolling hills, and twisting creeks and rivers provide a beautiful backdrop to Joy’s tale. All of these details are familiar to me in real life, and in fact, as I wrote Waking Up Joy, I really did go home.
During the writing of Waking Up Joy, I spent many summertime hours in Oklahoma on my parents’ front porch surrounded by a forest of trees. My parents live a humble life, but I’ve always thought they were blessed to be surrounded by such a beautiful garden of woods and wildflowers. The only trick to writing my novel as I sat on their porch was getting up early enough in the morning to write when it was still cool. In case you’ve ever wondered, it’s hot in Oklahoma, so by the time my daddy walks out on the porch with his coffee, it’s already too hot to write. This is why I also wrote some of Waking Up Joy around a pool.
This is where I leave the heat behind and head to a place where I can more easily cool off while I write. Just thirty minutes of driving along winding roads through some of the most beautiful forested landscape and lakeside communities takes me to my brother’s house. He has a pool. As much as I love the trees, floating the river with my parents, and watching the nieces and nephews trap minnows and crawdads on the creek banks, I also like kicking off my flip-flops, taking a dip in the pool, and kicking back in the lawn chair to write. This is one of the places in which I also wrote Waking Up Joy. The only problem with this kind of writing is the propensity to set aside the writing of a book for the reading of one. What could be better than grabbing a good book and a glass of iced tea – or a margarita with my sis and sis-in-law if the hour is right – and whiling away the hours in the shade of an umbrella?
I love going back home, and that’s one of the reasons I wrote Waking Up Joy. It reminded me of where I grew up. I now live in Wyoming where my husband was born and raised, but I’m still a Southern girl at heart. It won’t be long and I’ll be going for another visit and taking a stack of good reading material with me. If I were Joy Talley in Waking Up Joy, it’d be a big stack of romance novels, so my stack will include plenty of those.
Tina Ann Forkner writes Women’s Fiction and Romance. She is the author of Waking Up Joy, Rose House, and Ruby Among Us. She lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming with her husband, three teenagers, and two spoiled dogs, but she is a Southern girl at heart. Learn more about her and her books at www.tinaannforkner.com