Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: Struggles and Triumphs Workbook by Cynthia Simmons

Welcome to the CBRB, Cynthia! Thank you for being here! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in Chattanooga, where worked as pediatric RN. In 1978 I married Ray Simmons and moved to Atlanta. My husband and I have five children. Together we homeschooled them through high school. Several of them earned advanced degrees.

In 2004 I joined Christian Authors Guild and learned writing for publication. Since that time I’ve served as chaplain, vice president, president and conference director. I also do a monthly podcast
for writers called CAG Spotlight, and a quarterly podcast for Clash of the Titles.

When did you first discover that you loved writing?

I’ve always loved words and writing. In elementary school I attempted to start a book but
stopped when my brother teased me.

Why do you write the type of books that you do?

My youngest child is disabled and I took special classes to address his needs. Both of us battled
impossible barriers. During that time, I started historical research. On several occasions, God
used stories I unearthed to encourage me. I wrote Struggles and Triumphs and the Bible study
to give back some of what God gave me. I hope that women who use the study guide will gain a
deeper understanding of God and be more certain of their hope in Christ.

What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?

On occasion I struggle with writer’s block because I want to edit and write at the same time. I’m
such a perfectionist that I can’t stand to write a single phrase that doesn’t perform a concerto. So
when I’m stuck, I allow myself to put words on the screen without letting my inner editor alter

Has writing changed your life in any way?

I tend to read with the eye of an editor now. If there’s a mistake, I’ll probably see it.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?

2 Corinthians 2:14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ , and
manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

When the Roman soldiers conquered a city, they’d take prisoners back to Rome. They marched
into their capital city while burning incense and displaying their captives. They were proud to
show what they’d accomplished. The apostle Paul used that to draw a picture for us. Regardless
what trials come in our lives, we triumph because of Christ. He is our hope of eternal blessing and because of him we will be conquerors. We know how the story ends, and we know we’ll be
on the right side. Everyone who interacts with us will get a whiff of the sweetness and beauty of
our Savior. That’s something to hang onto when life gets messy.

I’ve had a lot of heartache the last four years. Family members persevered through major illness
and hospitalization about seven times. Both my parents died. I emptied my childhood home. A
child rebelled and ripped my family apart. I’ve shed a lot of tears. Through all the sorrow, I knew
I had something to hang onto. Christ’s death secured my future. I can triumph because of him.
Keeping my mind on the savior and eternity kept me sane.

I love your answer to the previous question. "I can triumph because of Him"- Amen! Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?

I’ve read a lot of books I really enjoyed, but if you want spectacular, I’d suggest Mere
and Till We Have Faces. Both are by C.S. Lewis.

What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

Our family has never done things the prescribed way. We tend to find our own niches. For
instance, my husband became an elder about seventeen years ago. All my kids were home, and
I knew they’d hate to have him gone. At that time, they met twice a month on Tuesday nights.
So, I devised a tea party for those nights, and I called it Elder Tea Party. The girls prepared all
sorts of goodies and I’d fix real British tea. Before we began, we’d all pray for Dad and the other
elders as they met. The kids loved it. Every time my husband had a meeting, they’d rush him out
the door so they could start preparations. He decided he wanted to come, and requested us to do
tea every week. I agreed, and our tea time became a weekly tradition. But lots of times people
at church wanted to talk to Ray and ask questions. (He’s an elder and Bible teacher.) So, I’d
tell them to come on Tuesday since I was already making preparations. We still have tea every
Tuesday, even though most of my kids are grown. Anyone can come and bring their question
or dilemma—whatever the topic. We discuss it around the table. It’s been an enormous success.
Some weeks we have a small group, and sometimes we get swamped. Lots of people have come,
and we’ve seen lives changed.

Praise Jesus! Please tell us about the featured book.

Struggles and Triumphs Study Guide is a companion to Struggles and Triumphs: Women in History Who Overcame. I pulled issues and questions from the stories of real women to form a 12 week Bible study. It’s a unique way to learn history and Scripture at the same time.

Can you please give us the first page?

Week 1

Life in a World full of Heartache

Tears welled up in Horatio Spafford’s eyes and a sob rose from his chest. “This is the spot. Almighty God, how can I endure the pain?”

Scalding tears slid down his face as he imagined the disaster: the ship sinking, the
screams of the passengers, his girl’s faces. Were they terrified as the waves swept them from his
wife? Did the salt water burn their precious lungs? How long did they suffer?
“I stand gazing upon my children’s grave. Here, in the midst of the ocean, they drowned.
My beautiful daughters.”
“Oh holy Father, I must not allow my faith to sink as well. My four girls are in your arms
now. Safe, secure.” The words tore yet another sob from his soul.
“Give me the words to comfort my dear wife when I arrive in England. She too
experienced disaster, but lived. How many dreams torment her soul?”
When their young son died of a fever, he tried to comfort her. The loss of one child hurt,
but now they lost four in one blow. “God help me.”
His decision to send his family to England alone had been good. Their passage on the
ship had been paid in full for months. A fire destroyed much of his property and that crisis kept
him home. He planned to follow a few days later. God did not hold him accountable for his
Oh, but that telegram from his wife, “Saved alone!” It ripped all joy from his soul. He
heard their steamer sank, and he prayed constantly for the safety of his family. At least his wife
lived, and he would see her soon.
“It is well with my soul, Lord.” He stood a little taller. “Despite the pain, I know what I
He returned to his cabin and pulled paper and pencil from the inside pocket of his coat
and wrote. The poem flowed from his pain, but also from his faith. God was sovereign. He
would believe. The name—he would call it—It is Well with My Soul.

Cynthia has kindly offered to giveaway a copy of her book Struggles and Triumphs: Women In History Who Overcame Workbook. Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway. Giveaway is available to U.S. residents only.

For extra entries: 
~Be a follower +1 
~Add my button to your blog +1
 ~Post about this giveaway +2
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~Post on Facebook +1
(please leave a separate comment for each extra entry)

Giveaway ends on Sunday, July 8, 2012 at midnight (Eastern time). Winner will be chosen using Random.org.


  1. This sounds like a great Bible study. Please enter me.


  2. Oh yes I would love to win a copy of Cynthia L. Simmons' new book..'Struggles and Triumphs Workbook'........I have shared on facebook and twitter........babyruthmac16ATyahooDOTcom