Words with Friends: Cynthia Ruchti
I’m excited to re-introduce an author friend to you today. I met Cynthia Ruchti several years ago at the very first writers conference where I had the opportunity to teach. Her grace, kindness, and beauty are matched only by her skill as a writer. I fell in love with her back then, but I’ve fallen in love with her words since. I don’t dare present her work as an unbiased reviewer, but I also thought you might enjoy the opportunity to get to know one of my favorite people. Today, I’m thrilled to interview Cynthia and to give her the opportunity to share a little more about her new novella release, An Endless Christmas. Let’s go!
Welcome, Cynthia. I know you live in Wisconsin, but you do a great job of setting the scene for Endless Christmas near Stillwater, Minnesota. How did you decide on this location, and what research did your writing involve?
I love spotlighting places that have captured my attention and affection. Stillwater is one of those locations. The story of An Endless Christmas is centered on a too-small cottage about five miles from town, just far enough for the cottage to seem separated from the hubbub of the small-town tourist destination, but accessible to it. I’ve visited Stillwater several times over the years. My husband and I took a day trip to Stillwater as the book was being written so I could recapture the feel, lock down specific landmarks in my mind, and collect some of the details that make Stillwater such a destination spot. I researched online, tapped into the experiences of friends who either lived near or had vacationed in Stillwater, gathered more ideas from their Chamber of Commerce, their Historical Society, and from Pinterest pages that confirmed what I’d discovered personally.
I love your care and thoughtfulness. The Binder family has lots of Christmas traditions. Does your own family have any of these in common with your characters?
Two key traditions are borrowed from my extended family. For many years, one of the holiday meals always provided a variety of soups. My brother’s Killer Chili for the strong of heart, a milder chili, chicken wild rice soup, and maybe a couple of other choices. When Mom was alive, oyster stew was one of the options. It had been a holiday tradition in her family for many decades.
The other tradition that worked its way into the story was deciding to forego exchanging gifts in favor of taking up a collection for a meaningful charity, given first in honor of my father the year after he died. Now, the gifts are collected on behalf of both our father and mother. We’ve truly delighted in sending donations to many charities and ministries over the years. Many of the charities have been tied directly to something our family was facing that year—cancer, kidney disease, an orphan home, families of wounded servicemen, food banks, Focus on the Family, a hospice program…
It’s easy to say Micah is my favorite, because he’s so completely lovable and yet completely human. But Uncle Paul is in the running, too. His sense of humor is tempered with his tenderness. Always appealing. Of course, Grandma Dodie is an amazing woman to emulate. The graceful way she moves through life is an inspiration.
Just reading these names again makes me smile. Your characters always seem to become my friends. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in writing An Endless Christmas, and how did you resolve it?
The biggest obstacle was the quick deadline! In one of those gloriously difficult collisions of deadlines, I had little time to create the story, and yet wanted to give it my best. I’m grateful that the characters wanted to come out to play. Their story is one I won’t soon forget. Their personal triumphs. Their understanding of the brevity of life, and how that understanding compelled them to love well. Their unconditional love that so beautifully mirrored the reason we celebrate Christmas. The horse snow angel. (Have to read the book.)
Thanks! What’s next for you in your writing life?
Right now I’m writing the last chapters of a novel that releases from Abingdon Press in April of 2017. Poignant story! I’m anticipating the release of the novel Song of Silence in April of 2016. And I have two devotional projects in the wings. For years, I wrote both fiction and nonfiction for a daily radio broadcast, which was great preparation for what I do now, telling stories hemmed in Hope through fiction, nonfiction, devotionals, and speaking events.
Thank you for this opportunity to chat with you, Marti. You are deeply appreciated!
And you likewise. Thanks so much for the book and for taking time to share your responses to my questions. I look forward to more stories hemmed in hope!
I LOVE Cynthia’s idea of using holiday gift-giving to bless a favorite charity as a family. Has your family done anything similar? Share with us in the comments here or on social media. And don’t forget to check out An Endless Christmas soon.
For His glory,
Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in Hope through her award-winning novels, novellas, nonfiction, devotionals, and through speaking events for women or writers. She and her plot-tweaking husband live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.
Find a local Christian bookstore where you can purchase Endless Christmas.