Drawing from more than 30 years as writer/producer and on-air voice actor for the daily 15-minute radio broadcast The Heartbeat of the Home, Cynthia Ruchti now tells stories hemmed-in-Hope through novels, nonfiction, devotionals, and at speaking events for women. In her novel Miles from Where We Started (Gilead Publishing), a married couple—whose marriage is on shaky ground—find themselves working through their issues on a crazy road trip. In this interview, Cynthia talks about the origins of the story, why “road trips” make such great stories, and the best ways for readers to support their favorite authors…

Cynthia, Miles from Where We Started revolves around a couple that’s been married (almost) a year—and are struggling. What can you tell us about Mallory and Connor Duncan? What made you want to write their story?

Connor and Mallory are bright millennials who are stunned by the reality that a good marriage is a lot harder to pull off than they thought it would be. Hard work must mean they chose wrong, right?

They love each other, but can’t reconcile why their interests seem to collide rather than align. They’re passionate about their jobs, but the devotion sometimes gets in the way of their relationship.

The causes they believe in seem to share no common ground—except fear. Fear of failing the people counting on them.

In some ways, that means Connor and Mallory represent far more than their millennial demographic. They represent us all.

I longed to know more about what millennials offer, what concerns them, how their unique contributions can make us stronger. And I wanted millennials to know that many of us out here aren’t criticizing but care about their stories and how they dovetail with ours, and with the grand story God is writing.

I specifically wanted to communicate that there’s something for millennial readers in Christian fiction. That they’re acknowledged, appreciated, and encouraged to dive in to discover what else is so great about Christian fiction as a reading option.

Tell us about what inspired their road trip—and the challenges therein…

Connor’s ad agency’s future depends on a successful road trip to test their key client’s latest creation—the RoadRave version of a teardrop camper. Mallory’s work with at-risk teens depends on the trip, too, and the RoadRave promise of a hefty donation to the youth center at the end of the trip.

Connor’s business partner was supposed to be Connor’s traveling buddy, but is detained at the last minute, dooming the backroads trip before it begins…unless Mallory agrees to go. And take the business partner’s troubled foster child/nephew with them.

A tough assignment is made tougher because the entire trip will appear on a daily video blog which demands the appearance of “happy campers” despite each characters’ pain and flaws and the relationship dysfunction. They won’t know their destinations until they get there, guided by up-to-the-minute guidance from the RoadRave company. They’re challenged to find ways to make a miniscule food budget stretch by taking odd jobs and relying on the kindness of strangers.

What could go wrong?

What is it about road trip stories that makes them such a great way to force characters together?

Laughingly, I was going to say, “There’s no escape!” But the deeper truth is that time away from normal routines often sets us up for significant conversations.

Watching each other be resourceful can increase respect. Within a shared experience lies hidden beauty and wonder. The song Connor wrote for Mallory refers to that concept when he says, “The miles tick on…and they take us far.”

What do you hope readers will come away with after reading Miles from Where We Started?

The idea that “marriage is easy” is a myth. It takes commitment, devotion, and requires work or nurturing to keep it alive and thriving, whether the marriage is brand new, a year old, or decades old. Many readers have commented that one of the quotes they’re hanging onto is, “Forgive more than you think you should have to…including yourself.”

I hope readers will also emerge from the reading experience convinced that no matter how a relationship might have derailed, because of the hope we have in Christ, they can say, “This is not how our story ends.”

What are your favorite ways for readers to support authors?

It’s meaningful when readers purchase more than one copy and use the extra(s) to introduce someone else to the story and the author.

Reviews are so important. Many times readers think they have to be witty or loquacious or sound professional in their reviews, so they don’t write and submit them. But even a couple of lines straight from the heart can help other readers discover a new book worth reading.

“Liking” on social media is wonderful. “Sharing” on social media is an author’s dream.

Visit Cynthia Ruchti’s author page here:

Miles from Where We Started
Cynthia Ruchti
Gilead Publishing

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