I'm really thrilled to have Ronie Kendig back with her second book release, Nightshade, the first book in her Discarded Heroes series.
Welcome, Ronie. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I have a passion for hurting/broken people, and all of my stories reflect that—along with a heaping dose of action and danger—and I know I’m reaching a different audience than those who write historicals or chick lit. This is where God has gifted me to share with His hurting children. What an honor!
I love the way God gives each of us our own unique type of books to write. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
The day I married the hero and love of my life! I’d captured a good one and wanted to get to the altar as fast as I could before he could get away. *grins* Brian, in so many ways, typifies the men I write about—heroic, handsome, godly, and fun!
Yes, he is. How has being published changed your life?
It’s made me grow up, I guess you could say. Before my first contract, I was writing more for my pleasure. Between my first and second contracts, God took me on a journey. He nudged me to learn in a deep and intimate way how to write for an Audience of One—he removed my “desire” to write, so that when I did write, it was simply because He asked me to. Not because I felt like it. Not because I wanted to write (for the first time ever, I was actually *averse* to writing). Soon after this, I realized writing, getting published, having my book in my hands is NOT the reason I’m writing. I’m writing because He gave me a gift. I’m writing because there’s someone God needs to reach through my words. It’s not about me.
What are you reading right now?
What I’m reading is as much inspired by mood as it is by the author. Right now, I am working through the following titles:
What Was Asked of Us: An Oral History of the Iraq War by the Soldiers Who Fought It by Trish Wood
Powers by my big brother John Olson
Kiss by Ted Dekker
Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass
What is your current work in progress?
I am currently working on two. Digitalis is the second book in the Discarded Heroes series, and The Cenoan Strand is a time travel that I am keeping on the back burner for those nights when I need a diversion (shh . . . don’t tell my agent :-) ).
I can't help it if he reads my blog. What would be your dream vacation?
How do you choose your settings for each book?
For Dead Reckoning I wanted it set in the Arabian Sea, so I searched the surrounding countries, and through a process of elimination, ended up in India. For the Discarded Heroes, they’re a deep-six military group, so I take them to foreign countries. Each story will have missions in various places but the bulk of the story will be centered in one place but that locale usually will affect my character in some way. Nightshade, for example, is largely set in the Philippines. Digitalis will bathe us in the beauty of Israel.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
Besides a family member? I’m thinking President GW Bush. I’m a huge people person, and even though my husband said he’d love to pick his brain and while this is also probably a very unpopular answer, for me it’s more about knowing him, understanding him, hearing his experiences. I know many don’t like him or think he’s messed up, but I think he challenged a nation and championed life/heart issues. He took a country through a very difficult time, and I respect him for that.
I'd love to join you in that meeting. What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Although I haven’t done this in a while, I love cross-stitching and hope to resume it. I hope to take up gardening (flowers, not veggies) again soon as well. Since I homeschool, most of my time is spent on my kids and writing.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Other than sitting in the chair and writing?? :-) Wow, all the answers coming to mind sound so lame. I home-school my kiddos, so it’s a challenge to get focused and ignore the blood-curdling screams from the living room. And to overcome it—I “just do it.” I put headphones on and shove myself into the story. Oh, yeah . . . I always have music that relates to each story that helps me drown out the real world. For Nightshade, I listened to Christian hard rock like Red and Pillar. Because Max was so intense, I needed revved-up music.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Don’t quit. That’s the easy part. Press on and dig in—that’s the only way you’ll make it. Writing will challenge you and break your heart (at times), but it will also stir you and allow you to be a conduit for ministering God’s love and reality to others. What more could you want? Oh, yeah—and that whole thing you’re wondering . . . ya know the question I’m talking about—the “Am I really called to write?”—well, stop wondering. I have a theory that if you’re pondering that question, then you ARE called to write, because the devil’s not going to waste time on someone who isn’t called. He’s not going to come to steal, kill, and destroy if it doesn’t benefit him. So smile. Relax. Be the threat (to the devil and his workhorse) that you were meant to be! :-)
Tell us about the featured book?
Nightshade is the first book of the Discarded Heroes series. In this book, a former Navy SEAL attempts to scrape together the pieces of his life a little too late—his wife has filed a petition for divorce, he’s resigned his commission as a SEAL, and the only thing he has left is self-hatred. He tries to end it all, and even fails at that. Then he’s recruited into Nightshade, a deep-six black ops team whose identities are only known by one man. Their first mission is to rescue a missionary family trapped on an island where insurgents and radicals are fighting for control. On the mission, the team encounters someone tracking them—a reporter . . . the SEAL’s estranged wife. In the darkest hour of his life, he fights not for his life, but for the heart of his wife and their marriage.
Wow! I can hardly wait to read it. Please give us the first page of the book.
Cracking open the throttle ignited a wild explosion of power and speed. Zero to sixty in less than three seconds left Max Jacobs breathless. Gut pressed to the spine of his Hayabusa, he bore down the mountainous two-lane road away from civilization, away from . . . everything. Here only pine trees, concrete and speed were his friends.
His bike screamed as it ate up the road. The thrill burst through him. He needed the rush. Craved it. Stop running, Max. Her words stabbed his conscience. Made him mad.
Rounding a bend, he slowed and sighted the drop-off in the road—remembered a full 10% grade, straight down. His gaze bounced between the speedometer and the cement. Common sense told him to decelerate. The boiling in his veins said otherwise.
He twisted the throttle.
Max leaned into the bike and felt the surge.
He sucked in a breath as he sped toward the break.
The road dropped off. The Hayabusa roared as the wheels sailed out. He tried to grip the handlebars tighter as nothing but tingling Virginia oxygen enveloped him. Silence gaped.
This could be it. This could end it all. No more pain. No more life without Syd . . .
Take me. Just take me.
The Hayabusa plummeted.
Straight down. Concrete. Like a meteor slamming to earth.
The back tire hit. A jolt shot through the bike. Then the front tire bounced. Rattling carried through the handlebars and into his shoulders. He grabbed the brake—
Stupid! The brake locked. Rear tire went right. He tried to steer into the skid but momentum flipped him up. Over. Pops snapped through his back as he spiraled through the air. In the chaos his bike gave chase, kicking and screaming as it tore after him.
Crack! Pop! The sound of his crashing bike reverberated through the lonely country lane. Scenery whirled. Pine trees whipped into a Christmas-color frosting. Tree bark blurred into a menagerie of browns, drawing closer and closer.
Thud! His head bounced off the cement. He flipped again.
Finally. It’d be over. He closed his eyes. No more—
THUD! “Oof.” The breath knocked from his lungs. Pain spiked his shoulders and spine. Fire lit across his limbs and back as he slid from one lane to another. Down the road, spinning. Straight toward the trees.
He winced, arched his back. Kicking, he tried to gain traction. If he wasn’t going to die, he didn’t want to end up paralyzed. Just like you not to think it through.
He dumped into a ditch.
Everything went black.
How can you leave us hanging like that?? More important, how can readers find you on the Internet?
Just about anywhere:
• Website: http://www.roniekendig.com/
• Blog: http://supernaturalcraving.blogspot.com/
• ShoutLife: www.shoutlife.com/roniekendig
• Facebook: www.facebook.com/roniekendig
• First Monday Monthly Column: http://noveljourney.blogspot.com/
Ronie, thank you for another wonderful interview.
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