Friday, February 7, 2014

Chantel Rhondeau - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Chantel Rhondeau. She is a Romantic suspense author. Chantel writes the Agents in Love series.

Author Genre: Romance, Mystery & Thrillers

Website: Chantel Rhondeau - Romantic Suspense
Author's Blog: Chantel Rhondeau - Past Writing/Self-publishing Tips
Twitter: @ChantelRhondeau
E-Mail: ChantelRhondeau(at)gmail(dot)com
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description:
I once thought a great mystery or fantasy book with strong romantic themes was the highest level of reading bliss. After reading my first romantic suspense novel, I never looked back. Before long, the need to create my own stories took over. I spend my days in the clinical profession of medical transcriptionist, but my passion is in the blissful hours spent with my characters in the evenings.

I live in the western United States, and when I'm not writing I love playing cards with my family, bowling, and snuggling with my lazy kitties.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

First things first. Let’s start with what’s next. Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called Love & Redemption. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Yes, indeed! Love & Redemption will be out in late April 2014. It is the second book in my Agents in Love series (though Crime & Passion could be considered a prequel it is a stand-alone book). Shelley Daniels is working desperately hard to make up for the mistakes of her past, but when she runs into a thief (Gavin Hart) who's life is in danger from her same enemies, she realizes she will have to get involved. The pair initially want to get away and have no other goals, until the Queen's Center is attacked and innocent people die. Now, they have to risk everything to protect others.

You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Did you use forums, newsletters and methods like that?

Most of my followers on twitter are other authors who have followed me, though I do have fun interacting with them. Where I really love to talk with fans is Facebook. Although Facebook makes it harder and harder to interact, it is fun for me to speak with my readers and also get their opinions/help as I'm writing. It's a lot of fun. My following is growing, the more books I have out. Recently I started a mailing list through MailChimp. I put the link to sign up for it at the end of my books, and I'm seeing some success with this. It'll make it easy to let my fans know when the next book is available.

Do you do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

Well, unfortunately, I'm a mom and have a full time job in addition to everything else. I don't have time to do book signings or personal appearances at this time. I'm always open to on-line interviews :-) The best place to contact me is really on Facebook. I try to check in there twice a day.

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

I am pretty laid back with my covers. My first two books Always & Forever and Crime & Passion were designed by LFD Designs for Authors and I gave her a basic concept that she ran with. For Love & Deception and all my upcoming books, I'm using Erin over at EDH Graphics ( ) She is so talented. I find a picture of a couple I like, tell her where the book happens, and she creates something fantastic! I'll have a cover reveal for Love & Redemption coming up soon. My favorite cover by far! I'm so excited to share it!

What writer support groups do you belong to? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

Critique Circle ( was absolutely integral to my development as a writer. They are a free on-line critiquing service where writers can submit stories and get critiques while also critiquing others. I never even knew about the world of self-publishing before this. There is support from everyone there on all facets of writing, and I count on my core group for help with every step of the process. They are my first readers and the people who I bounce ideas off. I would recommend this place for any aspiring author.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

Free is tricky. I don't think I would ever offer my more recent books for free. As a new author, my goal was to get my book in the hands of more readers. Free worked very well to get me out there, and I think I've given away something like 30,000 books of my first two books. However, free also encourages readers who wouldn't normally read your type of book into trying it...and leaving a bad review. Luckily, I've also received good reviews from this process and a spike in sales of other titles, but it is a trade off for a dip in your star rating.

How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market. What methods were the most successful?

I'm still fine-tuning this process with each release. I generally start with asking bloggers I know for help in spreading the word when my book is available. This last time, I put a book free at the same time to boost my visibility, which did seem to help but will only work once with any given title. This time around, I'm just going to let the people on my mailing list know, organize a small blog tour, and continue writing the next book. I'm waiting and will focus my advertising efforts once I have the third book in the series out late this year. Then I plan to try The 7 Day Launch Strategy with book 1. Wish me luck! (I advise other authors to check this out - it seems like good, solid advice). I've also heard to use BookBub to advertise, but it is super expensive and I'm on a tight budget. I wouldn't advise putting a lot of money into any marketing until you have several books out. It's better once you have a list so people can buy all your stuff if they love you!

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?

I used to spend a lot of time blogging. Now, I'm a great cheater, truthfully. Since I know my readers are interested in finding new authors and things to read, I signed up as a tour host for blog tours. Then I'm given ready-made posts, can give my readers new, interesting content, and I don't have to put a ton of work into it. Now, of course I do try and get in some book reviews and more personal posts, but when I'm in a rush and behind schedule, my blog mostly maintains itself with the blog tour posts. Social media is just checked once in the morning and once at night so I can keep in touch with everyone. Since I enjoy that so much, it's a break I enjoy taking.

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

Reviews are tough. I have some fantastic beta readers who usually leave reviews and help kick start my ratings, but it gets iffy after that. I sent out tons of emails requesting reviews when I first started out, but that is a lot of work for very little yield. With Crime & Passion I hired a book tour coordinator who had people looking to read and review, and I'm organizing the same thing for Love & Deception for late in March. It's worth the money to me to have someone else organize the details and find reviewers who are interested in my genre. I used CLP Blog Tours before and this time I'm using Irresistible Reads. Both have been professional and I'd recommend them.

I like your effort against Domestic Violence Awareness. Can you tell our audience how they can get involved? Have you ever tried to connect with other authors with the same passion to bundle your books and create awareness?

There are so many things you can do to help. Something as simple as support for a friend if you think they may be in this situation. There are more people affected than you could believe, and some people are afraid to speak out against their abuser, for fear of not being believed. Money is always needed for those trying to escape domestic violence, because money is one of the things that traps people where they are. I actually have a lot of links on my blog to places people can donate and help. Something as simple as just volunteering at your local battered women's shelter would be great. I didn't know this until just last year, but Verizon accepts old cell phones and the proceeds from those go to support domestic violence victims so send in all your old phones that you have no use for! I had the opportunity to donate books for a raffle that supported my local battered women's shelter last October. I've never considered grouping with other authors, but that is a great idea! We could plan a big fund raiser this coming October (Domestic Violence Awareness Month) and raise some money. If any author's are interested, let me know! Thank you so much for featuring me here on HSB and for your excellent questions!

Author's Book List
Love & Deception - Agents in Love - Book 1
What if everything you believed in was a lie?

In hiding for six years, Carlie Hollis is tired of running. All she wants is to stay in Sayle, Washington and make a success of her struggling delicatessen. Because of her past, she's suspicious of anyone who takes an interest in her.

Nick Kendall works as a spy in a top-secret government operation, protecting innocent people from danger. Sent to Sayle on a mission to infiltrate a suspected terrorist organization, Nick finds himself attracted to Carlie, an alleged key player of the group.

Despite her misgivings, Carlie develops feelings for the handsome stranger, believing he is there to help her. But when Nick finds evidence of her guilt, he's given orders to do the unthinkable--eliminate the target, one he's fallen hopelessly in love with. Will he follow orders...or become hunted himself?

CONTENT WARNING: Violence, language, sizzling love scenes.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
Crime & Passion
A decorated police officer, more intent on justice than following the letter of the law, lands in trouble when a schoolteacher finds a dead body on the beach.

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.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
Always & Forever
A suspected murderess flees her former life in search of tranquility, but the past refuses to die, threatening to destroy her newfound happiness.

Lilly Price is an abused woman on the run, but she can't hide forever. Desperate to escape public scrutiny following accusations that she hired a hit man to kill her fiancé, Lilly hopes to rebuild her life in a new town.

Widowed Zach Woodbridge is in no hurry to find another bride. He longs for a peaceful summer, writing at his lakeside cottage. Things change after an introduction to his grandmother's intriguing new assistant, Lilly.

When Lilly's secrets are revealed, can their fragile relationship weather the storm? And when a man from the past wishes to reclaim Lilly, using any force necessary, can she and Zach protect the people they love?

CONTENT WARNING: Violence, mild language, sizzling love scenes.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
eBook Author’s Corner and
HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle


  1. Great interview and love Chantel's books!

  2. Chantel is a very talented author. I can vouch for that.

  3. I love Chantel's exciting stories too. Can't wait for Love and Redemption!