AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: MELISSA SCHROEDER
Longtime bunny favorite Melissa Schroeder has agreed to let me pester her with questions, and not tell Joy, until after…
I see we first cornered you for an interview back in 2007. I imaging a lot has happened since then, anything in particular that you would like to bring up?
Wow, it has been a long time. I have been growing as an author, trying out new things. While I am still working on my Harmless books, including my June release A Little Harmless Addiction, I have been expanding to ménages and also about to complete my first full length paranormal romance that kicks off a five books series.
What is your most current work out?
My June release is A Little Harmless Addiction, Harmless #5 from Samhain Publishing.
Tell us a little about A Little Harmless Addiction and its inspiration.
Addiction tells the story of Kai Aiona, who has been in the last two books, brother to May (Harmless 3) and Jocelyn Dupree, sister of Chris (Harmless 2). Kai is kind of the go to guy when you have a broken heart. He’s always easy going and out for a good time. Except his last entanglement that left him a little bruised. Jocelyn is trying to recover from a horrific experience with her last boss. It almost ruined her career as a pastry chef and did change her perception of what she wanted from life. This is a bit more like A Little Harmless Sex. A straight sexy romance. These two people pulled at me, especially Jocelyn. As kind of a perfectionist, I understand Jocelyn. I know what it is to have everything sort of fall apart and put it back together. These two people needed each other so badly and I guess that is what brought me to them. They were always presenting another face to the world but feeling something else inside.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
It is a little of both. I like to have sort of a skeleton then add in as I go along. I find that if I plot too much, I get bogged down in the details and it takes too long.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
I started out in literary in college. Then moved on to suspense and cozy mysteries before finding romance. I realized I wanted a happy ever after. Life is so messy, so no happy ever after a lot of times. I liked to control that and give it for my readers and characters.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
This one is hard. Mila from Hunting Mila is still one of my favorite characters. Of course, Evan from A Little Harmless Obsession is one of my favs too.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
I think Evan Chambers from A Little Harmless Obsession. People had been waiting a long time for his book, and he was such a complex character.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
I did kill someone in a book who was mean to me in real life, lol. I think really, the only people really close, or based on personal experiences, were the professors in Grace Under Pressure. I was a student assistant at my college for the history department. They were an eccentric lot those men. They were fearful of their computers, this was the early 90’s, and didn’t understand why someone would want one.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Self-editing. Being critical of your work is hard, and it takes a lot of work to be able to do it for me. If I have a lot of time to let the manuscript marinate, then I am fine. But I tend not to see my mistakes without that.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I am not blond and my IQ is rather high. It is sometimes hard to tell when you talk to me, lol.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Ghost Adventures, they crack me up, bro. Oh and I tend to find a show I love, NCIS right now, and watch it incessantly. It is insane.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
I need my own little space, even if it is just a corner of the sofa and music.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Very much so. Right before I was published, we lived in Hawaii. I would write at night and with the glow of the PC screen, bugs would fly into the sliding glass doors. I couldn’t take the sound of it. So, I started listening to music when I wrote. Now, I have a soundtrack for each book. I usually have a song that is for each character and then sort of their song. For A Little Harmless Addiction their song was Draw Me a Map by Dirks Bently.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
Jocelyn would be played by Halle Berry and Kai would be either Jet Li or Russel Wong.
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I got an email from the former owner of WCP when we were still living in Hawaii. I told my husband first since he has believed in me since the very beginning.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Hmm, I did read some Sweet Valley Highs in high school, but I think my first real romance I was in my 30s and it was by accident. I picked up All the Queen’s Men by Linda Howard and decided to write romance.
What is your favorite genre to read if you have time?
Depends on the mood but usually historical romance or romantic suspense, from sensual to erotic.
If you still have one of those pesky day jobs what is it?
Nope, I thankfully just write.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I just finished up The Last Detail, an MMF futuristic novella for Samhain. Next, I will be finishing up the first of my Cursed Clan books, then onto my next Harmless book which will be another suspense and BDSM erotic romance.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following…”Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer”, “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”.
I used to get upset. But now I just shrug it away. Romance readers are who I care about. They are the bestest readers in the world, and to hades with the rest of the people. I do have a few old friends who are still trying to get published as REAL WRITERS who put me down, but I tend to think of that as just jealousy. I am a proud romance author and I will tell anyone who wants to know. It isn’t easy to hide because I write under my own name, lol. But I am danged proud of my work and my fellow genre authors.
Where can readers find you?
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
Milk chocolate with either peanut butter or cherries. I rarely buy either because I can’t stop eating them.
Thanks so much for having me!