I'm a die hard 24 fan - I couldn't wait for the new Live Another Day series on Fox earlier this year. When it ended, however, I found myself in withdrawals. I wanted the action, the cliffhanger drama of waiting all week for the new episode, and that sense of satisfaction when the clock started ticking on a new hour. I was pretty disappointed. Until I picked up Operation Zulu.
I thought Ronie Kendig's new serialized novel concept sounded interesting. I wasn't prepared for the thrill ride that started with the first book. It was like reading a 24 episode. I found myself racing through lunch breaks, before bedtime, any time I could squeeze in a little bit of time to read. This is without doubt one of the best series I've read in a long time.
I was so excited when Ronie agreed to do an interview for Sleuths and Suspects! After you read it, head straight to Amazon and download the first installment of Operation Zulu for free. Just consider yourself warned - you won't stop with this one.
1. How did you come up with the idea for a serial novel?
My publisher contacted my agent about having me partnering with them for a new venture—the serial novel. During a phone call with my editor, we evaluated series ideas I had to see how they’d fit within the unique framework of the serialized novel. She loved the concept for Zulu and chose that one.
2. How was writing Operation Zulu different from writing a traditional novel?
Because of the original intent, to have one episode release every week for 3 months, the writing was much more demanding—I had to complete Zulu within three months, so it could go live. Though the publisher’s needs changed, I still had another contracted novel after Zulu due within a few months, so I had to race to the finish. I heavily plotted out Zulu, outlining each chapter with a synopsis. My overall synopsis for the whole series—which is the equivalent of two full-length novels—was about thirty-five pages long.
3. What influenced you write military fiction?
I grew up an Army brat and once my father got out, he worked as a civilian contractor, so I stayed around soldiers most of my young life. Then I married a soldier. My concept of a hero has always been defined with the military in mind, so it’s a natural segue into my fiction.
4. Who are your favorite authors? What writers have influenced you the most?
My favorite author depends on the genre—in other words, I have a lot. For thrillers, it’s Robert Liparulo and James Rollins, along with a dose of Steven James. For fantasy, it’s Jim Rubart, Stephen Lawhead, Patrick Carr…and so on. As for writers who have influence me most, I’d have to say John Olson has had the biggest ipmact on me, but so have Jim Rubart (whom I call my “big brother”) and Tosca Lee, who have inspired and challenged me to write better, more passionately.
5. Will we see more from the Zulu team in the future? Or another serial novel?
My publisher has not made a final decision on this, but if I were to guess—which is dangerous, I know—I’d probably say that another season isn’t going to happen. Many readers chose to wait for the whole serial to be release and some are waiting for the print version. Unfortunately, that affected sales numbers, and as a result, the “demand” wasn’t huge. At this point, I do not foresee me pursuing another serial novel. It was an incredible amount of work, and while digital sales are increasing, they are still a small percentage of print copies, and I’m a hard-copy kind of girl—gotta have that book in my hands!
Ronie Kendig is an bestselling, award-winning, author who grew up an Army brat. After twenty-plus years of marriage, she and her hunky hero husband have a full life with four children, a Maltese Menace, and a retired military working dog in Northern Virginia. She can be found at www.roniekendig.com, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/rapidfirefiction), Twitter (@roniekendig), Goodreads (www.goodreads.com/RonieK), and Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/roniek/)!