Interview with Cynthia Ruchti

» Posted on May 11, 2010 in Blog | Comments Off on Interview with Cynthia Ruchti

This week I’m hosting Cynthia Ruchti with They Almost Always Come Home, Martha Rogers with Morning for Dove and Delia Latham with Yesterday’s Promise (an ebook in pdf). If you want to enter the drawings, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at The drawings end Sunday (May 16th) evening. Also, Delia Latham be drawing two winners at the end of the tour to win $10 gift certificates to White Rose Publishing. If you enter her drawing on this blog, you will be entered.

Interview with Cynthia Ruchti:

1. What made you start writing?

You know how some people just can’t leave a pristine field of new-fallen snow alone? They have to make a trail or a snow angel? Or how some can’t walk past a newly-poured sidewalk without being tempted to dip a toe or hand into the wet cement?

A piece of paper has been like that for me. From my earliest memories, a blank piece of paper lured me to jot stories on it.

I started writing professionally for radio as a young mom, but that was such a God invention (rather than my idea) that it takes a good while to explain (I’ll save that story for face-to-face conversations). The radio broadcasts each begin with a slice-of-life fictionalized scene. Onto that backdrop are woven devotional thoughts and truths from God’s Word.

Until a few years ago, I didn’t consider that the Lord might one day want me to write longer works of fiction—a whole book.

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

The radio broadcast (The Heartbeat of the Home) started in 1979 and is still aired on many stations across the country. I’ve been working on novellas and novels since shortly before I joined ACFW (then ACRW) in 2002. In the movie Braveheart, the ragtag warriors weathered many battles, prepared and planned, educated themselves as best they could, but stood on the front lines and were told, “Hold. Hold. Hold!” In a writing way, that was me. Then, in 2008, one of my projects took second place in the Genesis Contest for Women’s Fiction. Within a month, I’d signed with my dream agent—Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Literary Agency, been offered a contract for that project by Abingdon Press, and was asked to run for president of ACFW. The book—They Almost Always Come Home—released on May 1st.

3. How do you handle rejections?

I have a new plan. It lessens the sting of rejection and tempers the blinding glow of a great review. I hold a page of my Bible in front of the email or letter and read the rejection or the accolade through that parchment page. Usually, all I can see are the words of Jesus. It’s amazing the difference that makes.

4. Why do you write?

I write because I personally understand the power of story and have felt the sway of a great book. I write for all the readers who feel something deeply but don’t know how to put it into words. Some of my novels are written because I was the one who felt a longing deep in my soul and needed a creative way to express it. At the core of that question lies the answer, “I write out of obedience to the God who asked me to.”

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

My first (and practically only) answer is reading! I’d definitely spend more time outside than I have now. Maybe I’d do real gardening rather than just shaking my head at the weeds.

6. What are you working on right now?

Several projects are percolating. I will soon have edits to tackle for my fall release—The Heart’s Harbor in A Door County Christmas novella collection from Barbour Publishing. Almost every day new ideas dance across my desk. (Two insisted on being heard this afternoon.) I capture them with my butterfly net and throw them in a file for “the appointed time.”

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

It’s hard to imagine NOT doing that. If I’m not empathetic about my character’s plight and pain, the reader won’t care either. So I immerse myself in the character’s situation. Some of her/his reactions will naturally be the way I’d react or respond. Some are intentionally the opposite. When my characters are behaving themselves, that’s me! ☺

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.

In They Almost Always Come Home, Libby Holden doesn’t know whether to cry or feel relieved that her husband fails to return home from a solo canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness and left no evidence of having been there. Or so it seems. Did he choose that opportunity to walk away from their listless marriage? She can’t leave him if she can’t find him. Unprepared for what it will cost her and what she’ll discover about her husband, her marriage, and herself, Libby enlists her father-in-law and her best friend to accompany her into the wilderness to retrace his steps, his paddle strokes. He was supposed to go fishing, not missing. And she was supposed to care. Can the heart of their marriage be restored, even if he never comes home?

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

In His Word, God said, “Count the cost.” I think it’s important for writers who are serious about their craft to do the same. Writing for publication carries a heavy price tag in time, education, hard work, devotion, sacrificing other very good things, balance… Writers who understand the emotional invoice and say, “I’ll write anyway!” for the joy of telling stories and the possibility of touching a reader’s heart are the ones who endure.

I highly recommend writers surround themselves with a caring community like ACFW where they can learn about the craft of writing, gain an education about the industry, and find the kind of encouragement they need.

10. How important is faith in your books?

There’s a point at which the tea leaf and the water can no longer be separated. The water is infused. I believe faith and life are like that. Whether up front or more subtle, life is infused by the presence of God and our faith in Him. But tea with chunks of leaf floating in it isn’t appealing. I hope it will always be said of my novels that God is present, wooing, offering hope, but in a way that is completely and leaflessly infused.

11. What themes do you like to write about?

Some degree of family angst, families or individuals in crisis, faith in friction, will show up in all my stories. My characters are everyday people facing intense challenges that may be heightened but resemble the kinds of concerns my readers find waiting for them at the end of their day.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

They Almost Always Come Home is my debut novel, but the fourth book I wrote. Three will remain locked away in my “practice” folder. When the idea for this one was born, it stirred my heart. I had an inkling in that moment that it would be my first published novel…partly because it’s an intriguing plot, but partly because of what it called out of me emotionally to write it.

13. What is your writing schedule like?

When I’m on deadline, I keep very long hours and try to tame the distractions calling to me from other responsibilities. When not on deadline, I’m a cranny writer, fitting the scenes of a new project into crannies of time, sweet pockets of quiet. I’ve written books in parks, libraries, coffee shops, Chinese restaurants, on the deck, from my easy chair, at my desk, in the car, in a cabin in Utah, on a cruise ship in Alaska, on a beach in Florida… Schedule? My nest is empty but my schedule is still full. So I’m learning to be as creative at finding time to write as I am at capturing just the right words.

Thanks, Margaret, for the opportunity to “meet” your readers and talk about what’s on my heart.