Latest book: Miles from Where We Started (Coming October 16, 2018)
Websites: cynthiaruchti.com or hemmedinhope.com
Bio: Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed-in-Hope through award-winning novels, nonfiction, devotionals, and through speaking events for women or writers. She and her grade-school sweetheart husband live in the heart of Wisconsin.
DW: Cynthia, thanks for joining us. You are amazing and I am so excited to visit with you. Tell our readers what state you currently call home and any other place(s) that have special significance in your past.
CR: My husband and I live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from our three children and five grandchildren. The area is a blend of farmland and forests, cranberry bogs and cheese factories. Most of my childhood was spent in southwest Wisconsin, which is known for its beautiful hills and valleys…and roads so curved it’s nearly impossible to find a place to pass a slow-moving vehicle. I was born in Oceanside, California, but only lived there for eight days. After my dad returned from serving overseas with the Marines, we lived in Florida, South Dakota, and several places in Minnesota before I was twelve years old. I attended college in the heart of Chicago, then Madison, WI—small town girl in the middle of big cities. Now we live in a quiet countryside a quarter of a mile from our nearest neighbor, if you don’t count the deer, raccoons, and occasional bear and wolves.
I think that varied-location upbringing served to make me appreciate whatever setting I’m in or writing about for its unique beauty and regional culture. My work assignments in recent years have taken me from coast-to-coast and border-to-border. The need to use my passport more often is on my wishlist.
DW: Wisconsin is amazingly beautiful. What genre or genres do you like to write?
CR: Because I wrote both fiction and nonfiction for a scripted radio broadcast for three decades, I enjoy a wide variety of writing projects. But everything I write falls under one umbrella, which I think is important if writing in multiple genres. “I can’t unravel. I’m hemmed in hope.” That covers fiction, nonfiction, devotions, speaking. Hope shows up on every page.
Emotionally-intense women’s fiction. Novella-length romantic comedies. Hope-filled nonfiction. I jokingly say that whatever genre I’m writing at the moment, my favorite is the opposite of that.
I usually opt for love story over romance, intriguing over suspenseful, and character-driven over plot-driven…but the plot drives the characters’ actions and internal conflict, so… There ya’ go.
DW: Women’s fiction, but I like it too. Tell us about your most recent book and the message(s) behind it?
CR: Miles from Where We Started is a story of a Millennial couple on the verge of their first anniversary, and on the verge of separation. This marriage thing is hard work. Who knew? Better to cut their losses now—no harm, no foul—right? Before they can officially cut the cord, they’re thrust into a no-getting-out-of-it 3,000-mile, three-week road trip…in a microcamper…with an 11-year-old foster kid, the nephew of the husband’s business partner. It has to work or the business folds. Their marriage is already showing deep creases. When the road ends, does everything they care about end, too? The message behind the story is that marriage is about commitment. The fact that it’s hard work shows how important it is, how priceless it can become.
DW: I can’t wait to read your new book. I’ve read most of them and enjoyed each one so much. Which authors do you like to read?
CR: All of them. (Can I say that?) My tastes usually run toward the thoughtfully written, more literary women’s fiction. But no matter the topic or genre, fiction or nonfiction, elegant writing holds my heart.
DW: Other than the Bible, which we all can agree is a must-read, what books have affected your life and how did they make an impact?
CR: I often list All Together in One Place by Jane Kirkpatrick as an all-time favorite, not only for the storytelling, but also because of the relationships of the women characters and their fortitude in the midst of horrific circumstances. I emerged a better person after reading that book.
Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke taught me that an ordinary man can be a hero. It changed the way I view the heroic man to whom I’m married.
Havah by Tosca Lee opened my eyes to the inexpressible price of The Fall. In her imaginative retelling of Eve’s life, I saw myself, my desperate need for a Redeemer, and my life’s purpose from a fresh perspective.
I could list so many others. Most books I read impact my life…or I lay the book aside.
DW: Thanks for those reading list ideas. Tell us about a memorable reader or fan. Perhaps a story about a personal encounter or some kind of email or message you received.
CR: How interesting to consider this immediately following the previous question! The memorable emails or notes are those that say to me what I would say to the authors I mentioned. A marriage restored. A new perspective gained. A deeper intimacy with Jesus.
I’m especially blessed when a reader tells me she/he prays for me and my writing. Several in particular let me know that they’re praying for me every time they read a devotional I’ve written. Others have written it on their calendars to pray for me regularly.
I don’t take lightly the privilege of the author/reader connection.
DW: Do you have any unique writing habits or rituals that you go through before sitting down at the computer?
CR: No, but I think I’ll develop one so I can answer this kind of question better in the future.
DW: By all means, do develop a quirky habit. (Smile.) I remember hearing you talk about your writing process. It’s fascinating to me that you are able to do a lot of the planning in your mind before you hit the keyboard. Apart from writing, what hobbies or past-times do you enjoy?
CR: Music. Serving on the worship team at church. I don’t do it often enough, but I like to fish. My grandkids say I make the only applesauce worth eating. J
DW: You are a great worship leader. I think your quiet time with the Lord shows through when you lead worship. Do you have a life motto or Bible verse that guides you?
CR: As with my writing, I’ve come to adopt “I can’t unravel. I’m hemmed in Hope.” Connected to that is Romans 15:13 NIV—“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
DW: Tell us about what’s next for you? Any appearances, forthcoming releases, etc.?
CR: This is a busy travel year for me. I’m attending…the ACFW conference (this week,) speaking at a women’s event (also in September), speaking the very next day at a different women’s event, then flying to New England for the ReNew Christian Writers Retreat in October, followed by speaking for the Minnesota N.I.C.E. chapter of ACFW, the ECPA Art of Writing Conference and Christy Awards in Nashville in November, and speaking for a Christmas Tea in December.
My 25th book (counting compilations) releases on October 16, 2018. And I’m working on another novel for 2019 plus an exciting nonfiction that I’m not at liberty to discuss just yet.
As a literary agent with Books & Such Literary Management, I’m looking forward to matching more of my clients with publishing houses and watching their books take off!
DW: You certainly have a lot going on. Thanks so much for visiting with me. I wish you much continued success and good health. As one of the first Christian authors I met after I started writing, it has been so special to see your love of Christ shine through in your writing and your life.
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