Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Woman Running From An Abusive Past: An interview with romantic suspense author Chantel Rhondeau

1) Tell us about your book:

Always & Forever is a romantic suspense about a former socialite who is under suspicion for killing her fiancé. She moves to a small town on the other side of the country, hoping to remain anonymous and restart her life after the case against her is dropped due to lack of evidence. Having lived through horrible abuse at the hands of her dead fiancé, Lilly finds it hard to trust people. She has to open herself up to the possibility of love when widower Zach Woodbridge asks to date her, because she can't resist her attraction to him. Just as she starts to regain control of her life and feel confident again, Lilly notices someone following her and she receives threatening messages.

2) What inspired you to write it?

In my life, I have known several abused women. I wanted to write a story about overcoming abuse and no longer being a victim. I think women able to survive that type of situation who are then strong enough to rise above it are absolutely amazing. Some of these women are my personal heroes. I don't know if everyone will like Lilly or some of the choices she makes, but I hope they can at least respect her unique strength. Hers was a story I couldn't not tell. 

3) Tell us a bit about your lead and what she's like.

Lilly suffered an injury during a brutal attack and has a permanent limp that sometimes complicates her life. Despite this and her history of abuse, she struggles to reinvent herself and create a new life where she can be happy. She loves to read and cook. Her biggest downfall is her low self-esteem and her belief that no one could ever really love her.

4) Suspense and romance are ultimately working at the affecting different emotions. Did you ever find any difficulty balancing those elements?

It can be hard. Throughout this process, I found that both myself and my critique partners were ready for a more tender chapter with some affection between the MCs following the most intense suspense chapters. Having critique partners greatly helped in determining when a switch was needed between these two elements.

5) Who would be the perfect reader for your book?

Someone who can empathize with a victim of domestic violence--my flawed characters tend to make wrong decisions based on their unique histories. Someone equally enthralled with the romance scenes and not looking for a straight edge-of-your-seat, never-let-up thriller will enjoy Always & Forever, as it truly is a mix of romance and suspense. Another point, my book has quite steamy love scenes, so the ideal reader should enjoy those moments as well.

6) Please tell us about your other works or works in progress.

The book I’m currently working on scheduled for release spring 2013 is a romantic suspense that is more of a ‘who done it’ mystery. Donovan is a womanizing police officer who finally met a woman he can’t fool in Madeline Scott--a sassy, sarcastic woman who’s new to town. Problems abound when Madeline finds a body on the beach, and Donovan becomes the prime suspect in the murder.

7) Do you have any links to any excerpts, you'd like to share?

Readers can find the first two chapters of Always & Forever and Six Sentence Sunday snippets on my website at

I appreciate you taking the time to interview me and be part of my blog tour!


If you'd like to see more from Chantel, she is appearing tomorrow at Dariel Raye's blog for a character interview.

Always & Forever is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


Carol Bodensteiner said...

An interesting interview. I found your point about how your critique group helped you see how to balance suspense with romance particularly interesting. I'm at the point with my novel of thinking I should bring in beta readers. Based on your experience, sounds as though it could be time. Thanks!

Chantel Rhondeau said...

Thanks for reading and the comment, Carol. Having other readers was essential for me. It really helped. Good luck with your WIP!

Rachelle Ayala said...

Great interview, Jeremy. I do love the balance between romance and suspense. It helps to have critique partners from both genres. Can't wait for the mystery to unfold in C&P.