Saturday, November 28, 2015

Christmas and Giving Back: Author Interview with Cynthia Ruchti

How did you come up with the idea of your book, An Endless Christmas?My first thought was "What would be a tender moment at a family Christmas gathering, and how could I turn that into something unexpected?" Once I started to flesh out the story of Katie and Micah, and once the wonderful Binder family members in the story came onto the scene, I realized that the Binders seemed a lot like my own big, wonderful extended family. Perfect? No. In fact, part of what makes me love the family I call my own is the grace in spite of failures, the forgiveness so freely given, the warmth and genuine affection for one another. Much of that worked its way into An Endless Christmas.

Could you give me a short synopsis on the story for my readers?
Katie isn't sure about spending Christmas week with her boyfriend Micah's family at his grandparents' cottage in the snow and cold of Stillwater, MN. Her family history is anything but warm and cozy. But the Binder's welcome her with open arms that don't close when Micah proposes and Katie feels compelled to say no. There's no escaping Christmas week, no escaping the circle of the Binders' embrace. And no escaping the reality that this Christmas could be their last together.

What made you decide to do a Christmas themed book?
I've written Christmas novellas in the past and always enjoyed the process of telling a story with Christmas at its heart. When this opportunity crossed my path, I welcomed it. No matter what book I'm writing, I'm affected by the story told. This is no exception. I personally feel that my heart is much more ready for a genuine and significant, God-honoring Christmas because of what I discovered in An Endless Christmas.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?
We haven't pulled one off--schedule-wise--for a few years, but I cherish memories of the years the women in the extended family got together for our own Christmas tea with fancy place settings, unique appetizers, spectacular desserts, and time to pull back from the frenzy that often surrounds the holidays in order to enjoy one another. We happen to have many great cooks in our family, so the spread is always as beautiful as it is delicious.

The Christmas celebration with our kids and grandkids has a quirky tradition that actually has selflessness and meaning behind it. We have the tradition of choose a date OTHER THAN Christmas Eve or Christmas Day for our family get-together. Some years it's December 18th, or the 27th, or the 11th... We want to allow the "in-law" families who feel strongly about their traditional Christmas Eve or Christmas Day festivities the freedom to not conflict with ours. We realize that the 25th was a date chosen centuries ago and is merely representative of the actual day Jesus was born. So for us, we're content to just pick a day. In a way, it helps us focus on the Person we honor rather than the date on the calendar.

Another tradition is one our extended family adopted the Christmas after my dad passed away. (It's a tradition that shows up in An Endless Christmas, too!) We don't exchange names for gift-giving, but instead take a collection that we share with a charitable organization in Dad's name. Now that Mom is gone, too, the memorial gift is in both their names. A sweet way to celebrate the heritage of having two loving, exceptional parents/grandparents.

What’s next? (future books, novellas, you want to mention)

I'm blessed to have been asked to do a Christmas novella for Worthy Publishing for 2016 also. It will be fun to create a new setting, new characters, and new storyline for that. In 2016, I have a full-length novel releasing from Abingdon Press. It's Song of Silence, the story of a music teacher who loses her job and her passion when the small school where she teaches closes its music and art departments due to lack of funds. And that's just the beginning of silencing her song. I'm writing devotions for Mornings With Jesus 2017, which will release late in 2016. Other projects are being finalized. I'm more than a little excited about speaking for a women's retreat for the More To Life cruise to Key West and Cozumel with speakers Carol Kent and Kathi Lipp as well as singer Meredith Andrews.

Any special awards or achievements you’d like to mention?
I've been blessed beyond measure to have many of my books recognized by industry honors, each one dear to my heart for different reasons. But without pretense, I can say that the most meaningful achievements aren't achievements at all but moments--hearing from readers who have found hope or healing or insight or encouragement through something I've been privileged to write.

What’s the best writing tip you’ve learned or been given that you’d like to share?
I don't think we can over-estimate the impact of a quality writers' conference. Education, networking, friendships, interaction with editors and agents, inspiration all in one package. I can trace many defining moments in my career to experiences at writers' conferences.

What do you know now about writing and publishing you wish you had learned sooner?
I wish I'd established a carefully constructed record-keeping system earlier to manage all aspects of this writing life--character names, careers, diseases, goals, settings; receipts; marketing efforts; images; quotes... It's never too early to establish a good system that works for the individual writer.

Any last words you'd like to share?
Thank you so much for this opportunity, Christine. It's a joy to talk about stories in general and An Endless Christmas in particular. I appreciate it.

Thanks, Cynthia. I appreciate your inspiring words about writing and the Christmas season. You can learn more about her books at:,