Tina’s latest novel, THE REAL THING, just released and is an emotional tale of cowboys, rodeo queens, and what it really means for new bride Manda Marshall to ride beside a rodeo cowboy and his family. I loved her novel, WAKING UP JOY, and can’t wait to dive into this one.

Forkner-TheRealThingManda Marshall is ready to leave heartache behind when she marries Keith Black, a champion saddle bronc cowboy and man of her dreams. But going from the serenity of small town Tennessee to the exhilaration of the rodeo, nothing can prepare her for being a cowboy’s wife. Becoming the new stepmom to Keith’s little boy and teenaged daughter has Manda relying on her deep sense of longing for a family and budding love for her stepchildren to strengthen their bond.

Manda’s desire of being a rodeo cowboy’s wife begins to take second place as she works to reinvent a life for herself and new family, but when mysterious phone calls from Keith’s missing ex-wife dredge up the past, Manda finds her marriage and family in an unusual and heart wrenching dilemma. The life she had worked so hard to build is suddenly redefined and her commitment to her husband and family is tested.

What Manda discovers has the power to heal or break her family in this emotional tale of cowboys, rodeo queens, and what it really means to ride beside a cowboy and his family, no matter the risk.

Tina stopped by to take the Tall Poppy Q&A. 

Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?

I fall in love with characters who are wise, witty, sometimes glaringly honest, and have a good heart like Mrs. Threadgoode in Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café.

When you were a teenager, what did you think you’d be when you grew up?

A reporter. I wanted to be a journalist and travel around the world. I am not a reporter, but the writing part of it did come true.

Tell us a secret about the main character in your novel — something that’s not even in your book.

In The Real Thing, my twin characters Marta and Manda once changed places when they were in high school because Manda decided in the middle of prom that she couldn’t stand her date. They went into the Castle Orchard High School bathroom and switched dresses. Nobody ever knew.

Talk about a fun/interesting reader interaction you’ve had?

I was speaking at a writing conference in Crested Butte, Colorado, which is the most adorable little mountain town. I had a couple of my own books in my hand, for reasons I can’t remember. It’s not like we authors walk around carrying our books with us, but there must have been a good reason. I walked past an older woman who greeted me in such a friendly way that I stopped her and gave her the book. I told her I was with the writing conference and that I wrote the book. She cried. It really touched me to think that something that was so small to me in the moment had made her so happy.

Where do you love to be?

I love to be around the dinner table with my family, especially in summer when we carry everything out to the back porch. Our kids are all teens and that means dinners together won’t always be possible. It’s special when we all sit down to share a meal, no matter where it is.

What time of day do you love best?

I love 5 am. It’s not only when I write, but it’s the quietest time of the day when I know I won’t be interrupted by anything or anyone. I love the silence before the rest of the world wakes up. My daughter has discovered my secret and she often gets up at the same time do read or do homework before school. We have coffee together and I either leave my office door open or sit beside her as we both work.

What’s your next big thing?

My latest Women’s Fiction novel, The Real Thing, is still pretty new, so I’m pretty focused on that, but I’m also excited about a romance novel coming out from Velvet Morning Press in July 2016. It’s called Nashville by Heart and is all about the music industry and a small town girl trying to make it as a singer without getting sidetracked by love.

What is the best perk of being a writer?

Besides wearing jeans to work? The best part of being a writer is the flexibility I have to be there for the kids. I love being here when my daughter gets home from school and being able to watch her and her brothers in their activities. We are a blended family and I feel blessed that I have jobs that allow me to flex to their unique schedules and lifestyles that are quite a bit different than some of their friends in traditional families.

Tina Ann Forkner PortraitTina Ann Forkner writes women’s fiction and romance. A member of Tall Poppy Writers, she is the author of four novels including her most recent works The Real Thing and Waking Up Joy. Tina grew up in Northeastern Oklahoma where she spends part of her summers, but she resides in beautiful Wyoming with her husband and three teenagers. When not writing, Tina works as a substitute teacher in Cheyenne and volunteers in her community. Learn more: www.tinaannforkner.com