Friday, September 3, 2010

Two Great Books - One Great State

Wonderful, wild, woodsy Wisconsin is one of my favorite states – maybe because of so many great vacation memories with family and friends. I love the big sky, the cornfields and cow pastures, the broken down barns. Lakes and rivers abound, and oh, when the sun sets over a Wisconsin lake, it looks like a little piece of Heaven. And here’s a confession, I even love the tacky, touristy, Water Park Capital of the World. Yep, Wisconsin Dells, with its endless shops full of tee-shirts, Indian moccasins, wooden boxes, fudge and cheese, has a special place in my heart.

Today I’d like to introduce an author whose debut novel is set in Wisconsin. Cynthia Ruchti’s first book, They Almost Always Come Home, is catching rave reviews nationwide and beyond. The plot revolves around Libby and Greg, whose marriage is sputtering in the wake of their daughter's death, for which Greg is responsible. Libby considers leaving, until she is faced with the prospect of becoming a widow when Greg fails to return from a solo trip to the Canadian wilderness. Libby enlists the help of her father-in-law and best friend as she searches for Greg. What the trio discovers topples Libby’s presumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith.

In addition to her novel, Cynthia also has a novella in a 4-author collection titled A Door County Christmas, also set in Wisconsin, which just released on Wednesday, Sept. 1. Here’s Amazon’s

Peer behind the closed doors of a Wisconsin tourist town gone dormant for the winter season. Watch as the drama and romance start to heat up—just as Lola the innkeeper promised her four single friends a year ago when she gifted them with her prayers and a Christmas cactus. Will each woman find love—along with cactus blooms—as promised?

LEAVE A COMMENT FOR A COPY OF A DOOR COUNTY CHRISTMAS! (And check out my next post for more about beautiful Door County, located on a peninsula in northeast Wisconsin.)

And now, meet Cynthia!

Q. They Almost Always Come Home is quite a success story, but writers know these dreams don’t come true overnight. How long have you been trying to get it published?

A. For 31 years, I’ve written short bits of fiction for the radio drama/devotional program The Heartbeat of the Home. But it wasn’t until just a few years ago that I seriously pursued the idea of writing a complete novel or novella. When I attended ACFW’s (then ACRW) first national conference in Kansas City, the pursuit kicked into higher gear. That was in 2002. In 2008, this project—They Almost Always Come Home—was a Genesis Contest finalist. Within a month after receiving that honor, the project was contracted with Abingdon Press Fiction. Because of the subject matter of the story, I’d have to say I’ve been working on the plot for all of my married life!

Q. What is the message you’re hoping readers get from your book?

A. Although the story is driven by the characters and their adventures, both emotional and physical, a breeze blows through each scene. It smells like hope. It caresses wounded souls. It glows in the dark. It whispers the words, “Take another look.” At life. At love. At marriage. At faith. At friendship.

Q. That answer is certainly a testament to your writing skills. It's no wonder the book is a success! A Door County Christmas just released a few days ago. What are your hopes for it and what is next on your writing agenda?

A. I can picture A Door County Christmas (Barbour Publishing Christmas novella collection with Eileen Key, Rachael Phillips, and Becky Melby) as a fun hostess gift, Christmas present, thank you for a teacher or Sunday school teacher, or even a Joy-to-the-World gift for a friend or secret pal. Each of the four stories celebrates the wonder of humor, the delight of a great setting, the fact that we’re all “characters,” and the awe of the Savior’s birth. It’s style is far more lighthearted than They Almost Always Come Home, but I hope my readers find the same “voice” in both books…and those yet to come. I’m waiting word on a couple of projects that are dear to my heart.

Q. Do you have a favorite recipe to share with Taste the World followers?

A. My husband and I planted blueberries in our Wisconsin yard a couple of years ago. They’ll soon yield enough of a harvest to make one of my favorite easy recipes. It’s as refreshing as an iced dessert.


In a custard cup, put a half cup of blueberries (fresh are great, but frozen are even better). Drop a generous tablespoon of sour cream on top of the berries. Sprinkle with a teaspoon or more of brown sugar (dark brown sugar deepens the flavor). That’s it. There’s something about the cool berries, the smooth sour cream, and the sweetening of the brown sugar that meld into lusciousness. Blueberry DEEEEE-light!

Thank you, Cynthia. It has been a pleasure to virtually meet you! Can't wait to see you in flesh-n-blood at the ACFW conference.

Learn more about Cynthia and her books on these websites:


  1. I've enjoyed Heartbeat of the Home over the years, so I'm excited about Cynthia's new books. I'm super curious about what Libby discovers when she goes looking for her missing husband. How does it rearrange her faith? I want to know! :)) Sounds like a great read!! And, of course, everybody loves Christmas stories. A Door County Christmas sounds exciting too!

  2. I loved "They Almost Always Come Home," and I can't wait to read "A Door County Christmas." With Cynthia's great writing style and Rachel's humor, it should be a fun read.

  3. Cheryl and Kathryn, nice to see you here! You both are a blessing.

  4. Hi,

    I can't wait to read this book. I ready Cynthia's earlier release, They Almost Always Come Home. We are all in for a treat with her new book.

  5. A DOOR COUNTY CHRISTMAS sounds like a delightful read. Enjoyed the
    interview, Cynthia. Thanks for posting it, Susan. Please enter me
    in your drawing.


  6. Cynthia, thanks for sharing a bit of "your" story. Your successes are an encouragement for others, like me, hoping to write with inspirtation. BTW, I'm from MI and thought we had the corner on great blueberries. Glad to hear they grow sweet in your neck of the woods also. I'd love to read your new collection. pgrau dot ggi at gmail dot com

  7. Thanks for stopping by everyone. And I must say, Patricia, you DO have the corner on great blueberries. When I shop for them at the grocery store, I bypass every package unless it says "grown in Michigan"! Absolutely the best. I freeze them in small containers to savor all year long.