Friday, May 28, 2010
My Friend Cynthia - Interview & Giveaway
Today we're welcoming the fabulous president of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) to talk about her debut novel, They Almost Always Come Home. Cynthia gives so much of herself to this amazing organization--I'm really excited to give a little back to her!
As usual, leave your comments with an email address for a chance to win a copy of the book!
Cynthia Ruchti is the current president of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), which she’s served in various volunteer capacities since shortly after she became a member in 2002. In her role as president of ACFW, Cynthia writes a monthly “From the President” column for ACFW’s Afictionado ezine. For two years she was one of four humor columnists for Afictionado’s“Let There Be Lite.” In 2007, she was the recipient of the ACFW Member Service Award. In 2008, Cynthia won second place for Women’s Fiction in ACFW’s prestigious Genesis Contest.
About They Almost Always Come Home
When Libby’s husband Greg fails to return from a two-week canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness, the authorities soon write off his disappearance as an unhappy husband’s escape from an empty marriage and unrewarding career. Their marriage might have survived if their daughter Lacey hadn’t died…and if Greg hadn’t been responsible. Libby enlists the aid of her wilderness savvy father-in-law and her faith-walking best friend to help her search for clues to her husband’s disappearance…if for no other reason than to free her to move on. What the trio discovers in the search upends Libby’s presumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith.
What's your latest book?
They Almost Always Come Home is my debut novel which released May 1, 2010, with Abingdon Press.
What a compelling cover! What's your favorite part of the story?
I enjoy the interaction between Libby and her friend Jenika, a friendship that could either drown under or surf on waves of adversity. Picking a favorite scene is like picking a favorite child. When I relive the process of creating Libby’s fictional world and her story, each scene tugs at me as a lapful of grandbabies each tug at me. My favorite part of Libby’s story is the one I’m thinking about at the time.
Yeah, let's not make the grandbabies push each other out of your lap. ;-) What was the hardest part to write?
Endings are always challenging to write because of my longing to offer my readers a satisfying, sigh-producing ending but still leave room for pondering. Few of life’s “plots” arrive at neat and tidy conclusions. The resolution of one dilemma often opens the door to new challenges. Finding a balance where readers say, “I want to know more” rather than “Is that all there is?” drove me to invest in both the ending and the possibilities for the characters of They Almost Always Come Home.
That's a really great point, and a challenge for every writer to consider. What do you hope your readers will get out of the story?
Inexhaustible hope for indescribable pain. Hope that glows in the dark.
They’re taglines, but they’re also promises—not from my words, but from God’s.
They're GREAT taglines! What's one of the oddest or most interesting things someone has ever said about you?
One of the most affirming was, “You wrote what I felt but didn’t know how to say.” That line keeps my fingers on the keyboard.
That was my reaction when I first read A Separate Peace in high school, almost word for word. So yeah, that's fabulous encouragement. What would your dream office look like—and what does your REAL writing environment look like?
A cluttered desk. Too few file drawers. Piles of projects needing attention. Mismatched furniture. Threadbare carpeting. Oh, wait. That’s reality…although I do sneak away to a small antique desk and rocking chair in a quiet corner of my family room when I’m in all-out-creative mode. You asked about my dream office. Ahh. A clear cherry desk, hand-rubbed finish, with matching lateral files, bookcases, and hardwood floor (kept clean by a hard-working and devoted maid). Bose speakers in every corner. An excess of storage. A view of the lake through one window and the mountains through another. And a cozy loveseat or chair-and-a-half in which to create more dreams.
Can you send that hard-working maid my way?? =) Is there any one thing or reference you keep handy when writing? Anything you kept around for this particular book?
On my desk (an old hollow-core door, not hand-rubbed cherry) is a treasured photo of my husband in his element—the Canadian wilderness. He’s sitting on a granite outcropping that splits the river in two and forms dual rapids. Tan and weathered, his slouchy hat low over his eyes, he’s looking into the camera…and into my heart. Several years ago, my husband almost didn’t come home from his canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness. When I look at that photo, all the emotions of his trauma (and my own) return in a rush of rock-strewn memories. Although our story and the one told through Libby’s and Greg’s voices are different in many key ways, the picture served as a resource for maintaining emotional authenticity throughout They Almost Always Come Home.
Oh wow, that would be an intense reminder! Do you remember where you were when you got your first or most important call about a book contract?
I missed the call. How can that happen? My flight back to Wisconsin from the West Coast was rerouted due to mechanical trouble. We made an emergency landing in Kansas City. The equipment was repaired while the passengers sat in the plane on the tarmac, waiting to take off again for our original destination—St. Louis—where I would have caught a connecting flight. I’d hoped to hear the yes or no from Abingdon Press that day but couldn’t get home and couldn’t leave the airplane. So before the repair was complete and the flight attendant asked us to “turn off and stow all electronic devices,” I called my daughter and asked her to tap into my email account to see if I had a message from the editor.
“Yes,” she said. “Do you want me to read it to you?”
It was an unconventional way to hear I’d sold my debut novel, but so precious to share the moment with my daughter.
When I arrived home—two days later than expected due to even more flight delays—I found The Call on my answering machine. And accidentally deleted it!
LOL on the delete. And "awwwww" on getting to share it with your daughter! Any upcoming releases we should keep our eye out for?
In fall 2010, Barbour Publishing releases a Christmas novella collection titled A Door County Christmas. The Heart’s Harbor—is one of four romantic comedies included in the collection. Different from They Almost Always Come Home tone and subject matter, The Heart’s Harbor takes a more lighthearted look at love and loss, and how faith makes both survivable.
Thanks for visiting, Cynthia! Readers, you can order her book at Amazon or CrossPurposes. And check out her website at www.CynthiaRuchti.com.
Void where prohibited. Entry into the contest in considered verification of eligibility based on local laws. Contest ends 6/3/10. Winner will have two weeks to claim the book.