Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Please welcome Ronica Stromberg with me.

Ronica Stromberg is the author of five books for children and teens, including her recently released picture book, The Time-for-bed Angel. She also writes regularly for inspirational magazines and has stories in 18 anthologies. Her romance, Love at the Doorstep, finalled in an RWA contest and is being considered for publication.

SDC: Can you tell us a little about your new release or what you are working on now?

RS: The Time-for-bed Angel is a humorous picture book about a little boy who doesn’t want to go to bed and the guardian angel charged with keeping him safe. I wrote it when my own son was four and scared of the dark. We saw lots of bedtime books with monsters in the closets or under the beds but no bedtime stories with angels watching over and protecting children through the night. I wrote the book thinking it would be the kind of story I’d like to read to my own child to reassure and comfort him before lying down for the night.

I have been busy visiting preschool, kindergarten, and first-grade classrooms with the book, so I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like to, but I am working on my second inspirational romance. I also have two teen novels about to be released.

SDC: I used to write for children. Sometimes I miss it. Tell us about your publishers, Ronica.

RS: The publisher of The Time-for-bed Angel is British, the largest independent inspirational publisher in the United Kingdom. Unlike many inspirational publishers in the American market, Lion Children’s Books does publish stand-alone books rather than just series. I was happy to find this publisher because The Time-for-bed Angel is a stand-alone book, not part of a series.

The publisher of my mystery for 10- to 14-year-olds, The Glass Inheritance, and the three teen novels I have under contract is Royal Fireworks Press out of New York. It is the largest publisher for gifted and talented children in the United States. Much of their fiction is considered “edutainment” (a combination of education and entertainment). My books are novels homeschoolers and teachers can use in the classroom to complement the curriculum and go beyond it. For instance, The Glass Inheritance is a mystery about an inheritance of Depression Era glassware a young girl receives. As the girl is solving a mystery surrounding the glass, she learns about the Depression Era, World War II, and the glass made during those times.

SDC: The Glass Inheritance is at the perfect age level for my new granddaughter, and it especially sounds intriguing. Hmm! What are some of your favorite themes you write about?

RS: In my teen novels and romance I find my characters consistently struggling with making the right, but socially unpopular, choice. Following Christ in daily life is the narrow path, but the wide path leads to destruction.

Another theme I find myself working with is probably a paraphrase of something C.S. Lewis said, “The line between good and evil does not run through race, sex, creed or social class but through men’s hearts.”

SDC: Amen to that! We’d also love to hear about your life outside writing.

RS: I’m married and have two sons who keep me running to baseball, soccer, basketball, Tae Kwon Do, Boy Scouts, and church activities. If ever I get a spare moment, I love to read.

SDC: Tell us about the books you are reading right now, and by the way, how do you select your favorite characters in a story?

RS: I’m reading Isabel Allende’s Zorro right now after striking gold at a garage sale last summer. The seller was in a book club and had about twenty of the recent New York Times bestsellers. I left the sale with my arms loaded and my oldest son asking, “Mom, don’t you think you should leave some for somebody else?”

I also love mysteries and crime fiction and children’s books of all stripes. I’ll read romances, but I’m more particular about them.

I don’t know that I select the characters in my stories. I don’t even know where they come from sometimes. One of the males in my teen novels, Cal, and the male in my romance, Ace, are distinct, fully-dimensional characters previously unknown to me. Perhaps they are a hodgepodge of characteristics of people I’ve known throughout my lifetime, but how those characteristics get melded into one character I have no idea.

SDC: That's so true! Ronica, what’s your favorite Bible verse or verse that has sustained you recently and why?

RS: As I settle into middle age, I draw more comfort from two verses:

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the spirit.” – John 3:8

A lot of incidents in my life haven’t made sense to me, even the fact that I believe in God, and this verse gets at that mysterious nature of the Holy Spirit. You don’t have to understand the spirit to see it at work.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James 1:17

Our culture has undergone significant changes in my lifetime, not always for the better. I draw reassurance from this verse, knowing that God “does not change like shifting shadows.” He is the one constant in life.

SDC: Words from the Bible are what keep us all going, I think. I know they do me. What is your favorite room in the house and why? Does it play any part in your story writing?

RS: I have a personal library with a reading chair and lamp and tons of books. I love spending time in there! My desk is in there, and I write my stories at the computer.

SDC: That sounds great! When you are into your stories, how do you choose your settings?

RS: I’m a bit lazy when it comes to research, so I tend to write about what I know: the Midwest. My children’s books are often set in Iowa since I grew up there.

SDC: Although I'm much traveled and will continue to venture out, one place I've never been is Iowa! (I have purchased a lot of chicks from there in the past!) Okay, my final question, Ronica. How did you find the writers’ groups you are in now, and why did you feel it was important to attach yourself to others?

RS: The first group I joined found me. A man from my church found out I write and invited me to what is now the Heart of America Christian Writers’ Network. I later joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America, and a whole bunch of other groups, online and otherwise.

I think it’d be hard for me to grow in my writing without continuing to educate myself through conferences, classes, or books. The market is also constantly changing, and I need an accurate reading of it to sell what I write. Information is power, and it’s hard to tap into that if you’re isolated. Now that I am published, these groups provide a forum for me to speak about writing and sell my books.

SDC: Ronica, I understand you have a book you would like to share with one of our readers. What question you would like one of our viewers to answer to help me select the winner?

RS: Few of God’s angels are named in the Bible. Can you
name two?

SDC: Great question, Ronica. It will be interesting what our readers write in. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your coming by. I still have good memories of when we critiqued each other’s manuscripts! You can be sure your name will be remembered when that particular book of mine gets out on the market!

Congratulations to our winner Billie Warren Chai! Be watching for your book, Billie!
If you are interested in purchasing one or several...click below


  1. The two angels are Michael and Gabriel. I thought that was the two but checked my PDA Bible to be sure.

    My children are older but I know the perfect little girl who would love the book, Abigail, my neighbor who was reading at 2 1/2.

    Billie Chai

  2. Gabriel is one of the angels. Then there was the archangel, Michael. I know there are more. I will go look. I know a lot of children who would love your book, Ronica. Good intereview. Put me down. Janice Ian

  3. Gabriel and Michael are two of the named angels in the Bible.

    I'd love to win your The Time-For-Bed Angel for my granddaughters. Kitty is 6 and looking forward to being a big sister next month. She can pass the book on.

    becca.dowling @ yahoo[dot]com

  4. my kids would enjoy this book!
    Michael and Gabriel are the 2 angels mentioned by name :)

  5. Great interview! It's nice to read about a children's book too!
    Erin Hannah

  6. For Shirley:
    Thank you. I just received the book "Flame from Within". I can't wait to read it. I told others about it at Twitter. Thanks again!