Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.
This week we are featuring Cynthia Ruchti, author of All My Belongings (Abingdon Press)! To enter to win a copy of All My Belongings, leave a comment on this post.
What is the smartest writing advice you ever got?
I now realize how profound it was, in light of the kinds of novels I write. After toying with short historicals, convinced I’d never write contemporary fiction, I was challenged to write “the story that will cost you the most emotionally.” I thought I didn’t have a story idea like that. It surprised me that I did . . . and that my novels are contemporary women’s fiction with strong emotional connections. Also significant was the advice my band director father gave me—and all his students—many years ago. “Right or wrong, blow it strong.”
What was your biggest break?
When I heard that Abingdon Press was launching a fiction line with Barbara Scott at the helm at the time, I asked for an appointment with Barbara at the ACFW conference. She listened to my pitch and reported “goosebumps,” insisting they were the God kind of goosebumps. A little over a month later, she took my manuscript to committee. That project was my debut novel—They Almost Always Come Home, a Carol Award finalist.
I’m inspired by . . .
Snatches of phrases. Many times, all I have when I begin a book project or even a devotion is a poignant phrase, a title, one snippet of a scene.
If I could go anywhere, it would be . . .
Near “big” water. Pacific Ocean. Gulf of Mexico. Lake Superior. Lake Michigan. The Atlantic. I love to travel and have appreciated every terrain I’ve been privileged to see—desert, mountains, Canadian wilderness, both coasts, orange groves of Florida, Alaska . . . But my heart “settles” when it’s near massive bodies of water. I was born in Oceanside, California, but only lived there for eight days before my mom and I flew to Wisconsin to await my father’s return from Korea. I haven’t been back to visit Oceanside, which incidentally—or not—is one of the key scenes in the novel All My Belongings. Someday. Someday.
If you have only . . . an hour . . .
Music, a good book, and a cup of tea.
Describe yourself in one word:
If your house were on fire, what one thing would you save?
My laptop . . . because most of my family pictures are on it. Plus years’ worth of work.
What has been your most surreal, “pinch-me-I’m-dreaming” moment so far?
Oh, so many. One treasured moment was standing side-by-side with Debbie Macomber while we worshiped together. I saw her heart for God overshadowing even all her publishing success. That spoke volumes to me.
What drives you to succeed?
I’ve been entrusted with the ability to write—to tell stories that help put into words what other people feel but may not know how to express. I don’t take that lightly. I tell stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark.
Being able to place the Advanced Reader Copy of my debut novel in my mother’s hands two weeks before she died. She’d been such a huge support for me in all areas of life. Christian fiction had been instrumental in reaffirming her faith in the years after Dad died. No one cheered harder for my writing than she did. It gave her great joy to see that book in print. When I showed it to her, she clutched it to her chest and said, “My book! I mean . . . our book!”
Best Saturday Afternoon Read:
A magazine about coastal living.
Best Forgotten Custom:
I live in the North, but weirdly appreciate it when someone calls me Miss Cynthia or Miss Cindy.
There’s a good way? Um . . . giving birth?
Best Style Icon:
Katie Couric. I’m sure you see the resemblance. ☺
Boggle. My daughter’s a genius at it. I’ve been practicing. Shh. She doesn’t know.
Crème brulee. I have to eat gluten free. So finding a decadent dessert that appears in nature without gluten is a joy.
Pre-forgive people. It’ll make it a lot easier if the day comes when they disappoint you.
Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels and novellas, nonfiction projects and speaking events. All My Belongings is her eighth release (including three non-fiction books). Ruchti has also written articles for numerous magazines and industry publications and currently serves as Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers. Ruchti lives in Wisconsin where she spends her days diving into words, worship and wonder.
Celebrate Spring and the release of The Rescue with Suzanne’s “Birds of Springstagram” giveaway! Click here to learn more about how you can enter!