WRITE: Words with Friends, Cynthia Ruchti
As promised, here’s my interview with sweet friend and award-winning author Cynthia Ruchti. She and I are serving together this week at the fabulous Write to Publish Conference held on the lovely campus of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. We both give a strong recommendation to this conference which has equipped so many. Now, let’s learn more about one of my favorite authors.
Your tagline is “Stories of hope that glows in the dark.” How would you say All My Belongings fits this description?
Hope often shows up best against a dark backdrop. That was certainly true for Becca in All My Belongings. Her parents detached emotionally from her before she was born and continued to live as if unaware they had a daughter. Her father’s actions brought shame and public attention to their family name. By her mid-twenties, Becca seemed to have lost everything, including her dignity and any sense of belonging. As the story progresses, she catches faint glimmers of hope that life could be different than how it started. But dark moments intruded. Her father’s reputation threatened, even from hundreds of miles away. But hope is tenacious. And it was all the more beautiful because of the way the light shone off of it in Becca’s greatest challenges.
I love the hope that shines throughout her story. But they say novelists almost always write themselves into their main characters. How are you similar to and different from Becca, heroine of this most recent novel?
My beginnings were dramatically different from Becca’s. I grew up knowing I was loved. . . except for that brief period in junior high when we all wonder if either we or our parents are aliens because of how “They just don’t get me.” My parents were respected in the community. I had to dig deep into imagination and the experiences of others I know whose childhoods held the kind of pain Becca’s did. Like Becca, though, I have deeply-rooted connections with the sea, even though I’ve lived landlocked most of my childhood and adult life. I got to vicariously live one of my dreams—returning to my birthplace of Oceanside, California, through Becca’s story. I understand her infatuation with it.
Two more things we have in common: I love the beach as well, and our family lived in Oceanside for seven years. Now, I know you just won two Selah Awards, one for fiction (When the Morning Glory Blooms) and one for nonfiction (Ragged Hope). Which do you prefer to write?
If I didn’t love both, I wouldn’t write both. My heart is the same whether writing fiction or nonfiction, and my nonfiction is strongly storytelling-based. Some topics lend themselves better to one format or the other. It’s been interesting to discover the overlap, where lessons my characters learn show up later in a nonfiction book that explores the idea in greater depth.
If you could tell readers just one thing that would convince them to read All My Belongings, what would it be?
As tangled as the relationships become, I pray you’ll find yourself enamored with the characters. Isaac—what a charmer! Becca—broken but beautiful. Aurelia—dancing to her own silent music. Geneva—a story in herself. Watching them learn the true meaning of belonging, and exquisite definitions of love, sacrifice, and forgiveness will be an experience you won’t want to miss. I’m glad I didn’t.
I’m glad I didn’t miss it, either. So what can we look forward to next from you as an author?
I’m currently working on a nonfiction due to release in 2015—Tattered and Mended: The Art of Healing the Soul. And 2015 will also see the release of the novel As Waters Gone By. As soon as Tattered and Mended is sent to the publisher, I’ll dive deep into the next novel I’m writing for Abingdon Press, as yet untitled. Wait. There it is! As Yet Untitled, a novel. J
Thank you, Marti, for hosting this discussion. You are a perpetual blessing.
It’s a pleasure, Cynthia, just as it’s a pleasure to find ourselves together in person for a short time here at Write to Publish!
BIO: Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels, novellas, devotions, nonfiction, and through speaking events for women and writers. She currently has 8 books in print, two of which recently received Selah Awards—When the Morning Glory Blooms(novel) and Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices (nonfiction). She and her husband live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren. Cynthia serves as professional relations liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers. You can connect with her at www.cynthiaruchti.com, www.facebook.com/CynthiaRuchtiReaderPage, orwww.twitter.com/cynthiaruchti.
Do you have a question or comment for Cynthia? Feel free to leave it below (since we’re at the conference, you may have to wait a little while for your answer) to enter your name into a drawing to receive my review copy of All My Belongings! Enter by leaving a comment on or before Monday, June 9. I’ll select a winner using random.org and post the name next week. And don’t forget the drawing for my own book, Escape the Lie, still going on here. I’d love to receive a few more entries!