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Interview with Cynthia Roemer

Congratulations on the April 2017 release of your debut novel, Under This Same Sky! How do you feel now that you’re a published author?
It’s been wonderful. I’m so humbled and honored that the Lord has graciously given me the fulfillment of this life-long dream.

What was it like, writing this book? Describe your best days and worst moments.
I actually did much of my research and wrote a rough draft of Under This Same Sky while in college, but then it sat idle until 2012 when I joined the ACFW. The novel has gone through many changes over these past few years. I’ve had days when I doubted it would ever be published and others I’ve been on top of the world—like when I was named a finalist in the Genesis Contest and when I signed my two-book contract with MRP!

What was the inspiration behind this debut book of yours? How did you determine the title?
All my life I’ve seen God blamed for the trials people undergo. I wanted my main character to face tragedy and deal with the age-old question of why God allows bad things to happen. Under This Same Sky doesn’t seek to explain why God allows hardships, but demonstrates how He can bring about blessings even in the darkest of days if we trust Him.

Becky’s longing for home is a huge theme in the novel. She leaves the only home she’s ever known and is thrown into unfamiliar surroundings and people. The title, Under This Same Sky, came out of that longing for her prairie home and the knowledge that God is with her wherever she is.

Becky Hollister is your story’s heroine. Describe her heart, flaws and strengths that play a role in her storyline.
Becky is strong-willed (which in the story turns out to be both a weakness and a strength), yet is tenderhearted and wrestles with some tough issues. Her faith is tested when she loses her loved ones and is uprooted from her home. Though bitter for a time, she remains open to the Lord’s gentle wooing of her heart. In the end, she learns that God’s plans often differ from our own, but that His ways are always best.

Matthew Brody is your story’s hero. Why did you make him a pastor? What connection does he have with the heroine?

Matthew is a circuit rider, which is a traveling preacher who ministers to various congregations. When he came to minister in and around Becky’s hometown of Miller Creek three years earlier, Becky was a girl of fourteen. He views her as merely a young member of his flock, until they are thrown together through the events of the novel. I suppose I made him a pastor so that he would provide a trusted voice in her life when she most needed him.

Describe Matthew’s looks, passion for pastoring, and silent hopes.
Matthew is tall and lean with chestnut hair and brown eyes. His deepest wish is to have his own permanent place of ministry and to have someone to share his life with—both of which he achieves in the end.

Why does Becky like Matthew? Is there anything about him that she detests?
Becky has great respect for Matthew as a pastor and friend of the family. It isn’t until they begin to spend more time together that she awakens to him as a man. Her admiration for him holds true until a miscommunication tarnishes his character in her eyes. But this novel has a happily-ever-after ending, so in the end, that respect is restored.

Why does Matthew correspond with Becky? What does he admire about her and why does he choose to marry another woman (not Becky)?
The storyline takes Becky away from her prairie home to the city of St. Louis due to her father’s injury. Matthew and Becky’s tender feelings for each other have just been realized when they are forced apart.

Correspondence is the only means they have to connect with each other. Matthew admires Becky’s commitment to her father, her tender heart and her resilience, not to mention her beauty.

Oh, but the blurb doesn’t say he marries someone else. Becky is only told he is “all but betrothed.” But I’ll not give away how it all plays out. You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens.

What do you want your readers to remember the most about this book?
Its message. No matter what we go through in life, the Lord is there with us, cheering us on and offering strength and comfort.

Let’s talk about you and your passion for writing. When did you know you were a writer? Give us a brief view into your journey to publication.
When I was 16, I entered a short-story contest at a local collage, won first place, and knew that was my calling. I was hooked. I went on to earn a B.A. in English (with an emphasis on Creative Writing). Though I began research for Under This Same Sky as a college student and even wrote a rough draft of the story, my dream of seeing it in print took a back seat as I married and raised two sons. However, I continued to write for various Christian publications and have over one hundred inspirational articles and short stories in print.

In 2012, my dream of writing novels was revived when I joined the ACFW. With the help of critique partners and online courses, I began fine-tuning my writing skills and entering contests. Between 2014 and 2016, I was named a finalist in both the ACFW Genesis Contest and the Olympia Contest and was chosen the Historical/Historical Romance Category Winner in the Writers of the West Contest.

In August of 2016, I attended the ACFW Conference in Nashville, TN. There I met with the owner/publisher of Mantle Rock Publishing who requested a book proposal and later a full manuscript. In September, MRP offered me a two-book contract. In April 2017, Under This Same Sky went to print, fulfilling the dream God had birthed in me many years earlier.

Why did you decide to write inspirational historical romance and not a different genre?
I’m as old-fashioned as they come, so historical novels are a perfect fit for me. I enjoy delving into the past and researching the time period, more specifically the nineteenth century. A couple of years ago, I would have said I write straight historical, but what I hadn’t yet realized is how strong the romantic thread is in my debut novel, Under This Same Sky. It took some convincing on the part of my critique partners to get me to admit it, but I’ve come to realize what I write is indeed historical romance—but the pure, old-fashioned “slow-burner” type as one of my critique partners described it. However, the romance is secondary to my heroine’s rekindled love relationship with the Lord.

As a woman of faith, how does your belief in God affect your writing?
My faith is at the very heart of my writing. My goal with Under This Same Sky is to assure readers that God can take our deepest hurts and bring about blessing if we allow Him. It’s my prayer that all who read it will be left with a heightened sense of God’s presence in their lives.

Who is your favorite author?
Most likely, it would be Laura Frantz. Her book The Frontiersman’s Daughter had a profound influence on my writing.

What’s your favorite food to devour when stressing over a deadline?
Chocolate, by all means!

Complete this sentence: If I were not a writer, I would spend my time _________________________because ________________________.
If I were not a writer, I would spend my time enjoying God’s creation, working in my garden and helping out more on our farm because I love being outdoors and miss some of the activities that I’ve sacrificed to write.

Thanks for sharing with us, Cynthia! Would you like to share any closing thoughts?
Yes. I’ve had this dream of being a published novelist a good many years. I’m so thankful the Lord has allowed it to come about. It’s been a long time coming, but He knew just when the time was right. I’ve been so blessed by the friends I’ve made at ACFW and through various FB and on-line writing groups. Lots of wonderful people are writers. I feel very blessed and want to encourage other aspiring authors to persevere. You never know what God is doing behind the scenes!


Alexis A. Goring is a passionate writer with a degree in Print Journalism and an MFA in Creative Writing. She loves the art of storytelling and hopes that her stories will connect readers with the enduring, forever love of Jesus Christ.

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