Jill here. I'm really excited about our guest today. Ronie Kendig writes wonderful stories. I really enjoy her books (especially her Discarded Heroes series). I had the privilege of endorsing her first fantasy novel Embers, which is amazing. Here's what I thought:
"Embers is a splendid fantasy tale, full of magic, intrigue, sacrifice, betrayal, and a fresh good-versus-evil story that I haven’t seen before. Readers will be thrilled to have found their next favorite teen fantasy adventure in this book and its sequels."And I meant every word!
Without any more rambling from me, let's get to the interview! Hi, Ronie. Can you tell us about your new novel, Embers?
Embers was borne out of watching the BBC TV series, Merlin. I was so frustrated with the "foster" sister of Prince Arthur, Morgana, who was pretending to do something noble and heroic to save the kingdom, when she was in fact the villain. But it got me wondering...what if a sister, a princess, truly did do something noble and heroic--yet devastating to herself--to save the kingdom? I scurried into my office after I put the pumpkin bread in the oven and crafted the first chapter of what is now Embers.
Here is the official blurb for the story:
HE'S COMING FOR THEM. AND THE KINGDOM.
Haegan and Kaelyria Celahar are royal heirs of the Nine Kingdoms, but Haegan is physically crippled. What chance does he have against Poired Dyrth, the greatest enemy the kingdom has ever faced, who wields fire with a power none can match?
Their only hope is forbidden: Kaelyria must transfer her fire-harnessing abilities to Haegan. When she does it comes with a terrible price: Haegan's disability is healed, but only by being transferred to Kaelyria. This act unleashes their father-king's wrath.
Haegan must flee the kingdom alone with two impossible tasks: Find a cure for Kaelyria and stop the coming war with the omnipotent Poired Dyrth.
It's SO GOOD! (Guys, seriously. It really is.) Ronie, can you share a little bit of your journey to publication?
I started actively seeking publication around 2002, but I went to my first writing conference in 2004. Back then, I was pretty naive and didn't even know there were writer's conferences! I met Steve Laube at my very first writer's conference, and I knew I wanted him to be my agent. It took three rejections over the course of the next three years, and on the fourth submission, he offered representation. But back then, speculative fiction didn't have open doors. A rare few got in with traditional publishers, but the advice back then was to prove yourself in a more traditional genre, then you'd have street cred to branch out. Unfortunately, in the timeframe I was establishing myself in the suspense genre, the industry changed rapidly. By the time I had that street cred, there were few publishers and few slots for authors. Thank goodness Marcher Lord Press came along...and then was bought by Steve and developed in Enclave. And voila! Embers was born!
I, too, am thankful for Marcher Lord Press, which became Enclave. It's where I started. How many books did you write before your first book was published?
I had close to twenty books started, but I had only completed about nine or ten of them before my first book was published.
Do you have any tips on storyworld building for the fantasy authors in our group?
When I first started working toward publication, I really just kind of winged it. I only put in what was important to the story and characters. But as I've stepped into the publishing waters, I've learned that everything has "rules." In Embers, my characters can wield heat/fire, so there are rules (both physical and societal) to what they can and can't do. It's important to understand those little things so they can rub against and possibly cause friction in the story. If the author doesn't know his/her storyworld, the reader won't know it. But if you create something unique in the world of your characters, make sure it has a point. There's so much already happening that's new and exciting in a storyworld, you don't want to distract your readers with pointless elements.
What advice would you give teen writers? Or a word of encouragement for them?
I guess it would be a two-part encouragement: 1.) Know the rules of good storycrafting, master those rules, but don't get strangled (or let your story get strangled) by those rules, and 2.) KNOW that you are a writer; never let anyone tell you any different. If it's in you, it's in you.
That's great advice, Ronie. So, what's next for you? Is Embers a stand-alone novel or is there a book two? If so, how long will readers have to wait?
The Abiassa's Fire series is a three-book series, and over the next two months, I will be making a big dent in the word count on the second novel, Accelerant. Unfortunately, I am also a suspense writer, so I am dividing my writing year between a speculative novel and a suspense novel. Accelerant will release October 2017.
Gah! I totally understand how tough it is to write multiple series at once. I shall try to be patient as I wait to see what happens next. Readers are going to be lining up for Accelerant. Thanks so much for talking with us, Ronie!
THANK YOU so much for having me over!! It's an honor!
Guys, I'm giving away a paperback copy of Embers. Enter on the Rafflecopter form below. But let's also shower some love down on Ronie today by following her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Instagram.
And if you don't win this book, go BUY IT. 1) Because it's awesome. And 2) To support Ronie, the genre, and the industry as a whole.
It's a great book. You will NOT regret it.