Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Big Welcome to Our Interviewee This Week: Cynthia Ruchti!

 Leave those comments (and email addresses), folks, for a chance to win Cynthia's book!

Now on to the interview with Cynthia:

How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just loved writing all your life?

I’ve always written, and always appreciated the power of story. But it wasn’t until I was in my mid-20s that I considered the idea of exploring writing as a serious pursuit. That was when I was handed the opportunity to write radio drama/devotional thoughts for a small radio station in North Carolina, an opportunity which now is a daily fifteen-minute broadcast heard on 16 stations across the country. After many years of writing those short fiction pieces that were the opening vignettes for each broadcast, I challenged myself (or God challenged me) to consider longer works of fiction—novels. After many years of testing that idea and learning everything I could soak up at writers conferences and through ACFW, my first novel debuted in May 2010—They Almost Always Come Home by Abingdon Press.

What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?

I write both women’s fiction and romantic comedy. Romantic comedy is self-explanatory—lighthearted stories with uplifting romance at their heart. A Door County Christmas is romantic comedy. Lighthearted doesn’t have to be “fluffy.” I wrote “The Heart’s Harbor” for A Door County Christmas novella collection with a desire to make the story both as romantically funny and as comically romantic as life sometimes is. Women’s fiction is a little harder to define. It’s a story with a woman as the prominent character and with her emotional journey at its heart and some element of romance, although that does not have to dominate the story. It may also have an element of suspense, as does They Almost Always Come Home. But how the woman faces her challenges, fears, or heartbreaks is the focus.
Sounds fun and interesting. How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?

Someday…ah, someday I’ll set word count goals. During my term as ACFW president, it was important to focus a great deal of attention on that position. I’m thinking about my stories all the time and am giddy with gratitude when I find a pocket of time to devote to getting them down on paper, or in the computer. But I’m also a marathon writer and if a deadline looms will set personal goals, breaking the project into manageable pieces. My first novel was written over the course of about 9 months. I work with a more complete outline now than I used to have, so the words pile up more quickly when I’m free to give attention to them.

You recently had a book published. Would you take this time to describe it to us? How and where can readers buy your books?

A Door County Christmas released September 1st from Barbour Publishing. The setting is Door County, Wisconsin, one of my favorite places on earth. The charming shops and even more charming natural beauty of the rugged Great Lakes shoreline and wide stretches of water hold a strong appeal for me.

Each of the four authors in this collection took one of the villages along the shoreline as a setting for their novella. I chose Egg Harbor, a wide spot in the road with a stunning harbor and delightful orchards and artistry as well as unique gifts shops. My character, Amanda, is drafted into serving as temporary innkeeper for The Heart’s Harbor Victorian Inn just in time for its legendary Christmas Tea. She wrestles with quirky guests, natural and man-made disasters, and a broken heart as she serves, wondering if Christmas and love have anything in common.

Readers can find both books wherever books are sold in brick-and-mortar stores and online. A Door County Christmas is also available through Walmart and Sam’s Clubs. I love supporting local Christian bookstores with my own purchases and hope other readers do, too.

They sound fantastic! What is the spiritual message in your book? What can readers expect to get from reading it?

A lesson I learned not all that long ago is that the best relationships are ones in which the two parties, though different in personality, learn how to “serve in the same direction.” That makes it sound like a heavy-subject story. But it’s a lot of fun to observe how Amanda and Jordan discover that truth.

Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through?

I think the specter of giving up haunts every writer’s thoughts, if just for a moment…every day. Wanting to give up is a given. And some writers do. The writers who push past that natural emotion are the ones with the greatest possibility of a fulfilling (notice I did not use the word “successful”) writing career. Bad reviews are natural downers. Great reviews are artificial uppers. I’ve learned or am learning not to take either too seriously, but to be grateful for connections with readers who found something meaningful in the stories I’m led to tell. Anything good within me and anything good that comes from my “pen” is from the Lord anyway. So I have no choice but to trust Him with the outcome.

Who’s inspired you the most?

Many writers have inspired me. Many dear family members have played inspiring roles in my life. No one inspires me to give my all like the One who gave His all.

Would you explain how you “chose” (or were chosen by) a publisher? Do you just go “inny, minny, miny, moe?” Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?

Abingdon Press developed a fiction line that seemed a good fit for my debut novel. They were interested in stories that took risks, either in subject matter or in style. Editor Barbara Scott was the perfect person for my first editor/author experience. I’m forever grateful for her faith in that story and in me. Barbour Publishing has had great success with its Christmas novella collections, so that too was a natural connection.

Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could?

If I had the freedom to travel wherever I’d like, I’d start on my “bucket list” with places like Tuscany, maybe a Mediterranean cruise, anywhere with ancient architecture and natural beauty, Banff Provincial Park in Canada, New England in the fall (which is odd since my backyard in Wisconsin looks like New England in the fall. I’d go back to Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA at the least provocation, and I hope to return to Alaska some day, visiting more of the interior and Denali.

Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?

Thank you for the opportunity to connect with your readers, Carole. They can learn more about my writing and life through Facebook, Twitter, or through my website: http://www.cynthiaruchti.com/ or http://www.hopethatglowsinthedark.com/.

That’s what I do—write stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark.



Readers, don't forget to leave those comments and your email address for a chance to win Cynthia's book!

Blessings! 

26 comments:

mercyrising said...

Thank you for interviewing Cynthia. She is an amazing writer and I would love to win her Christmas book.

Kathryn Page Camp said...

We could be travel companions. Ancient architecture and natural beauty enthrall me, too. If you ever take that Mediteranian cruise, make sure you visit Ephesis. It's an awesome place.

Elaine W. Miller said...

Great writers inspire you and you inspire me! May God bless us as we write for Him. Loved the interview.

K said...

Thanks for the interview! This book sounds great! :) Please enter me!
Kim
lonebanana(at)msn(dot)com

K said...

oh! I forgot to mention that Carmen sent me over! :)
Kim

Emma said...

Great interview.This books sound wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.Thanks for the wonderful giveaway.Happy holidays.augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I have been seriously eying this one for like two months. I would love a chance to win it :) Thanks for the great opportunity and post :)

suitejuju(at)gmail(dot)com

Patsy said...

I really enjoy reading books about Christmas. Would love to read this one. Thanks for the giveaway.
plhouston(at)bellsouth(dot)net

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love Door County so I would love to read this!

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

Kelly Massman said...

Thanks for a chance to win this fun book!

thanks!
kmassmanATgmailDOTcom

Katie said...

I'd love to win this Christmas book! Thanks for the opportunity!

kateh12783@hotmail.com

Charity said...

I would love to be entered in this giveaway. I have never read any by this author and it looks like a good book. Thanks so much!

esterried[at]yahoo[dot]com
GFC Follower:)

Nancye said...

I enjoyed reading this interview. Cynthia's books sound fabulous! I am a follower. :)

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Jo said...

Thanks for the great interview. Carman sent me and this sounds like a great book.

Blessings,
Jo
ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

Maureen said...

Great interview...would love to do a Greek cruise. I live in New England...but haven't done Charleston SC...Hubby has!

alekee02[at]yahoo[dot]com

apple blossom said...

Love a chance to win thanks
ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Holly said...

Ok, this book sounds awesome! :) I would love to win it! You have my email address already I think Carole, but here it is again. 1joy4you@gmail.com

Charlotte Kay said...

Thanks for the chance to win this book:)
I would love to read it and winning it would be even sweeter:)

Many Blessings and Smiles,
Charlotte
chakasa58 at gmail dot com

Lisa Nelson said...

Please enter me in the drawing for this Christmas
book!
Thank you,
Lisa Nelson
storyreader617@gmail.com

MarthaE said...

Nice interview. The book sounds lovely. Thanks for a chance to win it. mesreadsATgmail.com
BTW- Carmen sent me.

Nia for Jesus said...

the book sounds really interesting..give a chance win..


niastrong21(at)gmail(dot)com

Brenda said...

Great interview, please count me in for the giveaway. Carmen sent me. kittycrochettwo at msn dot com

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

these Christmas stories look amazing!! Thanks so much for the chance to win!!

inthehammockblog at gmail dot com

Emillie Rose said...

Her books look like they would be great! Would love to win!
hisprincess886(at)yahoo(dot)com

Judylynn said...

Looks like a great read. Please enter me.

seizethebookblog(at)gmail(dot)com

Cynthia Ruchti said...

Thank you, everyone, for popping in to say hi, and for taking time to read the interview. Your enthusiasm for A Door County Christmas is a great blessing.