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Turning Wonder into Words by Cynthia Ruchti

Please welcome our guest blogger, Cynthia Ruchti.


She said she was having a hard time liking the man she loves. I wondered if that were possible. Then my husband came home from work with a chunk of wood on his shoulder (bigger than a chip) and I understood. Whether a moment, a day, a season, or a lifetime, even when the commitment to marriage is still anchored, the “liking” part can drift off course.

My writer-wonder doodled with a plot. What if a woman’s husband took off on a solo canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness (like mine often does) but he didn’t come home (like mine almost didn’t—a story for another time)? What if the woman wasn’t sure she cared that much one way or the other (unlike me)? I wondered what might have happened to their marriage to make the authorities assume he chose that moment to walk away and make the woman upset because he left before she could. She can’t leave him if she can’t find him.

I wondered what would happen if she tore off into the wilderness to retrace his steps—his canoe strokes—and what she’d discover about herself if she tried.

Wonder became a synopsis (with a little help from ACFW), then a proposal (with a little help from ACFW). It matured into a full-grown manuscript and applied for jobs at a couple of publishing houses. Not hiring.

It lived at home for a while, then caught the eye of a panel of ACFW contest judges (Genesis Women’s Fiction Finalist 2008), an agent (a month later), and an editor (same day).

A year and a half later, May 1st was the release date for this story of wonder turned into words—They Almost Always Come Home by Abingdon Press Fiction.

Libby Holden gives voice to the woman who doesn’t dare admit her husband’s likeability is in the negative column or that she might be partially responsible for the distance between them.

At its core, They Almost Always Come Home is a journey through both a Canadian wilderness and the heart’s stark wilderness.

It all started with “I wonder…”

The writing journey for the story took a path from the starting point of wonder, through the forest of contemplation, around the boulder of believability, across the raging river of possibilities, through the deep sands of plotting, into the bug-infested bog where character develops (mine and the imaginary ones), up the cliff of word counts, down the other side of rewriting and editing, through the Tunnel of Waiting, across the storm-tossed lake over which the words are spoken: “Peace. Be still.” Then the canoe of the novel made a soft shooshing sound as it nuzzled into shore—a published story.

The start of another journey. I wonder who will read it. I wonder whose heart will be touched. I wonder where God will take it, into whose lap it will land.

Cynthia Ruchti is the current president of American Christian Fiction Writers. She writes stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels and the radio broadcast, The Heartbeat of the Home.

You can connect with her through her website (www.cynthiaruchti.com or www.hopethatglowsinthedark.com), Twitter (twitter.com/cynthiaruchti) or through her Facebook Reader Fan Page (facebook.com/cynthiaruchtireaderfanpage).


They Almost Always Come Home is available through major booksellers, including amazon.com, christianbook.com, deepershopping.com, cokesbury.com, bn.com and others.

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