Get Lost in the Spell of Who Do Voodoo?
A few clues about Rochelle Staab
A 2010 Golden Heart® finalist, Rochelle brings to the world of romance readers her fascination with the supernatural and her love for mystery in WHO DO, VOODOO? the first novel in her Mind for Murder Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. An award-winning radio programmer and music-industry marketing executive, Rochelle began her writing career in 2007. BRUJA BROUHAHA, the second novel in the series will be released in August.
You're invited to a seance
Madame Iya’ rocked back and forth, shaking a small brass rattle. “We humbly ask you to send the spirit of our beloved Sophie to join us.” A full minute passed then Madame Iya’ spoke again. “Sophie is here.”
A candle popped. Shadows flickered on the walls outside of the circle. A draft swept across the floor and flickered the flames of the candles. I thought I saw a shadow move behind Jimmy and Tawny. I brushed away the sensation that someone else was in the room with us. I tensed up.
“Nola. Sophie wants you to publish her spell book.” Madame Iya’ let out a deep sigh. “She wants me to help you complete it.”
Linda’s body went rigid. She clenched her hand over mine and began to rock. She spoke in a deep and insistent voice; a voice I didn’t recognize. “No. I don’t want that. My secrets have to be protected. There will be danger. No.”
“What are you talking about, Linda?” Nola said.
Linda stared across the room. “Linda’s not here, my treasure.”
“Who are you?” Nola’s words came unsteady, searching. “Sophie?”
“Not Sophie. I’m Callia.”
The back of my neck tingled. Who was Callia? Linda gazed around the circle. She stopped when she got to me. Her face had changed: the softness drained from her features. She looked tired, older. Her eyes were vacant. A small terror edged my rational mind aside. I had a fleeting sensation that someone else’s eyes were staring at me from Linda’s face.
“You have to keep my secrets safe and with my family. Your question is answered inside.” She held her eyes on mine. “Promise me.”
I nodded warily, not knowing what she meant. “I promise.”
A door down the hall slammed shut with a force so hard it rattled the windows. Tawny screamed. I jumped.
Unveiling at least some of the mystery that is Rochelle Staab
Jillian: How often to you get lost in a story?
Rochelle: Every day! I adore the escape of reading a good novel and the thrill of writing a new story. I take my Kindle to the gym every morning to read on the treadmill; and when I’m alone I read during lunch and dinner. Falling into the world of a story is the best. When I’m engrossed in writing, my characters follow me around all day, poking me with story ideas and plot complications even when I’m away from my computer.
Jillian: What’s your favorite fairy tale?
Rochelle: Cinderella. The innocent sweetness of the rags-to-riches, obscurity-to-center stage, the basement-to-the-ballroom story tickles the little girl in me. As a child, I was enchanted by the magical world in the animated Disney film. Mice talked. Pumpkins became carriages. The fairy godmother waved her wand and a ball gown materialized. The scullery maid married the prince. Cinderella made me believe anything was possible.
Jillian: Is there a playlist you’d recommend for reading your latest release?
Rochelle: Oh, yes. My character Nick’s favorite: the slow, sexy tempo of the blues. Randy Newman’s “Leave Your Hat On”, Eric Clapton “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out”, and Bonnie Raitt’s “Love Me Like A Man”. Chicago blues like Muddy Waters’ “Don’t Go No Farther” and Howlin’ Wolf’s “Evil”; and any of the New Orleans blues songs on Hugh Laurie’s Let Them Talk album. And, of course, Ella Fitzgerald singing “That Old Black Magic”.
Jillian: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
Rochelle: I walk through my house, arms in the air, and smiling like I just scored a touchdown in the Super Bowl. Then for a treat, I book a massage for an afternoon of undistracted bliss.
Jillian: What do you do to unwind and relax?
Rochelle: Once a week I drive to Santa Monica beach and eat lunch at the ocean. I park in a lot at the edge of the sand, sit on a bench, and watch the joggers, tanners, and birds pass while I eat my sandwich. The break completely erases all mind-clutter.
Jillian: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
Rochelle: The day I started writing WHO DO, VOODOO? I tented a piece of white cardboard, wrote “reserved for WHO DO, VOODOO?” on it in bold black, and placed the card in front off an empty slot on my bookshelf. Nothing, NOTHING, beat the feeling of putting the first commercial copy of WDV into that slot!
Jillian: Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?
Rochelle: Coffee. A decaf, no sugar added, mocha latté with soymilk. (Blushing.) I’m a California cliché—I mean, chick.
Jillian's long convoluted gotta ask question (Because she is very very curious about the mystery genre): According to the website Murder by 4, there are thirteen different types of mysteries including amateur sleuth, professional sleuth, cozy, police procedurals, legal/medical, suspense, romantic suspense, historicals, private eye, noir, crime, caper, and something called mixed genre which seems to primarily involve science fiction. As a mystery writer, which of these types do you enjoy reading? And, we know that WHO DO, VOODOO is a romantic suspense mystery but might there also be elements of other types in there? Please share!
Rochelle's Answer: The first mysteries I read were the Nancy Drews and I’m still drawn to amateur sleuths. One of my favorite series is Cleo Coyle’s Coffee House Mysteries and I enjoyed Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar series. But I’ve also read all of the Hammett, Chandler, and Cain noir, and I’ve read Grisham’s legal thrillers and Connelly’s police procedurals. I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody Egyptian historicals, too. The Mind for Murder Mystery series is categorized as a cozy and there’s a definite paranormal vibe. One of my favorite scenes detours into eerie historical settings in Haiti and New Orleans. And I couldn’t resist adding touches of sexy banter (ala screwball comedy) into the mix.
Rochelle has a question for readers:
Music and lyrics are a special part of my life. I’ll always include music somewhere in my stories. Some songs pull me back to specific places, others make me cry no matter what, and there are songs that make me strong. I’d love to know if you have a certain song that moves you to tears or, by contrast, sucks you out of a bad mood. You know, the Gloria-Gaynor-“I Will Survive”-at-the-top-of-your-lungs in the car song?
Rochelle has a copy of WHO DO, VOODOO (sent by Berkley, so no autograph) plus a WDV pen!
For more about WHO DO, VOODOO and the upcoming BRUJA, BROUHAHA go to:
***Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.