Hi Ronie. Thanks so much for answering a few of my questions. It’s always fun to talk to you.
Melissa: The Quite Professional series has been a bit different for you. In your previous series, the books are almost entirely standalone. They share characters, but the story is pretty much wrapped up with each book. In this series, there is an ongoing plot that runs throughout the series. What did you think about this type of series? What kind of challenges did you face with it? Think you’ll do it again?
Ronie: Great question! I thought I’d try something new, something to shake up the way I’ve been writing my novels, and I’m pretty sure (never say never, right?) I won’t repeat this particular experiment. Carrying the villain thread through all three books was the most daunting task I’ve ever tackled in writing (well, besides writing the Zulu serial in 3 months). I believe I carried it well enough, but I won’t (intentionally) attempt that again. It proved incredibly hard to sustain the threat and make it new and interesting with each novel.
Melissa: All your books have a romance storyline, but they’re rarely the same. You’ve had a separated husband/wife combo, opposites attract, traumatic encounter, and in Falcon, an old flame. Of all the romances you’ve written, which is your favorite type and whose romance did you most enjoy writing?
Ronie: Yes, you’re so right—each romance thread is different because I let the characters, who are unique in their own rights, dictate that. My novels are more about the plot and honoring our military heroes than they are about romance, but since I’m a hopeless romantic, there will probably always be a degree of romance in my novels. For me, the most satisfying romance thread is…well, it’s a tie between Dani & Canyon in Wolfsbane, and Candyman and Timbrel in Beowulf. Maybe a three-way if we bring in Legend and Kazi in Firethorn.
Melissa: You’ve never shied away from difficult topics and Falcon is no exception. Honestly, I’m not sure what to think about one of the issues you bring up in this book. How far is too far for the military to go? At what point, or is there a point, in which the military should cross into torture? Talk about this part of Falcon and where you stand on this issue.
Ronie: I know some readers will have issue with torture (and I’m a soft-hearted person who HATES to see people get hurt…), but I’m of the mindset that I have never lived the life of our soldiers, so standing back in judgment from a cushy, comfy home while they fight a very real and dark evil…yeah, I’m not going there. Today, we are facing enemies who would rather die—and count it an honor with eternal rewards—than to divulge information. With so many innocents entangled in the war theater and lives dependent on routing sensitive information, I accept that things are going to be ugly. Things won’t be pretty. War isn’t. And if we aren’t willing to fight to make things stop, we’re going to be destroyed playing things safe. Do I believe it should be the first resort? No. Do I think there situations where it’s a must? I believe I do.
Melissa: Along the same lines of difficult issues and including them in your books, what are some that you’d like to write about, but just haven’t had either the opportunity or courage to tackle them?
Ronie: One series concept I’ve had tumbling through my brain since the Discarded Heroes series is one that centers around reintegration of our troops back home. I could not figure out how to do that and maintain my Rapid-Fire Fiction brand, but I think, at long last, I have a way to weave those stories. But that will be a few years down the road, since there is another suspense series coming next year.
Melissa: Many of your characters end up with unexpected outcomes. Some are tragic, others shocking, and of course there are the happy endings as well. Falcon has all three of these. How do the character’s endings in your stories come about? How much is planned and how much just happens? Which ones do you most wish you could undo if the story would just let you?
Ronie: I write very few novels where I see the ending completely. For the most part, I know what the big stakes are, and I know that my hero should (probably) win. And while I have a skeletal outline of where the story should go, I try to step back from that and let my characters loose on the page. I often find that what I’d planned won’t work for one reason or another. For example, now that I’ve “traveled” with my character through the entire story, I realize how much they’ve changed and what I’d planned might be impossible. Or I realize that X situation earlier altered their course too significantly. And sometimes, as in Falcon, the ending surprises me entirely. I honestly did not know who the mole was until the team knew. And I wasn’t happy. 😛
Melissa: I ask this every time I talk to you, but I’m going to keep nagging you about it until I get the answer I want. Canyon? When (notice I didn’t say if) do we get to see him and Nightshade again?
Ronie: Ha! I’m right there with you. I hope to someday have a few more stories in that series, and one of them should be with Canyon’s brother…which, of course, would mean with Canyon. 😀
Melissa: Your next book, Embers, is going to be a little different. Tell us about it and when will it be available? Also, what and when can we expect your next military suspense novel?
Ronie: Going way back to 2004, I have been writing speculative (fantasy, science fiction) stories, even as I wrote my suspense novels. I find incredible pleasure and release writing those stories, so it’s a long-awaited thrill to have my first fantasy novel get published this year. Though it’s a genre-hop, readers will still find familiar elements in my stories: strong/raw characters, fast pacing, and some form of a military/army.
Embers is an epic-fantasy about a prince, crippled as a boy, and miraculously freed—in a tragic mistake that might cost his father’s kingdom everything.
Here is the official copy for Embers:
All he wanted was to walk again. What he got sent him running for his life.
Prince Haegan Celahar was crippled ten years ago. But a terrible sacrifice heals him but may destroy the Nine Kingdoms. Fleeing their father’s wrath, Haegan must reverse the tragic mistake—but in doing so, he is confronted by savages, legendary creatures, and a truth more powerful than all the Flames.