Rochelle Staab

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.


  1. Oh, Rochelle--the thought of you replacing that cardboard with your book made my heart flutter. What a brilliant idea!

    I own every Elizabeth Peter's novel, and have worn the cover off a few.

    "Africa" by Toto transports me. I cannot listen to "Bring Me a Higher Love" by Steve Winwood without singing and dancing (or whatever passes for dancing in the car). And "Desert Rose" by Sting....be still my heart.

  2. Rochelle, I LOVE that reserved space on your bookshelf. and eating lunch at the beach sounds DIVINE. I'm am hour away from a coast, but I think I should try to get to some sand.

    I love listening to ROCK STAR by Pink - I'm not sure if that's the name, but it's total Girl Power time whenever I hear it. I always have to turn off Billy Joel's I Love You Just The Way You Are because of a crush in college. Has ruined the song for me forever. *grin*

  3. Hey Rochelle !
    Long time coming....glad one of your cyber stops is GLIAS. Love your title and cover.

    My current proposal was completely inspired by some of the songs from Rascal Flatts: Me & My Gang. I listen to those songs and I immediately want to write about Cord & Kate.


  4. Lots of song make me cry - Dance With My Father by Luther Vandross, Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley, Nothing Compare 2 U by Sinead O'Connor adn Wake We Up When September Ends by Greenday.

    The song that always puts me in a good mood is Dancing in the Moonlight by King Harvest

  5. I'm so happy to be here today with old and new friends. I love your song choices!
    Gillian, the Toto album is right on top of my replay stack of CDs. "Africa" moves me. "Higher Love" takes me back to wonderful memories.
    Abigail, "Just The Way You Are" has to be one of the best old crush songs ever. Ah, memories of ... him :)
    Angi, you made me smile. I would have guessed you'd represent with country. You ARE the queen of the west!
    Tammy, great list. And, yep, me too—"Dancing In The Moonlight" brings out the happy.
    This is fun. I'm inspired.

  6. Rochelle,

    I've been waiting to read this one for months! And very fun cover! I'm a huge fan of Tim Burton and the cover is so---Tim Burton-ish

    Its all about mood for me and what scene in the book I'm writing! I am currently listening to a lot of Alexandre Desplat, his soundtracks from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Coco Before Chanel.
    Want to visit Paris for a few minutes? Try Julia 's Theme from the movie Julia & Julia!

  7. One sound that's bound to make me feel a little weepy is the theme for Titanic- the movie. Other than that, the latest sad song is Ron Pope's A Drop in The Ocean (played at the end of The Vampire Diaries Season 3, Episode 2). I've heard a lot about Who Do, VooDoo? Thanks so much fr the chance to win this book:)


    sarah DOT setar AT gmail DOT com

  8. Hi Rochelle,

    I'm reading WDV right now and enjoying it a lot. I'm also making a cardbook place setting on my bookcase for my book TODAY. Love that. As for music there is so many favorties that I could write that I'm going to stick with songs that inspired me this week. Kokomo by the beach boys had me singing and swaying as I threw pottery in my studio. Then Bread came on with Baby I'm a Want You and I was choked up with memories of my first boyfriend. I was soon dancing with Bonnie Raitt's Something to Talk About. Can you tell I had the radio on my favortie oldies station? Creating Pottery is done best to 80's and 70's music. I love music and when writing a certain scene I will choose a playlist that refects the emotions I want to protray in that scene. Whether it's love or anger or hope, music is key.

  9. Hi Rochelle,

    Brilliant idea with the card on the bookshelf. And I want to create Nick's playlist you mentioned. Love it!

  10. I love Loreena McKennitt. Her music is so haunting, and I can feel it. I also love Evanescence. Haunting as well, in a different way.

  11. Anita, I met Loreena. She's a smart, very intuitive woman (comes across in her music, doesn't it?) Tangible.

    Tiffinie, leave it to the oldies to inspire, right? We had an old saying in radio: "people like what they know." I love the way music connects us to a mood or a memory. When I'm falling in love, I listen to new music to connect it to the moment. When I'm flying solo, I listen to oldies.

    Sarah & Gjillian, I've heard so many writers say they listen to soundtracks as they write. I must try it! One of my all time favorites is the Rush soundtrack. I'm going upstairs to find it right now...

    Hi Lynn! Yeah, Nick has great taste. Very bluesy-sexy. It was a blast creating his playlist. yum.

    Yes, yes! Do the "title placeholder"! Creative visualization delivers :)

  12. Bryan Adams- Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman. Says it all...

    Great topic!

    Christine London

  13. Oh, Christine, that Bryan Adams tune makes me swoon :)

  14. Fun Question! If I want to cry, Clapton's Wonderful Tonight (don't ask, I'll tear up). If I want to Dance, Bacilos's Mi Primer Million. I don't write to music. It has far too much influence over my emotions and I can't push it to the background.

  15. Viva, I tear up at "Wonderful Tonight" too. sigh. And don't make me talk about Clapton's "Running On Faith" either.

  16. Two songs make me cry: Elvis's "Memories" and Sarah McLachlan's "I Will Remember You." And I use two songs to pump me up: The Blackeyed Peas' "I gotta feeling" and Edwin Starr's "Happy Radio." Nothing like disco to make you feel better :)

  17. Hi Rochell! I loved this interview, and also your play list for the book. I have eclectic taste in music, and blues holds a special place in my heart. I cannot listen to music when I write because music gets under my skin, and I'd wind up sitting, staring, and listening to the songs. I have a long list of songs that speak to me, many make me cry. Currently to perk up, I'll listen to Rumor Has It by Adele. Can't keep my feet from moving when that one is on!
    I already have my copy of Who Do VooDoo on my Kindle! Can't wait to read it.

  18. The soundtrack for Forrest Gump is my favorite in every category. The theme song or suite makes me want to cry. Then you have Joy to the World by Three Dog Night, which makes me want to dance around in a really good mood. My little girl used to run around singing "If you're going to San Francisco..." :-)
    My favorite break up music is Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive.
    A song that always chokes me up...Baby Mine from Dumbo. How can you not cry when picturing the mommy elephant rocking her little baby with the big floppy ears through the bars of her "Time Out" car? I think you'd have to be heartless. :-)

  19. Oh, so many songs that make me cry, and the one that inspires me and makes me cry is Kermit singing Rainbow Connection.

    "So we've been told and some choose to believe it
    I know they're wrong, wait and see.
    Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection,
    The lovers, the dreamers and me."

    Let's see Bonnie Raitt's Nick of Time, the entire album, most especially Thing Called Love by John Hiatt plus that video had Dennis Quaid in it.

    There are so, so many more and now that the holidays are almost here, I need to pull out the Peanuts' Christmas Album and I think I finally found my Johnny Mathis Christmas album last year. I need to get it out, too.

  20. Gabrielle, "I Got A Feeling" is on my workout playlist on the iPod. Sarah McLaughlin ALWAYS gets to me. "I Will Remember You," and "Angel"!

    Hi Lynne! Thank you! Adele is just great, isn't she? Instant classics.

    Kimberly, I'm SO with you on Gloria Gaynor for strength. But oh, "Baby Mine." So touching, so utterly heart-rending. What a great mention.

    Mia, Kermie!!! *sniff* that little green frog gets to me every time. And I (heart) Bonnie Raitt, old and new.

  21. Lay Lady Lay by Bob Dylan. That song pulls me into someplace special. I could stay there forever.

  22. Beautiful, Janie. Dylan is a poet. His "Like A Rolling Stone" kills me, a sing-along-loud song for me.

  23. Rochelle, I'm late to the party but glad not to miss this fabulous interview.

    I'm crazy about the fact that you reserved a spot on your shelf for WDV! Having that tangible expression of a dream being realized is sheer genius and fabulous self-affirmation. Wahoo!

    With music, I'm something of a serial monogamist. I've obsessed over Alicia Keys' "Fallin'"before moving on to Sarah McLachlan signing "Silence" with Delerium to Rob Thomas and Carlos Santana on "Smooth." I'll listen to a song until I just about wear it out. Haven't had one of those obsessions in a while, though.

    Oh, and Dolly Parton makes me tear up every time I hear "I Will Always Love You."

  24. My "song" is the last movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, the "Ode to Joy." The poem is inspirational (although not religious) and the melody has been used for everything from the official anthem of the United Nations to children's songs. It's known world-wide.

  25. Loved the post! I really like your question too! I don't mind mixed genres - but my mixing is historical fiction with a spy caper or mystery and NOT sci fi. I also really enjoy humor in my books too. But, out of of the 13 genres you mentioned, I enjoy some amateur sleuth (assuming they are not baffoons), suspense (if this refers to James Rollins and Steve Berry, thumbs up), romantic suspense, and historicals. Not sure what "caper" is. Some of the meatier books I prefer listening to books on CD rather than reading them, like Lincoln/Child books.

    I'm also happy to talk about what I enjoy and not enjoy reading, so please feel free to drop me a line! lvsgund at gmail.com

  26. Never too late to this party, Jane. Dolly or Whitney's "I Will Always Love You" gets me too, especially during a breakup. Oh, my heart. I being obsessed with songs. The last album I wore out was Damien Rice's "O".

    Sharon, LOVE "Ode To Joy"! I can hear it in my head right now. Great anthem to sit down to write the great American Novel!

    Molly, thank you! I think of capers as light mysteries with far-fetched plots, usually comedies with a mystery tied in. I think the new movie "Tower Heist" could be considered a caper. I've never heard Lincoln/Child audio books, I need to give audio a try. But my attention drifts......... :)

  27. I'm with Jane, I love Santana's "Smooth" to put me a good mood, especially when I want to write a sexy scene!

    Fun post Rochelle!

  28. I got a little weepy when I heard Britney Spears was coming back.

    Seriously, though, I still get a tight throat with the Beach Boys' harmony stuff when Brian Wilson was at the top of his game. Pet Sounds especially.

  29. For those if you who are checking back, Rochelle emailed Saturday to tell me the exciting news that WHO DO, VOODOO? debuted at #5 on the Barnes & Noble Mass Market Mystery chart, and at #13 on the Bookscan Mass Market Mystery chart! Yay, Rochelle!

    For winner of WHO DO, VOODOO? giveaway see the tab below masthead.
    Thanks for participating everyone! It was a great way to wrap up the week! Jillian

  30. I like the choice of songs and there is nothing wrong with the playing of the instruments--although there is a certain careful polish to the playing...it lacks a certain rough passion that I like in blues. I almost get the feeling that Laurie wanted the playing to be perfect and thus didn't take chances, nor jam enough. It would have been fun to hear some out-takes or jamming.