A Conversation with Ronie Kendig

INSPYs 2016-Ronie Kendig FeatureThe Advisory Board welcomes Ronie Kendig today to INSPYs.com. Ronie is a Christy award winning author, best known for her “Rapid-Fire” fiction (military suspense novels), this year wandered into Speculative fiction with her recent release, Embers. This year, she’s nominated in two categories. Her novels, Falcon (Shiloh Run Press) is a finalist in the 2016 shortlist in the Mystery/Thriller category and Embers (Enclave) is shortlisted in the Speculative Fiction category.

Today we talk with Ronie about the challenge of switching genres, her TV addictions plus more!

Book - EmbersEMBERS 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 decision causes their father, King Zireli, to unleash his wrath against Haegan.

Haegan flees the kingdom alone with two impossible tasks: Find a cure for Kaelyria and stop the coming war with the omnipotent Poired Dyrth. – Goodreads

Amazon | Goodreads

FALCON Special Forces operator Salvatore “Falcon” Russo vowed to never again speak to or trust Lieutenant Cassandra Walker after a tragedy four years Book - Falconago. But as Raptor closes in on the cyber terrorists responsible for killing two of their own, Sal must put his life—and the lives of his teammates—in her hands. Despite his anger, Cassie is ill-prepared for his resistance and the fallout when she must protect the one asset who can end the attacks. As allies become enemies and hostiles become unlikely partners, Raptor fights for its very existence. – Goodreads

Amazon | Goodreads


INSPYs: What inspired Embers and/or Falcon?

Embers was a classic “what if” inspiration while watching the BBC’s Merlin. There was a character that so aggravated me with her deception and treachery, I thought to myself, “But what if she really was making this sacrifice for her brother and the realm?” And that birthed the opening scenes of Embers.

Some elements of Falcon were inspired by a true story of a professional athlete who recruited his best friend into the same field. Then one tragic night, the athlete was driving drunk and killed the friend he’d recruited. And I could not escape thinking about the intense grief and trauma that athlete would live with for the rest of his life, and that birthed the backstory for Falcon.

INSPYs: What are some of the benefits/challenges of switching genres?

In all honesty, it’s not really a switch in that I’m writing both genres, but the hardest aspect of writing in two genres is that in the speculative genre, I’m starting all over in terms of audience and market. With suspense, my market and name are established. Not so within the speculative market, so that’s the biggest challenge. However, it’s also a benefit, because my loyal readers are willing to brave a new genre, simply because I wrote it. That’s a level of trust I don’t take lightly.


+ What are you listening to? Capital Kings’ newest album, II.

Photo: NBC

Photo: NBC

+ What are you watching?  On most any day, I’m watching an episode or two (or ten) of Doctor Who… or Blindspot.

+ What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand? I’m a mood reader, so I generally have a handful of books at various stages of being read. Right now, that includes: Billy Coffey’s There Will Be Stars, Steve Berry’s The 14th Colony, and Marissa Meyers’ Stars Above.

Ronie KendigThanks so much for joining us today, Ronie! It was a pleasure to talk with you, and learn more about the challenges of a genre change and learn about your TV addictions. (Editors note: Blindspot is seriously, amazing if you like mystery shows.)


Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. She married her own hunky hero, who’s an Army veteran. After twenty-plus years of marriage, she and her husband have a full life with four children and two dogs. Ronie’s degree in psychology has helped her pen novels of raw, broken characters. Since launching onto the publishing scene, Ronie’s Rapid-Fire Fiction has hit the CBA Bestseller List, won the prestigious Christy Award, finaled in numerous contests and reader awards, including ACFW Carol Awards, RWA’s Faith, Hope, & Love’s Inspirational Readers’ Choice Awards, Christian Retailing’s Readers’ Choice Awards, INSPY Award, The Christian Manifesto Lime Awards, and FamilyFiction’s Readers’ Choice Choice Awards. Ronie loves people and helping other writers through speaking, workshops, and/or mentoring.

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A Conversation with Rick Barry

INSPYs 2016-Rick Barry

Happy Wednesday, readers. Today, we have a chance to welcome and converse with author, Rick Barry. Author of the novel Gunner’s Run, Rick’s latest novel, The Methuselah Project (Kregel) is nominated in the 2016 shortlist in the Speculative Fiction category.

Below we talk with Rick about the inspiration behind this novel, and he shares a sneak peek into what’s next from him.

Nazi scientists started many experiments. One never ended. Book - The Mesthulah Project

Roger Greene is a war hero. Raised in an orphanage, the only birthright he knows is the feeling that he was born to fly. Flying against the Axis Powers in World War II is everything he always dreamed–until the day he’s shot down and lands in the hands of the enemy.

When Allied bombs destroy both his prison and the mad genius experimenting on POWs, Roger survives. Within hours, his wounds miraculously heal, thanks to those experiments. The Methuselah Project is a success–but this ace is still not free. Seventy years later, Roger hasn’t aged a day, but he has nearly gone insane. This isn’t Captain America–just a lousy existence only made passable by a newfound faith. The Bible provides the only reliable anchor for Roger’s sanity and his soul. When he finally escapes, there’s no angelic promise or personal prophecy of deliverance, just confusion. It’s 2015–and the world has become an unrecognizable place.

Katherine Mueller–crack shot, genius, and real Southern Belle–offers to help him find his way home. Can he convince her of the truth of his crazy story? Can he continue to trust her when he finds out she works for the very organization he’s trying to flee? – Goodreads | Amazon


INSPYs: What inspired The Methuselah Project?

Rick Barry's dad Tom

Wow, that’s a big question. First, family history provided partial inspiration. Dad learned to fly as a teenager in the 1940s, and my upbringing was filled with airplanes, airports, and airshows. (Over the years Dad cracked up a couple airplanes, but those are separate stories.) So, the idea of featuring a pilot as the hero of my story came naturally.

Next inspiration: I’m a big WW II buff. I’ve read tons of true accounts from the war years, which I find fascinating. I even own a collection of genuine WW II memorabilia, which I used as decorations to transform a guest room into what my family dubbed our “War Room.” The 1940s practically begged me to use that time period for my setting.

Rick's WWII memorabilia

Rick’s WWII memorabilia

However, I grew up with two older brothers, and we often tuned into Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, and other science fiction shows. Quite a few times in fiction, a person from one time period ends up in another time period. The whole concept of a “chronologically dislocated” character appealed to my imagination, although I disliked some of the cheesy mechanics various stories used to transport a person from one time to another. My challenge became to pluck up a WW II pilot and deliver him to our own time while keeping looking young–and make it believable! What a tall order. Of course, I’m thankful to all those Amazon reviewers who claim The Methuselah Project sounds like it’s based on real life. 

INSPYs: can you give us a peek into what’s coming next? The Methuselah Project was created as a stand-alone novel. Neither the publisher nor I touted it as Book #1 of a series. Yet, so many enthusiastic fans have expressed hopes for a sequel that I’ve taken up the challenge. Progress has been hampered by a move to another state and the need to care for my aging father, but the story is progressing. My working title? Methuselah Flies Again.


Rick's writing space

Rick’s writing space

What are you listening to? My listening choices are fairly eclectic. When I’m feeling “historical,” you’ll most likely catch me listening to Big Band music and songs from the 1940s. (The style of Glenn Miller and his orchestra really appeals to me when I’m “In the Mood.”) Other times, nostalgia might lead me to oldies from the 1950s and 1960s.  I enjoy Irish music from Celtic Woman, and as a Christian I listen to a lot of Christian music, ranging from classic hymns to the songs of Keith and Kristyn Getty. Most recently, I stopped at a yard sale and bought a CD of Disney’s Newsies, which I sing along with while driving.

What are you watching? My favorite TV program is CBS’s Survivor. I’m a huge fan. I’ve actually applied 30 times, and I would hurl myself into that challenge even without the cameras, the fame, or prize money. The sheer adventure appeals to me. But there’s a lot of competition just to get on the show. So far, CBS hasn’t realized how perfect I would be!

Of course, since I worked one day as an extra on the set of Captain America: Civil War, I just had to go see that movie.

What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand? Last week it was A G-Man’s Life, the biography of Mark Felt, the FBI agent who helped the press uncover the truth about Watergate. At the moment, I’m reading the classic non-fiction book, We Would See Jesus, by Roy and Revel Hession. For a slim volume, it brims with spiritual truths any believer will find uplifting. Next up will be The Book of Strange New Things, by Michel Faber. It’s Christian science fiction, and I’m curious to see how Faber weds faith with sci-fi.

Thanks so much for joining us, Rick. We’re thrilled to chat with you about the inspiration behind The Mesthuselah Project and learn about some of the music, TV shows and reading currently on your favorites list.


Rick Barry is the author of The Methuselah Project, Gunner’s Run, Kiriath’s Quest, plus over 200 published articles and fiction stories. In addition to being a World War II buff, he has visited Eastern Europe over 50 times in connection with Christian ministries. He holds a degree in foreign languages and speaks Russian.

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A Conversation with Morgan L. Busse

INSPYs 2016-Morgan BusseOur shortlist INSPY interviews continue with Christy and Carol award finalist, Morgan L. Busse. Her novel, Heir of Hope (Enclave Publishing) made the final of our 2016 shortlist in the Speculative Fiction category.

We chat with Morgan about what inspired Heir of Hope, her latest box office movie (Editor’s Note: I totally understand the Marvel fangirl feels), plus she gives us a sneek peek into what’s next!

The great city of Thyra has fallen and shadows spread across the land. Rowen Mar, the last Truthsayer, is taken before the Shadonae. But the Shadonae are not who she thought they were, Book - Heir of Hopeand now they want to claim her as their own. Caleb Tala, former assassin and prince, is now a Guardian of mankind. Exiled from his country, Caleb wanders the desert in search of his mother’s past and clues to who he is. These are the last days of the Eldaran race. Rowen and Caleb must find their way along the dark path set before them by their ancestors: to heal what was wounded and love where hatred grows. But the road is narrow and the darkness beckons. If either of them fails, all will be lost… And the human race will be no more. Book three of the Follower of the Word series. – Goodreads | Amazon

INSPYs: What inspired Heir of Hope?

The Follower of the Word series is an epic fantasy series that follows Rowen, a young woman who has the ability when she touches someone to see inside their soul. In other words, she can see what God sees inside of us. Not only that, but she reflects back what she sees to the person she is touching. Learning why she has this ability and that she needs God’s help to use it is ultimately what this series is about. That without God, her power would overwhelm her.

When I first began writing Daughter of Light, the first book, I knew the story would eventually go to a dark place where everything Rowen believed in would be tested beyond her abilities, and that the only way she would survive was by completely trusting in the Word. Those final dark moments came in Heir of Hope.

Why did I write Heir of Hope as a dark story? Because I’ve experienced some very dark times in my own life. Following God does not mean life will be all daisies and rainbows. Sometimes it means walking through valleys filled with shadows of death. Sometimes it means wondering where God is in the midst of pain and tears.

When I wrote Heir of Hope, I drew upon my own experiences: two cancer scares, almost losing my son, when my husband lost his job, when we lost our house, when we couldn’t pay the bills, and when we were betrayed by people we loved. It was during those dark, painful times that I found God was right there beside me. I was never alone.

That was what I wanted to convey in Heir of Hope. There is hope in the midst of suffering. There is light in the darkest times. God is always there with us, even when we can’t see Him.

I’ve been asked what is my favorite novel I’ve written. My answer is Heir of Hope. It was the hardest yet most satisfying book I’ve written. When I wrote the conclusion to the Follower of the Word series, I wrote my heart and soul into that story.

(If you want to check out the Follower of the Word series, Daughter of Light is currently free on kindle.)

INSPYs: Can you give us a peek into what’s coming next?

I am now working on a Victorian steampunk series that is a loose retelling of Frankenstein. Steampunk is a sub-genre that usually takes place in either the Wild West or Victorian era, but with a fantasy/science fiction twist and advance technology run by steam.

Tainted (the first book in my series) follows Kat Bloodmayne, one of the first women chosen to attend the Tower Academy of Sciences. However, she has a secret: when she loses control of her emotions, she unleashes the power to control matter. But every time she does this, it destroys a part of her soul. So she is searching for a cure before her soul dies and she becomes something else entirely.

Tainted is now available in paperback and ebook.


  • What are you listening to? Typically when I am writing, I listen to soundtracks or gentle background music such as The Piano Guys. Currently I am listening to the soundtrack for Morrowind, a fantasy game. It helps set the mood for the story I’m writing.
  • What are you watching? I just saw the new Marvel movie, Captain America: Civil War. Excellent story telling, excellent character development. Half of me was watching as a super heroes fan and the other half as a writer and both sides absolutely loved Marvel’s latest movie! Lots of feels!

Nightstand Picture Morgan Busse

  • What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand? When I have a moment between writing, family, and church, I am making my way through Melanie Dickerson’s fairytale retellings (as you can see on my iPad on my nightstand). Currently I am on The Fairest Beauty. It’s taken me a while to get through it since I only have snatches of reading time here and there, but I’m really enjoying it when I get to read. I love Melanie’s stories and recommend it for anyone who enjoys fairytales!

    Thank you so much for joining our author interview series, Morgan. It was a pleasure to chat with you, and learn about what’s next.

    ABOUT THE AUTHORmorgan-busse

I am a wife, mother, and author. I write Christian fantasy and steampunk for the adult market. My work is published with Enclave Publishing, the premier publishing company for Christian fantasy and science fiction.

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A Conversation with Billy Coffey

INSPYs 2016-Billy Coffey

Hello. Today, the Advisory Board welcomes author, Billy Coffey. Billy is the author of novels, The Devil Walks in Mattingly and the upcoming novel There Will Be Stars. His novel, The Curse of Crow Hollow (Thomas Nelson) is on the 2016 shortlist in the Speculative Fiction category.

Join us in welcoming Billy as we chat with him about what inspired The Curse of Crow Hollow, discuss the challenges and benefits of writing speculative fiction, plus he shares what he’s currently binge-watching.

Everyone in Crow Hollow knows of Alvaretta Graves, the old widow who lives in the mountain. Many call her a witch; others whisper she s insane. Everyone agrees the vengeance Book - The Curse of Crow HollowAlvaretta swore at her husband s death hovers over them all. That vengeance awakens when teenagers stumble upon Alvaretta s cabin, incurring her curse. Now a sickness moves through the Hollow. Rumors swirl that Stu Graves has risen for revenge. And the people of Crow Hollow are left to confront not only the darkness that lives on the mountain, but the darkness that lives within themselves. – Goodreads | Amazon

INSPYs: What inspired you to write The Curse of Crow Hollow?

I grew up with stories about people along the Blue Ridge who, for myriad reasons, had all but left society. They lived alone and cut off in the mountains. Often these stories turned to legend, to the point where an old woman living alone in a hollow could be twisted by rumor and gossip to become a witch up to no good. Those old tales told to me served as the basis of a story about how fear of some generic Other can lead good people to do horrible things.

INSPYs: What are the challenges/benefits of wiring inspirational speculative fiction?

For me the challenge is to keep an air of realism in an unrealistic situation, or at least a highly unlikely one. The great majority of my stories all involve supernatural elements, but I try to keep those things in the background and the real focus on the characters. I’m not so interested in the speculative bit of my books as I am the ordinary people who are thrust into extraordinary circumstances.

The greatest benefit, I think, is linked to those ordinary people. Allowing characters to grow and change leaves open the opportunity for redemption. I’ve always thought a good novel is like a mirror we can hold to ourselves, revealing something we’ve never considered.


  • What are you listening to?

American IV: The Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash.

  • What are you watching?

I’ve just recently begun re-watching all six seasons of Lost.

  • What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand?

Nightstand Billy Coffey

I’m currently reading Charles Martin’s next novel for endorsement, which is as excellent a story as you would expect. I’m a huge fan of Borges. He’s so impossible to describe and his breadth of knowledge seems almost inhuman. And I never go to bed without reading something by Flannery O’Connor.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Billy. It was great to learn more about The Curse of Crow Hollow and read more about the behind-the-scene happenings in the pursuit of a story.Billy-porch-pic-1024x741


Billy and his wife, Joanne, live with their two children in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. A product of his small-town locale, Billy counts as assets his rural authenticity, unwavering sense of purpose, and insatiable curiosity–all of which tend to make his front porch a comfortably crowded place.

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