Known for her trademark Rapid Fire Fiction, Ronie Kendig concludes her Tox Files series with Thirst of Steel (Bethany House), an action epic that combines military thrills with archaeological details revolving around the sword of Goliath. In this interview, Ronie explains what inspired the trilogy, reveals the truth behind the man on the book covers, and shares the most difficult of tracking details across a series…
What inspired you to combine your military knowledge with biblical archeology?
This was really a very natural segue for my series, especially considering one of my favorite authors is James Rollins. But the idea came about late one night when I was honing my procrastination skills and surfing Facebook posts, and another author I follow, Brad Taylor, posted a photo of an ancient site and gave the clue that it was one of the oldest ancient sites in the world. He invited readers to figure it out and win a prize. Game on!
I started digging and Googling oldest ancient sites and fell into a deep well of fascination and intrigue with them. But since many mainstream authors were doing ancient sites, I wanted to bring my faith into the equation and focused on biblical sites and artifacts.
Where did you find the historical facts to add to your fiction?
Initially, I was blessed to be put in contact with one of Tosca Lee’s amazing sources, Dr. Joseph Cathey (the real one, not the fictional one in my book). Dr. Joe was amazing and so incredibly creative for a brainiac. He sent me tons of scholarly articles on the artifact we chose for each book, but also about the sites. If I didn’t find something that sparked an idea in those, I just kept digging until I did. It was endless hours of brainy-but-fascinating reading.
You often write a team of operators in your series—why?
In the twenty-plus books I’ve written, I’ve found that readers—and I—really love the team dynamic, the camaraderie and the relationships. It takes a lot of effort, more than when I wrote a regular cast of characters, but I love it because it brings depth to the story that otherwise isn’t there. It also affords an opportunity for diversity, humor, and impact that I find easier to imbue in a story through that team dynamic.
Is it true that the man on the covers of the Tox Files series is a Special Forces veteran?
It is true! Several years ago when I was working on the Quiet Professionals series, I started a campaign to find veterans to grace the covers of each book in that series. The man who posed as Raptor 6/Dean Watters and on the Tox Files books is a legit Special Forces veteran. It’s been humbling to have real veterans on my covers!
This story brings into the chaos the notorious sword of Goliath. Was there an interesting research tidbit that you discovered in writing this story?
There were so many trivia tidbits in that research, but the thing that stuck out to me was the differing theories on who the Philistines really were. Mercenaries? From Greece? That last one—that they might have been Greek—was really surprising to me for some reason.
What do you find most challenging in writing a series that has interconnected threads across all three books?
I’ve written interconnected threads across the series in several of my series to date. The most difficult thing is to pull all those moving parts together in the end to create a satisfying but not cliché, everyone-lives-happily-ever-after conclusion.
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Thirst of Steel
The Tox Files #3