I'm VERY excited to have Ronie Kendig share some of her secrets as an award winning author on my blog today. An Army brat, Ronie Kendig grew up in the classic military family, with her father often TDY and her mother holding down the proverbial fort. Their family moved often, which left Ronie attending six schools by the time she’d entered fourth grade. Her only respite and “friends” during this time were the characters she created.
It was no surprise when she married a military veteran—her real-life hero—in June 1990. Married more than twenty years, Ronie and her husband, Brian, homeschool their four children, the first of whom graduated in 2011. Despite the craziness of life, Ronie finds balance and peace with her faith, family and their three dogs in Dallas, TX.
Ronie has a deep love and passion for people, especially hurting people, which is why she pursued and obtained a B.S. in Psychology from Liberty University. Ronie is an active member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has volunteered extensively, serving in a variety of capacities from coordinator of a national contest to appointment assistant at the national annual conference.
Since launching onto the publishing scene in 2010, Ronie and her books have been gained critical acclaim and national attention, including:
2012 Christy Award Winner – Wolfsbane (Contemporary Romance) 2012 Carol Award Finalist – Wolfsbane (Romantic Suspense) Finalist in Christian Retailing’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards (Nightshade) RWA’s Faith, Hope, & Love’s 2011 Inspirational Readers’ Choice Awards in Romantic Suspense (Nightshade) Named one of the Top 25 Christian Fiction Suspense, Mystery, and Thriller Writers by FamilyFiction (Sept 2011) 2011 FamilyFiction Readers’ Choice Awards – 3rd place as New Favorite Author, 8th place with Nightshade for Novel of the Year. INSPY Award Shortlist final in Mystery/Thriller (Dead Reckoning) The Christian Manifesto’s 2010 Lime Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Nightshade)
Ronie, before we get started, I want to thank you for sharing your life as an author with myself and all who read this interview.
Thank you so much, Kelly! It’s an honor to chat with you and your readers!
Your books resonate with a sincerity rarely found in contemporary fiction. Can you tell us how you have remained true to yourself in your writing?
By the grace of God, I am writing for a publisher who has bestowed a tremendous amount of trust in me to write books that engage and challenge the reader. I don’t take that trust lightly because it is a gift from the Lord—who ha enabled me to write. I have a sense of “obligation” to do my best because being gritty or edgy is not my goal. Honoring the Lord and putting my best forth is, so I keep that in mind and as my guiding light when I write.
Your books are military/suspense/romance~ how do you manage to capture such a varied perspective in your novels?
As with any writer, I am strong in some areas, weak in others. Being aware of those weak areas is a must, so that I can go back through the manuscript and layer/tease in more to bring balance to the force (oh, I mean, my book). Writing a compelling action sequences is where I thrive, but layering setting and romance sometimes slip away from me. I’ve never thought of myself as an adrenaline junkie, but I love writing those rapid-fire fiction scenes.
I know you were raised as a military kid. How much exposure have you had to this world?
Yes, I grew up as an Army brat, then when my father retired, he moved us to Killeen, the support city for Fort Hood. That’s where I spent the next eleven years—around the military. I met my husband, who was in the military at that time. His father was career Army, so we were impacted for an additional 8-10 years while he finished out his duty, including a stint with Operation Desert Storm. While my husband got out shortly after we married, the culture and the friendships formed through the military, as well as both of our passions toward patriotism, never faded.
Weaving a balanced Christian viewpoint in a novel is not an easy task without coming off sounding preachy. How would you advise other new writers in mastering this part of the craft?
Just be true to yourself in terms of writing faith themes into your story. For me, I tend to do this with a delicate hand, keeping the strokes light and genuine to my characters. I also have friends who use more scripture and stronger presence. Neither is right. Neither is wrong—as long as we are reaching our audience and doing what we believe the Lord would ask of us.
Ronie, you have noted that you have experienced many trials in the last few years or so. How has your faith helped you through the problems while managing a writing career?
When in troubled water, the worst thing a swimmer can do is thrash. Rescues can’t grab hold, and the mind is in a state of panic. The same is true with life—when I’m in trouble, panicked, or frightened, thrashing only makes it worse. My faith has been my shoulder to cry on, my “friend” to laugh with. Trials, triumphs, tragedies and friends all come and go. It’s part of the process of life. But God! God is eternal and faithful. The trials of the last year have taught me that no matter what happens—even if I get a rejection on a “sure thing”—God knew it, wasn’t surprised by it, and He still has a plan for me. That has enabled me to keep going. God will take care of us. He will defend and fight for us when we’re wrong (Ex 14:14). We just have to be still.
How have the difficult times you have endured made your writing better?
Each trial and each triumph gives me—and it’s true for every other writer—a new experience from which to draw upon. If we are diligent, we could pray and ask the Lord to open our hearts to see what He would have us learn. Being able to impart that into stories and, as a result, into our readers, is what writing—no, not just writing—life is all about.
Wonderful advice, Ronie! May God continue to bless you, your family and your books with continued success! :-)