Tuesday, January 10, 2012

AAD Author Spotlight & Giveaway: Melissa Schroeder

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: Tell new readers about the Harmless series.

Melissa: My Harmless series all grew out of a little book called A Little Harmless Sex. It was originally released in 2004 in novella length from Loose Id. I didn't expect there to be a second book, but Cynthia wanted her own book. She thought she came off badly in the first book, so I had to write it. A Little Harmless Pleasure, the second book, was when the setting moved to Hawaii. It was actually supposed to end up in New Orleans, but I was in the middle of writing the book and Katrina hit. I just couldn't do it, not at that point. So, I moved it to my former home of Honolulu.

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.

Jen: Talk to us a little about the Great Wolves of Passion books. How many books do you have planned for this series?

Melissa:  The Great Wolves of Passion Alaska tells the story of Eve MacMillian who is a scientist studying wolves on Passion Preserve in Alaska. The Dillons, six cousins who are also werewolves, are in love with her and know that she is their mate. She has no idea of their shape-shifting abilities until one of them is attacked and left for dead. There is someone who isn't happy with the Dillons, and with each of the eight books, the threat gets more dangerous. it is an eight book serial series where the romance with each cousin is given a spotlight in a book. While the overall story, the external plot is ongoing, the romance with each hero begins and ends with each of the books. I have enjoyed writing a different kind of paranormal and exploring the relationship with each of the cousins.

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: What are you working on next?

Melissa: I am finishing up Callum the first of my Cursed Clan due out in January and then a historical short, Falling in Love Again and then another Harmless book, A Little Harmless Fascination.

Jen: Which authors/ books do you like to read in your downtime?

Melissa: That is a long list, lol. Some of my favs are Liz Carlyle, Nora Roberts, Jayne Rylon, Jayne Ann Krentz, Jayne Rylon, RG Alexander...okay we probably don't have time to go into all of them. I tend to read in what I am writing, or something that inspires it. Callum is Scottish so I am rereading my old Julie Garwood historicals and Karen Marie Moning's Highlander books.

Jen: What are looking forward to most from AAD New Orleans?

Melissa: I can't wait to meet all the people I met last year, meet new readers and authors, and have my first official Harmless Addict get together. I am also throwing another open bar with my friend Kris Cook and my first Cursed N Blood Affair. This is my first time to New Orleans so I am super excited about that.

Jen: Thanks again for taking the time to chat with me!

Melissa: Thank you so much for having me on the blog!

Melissa is giving away an ARC of her new book Callum. To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  You can get to know Melissa better by visiting her website or following her on Twitter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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At Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 7:58:00 AM CST , Blogger mnjcarter said...

I love the harmless series books, haven't read a bad one yet. I never realized you wrote under Kiera West. I've looked at that series plenty, but never got around to purchasing them. Now I know I going to have to.


At Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 10:54:00 AM CST , Blogger elaing8 said...

Great interview.I love Melissa's books and can't wait to read Callum.

At Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 11:27:00 AM CST , Blogger Cathy M said...

Hi Mel,

I love that you are getting your inspiration for Callum from Karen's Highlander series and
Julie Garwood historicals. Two of the original authors that got me started on my historical romance phase.

caity_mack at yahoo dot com

At Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 1:47:00 PM CST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the little harmless books and really like the great wolves. Would love to read about the bears.

At Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 2:22:00 PM CST , Blogger The_Book_Queen said...

I'm afraid I haven't yet read any of your books, Melissa, but after reading so many great things about them, I'm dying to do so! I'll also be picking up your shapeshifter book--I love a great shapeshifter series, so I'm sure I'll soon be waiting anxiously for the others to come out!


At Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 2:54:00 PM CST , Blogger June M. said...

I have read some of the Harmless books and loved them. I have not had the opportunity to read any of the books released under the name of Kiera West.
I am looking forward to reading CALLUM. This new series sounds great.
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

At Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 3:16:00 PM CST , Blogger Arianne Cruz said...

How do you choose your titles?

At Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 3:47:00 PM CST , Blogger booklover0226 said...

Hi, Melissa.

I've read some of your works and really enjoyed them. I look forward in reading more.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

At Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 5:43:00 PM CST , Blogger nancy said...

Thanks for the interview, I like finding new (to me) authors. Will have to give her a try.

At Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 7:16:00 PM CST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just found some new books for my to be read pile. Thanks!

At Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 9:19:00 PM CST , Anonymous Susan W. said...

I have the same authors on my book shelf! Love Julie Garwoods Scottish books! I'm going to have to look into your Kiera West books. Thanks for the giveaway!


At Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 9:49:00 PM CST , Blogger Barbara said...

Hi, Melissa...I haven't read any of your books...YET. This looks like a GREAT place to start! FAB cover...LOVE the name too, shapshifters are my FAV!


At Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 11:32:00 PM CST , Blogger Latochia Bell said...

Ever since reading my first Harmless book, I have been hooked on Melissa's books! Can wait for the next series!

At Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 6:14:00 AM CST , Blogger Brenda Demko said...

I have your Great Wolves of Passion books. I really enjoy them and I look forward to reading more of your books. Thanks for the post!

At Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 7:32:00 AM CST , Blogger Shelley B said...

Linda Howard is one of my favorite authors too! She's an Alabama girl too. Thanks for the giveaway.
srbagby 50 at gmail dot com

At Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 11:29:00 AM CST , Blogger Sariah said...

Great interview. I haven't read any of your books yet, they are on my list. Thanks for the chance.


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