Welcome back, Cynthia. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I tell stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark. Like many other Christian fiction authors, my personal goal is to create stories that build character and relentlessly pursue hope, family-friendly stories even if the families face their own dysfunctions, stories of how to build an enduring love rather than a temporary less-than-fulfilling attraction, characters who face crises without collapsing, or collapse without staying that way. I want to show them addressing realistic needs in a realistic way...which sometimes means heart-wrenching and soul-challenging, in an environment that recognizes dumb choices lead to harsh consequences and smart choices don't always work out like we'd hoped.
I want to create entertainment that doesn't celebrate the baser side of humanity but knows it's there, that evil exists in our world and imaginary worlds. I want to tap into the heart of humankind that rejoices when truth wins, that knows a real hero when it sees one.
I write stories of family angst. But they’re books with an ever-present thread of grace and joy in the outcome whether the book ends with a happily-ever-after or a tenacious, indestructible hope.
The stories come from life turned on its edge, from life as we wish it were, from life as it is only with its masks removed, from life with a splash of imagination, from life after we’ve healed enough to look at it authentically.
And I love your stories. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
The day my daughter told me she and her husband were expecting, we were together, celebrating Christmas, and I was holding another newborn grandchild in my arms. I blubbered with joy through the entire celebration. It became a family joke about “the holiday of happy tears.” That was also the day my daughter and her husband donated a new computer for the radio ministry I wrote and co-produced for 33 years. A much-needed computer. Talk about an overload of happy crammed into one glorious day! (I remembered the babies instantly, but didn’t recall the incredible gift of that computer until just now. So many scripts written, so many stories told on that donated computer!)
How has being published changed your life?
If I’ve ever been bored in life, it sure isn’t now! Every day brings a new opportunity and a new challenge. I love every aspect of writing, editing, publishing, marketing…and spend a lot of time studying to grow in those areas. Having six books on the shelves soon with more to come in the next couple of years, I find that the change is in scope rather than in focus. I’m doing what I’ve always done—love God and encourage people. He’s given me the opportunity to reveal His heart through story to a broad audience of readers through books, and one-on-one with the people He brings across my path every day.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading a non-fiction by Janet Thompson—Dear God, He’s Home!—a book about surviving having a husband around the house…a lot. I’m also reading the novel The Messenger, by Siri Mitchell. Lately, I’ve been reading high quality poetry right before bedtime. It makes me feel smarter. It also makes my dreams more curious. J
What is your current work in progress?
I’m excited about the research and the storyline for a Christmas novella for B&H called Merry Christmas, Mine, based on the Merry Christmas zinc mine of
Each of the four novellas will be set in a different era of history in the
fascinating town not far from where I grew up. My novella—What’s One More?—has a cast of characters that have won my heart. Merry Christmas, Mine releases in 2015.
The cast of authors for this project includes Kathryn Springer, Sarah Forgrave,
and Becky Melby. Mineral Point, Wisconsin
I’ll look forward to featuring that Christmas book, too, if the four of you will allow. What would be your dream vacation?
I’ve never had a vacation longer than a week or two, unbound by a schedule, and away from the continental
United States. My dream vacation
would be schedule-less for the most part, with no fixed endpoint or
destination, but include a dreamily wandering through the seaport villages of Italy, France,
How do you choose your settings for each book?
My 2014 Abingdon novel—All My Belongings—is set in the area of my birthplace, near
It was fun dreaming about daily life in the place where I only lived for the
first eight days of my life, and haven’t yet been back to visit. It’s on my Bucket
List! Oceanside, California
When the Morning Glory Blooms is set in the
The characters reflect a Midwest mindset and
values, though from three completely different eras. Ivy’s apartment in the
1950s is an apartment I remember from childhood.
My debut novel—They Almost Always Come Home—was set in a very specific area of the Canadian wilderness because it’s a location that holds my husband’s heart.
Other books in the works and previously published are set in places I either know well or long to know better.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
Is it fair if I answer “my agent”? Wendy Lawton and I see each other at industry events, smile and wave as we speed on to our assignments. Every other year we have a nugget of face-to-face time at the Books & Such retreat. We email and talk by phone. But if I had a whole evening to listen to her wisdom and hear her stories, that would be as sweet as homemade caramel sauce!
I totally understand. My agent and I only get together at professional events, but we’ve become such good friends online. Face time would be so precious. What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I don’t have as much time to do this as I’d like, but I love designing on a dime, finding inexpensive or repurposed items to use in home decorating. And music is ever-present in my life.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Balancing work-related writing assignment time and novel-writing time is always a challenge. I’m more conscientious about maintaining a better balance these days. But it doesn’t come naturally. I’m a firstborn with a strong sense of responsibility. Recreation doesn’t score as high on my priority list as it should. But those “breathing” times of rest, recreation, and refreshment are so necessary. I write better when I’m breathing. J
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Without question, I advise beginning authors to join ACFW, if they write fiction. It’s one of the single smartest things a writer can do—for the education, the camaraderie, the sense of community, and the opportunities it offers. I also encourage new writers to consider the cost. Are they willing to invest the time, soul, and effort it will take to seriously pursue writing as more than a hobby or occasional lark.
Tell us about the featured book.
When the Morning Glory Blooms is uniquely set in three very different eras but in the same area, different social cultures but with the same challenge—unplanned pregnancy. Anna is a young woman in the 1890s, compelled by family obligation to open a home for unwed mothers. When she is near the end of her life in the 1950s, she’s cared for in a nursing home setting by Ivy, a young single woman with new life growing inside her and with her boyfriend serving in
unaware of the child. As Ivy takes care of Anna, she’s commissioned to commit
Anna’s memories to paper and finds her own answers on the pages. The present
day story is told from the perspective of a mother of a teen mom. My prayer is
there’s enough mystery to keep the reader wondering, enough emotion to keep the
tissues close, enough grace and hope to leave the reader grateful, and a
compelling enough story to make readers want to share it with a friend who
loves to read or a friend who’s heart is breaking.
This is a subject close to my heart. Please give us the first page of the book.
The hand on her cheek weighed no more than a birthmark. It fluttered, stirred by the breeze of a dream, but remained tethered to Becky’s face.
Her neck stiffened. A neutral position was out of the question. She was trapped at an odd angle between the arm of the porch swing and the breath of the child.
With one foot planted on the porch’s floorboards, and the rest of her a cradle, Becky kept the swing in motion. A smooth backstroke. Hesitation. Then as she lifted her foot, the forward stroke was accompanied by a two-toned creak the baby must have thought was white noise.
Becky guessed thirteen pounds. The bulk lying stomach-down across her torso like a seatbelt might have come into the world a wisp of six pounds—less than a gallon of milk. But seven hundred bottles later, give or take, and he could hold his own against a Costco-sized bag of sugar.
A sweat bee buzzed a fly-by. Becky waved it off. Baby drool puddled at the top of her breastbone. She let it be, let it be.
The rich, woody scent of the neighbor’s cottonwoods melded with the lingering aroma of her caramel latte, the one in her favorite pottery mug on the small table just out of reach. The mug, her book, sanity—so much seemed just out of reach.
The baby lifted his head. Feather lashes still closed, he nestled the opposite cheek into the hollow of her neck. She patted his diapered bottom with a rhythmic, unspoken “Shh. Back to sleep, little one.”
The buzz returned, but not above them. Underneath Becky’s right hip, her cell phone thrummed. She reached for it, motionless except for the espionage-worthy stealth of her retrieve arm and the unbroken choreography of her swing foot.
The phone buzzed again. She held it away from her, saw the familiar caller ID, and hit the “talk” button with her thumb. “What’s up, Lauren?” An opportunity, no doubt. Chance du jour.
A finals study group that included two brainiacs and a certified member of the National Honor Society had invited Lauren to a cram-fest.
“Please don’t stay out late.” Becky felt the vibrations of her words in her chest. The baby lifted his head and nestled, facing the other direction again.
Not late, Lauren answered. No. But Becky did realize the group would have to go get something to eat after studying, didn’t she?
Becky disconnected the call. She may or may not have remembered to say good-bye.
The baby oozed awake and pushed against her chest until he’d raised himself enough to lock gazes with her. Those denim-blue eyes looked so like his father’s, if her suspicions were correct about the child’s paternity. She brushed strands of cornsilk hair off his cherub forehead.
“Your mommy called.” Becky kissed one barely there eyebrow, then the other. “She says hi.”
My book just arrived yesterday. I can’t wait to get started on it. How can readers find you on the Internet?
I love to interact with readers. They can find me at www.cynthiaruchti.com, www.hopethatglowsinthedark.com, www.facebook.com/cynthiaruchtireaderpage, or www.twitter.com/cynthiaruchti and other social network places.
And thank you, Cynthia, for sharing this one with us.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
When the Morning Glory Blooms - paperback
When the Morning Glory Blooms - Kindle
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