Her latest book is the Christian fiction, When the Morning Glory Blooms.
You can learn more about Cynthia and her writing and speaking at www.cynthiaruchti.com.
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life! Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process. Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning? Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?
When the Morning Glory Blooms lived under my heartbeat for a long time. Other books were born while it waited, but the gestation period for this novel was more than twelve years.In its earliest stages, the book allowed my curiosity to roam over the idea of what it would be like to run a home for unwed moms during the late 1800s. I expected it would be tough, an assignment with many obstacles and a heartache or two along the way. I wondered how society’s attitudes would be different and how they’d be the same as today’s.The book refused to be told from that single perspective, through the eyes of Anna, the woman who welcomed unwed moms into her home. So I introduced a second main character, Ivy, who cares for Anna in the older woman’s final days. Ivy, with one hand pressed against the spot in her belly where a baby grows, listens to Anna’s wildly imaginative stories about the outrageous number of daughters she had, none of whom come to visit her in the nursing home. Ivy listens long enough to realize the stories are rooted in reality, a reality that may hold the key to Ivy’s own search for hope in her situation, with a child on the way and her boyfriend serving in the Korean Conflict, the 1950s version.But the novel kept pacing, as if it wasn’t quite satisfied. And my own family faced the aftershocks of an unwed pregnancy and the birth of a grandchild that showed us the meaning of grace.So, after resisting what I perceived might be a logistical complication, I added a third point of view character—Becky—who is the present day mom of a teen mom, finding her way through the difference between helping and enabling, discovering that it’s not so simple to parent a teen parent.The result is When the Morning Glory Blooms—three eras, three women desperate for hope, three reasons to believe it won’t come in time.
Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?
When the Morning Glory Blooms touches on issues that are emotionally-charged—love and loss, abandonment, relationship breaches, single parenting, unapproachable and uninvolved dads, women not ready to be moms, women who long to be moms, marriage in the tough times. It couldn’t help but be emotionally exhausting to write. Creating realistic yet intriguing scenes demanded constant attention to how they each flowed into the other and how the stories blended so readers wouldn’t get whiplash moving from one era to another.One suggestion I’d have for other authors writing a novel encompassing more than one era is to watch for parallels in each of the eras that you can capitalize on in order to make the flow more seamless. A rough example would be ending a 1770s chapter with a scene of snow falling and beginning the next chapter in the 1970s with a dusting of snow. Something that links the eras together with an element or felt need or word or point of tension in common, although making it absolutely clear in which era the chapter is set.Another suggestion: Avoid writing stories with multiple eras unless absolutely necessary.
Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?
When the Morning Glory Blooms is published by Abingdon Press. I met the acquisitions editor at an American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference, the premier conference devoted exclusively to inspirational fiction. The editor acquired my debut novel—They Almost Always Come Home—as a direct result of that conference. A couple of years later she invited me to submit other ideas. When the Morning Glory Blooms is one that resonated with her and the rest of the fiction team. I have another novel releasing with Abingdon Press as well, in 2014—All My Belongings.
Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?
It surprised me that as well as I thought I knew my novel, I learned even more about it when seeing it through my readers’ eyes. Their perceptions, the details they noticed, the questions they asked, the way they related to the characters helped me view it in a new, refreshing light.
Q: Can you describe the feeling when you saw your published book for the first time?
My story may differ from others on this point. My mom had been my strongest cheerleader for my writing. Due to congestive heart failure, she entered a resident hospice facility for her final days of life in August 2009, grieving that she wouldn’t live to see the book’s release in May 2010. She hung on far longer than those first three days we expected to be her last. One day in mid-February, with her strength almost gone, she held the first copy of the Advanced Reader version in her hands. She kept it on the hospital table near her bed and talked about it with every visitor and hospice worker who came near. The staff noted that as soon as the book was in her hands, it was as if she began to let go. She died two weeks later. So my first glance at my first published book is tied to those tender memories.
Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?
I have a non-fiction book releasing with Abingdon Press in July—Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices. Mornings with Jesus 2014 with Guideposts will contain 40 of my devotions. Also in 2014 is the release of All My Belongings, another novel with Abingdon Press Fiction. Then, in 2015, I’m part of a 4-author Christmas novella collection with B&H Publishing—Merry Christmas, Mine. Other projects in the works!
Q: Fun question: How does your book contribute to making this world a better place?
Any good story makes the world a better place by sheer enjoyment and time well-spent. But my hope is that When the Morning Glory Blooms will also be a conversation starter in families and among friends, that it will help enable some readers to leave their past behind them, and that those who are desperate for hope will find it in the pages.
Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?
On a page by itself before the story begins is this line: The sound of our falling is the call that sends Him to catch us.It’s an embracing message of grace for our mistakes and hope for what lies in the aftermath.
Q: Thank you again for this interview! Do you have any final words?
I’m beyond grateful for this opportunity to talk about the stories close to my heart. When the Morning Glory Blooms is still speaking to me. I hope readers discover the same to be true long after they finish the last page. My cyber-door is always open to those who want to connect through my website www.cynthiaruchti.com, www.facebook.com/cynthiaruchtireaderpage, or www.twitter.com/cynthiaruchti. Thank you again for inviting me to visit The Writer’s Life.