Author Interview + Giveaway: Cynthia Ruchti, author of A Fragile Hope

I'm so excited to have Cynthia Ruchti here on Just Commonly to talk about her latest release, A Fragile Hope, one of the highlighted novels I've read this year so far. Click HERE if you would like to check out my review.




Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope. She's the award-winning author of 17 books and a frequent speaker for women's ministry events. She serves as the Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, where she helps retailers, libraries, and book clubs connect with the authors and books they love. She lives with her husband in Central Wisconsin.

TO CONNECT WITH CYNTHIA: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest 




Just Commonly  Q&A with Cynthia Ruchti

In a few sentences, tell us about your new book, A Fragile Hope.

Much-in-demand marriage and family expert Josiah Chamberlain finishes the final chapter of his latest book — destined to be another best-seller, he’s sure — to discover his wife has left him. Everything he assumed about their relationship disintegrates. His wife, Karin, can’t tell him why she left. It will cost him everything to keep loving with nothing but a fragile hope his career, his sanity, his faith and their marriage can survive.

Can you tell us how did you come up with the title, A Fragile Hope?

A Fragile Hope wasn’t the original title while I worked on the book. It’s a collaboration effort among the publishing team at Abingdon Press, my agent, and me as we searched for a title that would not give away the content of the story, but would make perfect sense when the reader reaches the end. Readers will likely find—as I did—that the idea of “fragile” hope is woven throughout the story—hope on the verge of collapse. But I trust that readers will also find that the hope God offers is wrought-iron solid and endlessly dependable.

In circumstances beyond our control, hope may truly be what we have left. Are there specific ways you deal with such circumstances? 

It’s been a comforting word picture through many challenging circumstances. Since God is such a good, good Father, I imagine myself crawling into His lap, laying my head on His shoulder, weeping against Him when necessary, and finding hope in His strong embrace. I don’t want that in any way to minimize His authority, sovereignty, or royalty. But imagining the tempo of His steady heartbeat slows the racing rhythm of my own.

In the story’s “Seedlings & Sentiments,” there are many wonderful taglines. Is there one in particular that you refer to often? 

It was a truly holy experience to sit before God and listen for what He would want written in those “Seedlings & Sentiments” taglines at the beginning of each chapter. Many of them moved me. Oh, who am I kidding? They ALL moved me! I grew through the process of writing the story, as I do with every novel. One of my favorite “Seedlings & Sentiments” quotes is, “Sometimes all hope needs is a little oxygen.”

The story’s marriage theme is powerful, and what comes about clenches one’s heart. How did the storyline develop? 

The storyline has lived somewhere underneath my heart—and in a remote part of my computer—for eight or nine years, waiting for the right time, the right method of telling the story. Marriage is one of those oh-so-easy-to-take-for-granted graces in our lives, and it suffers horribly if neglected. We mourn when we hear of a newborn who is diagnosed with “failure to thrive.” Knowing that can happen to marriages, too, motivated me, along with a key scene well into the story around which the rest of it revolves—a scene many of us experience so often and commonly that we are in danger of overlooking its importance. How’s that for an answer that doesn’t give enough away?

What lessons in love are revealed to readers in A Fragile Hope?
Even though the lessons within the novel A Fragile Hope are tucked quietly between the covers, I hope readers find them unmistakable.
  • The strength and fragility of love. Both are true. A couple I know has made writing and speaking on the subject of love their life’s work. Not long ago, the husband was in an accident that could have snuffed out his life. Their love is strong and practiced, but it could have ended that night. On hearing of the accident, before she knew the extent of his injuries, the wife whispered a gratitude prayer that it had become habit for them to say “I love you” every time they said goodbye, whether for an hour or a week. Love would have been their last words to each other if he hadn’t survived the accident. No wonder their relationship is so strong. Everything they do is bookended with love.
  • The need for constant nurturing in relationships. It’s easy to fall into routine in marriage, to assume if it has survived the first few years, the rest is coasting. However, the opposite is true. Coasting in marriage is as dangerous as coasting in our faith. If we’re not moving forward, we’re moving backward.
  • The power and gift of communication. Not all communication in marriage is verbal, but not all talking is communicating either. Communication is the act of exchanging gifts of listening and responding. Just as prayer is an interconnection WITH God, not words spoken TO God, so communication in marriage is an interchange with the goal of understanding, not winning.
  • Against our natural inclination and instincts, at its heart, love is sacrifice. Jesus demonstrated this truth poignantly, showing His love by sacrificing His life for us. The best marriages are those where personal agendas bow to the need of the other, but in such a grace-filled way the one bowing feels blessed. Not at all what we see disguised as love in most movies or television dramas.
What scripture passage played a part in the inspiration of this book? 


This won’t seem like the typical scripture to inspire a contemporary novel, but readers will find deep in the story why this snippet of a familiar verse played such a key role. In many churches, as communion is served, we hear I Corinthians 11:23-24, “The Lord Jesus on the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is (represents) My body, which is [offered as a sacrifice] for you,’” (Amplified Bible). I was deeply moved by the idea that Jesus showed us the depth of His love most significantly “on the night He was betrayed.” What would that look like in a husband/wife relationship — or any other relationship, for that matter? Can love shine brightest on the night it’s betrayed? That’s what love does: gives of itself when it makes the least sense.

What is the message you hope readers take away from reading A Fragile Hope?

“Disappointment and betrayal are always more layered than we imagine. Hope is always stronger than it appears, even at its most fragile.” In addition to hoping readers will finish the book with a satisfied sigh, I pray they’ll also have gained a deeper appreciation for the power of love and the strength of hope. Fragile? It only seems that way.

Is there a book you recommend if a reader needs encouragement, especially when dealing with matters of the heart?

I think Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages and his more recent The Five Languages of Apology should be required reading and rereading whether the matter of the heart is a marriage, friendship, or a working relationship.

For this book nerd, I need to know what books are you reading now and what books would you recommend?

I’m currently reading a nonfiction by a friend of mine—A Gift of Mourning Glories by Georgia Shaffer. Beautifully written and encouraging for those wading through difficult circumstances. What books would I recommend? Honestly, I pay attention to what you recommend, Annie! 

What can we expect from you next? 

In June, I have a nonfiction releasing from Worthy Inspired—a book of encouragement and reflections called As My Parents Age. I have several other books in various stages of contract or proposal, both fiction and nonfiction, but none of which I can divulge just yet. Stay tuned!



Thank you, Cynthia for taking the time for this interview. A Fragile Hope is a rarity in its powerful insight into matters of the heart. I look forward to your works, both fiction and non-fiction. Thank you.



Title:  A Fragile Hope
Author: Cynthia Ruchti
Publisher:  Abingdon Press
Release Date:  April 4, 2017
Genre: Christian Contemporary Fiction



Josiah Chamberlain's life's work revolves around repairing other people's marriages. When his own is threatened by his wife's unexplained distance, and then threatened further when she's unexpectedly plunged into an unending fog, Josiah finds his expertise, quick wit and clever quips are no match for a relationship that is clearly broken. 

Feeling betrayed, confused, and ill-equipped for a crisis this crippling, he reexamines everything he knows about the fragility of hope and the strength of his faith and love. Love seems to have failed him. Will what's left of his faith fail him, too? Or will it be the one thing that holds him together and sears through the impenetrable wall that separates them?
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When your life's work revolves around repairing other people's marriages, what happens when your own marriage begins to fall apart? Find out what happens to Josiah Chamberlain in Cynthia Ruchti's new book, A Fragile Hope. Feeling betrayed, confused, and ill-equipped for a crisis this crippling, he reexamines everything he knows about the fragility of hope and the strength of his faith and love. Love seems to have failed him. Will what's left of his faith fail him, too? Or will it be the one thing that holds him together and sears through the impenetrable wall that separates them?

Celebrate the release of A Fragile Hope by entering to win Cynthia's Sign of Hope Giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on May 3. The winner will be announced May 4 on the Litfuse blog.




CONVERSATION

14 comments:

  1. Thank you for the interview and the chance to win a copy of Sign of Hope Giveaway!

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    1. Thank you Kay for stopping in!

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    2. Kay, I'm grateful you took the time. I love it when readers get excited about books!

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  2. Thank you for the amazing job you do on your interviews. Would love to read.
    Blessings

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    1. Thank you Lucy! I appreciate your support!

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    2. Lucy, you're a blessing. Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. Hello Cynthia and Annie! Cynthia's stories are a must read! :)

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    1. I agree! Thanks Caryl for stopping by!

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  4. Great interview! Thank you both.

    And I have to agree: A Fragile Hope is one of the best books I've read this year.

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  5. I want to read this book sooooo much! lol Library does not have it, although I did just check out TAACH today.
    Thanks for your giveaway.

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  6. Enjoyed your interview! How timely, as I volunteer in our church library, our team was working on our next book order. Cynthia, "A Fragile Hope" is now on our order list. Thank you for your heartfelt books.

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    1. Woohoo!! yay! Your church members will love this! Enjoy!

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