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Interview with Ronie Kendig

In 2010, Ronie Kendig burst into the Christian publishing world with her Rapid Fire Fiction tagline and tales of uniform-wearing heroes, heroines, and service dogs. Her current release, however, is Embers, the first book in her new speculative fiction series, Abiassa’s Fire.

Ronie, will your readers receive the same level of action and mystery in Embers as they’ve come to expect from you, or are you giving them another—more imaginative element?
Readers can absolutely expect to see many similar elements found in my suspense when they pick up my fantasy novel, Embers. I’ve worked hard to remain true to what my loyal readers have come to expect, while expanding boundaries (and worlds) with the speculative genre. There are wars, raw/broken characters, action, touches of romance and so much more happening within the pages of Embers.

Your website is outstanding and totally reflects your Rapid-Fire Fiction tagline. Will it change now that you’ve expanded into the speculative realm?
My website is something I’ve put a lot of time and energy into, and the designer I hired has done a fantastic job portraying not only suspense on the landing page, but also my fantasy in an artistic but seamless fashion. So, no, there are no more changes needed.

Why the switch to speculative?
I wouldn’t call it a switch; I’d call it an addition because I have not left my suspense genre. In Fall 2016, readers will see a brand-new paramilitary suspense from me through my new publisher, Bethany House. However, they will also see for years to come, at least one speculative title each year. This has been a strategic plan of mine since I first got published. I’ve actually been writing both genres (though I got published in suspense first) for the last ten years.

Speaking of Embers, what came first . . . the storyline or the setting?
That almost seems like a trick question. LOL For me, characters *always* come first. In truth, what came first was a “what if” question borne out of watching the BBC’s Merlin.

How long did it take to create Embers story world, and was the time longer or shorter than you’d anticipated?
For the most part, the story world came of its own volition into the story and to the characters. My editor, however, pushed me to fully define more elements, to flesh out the rules and specifics. I tend to be more the “it’s a story!” person than one who gets into nitty-gritty details, but I’m so grateful for my editors!

Does Embers contain more or less romance than your other published books?
Originally, Embers started out as a YA novel and was more a hero’s journey story than a love story, but there is definitely a touch of romance that culminates at the end and also serves as a catalyst for events in the other two books in the series. And since each of my suspense novels have varying degrees of romance in them, I would say that Embers neither surpasses nor falls below levels of romance in previous novels.

Since reviewers are subjective as to what constitutes a Christian book, your reviews cover the spectrum from too much to not enough. However, your action-packed stories are reaching people who wouldn’t normally read Christian fiction. How do you decide how much spirituality a story needs?
In all honesty, I let the story decide the level of spirituality and more specifically, the characters. The type of character, their backstory, their belief system, determines the degree of spirituality that comes into the story, as well as the plot itself. However, I also try to make sure the hope of Christ is present in every story. There is always hope.

What part of writing Embers did you struggle with the most?
In the Abiassa’s Fire series, there is a wonderful blend of “normal” human experiences and supernatural elements. It was tough to make sure I did not rely on the supernatural/ “magical,” though they are integral to the story, because then that can make the story and character unbelievable or create a “god-in-the-box” scenario.

What do you hope readers will remember about Embers?
That among family and true friends, love & loyalty should be heartbeats of those relationships.

With two genres on the go at the same time, what trick(s) do you use to keep your story lines straight?
For the most part, the genres are vastly different, so it’s fairly easy to keep the stories, plots and characters separate. But I always have a character sheet that has photos of the characters in the story. I often refer to those as I write, so that also helps me keep them straight. Of course, there are days where I’m tired and “done” with life, so I sit there and think, “Wait—what’s his name again?”

What is your favorite snack/drink while writing?
I love to have either a SoBe bottled water or a Steaz tea on hand while writing. If I’m munching, it’s usually something like cheese cubes or sausage bites.

If you could have coffee with an author, dead or alive, whose work you admire, who would it be? What would you ask him or her?
I think it would most definitely be CS Lewis. I think during that coffee, I would ask him to allow me to pace him for a week or month, to learn from him, draw from his wisdom, and just grow as a person. He had incredible insight and wisdom, not to mention his literary prowess.

What books are on your nightstand right now?
At nearly every point in my life, I’ve had at least a half-dozen books waiting on me. Right now they include: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart, The Guilty by David Baldacci, Curio by Evangeline Denmark, The Hive by John Otte, George R. R. Martin’s A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, and A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.

Finish this statement: My favorite time of day is _________.
Late evening when my mind has just rushed through a story and my body has had a good workout at taekwondo.

Any parting words?
Thank you so very much for hosting me here, Anita! It’s been wonderful—and I’m one very blessed woman to get to do what our Lord did—tell stories that impact the Kingdom!

Thanks for sharing with us, Ronie.

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