Hi friends! I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Cynthia several times, so this time I shook things up from my normal format for interviews. First let me give you the traditional introduction:
Cynthia Roemer is an inspirational, bestselling author with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the hearts of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the mid-1800’s prairie and Civil War era. Her Prairie Sky Series consists of Amazon bestseller, Under This Same Sky, Under Prairie Skies, and Under Moonlit Skies, a 2020 Selah Award winning novel.
Cynthia writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband of twenty-seven years. They have two grown sons and a daughter-in-love. When she isn’t writing or researching, Cynthia can be found hiking, biking, gardening, reading, or riding sidesaddle with her husband in the combine or on their motorcycle. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Visit Cynthia online at: www.cynthiaroemer.com
Now for a little more personal introduction. I meet Cynthia four or five years ago at a book signing I attended with a friend, and have since had the enjoyment of reading all her releases. (I’ve got her newest one sitting on the corner of my desk waiting for me to finish a couple of other required reads first. So watch for that review in the next month or so.) Cynthia is a beautiful woman who has walked through some very difficult trials over the last two years– her husband’s cancer, the death of her beloved father, and her own continued battle with cancer. Through it all, she has been an amazing example of loving and trusting God even in the hard times. She has graciously agreed to share some of her experiences and how they have affected her and her writing.
CC: Thank you, Cynthia, for sharing your story. While you were writing Beyond These War-Torn Lands, you faced multiple family and personal challenges, including fighting an aggressive cancer diagnosis. How have you seen God work during that process?
CR: The past year and a half have truly been challenging with both myself and my husband being diagnosed with cancer and the loss of my dad. But through it all, the Lord has given me the strength and determination to press on. Writing provided a welcome distraction from the dismal reality of cancer and chemo and helped me focus on something worthwhile that I enjoyed.
CC: Writing certainly has been a gift from God for me in troubled times. I am so glad He provided you the strength and determination to keep at it.
Did any of your experiences, emotions, or struggles with this time play into Beyond These War-Torn Lands? How so?
CR: I do feel the depth of emotions and spiritual content were enhanced by my experience. I’ve always had a deep sense of emotion, but during this health challenge, the Lord drew me in even closer to his unfailing love, and I pray that resonates with readers in this story.
CC: You have been such a light of faith, grace, and courage to your readers on social media as you go through this valley of struggles. What gives you the greatest encouragement on those hard days?
CR: Thank you, Crystal. Just knowing others are praying for me is such a comfort. I received more than a hundred cards and so many gracious comments on social media. We had people stop by to bring food and offer to help in any way. All of those expressions of Christ-like love truly inspired me to keep going. I feel so blessed!
CC: How can we be praying for you as you move forward in your treatment and in your writing?
CR: You are so thoughtful, Thank you! Specifically, I would appreciate prayers for renewed strength and healing, for my kidney function to return to normal (it has suffered from treatment), and for the Lord to be glorified through this experience and in my writing. Please pray what I write will honor Him and that I will be obedient in whatever He calls me to do. Thanks so much!
CC: Thank you so much for giving us a glimpse into this season of life for you. I’m excited to introduce readers to your newest release, Beyond These War-Torn Lands.
While en route to aid Confederate soldiers injured in battle near her home, Southerner Caroline Dunbar stumbles across a wounded Union sergeant. Unable to ignore his plea for help, she tends his injuries and hides him away, only to find her attachment to him deepen with each passing day. But when her secret is discovered, Caroline incurs her father’s wrath and, in turn, unlocks a dark secret from the past which she is determined to unravel.
After being forced to flee his place of refuge, Sergeant Andrew Gallagher fears he’s seen the last of Caroline. Resolved not to let that happen, when the war ends, he seeks her out, only to discover she’s been sent away. When word reaches him that President Lincoln has been shot, Drew is assigned the task of tracking down the assassin. A chance encounter with Caroline revives his hopes, until he learns she may be involved in a plot to aid the assassin. (Purchase here.)
CC: What are you most proud of with this story?
CR: All the historical details I was able to weave into the storyline. It was such great fun inserting my characters into encounters with real historical events and people. Countless hours of research went into this novel, and it’s so rewarding to see that appreciated in reader reviews and comments.
CC: I can only imagine all the work that went into creating this novel. What do you hope readers will take away from your story?
CR: The main themes are forgiveness and loving our enemies—two issues that are challenging to us all! The theme verse for Beyond These War-Torn Lands is Matthew 5:43-44:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”
Throughout the novel, both Drew and Caroline face challenging people “enemies” that they must make the difficult choice to seek revenge against or show Christ-like love to. With all the hatred and bitterness going on today, I feel this is a message we can all benefit from hearing. Loving the unlovable is one of the hardest things we’re asked to do but, as Christians, we are called to love even when others are unkind toward us.
CC: Was there anything you found fascinating while researching for this story?
CR: Oh, wow! I could write another book on that. LOL! This was the first novel I’ve written that involved so much actual history and I became lost in the research numerous times. But, for the sake of time and space, I’ll share just a couple of fascinating tidbits that I ran across.
In the opening scene of Beyond These War-Torn Lands, my hero, Sergeant Andrew (Drew) Gallagher, is injured at the Battle of Monocacy Junction, a lesser-known battle that was a loss to the Union. The Union commander in the battle was General Lew Wallace. After doing a little digging, I discovered something intriguing. If you’ve read or seen the movie, Ben Hur, you might find it interesting that it was written by none other than the retired Union General Lew Wallace!!
I also found that renovations to the U.S. Capitol dome began in 1861, but were stopped briefly at the start of the Civil War. Work quickly resumed, however, and was on-going throughout the Civil War and completed in 1866! I find that amazing!
CC: I love the research that goes into a story. There are so many fascinating details. Who was your favorite character to create? Why?
CR: Oh, I loved Drew. He was such a good-natured guy, so fun to create. I dearly loved how he related to Caroline, his horse, his men, his superiors, and God!
CC: Who was your most challenging character? Why?
Definitely Caroline’s father, Eugene Dunbar. He was gruff, overbearing, and spiteful—all the traits in a person that make me want to curl up in a ball and hide!
CC: I am with you on that type of book. Will there be others in this series?
CR: Yes. I’m currently working on Book 2 in my Wounded Heart Series which will be Drew’s younger brother Luke’s story. It begins in Richmond, VA in the final week of the Civil War and during the aftermath. The story is still in the developmental stages, but is slated to release in November, 2022.
CC: Ooooh. Already sticking it on my TBR list. 🙂 I’ve always enjoyed reading your stories. As always, I love to wrap up with a fun question. If you could choose to have lunch with any book character, who would you choose?
CR: Hmm. That’s an interesting question. The first that comes to mind is Anne of Green Gables. I love her down-to-earth nature and her tenacity! I’m certain we would be kindred spirits. =)
CC: Thank you so much for the interview, Cythnia. I truly appreciate it and will be praying for you. Readers, which book character YOU would choose to have lunch with? Tell me in the comments so we can create a virtual luncheon. 🙂
If you’d like to connect with Cynthia Roemer, you can find her at any of these places:
Author Newsletter Sign-up: https://mailchi.mp/2a0d03dfaa50/newslettersignup
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Roemer/e/B06Y1CJ588/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1