Guest Post—Q & A with Cynthia Ruchti
It’s my pleasure to have my dear friend Cynthia Ruchti as a guest on my blog today! Cynthia is the author or over 20 fiction and nonfiction works, drawing from 33 years as the writer/producer of a scripted 15-minute radio broadcast. Her books have been recognized by many industry awards and she’s a frequent speaker at women’s events and writers’ conferences.
I also want to congratulate Cynthia on being highlighted in PW Religion BookLine below:
Tell something about yourself as a person and as a writer.
In college, I thought I was indecisive. What did I want to be when I grew up? Professor? Nurse? Anthropologist? Archaeologist? Floral arranger? Professional musician? Event planner? Women’s Ministries coordinator? Director of an orphanage in Central America? Algebra tutor? Caterer? Actress? Sociologist? B&B hostess?
It took almost a decade to realize the answer to all those questions was embedded in one career—Author. Depending on the book I’m writing, I can dive into any of those professions, and the research allows me to dabble in the wonders of a broad spectrum of interests. I didn’t have to choose just one! Freedom!
As a writer—which you’ll note shows up in both who I am as a person and in my career—I’m one of “those” people. I notice everything—a hyper-observer. I’m either delighted or devastated by what I observe. Both work their way into my hope-filled writing, fiction and nonfiction.
I shy away from endings that are too neatly tied up, believing that every victory leads to a new set of challenges or a new quest. Every ending is coupled with a new beginning. To me, the most satisfying endings are those that celebrate what was won, accomplished, or resolved while hinting at what’s next. I write stories that empower readers to say, “I can’t unravel. I’m hemmed in hope.”
Tell me something that’s quirky about you.
Before it became wildly popular, I was a flea-market flipper. I love making something out of scraps, repurposing, making do, bargain-hunting… I know others who are more skilled at it. But I get a great deal of satisfaction from building a wardrobe from second-hand store finds and creating tablescapes from a bird’s nest and an old pipe. My dining room is one spot in the house that’s usually clean, and it always has a curious tablescape on it.
Briefly share one of your favorite holiday memories.
I clearly remember a special Christmas. I held my newborn grandson in my arms, rocking him to sleep while the family opened gifts in our traditional snowstorm of wrapping paper and squeals. My heart was full. Children and grandchildren gathered close. Then, my daughter and her husband of four months announced that despite their intentions to wait a year or more to start having children, they were expecting! A newborn in my arms and another grandchild just old enough to have a heartbeat. I have no idea what my physical presents were that year. But I know that my soul was overflowing with joy that spilled down my cheeks the rest of the day.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
As opposed to my college wonderings, as a child, I had a clear picture of a white house with green shutters, a white picket fence, and climbing roses, a loving husband, and three children.
God granted me the last two. Still waiting for climbing roses. And I scratched off of the list a white picket fence when I discovered they require frequent painting.
What else have you written?
I’m in the beginning stages of book # 22, if I’m counting right. I’m only a math whiz in fiction. J It’s an even mix of fiction and nonfiction. I’ve written devotions for Mornings with Jesus from Guideposts each year since 2014 and recently turned in the devotions for 2019. I have other stand-alone devotional compilations (Grace is Like Chocolate Without the Calories, Be Still and Let Your Nail Polish Dry Devotional Journal, etc.). I published two nonfiction books with Abingdon Press—Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices and Tattered and Mended: The Art of Healing the Wounded Soul. I published six novels with Abingdon Press—They Almost Always Come Home, When the Morning Glory Blooms, All My Belongings, As Waters Gone By, Song of Silence, and A Fragile Hope—two novella collections with Barbour—A Door County Christmas (which we’re rereleasing in an updated form this fall) and Cedar Creek Seasons—two Christmas novels with Worthy Inspired—An Endless Christmas and Restoring Christmas—and am now working on the first of three novels for Gilead Publishing. Plus various and sundry other books, including contributing to the CEB Women’s Bible and the Guideposts Mornings With Jesus Bible. I’m also working on a couple of collaborative writing projects right now.
Share one of your most rewarding moments connected to your writing.
The most rewarding moments are always connected to reader responses—a reader who found the courage to forgive her father, or who reconciled with an estranged sister, or who understood the depths of God’s grace in a more significant way. Nothing moves me more.
Are any parts of this story taken from something that happened in your own life or the lives of people you know?
Almost everything I write has elements taken from my own life. If not an incident or experience, then an emotion or empathy. In this hyper-observer state, I collect bits and pieces of other people’s stories too, mix them with imagination’s big spoon, and dish up a story or nonfiction book that I pray many readers will say, “I identify with that.” Often as I write, I’m the reader who most needs that book.
How has God used fiction to touch your heart or change your life?
The power of story is strong. As I’m caught up in a story I’m writing, or reading, my heart, mind, and soul become pliable. I walk through the story with the characters and find my character arc mimicking theirs. Story is such a powerful teacher. If I can emerge from a story experience stronger, more courageous, convicted of needed change, more empathetic, more compassionate, informed, inspired, encouraged, with a deeper understanding of who God is and who I am, what could be better?
Besides Jesus, which person from the Bible would you most like to talk to, and what would you ask or say?
I didn’t always feel this way, but I would like to talk to Eve, wrap my arms around her, and tell her, “Honey, it’s okay. Jesus redeemed everything lost in the Garden. Your prayers have been answered. Tell me about the moment when you first felt the breath of His grace and forgiveness.” And I might cry with her a little.
Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed-in-hope, drawing from 33 years as the writer/producer of a scripted 15-minute radio broadcast. Her books have been recognized by many industry awards. She writes fiction, nonfiction, devotionals, and is a frequent speaker for women’s events and writers’ conferences. Cynthia and her grade-school sweetheart husband live in the heart of Wisconsin. http://www.cynthiaruchti.com or hemmedinhope.com