Melissa Schroeder began her love affair with romance novels when she first picked up a Linda Howard book. After reading book after book in the genre, she started writing her own. Since her first release in 2004, Melissa has had close to 20 short stories, novellas and novels released with seven different publishers in a variety of genres and time periods. Help me welcome her to the blog!
Jen: Most of Harmless books feature BDSM. What drew you to that romance subgenre?
Melissa: I like to read it, but it was more the characters. It is why most but not all the books are BDSM. Cynthia’s actions in A Little Harmless Sex derived from her inability to control her own life. From that, her need for control grew. Chris, her hero, was a switch. I knew he was one before I really understood the complexity of being one. I did a lot of research and talked to a few Dommes to get a basic understanding and found myself intrigued by BDSM.
Jen: Did you do have to do much research into BDSM?
Melissa: I did research. I am not someone who lives the life, so I wanted to make sure I got certain aspects of it right. I will say I don’t write hardcore BDSM. I think if my characters needed that, I would, but so far they have not. The one thing I wanted to make sure is that I presented my characters as real people, just like people who live the life. They don’t always run around wearing leather and a ball gag. These people have lives outside of that, and I hope that I show that it is just one part of their very complex lives.
Jen: Some of the books get away from BDSM, like A Little Harmless Addiction, what made you decide to change things up in that series?
Melissa: I am a character driven author. While plots are very important, I let my characters take control. Jocelyn and Kai were just not ever going to be into BDSM. Their characters didn’t fit the mold. I think it would have ruined the book if I had pushed them into it and since Jocelyn was just recovering from a near sexual assault, I wasn’t very comfortable doing that.
Jen: Many of your books are set in Hawaii… Do you have a special place in your heart for the islands?
Melissa: I do. My youngest was born there when we were stationed at Hickam AFB and I love to go back. I am actually taking my PA Brandy with me next month for a research and shopping trip for Harmless swag. We are trying to see if we can plan a Harmless Addicts get together in a couple of years. I love sharing the beauty of the islands with people who have never been. It is a wonderful experience. Hawaii is pretty, but the people are just as beautiful.
Jen: You also write under the name Kiera West. What can readers expect when they pick up one of those titles?
Melissa: These are hot, hot, hot titles, that push the boundary of love a bit. Right now all I have out is the Great Wolves. It was my first stab at writing shape shifters and I really liked it.
There is eight total in all. I have three more to go. I also want to do a couple of Great Bear books as readers have really fallen for the Bears, so I hope to get those done in 2012
Jen: You have so many books and novellas in your backlist. Is there any one that holds a special place in your heart? Why?
Melissa: I think A Little Harmless Obsession. Partially because of May and Evan, but also because I had to fight to get that book a release date. It was the start of my comeback a couple years ago, and I am very proud of that book. It set me on the path I am on now.
Jen: Thanks again for taking the time to chat with me!
Melissa: Thank you so much for having me on the blog!