This week, my good friend and one of my favorite new authors, Chantel Rhondeau, joins me to discuss her new romantic suspense/mystery novel, Crime & Passion.
Officer Donovan Andrews knows how to have a good time—ask any woman in town. But when it comes to men abusing their wives or children, Donovan takes it upon himself to make them regret it.
Madeline Scott is unlucky in love. All she wants is a quiet place to heal, away from cheating, womanizing men. However, her life is far from peaceful once she stumbles across the body and witnesses someone fleeing the scene.
Terror spreads in Pleasant View when the small community hears a killer is on the loose. All evidence points to Donovan, and he realizes someone is trying to frame him. When troubling suspicions from his past surface, even fellow officers believe he’s guilty. Madeline might be the only person who can clear his name, but first he has to win her trust.
The body count rises and no one is safe. The murderer makes it clear Madeline is next. Soon, Donovan’s whole world is focused on protecting her and keeping himself out of prison. The more time he spends with her, the harder it is to fight his growing attraction. Since she’s been burned by love, convincing Madeline he’s interested in something more than hot sex may prove harder than keeping her alive.
Tell us about your newest release, Crime & Passion.
My heroine, Madeline Scott, has just moved to Pleasant View, only to find a dead body on the beach. When Donovan Andrews responds to her 911 call, she can tell straight off he’s a womanizer, and wants nothing to do with him. However, there’s an attraction there she can’t deny. For his part, Donovan has been an officer for twenty-two years and he’s just discovering who he truly is and why he shies away from relationships. He’s ready to change and become a better man, but Madeline’s heard that line before and doesn’t trust him.
Things between them are further complicated when the killer strikes again. Madeline thinks the killer is trying to frame Donovan. She never believes he’s guilty of the crime spree, but most people in their small town do. Discovering who is framing him and why is harder than either of them anticipate. Madeline’s life is at stake, and it is all a result of Donovan’s past mistakes.
Your first book, Always & Forever, featured a psychotic stalker. Now you have a psychotic killer. Why the change? What inspired this book? Did you just want to to kill someone (albeit on paper)?
Haha – this question made me laugh. Maybe I do have murderous intent. I didn’t actually have an exact plan when I started this book. Madeline kept coming to me while I was trying to finish writing Always & Forever. She was standing on a beach over a dead body and kept screaming at me to pay attention to her. Of course, I had to ignore her to finish the other book. When I started, I only knew it would be about Madeline and a police officer, and I knew the police officer was the prime suspect.
One of the things I loved about the book is how you kept me guessing as to who the killer was along several possible suspects. Did you know who the killer would be when you started writing, or is that something you figured out later? If so, how far into the writing before you knew? Did you seriously consider any of the other suspects or were they just there as red herrings?
Each suspect at some point, in my mind, was going to be the killer. I think the thing I had the most fun doing in this book was planning the motives of the people included as suspects. A few people I thought were going to be suspects ended up not being important and a few who I never knew were suspects became very important to the story. After Madeline’s attack, about the last third of the book, I knew from there on who was bad and what their motives were.
Do you have a favorite line or scene from the book? What is it?
Madeline came up with some great stuff. She made me laugh a lot. One of my favorite scenes is in the second chapter. Donovan comes to Madeline’s house and she’s wearing a short silk robe. He’s being very inappropriate, obviously checking her out. Determined to be a good hostess, she offers him tea, and he rudely says if she doesn’t have coffee that will have to do. She could make him instant coffee, but decides to bring him a brimming cup of tea, which she shoves into his hand forcefully and burns him. Her response is, “Oopsie.” I loved that entire scene.
What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?
The road to self-publication is a marathon, not a sprint. I’ve talked to many self-published authors who get frustrated because their one or two titles aren’t selling and they get discouraged, feeling like they should give up. I’ve fallen into this trap myself, but I also think about the kinds of authors I tend to pick. I look for authors with lots of titles on their shelf, because if I like them, I then have many books to buy and enjoy. I think the secret to success is to continue writing. I try not to worry about sales as much and focus on writing the next book. As people discover my work, they can then enjoy all the titles I have, and hopefully tell their friends!
Great advice. I try to follow that myself, although some days are easier than others!
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’m an eclectic reader, liking many different genres. I have many favorite authors. You’re included in that list and a few of Indie’s I’ve met in the last year. Traditional authors who inspired me before I started writing include Mary Higgins Clark, Charlaine Harris, and Stephen King. In my genre, my favorite author is Jayne Ann Krentz. Her mystery element is awesome. I rarely know for sure who the bad guy is until the end, even if I suspect them. On the more straight suspense titles of hers, I’m always enthralled from start to finish. I think what I love most about these authors is the connection I feel with their characters. And, of course, regarding Ms. Krentz, I love her sizzling romance scenes.
What is your next project?
I’m actually working on my new novel right now, Love & Deception, which will be available in early winter 2013. Nick Kendall works as a spy, fighting the war on terror on American soil. His newest target to investigate is Carlie Hollis, a suspected terrorist leader. The only problem is, while trying to learn her secrets he falls in love with her. Then, he gets new orders from his boss: Kill the target.
Sounds great. I know I’m going to enjoy that one as well.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thanks for taking a chance on my books. I hope you enjoy them. Also to the people who have contacted me saying they enjoyed them, an extra big thanks. Knowing I’ve entertained someone totally makes my day – it makes all the work worth it!
Thanks for inviting me here, Michele. I can’t wait for your upcoming release, Aggravated Circumstances. I loved the first-draft version I’ve read, but I’m anxious for the final copy!
Thank you! And that final copy should be in your hands within a week. 😉
Purchase Crime & Passion:
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/Z24vsP
Amazon Paperback in Createspace Store: http://bit.ly/ZJDjOp
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/Ys0lHs
All Romance eBooks: http://bit.ly/YnS2iX
Add it on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/14ZgyHW
Chantel once thought a great mystery or fantasy book with strong romantic themes was the highest level of reading bliss. After reading her first romantic suspense novel, she never looked back. Before long, the need to create her own stories took over. She spends her daytime in the clinical profession of medical transcriptionist, but her passion is in the blissful hours she spends with her characters in the evenings.
Chantel lives in the western United States. When she isn’t writing, she loves playing cards with her family and snuggling with her lazy kitties.
Want to connect with Chantel? You can find her here:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Chantel-Rhondeau/e/B008ZSM1KQ/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1