I've known Ronie Kendig for several years now and she's been a dear friend, helping me along the way in my own writing journey. I'm honored to post this interview with her today, regarding her debut novel, DEAD RECKONING.
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Beth: How did you come up with the idea for this novel?
Ronie: Honestly, the reason Dead Reckoning came to life was because the story of Shiloh’s parents never found a publishing home. In looking at the arsenal of story ideas I had to work on next, Shiloh’s story appealed to me the most. I loved the idea of a girl, almost completely shattered by her father’s espionage career, finding her footing in life and through a career eerily similar to what her father did. Yet it wasn’t a repeating cycle, but the way she found wholeness and healing.
Beth: Is this book part of a series? If so, what are the other titles in this series?
Ronie: Unfortunately, at this time, Dead Reckoning is a standalone. Although, I have plotted out a sequel, and as mentioned before, the prequel.
Beth: Are your characters based on real people?
Ronie: I guess technically, this is a circular question because without people, where would experience and expertise come from in knowing the personalities. Without “person” there’s no personality. LOL But directly . . . the only character I’ve written that was remotely based on a person is Reece’s sister in Dead Reckoning—Julia is loosely based on dear friend Sara Mill’s youngest daughter of the same name.
Beth: Are you a seat of the pants writer? Or a plotter?
Ronie: Mostly, I’m a pantser, but with what I’m writing (thrillers), I need to plot some so that the story does not fall apart on me. My amazing ‘big brother” John Olson helped me with this because at first, I railed at the idea of plotting out my book. It snapped the creative energy and freedom from me. But John told me I had to learn to write synopses well, so I might as well do it. Through his instruction and guidance, I learned how to write them. Then he told me, “Now, throw it away and write the story.” By doing that, having the general vague idea of the story flow, I granted myself the freedom to write and let the characters teach me a thing or two in the process, while still having a bit of a “plot” to work with and toward.
Beth: What is your favorite food?
Ronie: Anything pastry-like: cinnamon rolls, bear claws, cake . . . boy-howdy those things get me in trouble! J Funny enough, I don’t like cookies so much. Or candy per se. Chocolate only if it has a bready/biscuit component, like Twix or Ritter Sport’s Butter Biscuit.
Beth: What is your pet’s name? Share a fun story.
Ronie: We have two dogs, a Golden Retreiver named Daisy and a Maltese named Helo (yes, named after the character in Battlestar Galactica). Fun story? Maybe this one: right after we got Daisy, it snowed. She was about 18 months old and our golden girl *loved* the snow. When I finally called her back inside, she came full throttle at me, hit the slick floor and slid . . . straight into my knee. I ended up getting an MRI but gratefully it was only hyperextended/strained. No torn ligaments. Not fun when it happened, but funny now that I think back on that exuberant pup.
Beth: If you could go back to another time in your life, where would you go?
Ronie: This is a tad sad, but I’d go in a heartbeat to the early morning when I last saw my mom alive. She was in (what I now know was) the terminal ward of a hospital in Dublin, Ireland. At the time, my eldest daughter was on 2 and she’d darted out of the ward to the elevators. I’d wanted to go back and give my mom one last hug, tell her I loved her, but my precocious daughter had vanished out of sight. Mind you, the hospital made a special allowance for me to visit my mom so early because I was flying back to the States. I was so torn between finding my daughter and hugging my mom (I’d hugged her once and said goodbye but felt compelled to do it again). I went for my daughter. And never saw my mom again. She died 3 weeks later. I’d want to go back to at least give her that last hug.
Beth: Do you have other titles out besides this one? If so, what are they?
Ronie: Dead Reckoning is my debut title, but I will have a military thriller/suspense series with Barbour Publishing. Nightshade, Book #1, will release this coming July I’m particularly excited about this series, as I believe it will be a good resource for discussion with a topic that is still too often avoided or perceived as ‘bad’ (many do not separate the person from the disorder).
Beth: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Ronie: Without a hesitation, Israel. I want to walk where Jesus walked, I want to explore the roots of our faith, but it’s so intricately connected to the spiritual battle that has waged for centuries.
Beth: If you could be one of your characters, which one would you be?
Ronie: Probably Shiloh. She’s adventurous and is not afraid of conflict or finding answers to problems. She’s very tenacious and though she has problems to work through in Dead Reckoning, she is a very promising young woman.
Thanks for joining me!