[ ASK THE AUTHOR ]Ronie Kendig
Latest Project: Hawk (9781624163180, $13.99, Nov. 1).
Shiloh Run Press (Barbour Publishing).
How do you summarize the story of Hawk and how it relates to Raptor 6, the first book in this series?
Continuing the mission with Raptor team, Hawk pits these heroic special operators against the same terrorist who haunted their moves in Raptor 6—but he has since turned the game into a personal vendetta. Raptor’s communications expert, Staff Sergeant Brian “Hawk” Bledsoe, is struggling with his inner demons, leaving him on the verge of an “other than honorable” discharge. Plagued with corrupted Intel, Raptor team continues to track down the terrorist playing chess with their lives. Afghan pilot Fekiria Haidary is devastated when a systems glitch on her aircraft forces a weapons launch on a safe target. And when the deadly bombing separates Brian from the team, he must make an impossible choice: save his brothers-in-arms or save the woman and children depending on him to survive a brutal snowstorm.
What is the meaning of the series name, “The Quiet Professionals”?
It’s a nickname given to the soldiers of the U.S. Special Forces—the Green Berets. They’re known as the “quiet professionals” because they work mostly in secret. Often they go unnoticed and unrecognized as the best soldiers America has. But it is a well-earned moniker because, as the 20th Special Forces Group puts it, “the quiet men of Special Forces have no need to broadcast their deeds. Their record speaks for itself.”
Should readers read the first book of the series to understand Hawk?
“The Quiet Professionals” is unique to “Rapid-Fire Fiction” readers in that the books are continuous. A reader would be better prepared to enjoy Hawk if they have read its predecessor, Raptor 6, first. However, readers can read Hawk and after a little disorientation at the beginning, would probably survive the mission and help save the team by the story’s close.
What is Rapid-Fire Fiction?
Rapid-Fire Fiction has become my brand because across books and genres, I am a “tomboy” of a writer—while my stories have romance threads, my passion comes out writing action and fast-paced adventures. I’m not sure if I have a little bit of A.D.D. or what, but I bore easily, so in order to keep myself intrigued in my story, I keep things moving along at a pretty quick pace.
How do you ensure the military aspects of your stories are authentic?
With the ever-evolving nature of combat, it’s quite difficult to make sure what happens in my story is both relevant and accurate. Since writing Raptor 6 more than a year ago, one of the bases used in the series has been largely closed down, so I’ve had to adjust for that within the story. Writing military fiction for the last six years, I’ve developed contacts and resources that I keep close to my heart. They’ve shown me respect by helping me, and I will continue to respect their need and desire for privacy. It’s hard to be a female author who hasn’t served and asking for the help of these seasoned veterans. But they see my attempts to respect and honor their sacrifices and hard work, and that has opened doors.
What research did you do for this book?
Hawk explores many adventures—one of the most exciting was that my heroine is also a female Afghan pilot, inspired by 2nd Lieutenant Niloofar Rhmani, who in 2013 became Afghanistan’s first female pilot in three decades! So, I had to research the trek pilots took to earn their wings, then their advanced flight certification. Also, as with Raptor, the element of cyber terrorism continues to wreak havoc with the team, so I did some more digging into that field.
What else should Christian retailers know about Hawk?
One thing I am most proud of and pleased about regarding not only Hawk, but the whole “Quiet Professionals” series is that I campaigned and succeeded in making sure each guy featured on the cover wasn’t “just another pretty face”—they are all legitimate heroes who have served in our Armed Forces. The model for Raptor 6 has actually served as a Special Forces operator, just like the character he portrays. Hawk’s cover model is an Air Force veteran, and the model for Falcon (May 2015) is a Marine—and Purple Heart recipient!