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God’s absolutely amazing—He repeatedly blows me away with the unexpected and even the expected usually has a nice God-twist that brings a big smile to my face. I’m finishing up the Discarded Heroes series. It’s my hope to write another military-based series and eventually, I’d love to write a spy series, since I love intrigue.
And you write it so well. Tell us a little about your family.
My husband, Brian, and I have been married for twenty years. He truly is the hero I write about every day. Our eldest daughter is a senior, our youngest daughter is a freshman, and our twins are eleven years old. We homeschool and the boys are in Scouts.
I love your family, too. Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
I guess in a way, it made me a bit more particular about what I read. Since I’ve gone through the trials, the editing, the reviews, the critics. . .in a way I’m less critical about what I read (because now I see there are so many editors, etc. who have gone through a book) and try to be more encouraging and supportive (being an author is TOUGH—there are plenty of people who are willing to shred a book; I’d rather not be one of them).
I so agree with that, Ronie. What are you working on right now?
I’m working on Discarded Heroes #4, Firethorn. I’m really excited to plunge into this deadly game of intrigue and sabotage as Griffin hunts down the saboteur, while battling his own demons of mistrust and pride.
What outside interests do you have?
I love genealogy, cross-stitch, and decorating. Really, anything I can do with my hands, is an “interest” to me.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
The settings are generally chosen by the character and the story, meaning which location is the character from, or which location holds the haunting past or the daunting future for the story. I love to take my readers around the globe and introduce new elements, all the while keeping the focus on our great nation—America!
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
The first person who came to mind is Ronald Reagan—he was such a stalwart, so resolute in his beliefs. He led the country with faith, integrity and honor, and he had this gentle spirit about him. My husband and I admire him so much, we named one of our twins after him—Reagan.
James and I admired President Reagan, too. What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
That signing with my “dream” agent and getting my first contract would not a success make. LOL Seriously, I had ambition and dogged determination, but I just don’t know that I realized what I was doing by pursuing publication. Don’t get my wrong, I’m very content to be an author and I know why I’m doing this now, but I am not really sure I knew why—at least not in an enduring way—I wanted to write besides the fact that I loved it. Also, I wish I’d been more aware that it would be a hard slog to the “finish” line, which is really the “beginning” line. Yet, on a positive note, I’ve gained some of the best friends—friends of the heart—that I have ever known, who have kept me encouraged and laughing.
That the negative people in my life only have the power I give them, that “happiness” is MY choice. I have to decide if I’m going to let something eat at me, or whether I’m going to move on without it. This might sound elementary, but I’ve had a really tough time, and being a people pleaser by nature, I’ve had to regroup my thoughts, goals, and priorities.
That's a very important lesson to learn. What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Remember WHY you are writing—because God gave you a gift, and you honor him by writing (not by getting published, not by reaching others, but through the simple act of using that gift). Second, do your best. If you can send a book in and say “that’s my best,” (and I’m not talking about a perfect product, but that you gave it your all), then leave it alone. Because, third, the rest—the success, the accolades, or the non-presence of those—is up to God. Rest in peace with that. Trust Him and what He’s doing. Otherwise, you’re going to be torn up and burned out.
Now tell us about the featured book.
Colton Neeley left his military career to take care of his four-year old daughter. Although he’s firm in his faith now, the repercussions of his former life are still evident—namely in the form of his daughter and his debilitating flashbacks from combat-related trauma. Can he muster the courage to step out of his self-imposed isolation and embrace the new woman in his life?
Piper Blum is hiding—from life and the assassins bent on destroying her family. Although smitten by Colton, she fears the day he discovers her secrets. Does their relationship, built on a foundation of lies, have a chance?
When an attempt on Piper’s life leads to another’s death, the black ops group Nightshade steps into the line of fire. Will Colton and Piper survive the mission with their love—and lives—intact? Will love cover their multitude of sins?
Okay, readers, that ought to grab your attention. Ronie, please give us the first page of the book.
Fifteen months later . . .
One shot. One kill.
The sniper’s motto streaked through Colton Neeley’s mind as he lay with his arm folded under the stock of his Remington 700. Dampness soaked into his sleeve, evidence of the swampy terrain. He eased his hand toward the trigger well. A bead of sweat rolled down his temple and slid past his eye pressed to the scope.
“Tangos en route and twenty yards,” whispered his spotter, Marshall “the Kid” Vaughn, from his four o’clock position.
“Roger that.” Synchronization between him and the Kid helped Colton focus on the mission. Peering past the crosshairs, he watched their team leader three-quarters of a mile away signaling a heads-up to the others.
Colton gently nudged his weapon, sighting the guerillas trekking north of the team. If all went well—which the elite team of former spec ops soldiers would ensure it did—they’d be on a C-130 back to the States and out of this mosquito-infested jungle by morning. He’d already spent thirty-six hours longer than he wanted in the vegetation. It’d rained for the first twenty, leaving him drenched and cold. But crawling in early gave them the advantage of locating the guerilla group and their objectives.
Once again, he verified the position of the team. Nothing would ruin a mission like friendly fire taking out one of their own. At his two, he sighted Frogman hunkered down next to a boulder. Greased up, Max Jacobs had the perpetual scowl that marked him as the man in charge—and a grump. Nobody minded. The former Navy SEAL had come through a lot.
Behind him slunk Canyon “Midas” Metcalfe, probably the sanest of the group, even if he was once a Green Beret. And they forgave him for that.
“Heads up, Frogman,” the Kid whispered into his coms, alerting the team. “Six headed your way for a party.”
Checking his nine gave Colton a close-up of Griffin Riddell, his Marine Special Operations Team buddy, as he took up point. Even from this distance, their movements felt silent, deadly. Nightshade had a phenomenal record, but nobody took that for granted. Each mission could be their last.
“Target,” called his spotter. “Sector B, TRP-1, right fifty, add fifty.”
Colton harnessed his energy and mind on the mission. He had an excellent shot-kill ratio, and he wanted to keep it that way. Mishaps exponentially increased the chances of being spotted and sniped back. In other words, dead.
“Roger,” he replied as shadows morphed into solid shapes of Cuban rebels and their exhausted captives. His objective was the leader. “Sector B, TRP-1, right fifty, add fifty.” The repetitive dialogue gave him an added measure of comfort.
“Dumb and bald soldier, M-16 in right hand, cigarette in left.”
Leave it to the Kid to give a snarky description. But he was right. The leader had taken the hostages into a jungle easy to maneuver and hide in, but also one easy to track. “Dumb and bald soldier, M-16 in right hand, cigarette in left.” Colton took a minute to assess the man behind the crosshairs. “Target identified.” He measured the marks on the vertical bar. “I have two mils crotch to head.”
“Roger, two mils crotch to head.” Leaves on their ghillie suits and the low-hanging branches rustled as the Kid made his calculations. Air crackled beneath the gentle urging of the wind. “Dial five hundred on the gun.”
Colton adjusted the optics. “Roger, five hundred on the gun. Indexed.”
“Wind right to left, six miles an hour, hold one-quarter mil right.”
“Roger, wind right to left six miles an hour, hold one-quarter mil right.”
“Take the shot.”
And the story races from there. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Main website: http://www.roniekendig.com/
Discarded Heroes website: http://www.discardedheroes.com/
Ronie, thank you for another wonderful interview.
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