Seattle: What’s the first thing mentioned when introducing two strangers? Typically, one person introduces another by saying the individual’s name, followed by his or her vocation. “This is my friend, Bob. He’s an airplane mechanic.” “I’d like you to meet Sally. She’s a triathlete.” It’s natural for people to derive their sense of self from what they do, not who they are. In her latest novel, Song of Silence (Abingdon Press/April 5, 2016/ISBN: 9781426791499/$14.99), award-winning author Cynthia Ruchti reminds us God takes a different approach when it comes to identity and explores what happens when identity can no longer be linked to an occupation or life’s passion.
In Song of Silence, readers meet Lucy and Charlie Tuttle who, despite their differences, can agree on one thing: They’re committed to each other for life. The trouble is neither of them expected life to look like this. Charlie retired early, but Lucy has been completely devoted to her long-term career as a music educator in a small Midwestern school . . . until the day she has no choice.
Forced into retirement because of school budget issues, Lucy can only watch helplessly as the music program her father spent years building disintegrates before her eyes. As the music fades and a chasm separates her from the passion of her heart, Lucy wonders if her faith’s song has gone silent too. When her grown children have to move back into the family home, new challenges emerge, and the musical score of her life seems to be missing all the notes. When a simple misstep threatens to silence Lucy forever, a young boy and his soundless mother change the way she sees – and hears – everything.
All authors put at least a hint of people they know into their characters, and Ruchti’s husband recognized himself in Lucy’s husband, Charlie. Although he was forced into retirement similarly to Lucy, his approach to retirement more closely resembled Charlie’s. Ruchti admits her reaction would have been more like Lucy’s. “What was only a minor interruption for my husband would have been more devastating for me.” Ruchti adds, “When Lucy’s occupation was stripped from her, she flailed and floundered. However, who we are, and whose we are, are because of who God is, eliminating long-lived identity crises. No matter our position, station, work, or lack of it, I know I am His beloved child and He is my loving Father. The rest are mere details.”
The author also drew from her own life when creating the main character, Lucy, whose name and influence were inspired by her fifth-grade music teacher. “Some teachers leave a lasting impression on our lives and on our souls,” Ruchti reflects. “Like the ‘Lucy’ I know, in the story Lucy taught the students entrusted to her not only the enriching importance of music, but its elegance and ability to communicate.” Ruchti’s father was also a highly-respected music educator, and he added to her appreciation for how music could convey deep emotions such as joy, peace, sorrow, and strength.
Ruchti hopes readers will not only find themselves lost in a compelling story, but will hear in the background notes an encouragement to hold onto hope even when life’s song is silenced, even when unexpected and unwelcomed pauses interrupt the music.
“Cynthia Ruchti’s enthralling novels are always on my automatic buy list. Her beautifully written stories take me on a journey through my own heart and soul. Highly recommended!”
~ Colleen Coble, author of Mermaid Moon and the Rock Harbor series
“As a teacher who has experienced reduction in force (RIF), the emotions of the main character, Lucy, proved transparent and real. This book gripped my heart from the first page to the last with the reality of the situation. It taught me to ‘keep playing in the silence.'”
~ Cleo Lampos, M.Ed., special education teacher, speaker, author Teaching Diamonds in the Tough
About the author
Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope through her novels, novellas, nonfiction books, articles, and devotionals, drawing from 33 years of on-air radio ministry. Ruchti has 17 books in print, and her books have received numerous awards and nominations, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year nominations, two Selah Awards, Christian Retailing’s BEST, and was an ACFW Carol Award finalist, among other honors.
One of Ruchti’s greatest joys is helping other writers grow in their craft. To that end, she has served as worship and devotions staff and faculty for the Write-to-Publish conference and teaches at other writers’ conferences across the country and internationally as opportunities arise. She also serves as the professional relations liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers.
Ruchti speaks frequently for women’s groups and serves on her church’s worship team. She and her husband live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.
To keep up with Cynthia Ruchti, visitwww.cynthiaruchti.com. You can also follow her onFacebook (Cynthia Ruchti), Twitter (@cynthiaruchti), and Pinterest (cynthiaruchti).