Ronie Kendig is a bestselling, award-winning author of over 35 books. She grew up an Army brat, and now she and her Army-veteran husband have returned to their beloved Texas after a nearly ten-year stint in the Northeast. They survive on Sonic runs, barbecue, and peach cobbler that they share–sometimes–with Benning the Stealth Golden and AAndromeda the MWD Washout. Ronie’s degree in psychology has helped her pen novels of intense, raw characters.
Q How did you get the idea for the series, and this story?
Ronie: From the first series that I wrote over a decade ago. They both are called “A Breed Apart” but the new one is called “A Breed Apart Legacy.” Each book will have individual characters. The common thread is a ranch in Texas called the Breed Apart Ranch with former military dogs and handlers.
Q Why the Shakespeare quote at the beginning of the book?
Ronie: I always look for a quote that fits the story, and that one did, obviously because of the dog’s name—Havoc.
Q Can you describe Havoc?
Ronie: Havoc is a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois who was a military working dog, qualified in patrol and explosives detection.
Q What about those puppies that have washed out. Did you adopt one?
Ronie: I have two dogs, an English crème Golden Retriever named after Fort Benning. I also had a military working dog that had washed out when she was a year old. I think she was too sweet, and she had stomach issues. We call her “Drama” because she moans like a person but her real name is Aandromeda. She puts us through the paces. She is very intense because of her pre-training. She has no fears.
Q How did you get information about the scene in the beginning regarding Afghanistan?
Ronie: I’ve been writing paramilitary suspense for over a decade, so it’s mostly experience and consuming a lot of reads/listens related to our military. And anyone who’s watched the news knows how the U.S. military pulled out of Afghanistan. Takes just a few moments of looking at organizations or individuals who are trying to help to learn the hard truths about that rapid-withdrawal fallout.
Q What do you want readers to know about “A Breed Apart?”
Ronie: First, that it’s called A Breed Apart: Legacy, the second/spinoff series to my original A Breed Apart series. Second, that each book focuses on a different MWD and handlers facing tough circumstances, and third, that all subsequent books were written by authors I mentored and advised throughout the entire process.
Q How would you describe Crew?
Ronie: He is funny, confident, audacious, witty, tenacious, disciplined, intense, direct, and protective. I think the cover and the book copy perfectly portray him. He’s been dealt a tough hand in life, but as a Special Forces operator, he’s learned to roll with the punches and get back up when something knocks you down.
Q Why write books on military handlers?
Ronie: I wrote the first series more than ten years ago. Back then there were not a lot of stories. In Trinity a military working dog frees his handler while in captivity. Back then working military dogs was a fresh concept.
Q How would you describe Vienna?
Ronie: She is surly, tough, fierce, defensive, determined, thoughtful, and an inner warrior. Vienna is one who isn’t going to wait for someone to defend her. She did that once and it turned out terrible for her. But she also isn’t so obsessed with being a strong woman that she won’t accept help when she needs it.
Q How would you describe their relationship?
Ronie: They push each other’s buttons, are competitive, consider each a puzzlement, was not looking for a relationship, both visibly affected by their past relationships, both realize they help each other belong, have fun, and are passionate. Crew and Vienna are both strong personalities who bring their own force and baggage to the table. They know how to work together when it’s needed. They’re perfect complements to each other’s lives and fill gaps that neither of them knew existed. She swore off guys after a terrible incident a few years ago, and Crew was happily focused on regaining his career after losing a leg and getting back to work as an K9 handler and Special Forces operator.
Q How did you get information about the boxing scene between Crew and Vienna?
Ronie: It’s not boxing but rather Krav Maga, and that information came from my husband who trained in Krav, and I had some minor training in it to complement my taekwondo training.
Q Please discuss your charity, the MWDTSA.
Ronie: It’s not my charity. It’s the Military Working Dog Team Support Association and is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit that supports MWD dog/handler teams by sending support packages, writing letters, but they do so much more than that. I adopted a Military Working dog, Volt, and had him for a little over five years. These dogs are intense, and the bond is a lot deeper than a normal pet dog. When my retired military working dog Volt N629 seized the Rainbow Bridge after a years-long battle with cancer, MWDTSA sent me a card and a Fifty/Fifty stainless steel etched tumbler with Volt’s EOW date. That tumbler is super special to me, and I’m so grateful for the way they touched me during my grief.
Q What’s next?
Ronie: My next one after HAVOC’s release is LADY OF BASILIKAS, a standalone space opera, coming May 2024 from Enclave Publishing. Beyond that, you’d need a TS-1 Clearance to access that intel.
The next book in this series is titled Chaos written by Steffani Webb. All the other books are written by other authors with completely different characters. I mentored the other authors, helped them brainstorm, and go through the editing process. I made sure the books had the ‘Ronie Kendig flavor.’
Havoc by Ronie Kendig allows readers to get a three for one: a great plot, great characters, and a heroic dog named Havoc. This book is very appropriate since the 9/11 remembrance just passed.
The story opens when former Special Forces operator Sergeant Crew Gatlin had his career ended after his leg was blown up from an IED. Returning to the States he was separated from his working dog Havoc K027. Putting his life back together and lying low, he takes a job with A Breed Apart and is unexpectedly reunited with Havoc. Their first assignment is to work as a K-9 team for a television drama in Los Angeles. Miffed at being relegated to TV fodder, he’s willing to pay the price when he becomes infatuated with the stuntwoman.
Being a stunt double allows Vienna Foxcroft to fulfill her acting dream—with a side of MMA—and stay out of the limelight. Now, her tight-knit stunt team are the only ones she trusts after being assaulted by a former beau. Crew and Vienna form an instant attraction but are in denial until they are pushed together after a terrorist attack on location in Turkey. Havoc, Crew, and Vienna will have their wits and physical abilities tested like never before.
This story has it all: banter, romance, action-packed pacing, and readers will not want to put it down.