Ronie Kendig has a BS in Psychology, is a wife, mother of four, and avid writer. Her espionage thriller, Dead Reckoning, will release March 1, 2010 through Abingdon Press. The first book in her military thriller series, Nightshade, will hit shelves July 2010 (Barbour Publishing). An active member of ACFW, Ronie volunteers as the assistant to the conference appointment coordinator, and she also does speaking engagements.
Visit Ronie at her website or her blog.
I am so delighted this month to introduce y'all to one of my favorite authors, T.L. Higley. Contracted with B&H Publishing, she's currently penning (or is that keystroking?) the Seven Wonders series, a fascinating collection of stories about the Seven Wonders of the World. Considering our ICFW blog focuses on exotic/international settings, I felt it couldn't be more perfect to share this wonderful author and her stories with you!
The Seven Wonders series began with Shadow of Colossus, which proved a wonderful and satisfying read--quickly and easily a favorite of mine! I confess I didn't get to finish City of the Dead (I *will* remedy that!), but earlier this week, I absolutely DEVOURED Guardian of the Flame. Trust me, you won't be disappointed with this book. It's riveting, gut-wrenching, and redemptive--beautifully so!
Without further ado....
T.L. Higley & the Seven Wonders Series:
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a wife and mother of four, ages 6 to 17, which is enough to fill up my days right there! Besides those roles, my husband and I also run an internet retail company, carrying mostly craft and hobby supplies, and I spend a good bit of time on the marketing and promotion aspects of the company. I have a degree in English Lit, and love to read and study history.
2. Can you please share a bit about your publishing journey?
I’ve been writing since I was a young child, lots of short stories and poems. In my twenties I wrote many drama sketches and full length plays for our church, and then at age 30 I decided to try to write fiction for publication. I wrote a book rather quickly, started sending it out cold to publishers and getting rejections. While that manuscript was circulating, I started the next book and also started studying how to write good fiction. About a year after starting, I attended my first writers’ conference, and then another a few months later. It was at these conferences that I started getting real direction from editors and other writers, and I met an agent who invited me to submit my work. By 2002, about two and half years after starting to write, I got my first contract.
3. Your published works include a speculative title. Can you tell us about them?
The second book that I wrote didn’t see publication right away. Instead I wrote a couple of contemporary suspense novels, and broke into publishing with them. But my time travel book, Fallen from Babel, about a religious philosophy professor who travels back to Daniel’s Babylon, was later picked up by Realms, a division of Strang Publishing. The time-travel aspect made it technically “speculative” but it was more the history that fascinated me, and helped me to realize that I wanted to write historicals set in ancient time periods.
4. I love your new Seven Wonders series. Where did the inspiration for this series come (besides the obvious)?
The more I studied about ancient history, the more intrigued I became with all different cultures. The Seven Wonders idea seemed like a great way to give readers a “tour” of the ancient world – a chance to see into many different cultures and times, through the eyes of the people who lived them.
5. Who is your absolute favorite character you’ve written, and from what book is this character? Why is this one your favorite?
I think it would be Sophia, the main character of Guardian of the Flame. She’s got some attitude and she’s a bit mouthy. She makes me laugh. But there’s a tenderness under all of that, waiting to be drawn out.
6. You and I share the same agent. How did you come to work with Steve Laube?
I had gotten to know Steve a bit at Mount Hermon Writers’ Conference and at Sandy Cove Writers’ Conference, while he was still with Bethany House. When he became an agent, I already knew he was smart and had integrity, and that I would enjoy working with him.
7. In publishing, what has been the biggest surprise to you in terms of the process?
It takes ssssooooo long!! From the conception of an idea to seeing the book on shelves is a very long process, but even before that, sending in submissions and waiting for answers seems endless. That’s why I always advise beginning authors to start on the next project right away, while they’re trying to drum up interest in the finished one. You can’t wait for answers/rejections to start something new!
8. Are you a seat-of-the-pants writer or a plotter? Or both?
I am very much a plotter. Lots of outlines, notes, and worksheets before I even begin. Sometimes I take it too far and have to give myself a talking to. The plotting can turn into stalling if I’m not careful!
9. In your Seven Wonders series, you explore ancient sites and peoples. I’m sure this takes extensive research—in fact, I seem to remember you went to Egypt. What kind of research do you undertake to prepare to write your novels?
Lots! I comb the library for books on my locations and time periods and then create documents with pertinent information about culture, clothing, food, holidays, etc. to use as reference as I write. I use the internet to research more specific questions.
But the best part of my research has definitely been the travel. In the past four years I’ve traveled to Greece, Egypt (twice), Israel, Jordan, Turkey and Italy to research my novels. It’s been an amazing adventure, and has broadened me in so many ways. I hope I’ve done a good job bringing back some of that and putting it into my books.
10. Who are the most influential people in your life?
Jesus Christ, first of all, who provides both the example and the strength to pursue God’s purpose in my life. My husband keeps me sane! He’s learned how to deal with a wacky writer who always wants to do far too much with her day than is humanly possible. I also have a wonderful circle of women who love me enough to speak truth into my life consistently.
FREE COPY of Guardian of the Flame (continental U.S. shipping addresses only, please!)--and tell us what is your favorite of the Seven Wonders of the World. Check back next week to see if you won!