FAQ: Why Hawai'i? - Melissa Schroeder

Why Hawai’i?

The Harmless Series is the first series I did that was set in Hawai’i but it didn’t start out that way. The first book, A Little Harmless Sex,  actually takes place in South Georgia in a fictional town outside of Valdosta, GA. The second half of A Little Harmless Pleasure was supposed to take place in New Orleans. In the middle of writing the book, Hurricane Katrina hit and I couldn’t bring myself to write the book set there. I had lived in Hawai’i for three years and decided it would be fun to change the setting to there. Then…it just took off.

I got a little obsessed. When I wrote A Little Harmless Obsession, it was the first Harmless book to take place entirely in Hawai’i. Better yet, it was the first one to feature a Hawaiian character as one of the main characters. May appeared in A Little Harmless Pleasure, as did her hero Evan.  With May, we were introduced to the Aiona family, and her brother would have his own book later. With the appearance of the Aiona family, the series ushered in more diversity. With that, the storylines grew into more complex plots.

About the time I was debating on whether to self-publish or not, I approached my publisher with the idea of a military romance set in the Harmless world. They were not interested in a spinoff series, so, when I launched my own publishing, first was A Little Harmless Submission, then Infatuation. These novellas feature military men but are set in the Harmless world. It was sort of the gateway to the Santinis, including one of the first four brothers having a Hawaiian heroine.

Fast forward four years and I am completely in love with Hawaii 5-0. Like, it is the only show I watch live. I can record or watch everything else on Hulu. But every Friday there is a new episode, I am there watching. And out of that love, came Task Force Hawaii. It took my love of romantic suspense and allowed me to set it in Hawai’i. A whole new set characters came to life, and as with my other books set in Hawai’i, it is expanding. The series was set for six stories, but I already have two more stories for past the initial six.


Why do I keep writing there? There are several reasons. First, every time I ask the Addicts about what they want, there is usually at least one or two folks who ask for another Harmless book. But secondly, I love writing books set there. While there is a whole TV series built around it, many people still don’t know what Hawai’i is like. The culture is rich in the arts, and the idea of Ohana, or that we are all family, is so deep and amazing. Life is slower and no one really rushes into anything. And I will admit it. I LOVE writing a multicultural group of characters. While the mainland allows for that, I believe because of the very nature of Hawai’i, it provides such a wonderful microcosm of cultures. In such a small amount of square footage, there isn’t space to ignore each other. You have to learn to intermingle.  All classes and cultures have to deal with each other. That makes for interesting storylines and conflict, along with unique storylines for that happily ever after ending.


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