I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Interview With Ronie Kendig, Author of Discarded Heroes series

I'm thrilled to have my friend and fabulous author Ronie Kendig as a MBT Ponderers guest today. I met Ronie online through ACFW. Her sweet spirit and transparency shine in her novels that will grip your heart and not let go.

Ronie grew up an Army brat and married a veteran. Together, she and her husband have four children, a Golden Retriever, and a Maltese Menace. She has a B.S. in Psychology, speaks to various groups, volunteers with the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and mentors new writers. Rapid-Fire Fiction, her brand, is exemplified through her novels. Dead Reckoning, a spy thriller, and the military thriller series, The Discarded Heroes, which includes Nightshade (Retailer’s Choice Award finalist & IRCA Romantic Suspense finalist), Digitalis,Wolfsbane, and Firethorn (January 2012). Ronie can be found at www.roniekendig.com or www.discardedheroes.com

As the wife of a former Marine, I love military romances. When I learned Ronie was writing this series, I was excited to read them. I was not disappointed.

I've been an influencer for Ronie's Discarded Heroes series. Each novel is action-packed with flawed characters who showcase God's redeeming grace. I've loved each one of them, but I have to admit Wolfsbane, the third book in the series, is my favorite so far. I finished it way past my bedtime, but the lack of sleep was so worth it.

 In Wolfsbane, Dani and Canyon burrowed their way in my heart. Ronie uses them to show people--yes, even Christians--make mistakes and poor choices. But those choices have lasting consequences. I appreciated the edginess in this novel and the way Ronie handled it with sensitivity and grace.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy getting to know Ronie and her novels a little better.

What inspired the Discarded Heroes series?
Real life. Watching the marriage of a Navy SEAL fall apart because of his anger and inability to manage it. Nothing like watching a beautiful family crumble despite prayers and efforts to save it. Seeing that, watching the news of suicides, my heart broke…then engaged in an effort to simply be a voice for those who often don’t speak up for themselves to get help.

In your eyes, what defines a hero? 
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A hero is no braver than an ordinary person, but he is braver five minutes longer.” To me, that’s a hero—someone who doesn’t give up, despite the pressure or fears.

How have your life experiences influenced your writing?
Greatly! I am who I am because of those experiences and those seep into my writing in an organic way. Chuck Holton (author, editor, adventure reporter) told me once that he learns about an author by reading their books. It sounds common sense, but it goes deep—your values, your histories layer thickly into your writing. I can’t imagine it not.

You wrote while homeschooling your children, earning your psychology degree, and moving a couple of times. How did you manage to juggle all of your obligations and still write?
I just pressed on. Oh man, did I feel like quitting—a LOT, but as my husband kept saying to me,” What’s there to quit to?” He’d make me angry when he said that, but only because he was right! :-D Giving up accomplishes nothing. I don’t want to go backward, so I am pushing onward.

Writing and marketing go hand in hand these days. What marketing techniques have worked for you? What would you suggest for newly published authors to get their books out there?
Many years ago in counseling, I was a basket case and felt like a complete failure. It’s then that my pastor explained I had unrealistic expectations of myself. I demanded perfection (Ha! Haven’t’ gotten close to that by a mile).

I think that many new writers—myself included—fall into that trap, or are shoved into it by the industry. We want to succeed, we want to see our books hit bestsellers lists, final and win contests, but what happens when all that doesn’t happen. I had a writing break down shortly after my first book released. I’d *killed* myself trying to market it, and the efforts seemed like a failure. *I* felt like a failure. Again, I had unrealistic expectations.

It took me a while to realize that success is out of my control. I can only do the best that I can do, write the best story I can write, but the rest is completely up to God.

One tidbit of advice: the best thing for any writer to do is establish an online/social media presence. And I don’t mean throw into everyone’s face every review, every status point. Be real. Be YOU! Readers want to connect with the AUTHOR. It’s fine to post a great review, but not every review. Show people you are real, share how you burned the chocolate chip cookies or how the new puppy makes you feel really old (LOL Ahem, speaking from experience here…).

What other page-turning fiction can readers expect to enjoy soon?
Firethorn, Discarded Heroes #4, will release January 2012—and THEN!! I am so excited for August, because the first in my military war dog series, TRINITY, will release. I think that’s going to be a fantastic series (if I do say so myself). Loads of fun and lots of barks, er, action.

Ronie, thanks again for being our guest! I am looking forward to reading Firethorn and Trinity. Ronie is hosting a contest on her blog to kick off the launch of Wolfsbane. Visit her blog for more details.

Your turn: Have you read one of Ronie's books? If so, who is your favorite character? Why? If you haven't, run to your nearest bookstore and pick up a copy. You won't be disappointed! 


Lisa Jordan
www.lisajordanbooks.com

14 comments:

  1. Great interview, Lisa. I love Ronie's books and a chance to know her better.

    Choosing a favorite character from her Discarded Heroes series is almost impossible. Whatever book I'm reading has my favorite characters! I'm looking forward to reading Firethorn.

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  2. Lisa, what a wonderful interview! I haven't yet read any of Roni's books. Yet. I think I'm going to have to find some and read them--they sound like they will become favorites!

    I appreciate, so much, the tips and advice Roni shared for aspiring writers. Thanks Roni! I am still learning to let go of unrealistic expectations of myself on this writing journey. Thanks for the encouragement to do that.

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  3. "...I had unrealistic expectations of myself." Don't we all! :)

    Sweet interview! Thanks so much for conducting the interview, Lisa, and for joining us, Ronie. I loved the inside glimpse into your writing life...

    Also, wow, homeschooling, moving and earning your degree...while writing! Amazing!

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  5. Wow--I haven't read any of Ronie's books yet. But I am going to Amazon right after I post this comment and ordering some. I so appreciated her honesty. I loved the Emerson quote about defining a hero and I loved her husband's challenge "What's there to quit to?"

    (I deleted my first post because I misspelled Ronie's name. My bad!)

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  6. I just downloaded "Nightshade" to my Kindle!

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  7. Ronie, thanks so much for being our guest! I learned a lot by reading your answers to my questions. It's always great to get inside peeks into other authors' writing lives.

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  8. Pat--choosing a favorite character was tough. I'm not sure who my favorite character may be, but I do love Wolfsbane the best so far. I'm looking forward to Firethorne too.

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  9. Jeanne, I think we all tend to have those unrealistic expectations of ourselves. If only we could see ourselves through the eyes of Jesus, right?

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  10. Melissa, you're so right.

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  11. Beth, I loved his comment too. I'm sure you won't be disappointed by Nightshade

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  12. Thank you, ladies! I am so glad to have visited with y'all! Unrealistic expectations plague us. Thank Heaven we've already got His stamp of approval! :-D

    Pat, so glad you enjoyed the books and the interview! Like you, I can't pick a favorite hero either.

    Melissa - Yeah, it was a journey. LOL I'm so glad things have eased up...but then always seem to end up busy again sooner or later, so I'm just adjusting. Hehe.

    Beth--THANK YOU! I hope you love the books.

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  13. Loved the interview, girls :)

    Choosing a favourite Discarded Heroes character is like choosing your favourite child - impossible ;-D

    Bring on Trinity!

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  14. I've read them all and I can't pick a favorite. Though I did read Wolfsbane the fastest... Less than 48 hours.

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