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Ronie KendigRonie Kendig holds a B.S. Degree in Psychology and is a wife, homeschooling mother of four, and an avid writer. An active member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, Ronie served as contest coordinator for the 2008 and 2009 Book of the Year contests and now serves as the assistant to the conference appointment coordinator. Ronie is a monthly columnist with the widely recognized blog Novel Journey and the International Christian Fiction Writers. She currently lives in Dallas, Texas.

Favorite Bible verse: Ps. 73:25-26.  (25) Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. (26) My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  Ronie focuses on different verses at different seasons in her life (kind of neat).


 

 Our Interview with Ronie Kendig


 

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Well, I am not yet forty (hey, I can say that for only a few more months so I need to milk that for all its worth!), have four children who I home school. On June 1st, my husband and I will have been married—amazingly enough—for twenty years. On the 17-year track for college, I finally graduated from Liberty University in December 2006 with a BS in Psychology.

 
What inspired your interest and passion for fiction?

I’ve always loved stories, loved creating “life” through characters. My mother, who died in 1996, once flung a page I’d written back at me. Shocked, I asked her what was wrong, and she exclaimed, “I don’t know how you can write like that!” Still confused and thinking she meant the statement in a negative way, she explained there was so much depth and detail that she was amazed. As with most of us, that praise from my mother felt like pure gold sliding across my hungry heart. Writing is as much a part of my life as breathing is, and I’ve often joked that I’m not a very nice person if I can’t write.

How did you come up with the concept for Dead Reckoning?

When I first signed with my agent in 2007, it was for a series of books called Secrets of the Deep. The first book, Midnight Zone, was actually the story about Shiloh’s parents. The second book took those characters on a journey to find the daughter who had been stolen from them—Shiloh. When Midnight Zone did not sell, I wrote the third book and separated it from the series altogether—and that was Dead Reckoning.
 
How did you choose the location for the setting? Are you familiar with India and Mumbai personally? You seem to have a passion for India.


I’d love to say it was my heart’s desire that set the book in India, but the truth is that the location came about through a process of elimination. I wanted to have the setting in the Arabian Sea, and I scouted the countries whose borders lined the coast of the Arabian Sea. Saudi Arabia would’ve been entirely too deadly for the story—can you imagine the scandal of a woman coming to shore after a dig and attack in a wet suit in that country?

In the end, as I researched India, I truly did fall in love with the country and the people. Something about it really spoke to me, and to this day, I have a deep fondness for India. It is my earnest prayer that I can travel there some day, but as of yet, I have not been there.

 

How long did Dead Reckoning take you to complete?

The first draft was finished within roughly 3 months. I am a rather fast writer, and once I grab the reins of a story, I’m propelled to the end quickly.

Dead Reckoning is an intriguing title. Why was it chosen?

The reasoning goes back to the original series. All of the books in the series had nautical or ocean-related titles: Midnight Zone is a layer of the ocean where all natural light is blocked out. Ring of Fire is a setting where a ring of volcanoes are located. Dead Reckoning is the nautical term of determining one’s placement based on previous information or facts, and I felt it was really appropriate because Reece uses what he knows of Shiloh’s past to determine what’s coming.

Do you have a favorite character in Dead Reckoning? Why?

What a tough question—and it feels a tad narcissistic since I created these characters!  If I had to choose one, it’d probably be Shiloh. She exhibits so many qualities I admire—her tenacity, her resolute determination to see things through, her adventurous spirit. Her hard edges is driven by unhealed hurts and bitterness, which is something I guard against very carefully.

How much research did Dead Reckoning take? Do you have any background or know someone in the CIA?

Dead Reckoning involved extensive research, both for the country and the professions of each character. I dearly wish that I could’ve afforded to travel to India, but homeschooling and costs prohibited that. At the time, I did not have a contact with the CIA, but I am now in contact with a man who was a former covert operative in Southeast Asia, and he has generously agreed to help me with the next espionage series I am putting together. When I told my literary agent I was in contact with a former spy, he told me not to tell this spy where he lived. Wonder what my agent is hiding. . .

 

Do you dive?  Have you ever been to the caves you mention?

No, I do not dive, although this is something I do plan to remedy in the future. Dare I even admit, I cannot swim well? ::blush:: Yet, I’ve always had an intense fascination with the water, with swimming and diving.
 
What was the most interesting fact that you learned while writing Dead Reckoning?

The steep culture and religions of India is probably what amazed me the most. They literally have thousands of gods, a god for just about everything you can imagine. I wondered that anyone could feel peace there, having so many gods to appease and remember. I praise God we have but One God, the Great I Am, who has laid down ten simple commands, the greatest of which is to love one another.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?

A month or two ago, I would have said my greatest challenge was finding time to get everything done. And it still is a great challenge. But now. . .I’m struggling with insecurity! It’s a whole different world having my “baby” in so many people’s hands, wondering if they’ll note the blemishes or the beauty. In the end, the absolute greatest challenge—and I take it as a challenge—is to remember that I’m writing for an Audience of One. As long as I please Him, my goal is accomplished!


What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

What a great question! I love learning new things. For each story or series concept involves a great deal of research and study. I get a crash course on governments, histories, political climates and cultures. That’s a selfish reward of being a writer. Another thing I love is meeting new people—from experts, to other writers, to critical reviewers, to amazing readers.

 

What is your writing style?   (Do you outline?  Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants?   Or somewhere in-between?)

Each phase of writing a story is done with a  different type of style. I might sound a bit schizophrenic, but bear with me as I explain. Initially, I am completely seat of the pants. To me, this allows a unique breath into the story, allows the characters to reveal themselves to me, and the story to unfold. Then, I will draft up a very loose outline (no more than a page at most) and continue on with the story. Once I get about ¾ of the way through, I will write out detailed explanations of the last chapters to make sure all the threads are coming together the way I want.

Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?

Absolutely! Shiloh proved especially difficult at times, refusing to cooperate with the way the story was headed. There was one time, where I needed her to do one thing. . .and she surprised me with what she actually did. I couldn’t change it because her actions were true to her character and the situation.

What other new projects do you have on the horizon?

Currently, I am preparing for the July release of Nightshade, the first in a four-book series called the Discarded Heroes. Each book tackles combat-related PTSD in different ways. As a military brat married to a veteran, this series is one I am very passionate about. The books will release every six months (July, January, July, January).

What message would you like your readers to take from Dead Reckoning?

God knows. So many times we go through things in life and think nobody cares or knows—but God does. And even in times when we can’t see Him at work—especially in those times because I believe those may be times of testing or trials that are closest to the dawn—we should trust His heart. Know that the events have not taken Him by surprise. His plan for you has not been changed or hampered by events.

What is your greatest achievement?

Being smart enough to recognize the most handsome man I’d ever met was godly and the right guy for me because from that decision came four beautiful children.


What is your goal or mission as a writer?

Some writers are evangelists—on the front lines of the battle for souls. That’s not me. I’m a deeply empathetic person, who aches and hurts for others. I’m more like the surgeon tucked away in a tent, tending the wounded. I feel my mission in writing is to take the hand of the hurting and help them return to Christ’s love, to find healing through Him and His Word so they can return to their mission (life).

What do you do to get away from it all?

Get away. . .? Oh. Right. I’m supposed to do that, aren’t I? Seriously, I’m so excited you asked. For our 20th anniversary, my husband and I are slipping away to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater for four days. It’s the first time we’ve done something like this. Needless to say, we can’t afford to do that often, so my regular respite is watching movies with my kids—Serenity, Firefly, Pride & Prejudice, Mr. & Mrs. Smith. . .or painting a room, or working in the flower beds I’ve just installed.

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