Ronie Kendig has a BS in Psychology and is a wife, mother of four, and avid writer. Her novels include Dead Reckoning (March 2010, Abingdon Press) and Nightshade (July 2010, Barbour Publishing), Book#1 in The Discarded Heroes series. She speaks to various groups, volunteers with the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and mentors new writers. Ronie can be found at www.roniekendig.com.
Ronie, you have so many wonderful things happening I almost don’t know where to start. First, congratulations on the release of Dead Reckoning, which came out last month! What is the book about?
Thank you for the congratulations. I’m in awe of what God has provided and arranged for my writing career. Dead Reckoning is the story of a young woman battling for independence from her father’s espionage career that shattered their family. Unwittingly, she’s embroiled in a nuclear arms clash that propels her into the path of a covert operative trying to rout the masterminds behind a dead drop in the Arabian Sea. Staying alive means surrendering her heart and becoming what she vowed she’d never be—a spy.
I understand you have another book, Nightshade, coming out in July. Is it a sequel to one of your other books, or is it a standalone novel?
Nightshade is Book #1 in the Discarded Heroes series, a 4-book series published through Barbour. I am really excited about this series, as its purpose is to open dialogue and discussion regarding PTSD and the way our heroes are “discarded” once they return home.
Can you give us a teaser and share the back cover copy for Nightshade?
Sure, I’d love to. Here’s the back-cover copy Barbour sent recently:
A Former Navy SEAL Is Fighting a New War at Home
After a tour of duty in a war-torn country, embattled former Navy SEAL Max Jacobs finds himself discarded and alienated from those he loves as he struggles with war-related PTSD. His wife, Sydney, files a restraining order against him and a petition for divorce. Max is devastated.
Then a mysterious a man appears. He says he’s organizing a group that recycles veterans like Max. It’s a black-ops group known as Nightshade. With the chance to find purpose in life once again, Max is unable to resist the call of duty and signs on.
The team handles everything with precision and lethal skill—until they’re called upon to rescue a missionary family from a rebel-infested jungle and avoid a reporter hunting their identities.
Will Max yield his anger and pride to a force greater than him—love?
How much research was involved with writing Nightshade? What resources did you find the most helpful?
The research for Nightshade was detailed and heavily involved. But a blessing is that I grew up a military brat, married a vet whose father retired from the Army after twenty-plus years of service, so I’ve been around the military most of my life. My husband has been an incredible resource, and then his father, who fought in the Viet Nam war and the first Iraq war.
Probably the most helpful resource came not in the form of a book but a man who’s “been there done that,” former Army Ranger Chuck Holton (yes, the author of Meltdown, Island Inferno, and the editor for Oliver North’s recent books). Chuck didn’t go easy on me; matter of fact, he was pretty brutal. But I welcomed his tough feedback, his admonishment to “get it right,” because I wanted the series to pass muster with guys (and women) like Chuck, who’d seen combat firsthand.
Do you have critique partners or someone who reviews your manuscript before you send it to your editor and or agent?
I do! Absolutely! First, I have my critique partners who will go through the manuscript a chunk at a time but I also have a friend who read the first, horrible rough draft of each chapter as I write them, and I use her reaction to gauge how the chapter fares. I also have a small handful of people who will read the entire manuscript through for continuity and overall concept. In addition, I typically try to find someone who has an area of expertise in whatever I’m writing about, and I ask them to read the manuscript for feedback. Once satisfied that I have a solid manuscript, I send a copy to my agent and to my editor.
What’s your favorite time of day to write and when are you the most creative?
Night—no doubt about it. I’ve always used evenings as my writing time since I have four children and homeschool them. Once, I attempted to change things around and write in the morning, but there was not a drop of creativity to be found. No surprise there since I am soooo not a morning person. Grouch alert! I’ve finally just embraced that this is the way I am wired. I’m with my children all day. After dinner, we chat for a while, and then I head to my office to write and my fabulous hunk takes over with the children, so I can write.