If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our March author interviews: Karen Pullen (3/1), Lowcountry Crime authors: Tina Whittle, Polly Iyer, Jonathan M. Bryant, and James M. Jackson (3/8), Annette Dashofy (3/15), Edith Maxwell (3/22) and Barb Ross (3/29).

Saturday Guest Bloggers in March: Maris Soule (3/4), and Virginia Mackey (3/11). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 3/18--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 3/25--Kait Carson.

Julie Tollefson won the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter's Holton Award for best unpublished manuscript (member category) for her work in progress, In The Shadows. Big news for a new year. Congratulations, Julie.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for pre-order.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Rochelle Staab Interview


Each book of Rochelle Staab’s Mind for Murder series contends for awards. In 2012, her first in series, Who Do, Voodoo, garnered nominations for Agatha, Anthony and the Eureka! Awards, and was a finalist in the 2010 Golden Heart Award in the Contemporary Series, Suspense/Adventure category. The next in series, Bruja Brouhaha, won the 2013 Watson Award for best sidekick and contends for the 2013 Daphne Du Maurier Award in the Published Mainstream/Mystery/Suspense category. Without resting on her laurels, Rochelle wrote the third book, Hex on the Ex, continuing the fast paced adventures of Liz Cooper, her main character. When the RWA Kiss of Death Chapter convenes next week, the 2013 Daphne winners will be announced. I can’t wait! Please welcome Rochelle Staab to WWK.
E. B. Davis

You were a marketing and advertising executive at Warner Brothers Records analyzing and writing about statistical trends in the music industry. Why the switch, and how did you accomplish this overnight transformation?
I loved my career at Warner Bros., surrounded by dedicated creative people who truly care about music. But I also had a dream to become an author…someday, someday. One afternoon I told a coworker (for the hundredth time) that I intended to write a novel. He rolled his eyes. Sure. That day I decided to either do something about writing or stop talking about it. I enrolled in a weekend class in the UCLA Writers’ Program, loved it, and never looked back. The switch didn’t quite happen overnight, but within a year I had retired from the music industry and was well into writing Who Do, Voodoo?

    
Would you give our readers a synopsis of your series?
The Mind for Murder Mystery series features Liz Cooper, a Los Angeles psychologist with no patience for mystical “baloney,” and Nick Garfield, a religious philosophy professor and renownedWho Do, Voodoo? centers on Haitian voodoo; the theme of Bruja Brouhaha is Santeria (Cuban voodoo); and my new novel, Hex on the Ex addresses devil worship. Nick, the academic, schools doubting Liz on the alternative belief systems they encounter, giving her (and the reader) the information to decide what is or isn’t real about the mystic elements surrounding a crime. 
occult expert. Liz and Nick use wit, their wits, and they play their intellectual differences to solve supernatural-related crimes. The first in the series,


How does Liz use her PhD in psychology to help solve murders?
Liz’s profession gave her insight into how people tick. Years of encouraging then watching her patients dig deeper into their feelings made her an expert on character, body language, and motivation. For example, Liz observes how the body reacts to situations before the mind rationalizes out a response. Body language often contradicts what a person says—very useful for spotting lies.

Liz Cooper and her boyfriend, Nick Garfield, are an interesting mix of left and right brain thinkers. Have you reversed the conventional roles each contributes in solving cases?
I intentionally created pragmatic Liz to challenge Nick’s open-minded viewpoint of the supernatural to present the reader with both sides of the mystic puzzle within the murder mystery.

When reading your books, I’ve often thought how much fun it must be thinking up religions and cults. Are any of them real?
You bet. Voodoo, Santeria, and devil worship are very real. Voodoo and Santeria are syncretic religions developed centuries ago by slaves blending African religions with Christianity. Devil worship (not to be confused with Satanism) is even older, though decentralized and often used as a cloak by deranged psychotics. All three belief systems generally practice in secret and without written canons. I took care to respect the voodoo and Santeria belief structure, however my spells, spell books, and rituals are fictional—to a point.

The series is set in Los Angeles, but so far you haven’t focused on the entertainment industry, the main employer in L.A. Why?
I featured Collins Talent and The Greek Theater in Who Do, Voodoo? but I hesitate to overuse the entertainment industry as a setting. I spent thirty years in the business and, being part of the family, I don’t want to give readers an impression that the industry is populated by a group of murderous, occult practicing nutcases. One of Liz’s clients is a movie producer who just may seek Nick’s expertise down the road.

Is L.A. a profusion of cults or am I getting a skewed perspective from your books?
Los Angeles is a profusion of culture—that’s why I love setting my novels here. I view L.A. County as a 4,083 square-mile quilt of small towns sewn together with each section populated by a unique blend of backgrounds, beliefs, and economic status. My novels are set in pockets of the city with eclectic reputations—like Hollywood or MacArthur Park—although I admit you will find a psychic reader shop within walking distance from almost anywhere.

Do you consider gangs cults?
In a very broad sense, yes, only because cults and gangs both isolate their members from mainstream society and create an us-against-them mindset. There are major differences: cults focus on a spiritual belief system dominated by a central figure (either human or divine,) while gangs focus on territory, survival, and often crime.

In Hex on the Ex, insightful psychic Tess disturbs Liz. Will Tess become a significant secondary character?
I loved writing Tess. While I don’t see Liz and Tess evolving into good friends like Liz and Robin, if Liz’s mom gets wind of Tess’s psychic talent and seeks her out for advice, Tess could definitely be back!

Do you rely on facts, statistics and science? Or are you a believer in the sixth sense, relying on intuition and instinct?
Well…both. Statistics and science fascinate me, and I was lucky enough to put my love of numbers to work in my radio and music industry career. I will scrutinize numbers and the science behind facts to hone my instincts. But after I’ve done my research and considered the odds, I let my intuition guide my decisions.

What reader is your market?
Traditional mystery lovers looking for a witty, fast read featuring a clever sleuth, her handsome
professor, and diverse characters involved in a murder plot with an occult twist. My readers are a lot like Liz—smart, curious, and wary of the inexplicable something-somethings that fall outside scientific logic.

Your preference, Rochelle: beach or mountains?
I visit the beach to calm down and catch my breath, but I prefer the mountains for breath-taking awe and inspiration. I’m a view junkie. The higher up I am and the farther I can see, the more I like it. Fortunately, living in Los Angeles gives me an opportunity to enjoy both.

Thank you so much for inviting me to talk about Liz and Nick at WWK today, E.B.! I’m looking forward to the upcoming Daphne ceremony with an open, open heart, and fingers crossed (Liz would so disapprove of that superstition.)
I’d love to hear the WWK readers comment on their superstitions!

Rochelle Staab’s books can be found at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but if you have a local indie store, please ask there first!

17 comments:

Warren Bull said...

Thanks for sharing on WWK. It sounds like you have a fun mix of characters investigating interesting subcultures. Just about anything is possible in LA.

Sarah Henning said...

Love it! These books sound amazing and they're definitely going into my TBR pile! Thanks for sharing!

Shari Randall said...

Thank you for stopping by, Rochelle - the Mind for Murder series sounds wonderful.
I don't consider myself superstitious, but I will never walk under a ladder -
And since my daughters graduated this year, the number 13 has seemed more a cause for celebration than fear.

Gloria Alden said...

Your books sound fascinating, Rochelle. I'll have to go on Amazon to order the first one - which is where I like to start. Thanks for stopping by and introducing yourself and your books to us.

KM said...

What a wonderful story of following your dream!

What class(es) did you take at UCLA extension? Were they very helpful?

I'm going to have to put the series on my TBR list. No independent bookstore around, though.

Rochelle Staab said...

Warren, Sarah, Shari, KM, and Gloria—thank you for stopping by to read.

Shari, 13 has always been lucky for me (especially Friday the 13th!)

KM, the UCLA Writers Program gave me my writing career. I started at the beginning with NOVEL I, and continued through II. III, and IV, sometimes taking the same class twice. I also did their Writers Studio twice. Most of my classes were taken online, and I met writers and instructors at the WP who remain close friends.

Mechteld said...

Having read both who do, voodoo and Bruja brouhaha I can confidently say I love this series. It is intelligent, respectful and entertaining. Through my studies I have read quite extensively about different religions and I love the openmindedness of Nick. However, it is a great combination with Liz' scepticism. Don't take everything at face value.
Am looking forward to reading Hex on the ex.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Hi, EB. Hi, Rochelle! I've followed Ms. Staab's career with envy and interest. She's go the talent gene sewn up, what's more she's darn nice and smart. Love your story about a co-worker rolling his eyes, you enrolled in a writing course and retired soon after. You follow your dreams, and that's no superstition!

E. B. Davis said...

Rochelle,

Your books are a pleasure to read. Love your female and male leads, and your concept is unique. No wonder you've been nominated for Agathas and Daphnes! Thanks so much for the interview. Your professionalism is a lesson for us all.

Julia said...

Hi Rochelle,

I always enjoy your interviews, and I can't wait to read your latest book! I don't consider myself particularly superstitious but I do hedge my bets by not walking under ladders and being especially cautious when moving mirrors et cetera. Of course, I suppose that's also just common sense.

Lucky for us readers that you made the leap from the music industry to writing!

Thanks,
Julia Blake

Samanthe Beck said...

Hi Rochelle,

Congrats on the success of your series. As a long-time resident of L.A., I love that you describe it as a profusion of culture. I think that fits. ;)

Carla Damron said...

These characters sound fascinating! Thanks for sharing them with us.

Laura Sheehan said...

These books have been in my TBR pile for a while, but after reading this, i think it's finally time to put them at the top of the pile! I'm more of a romance and fantasy fan, but I used to love Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys when I was younger, so maybe this is the right series to get me back into the genre.

As for superstitions: I'll obey a few of the theatre rules (not mentioning the "scottish play" when in a theatre, not wishing luck, etc.) and I've been known to knock on wood! We were actually reading "that scottish play" in high school once, and my english teacher was telling us about how every time her class read it, something paranormal would happen... minutes after saying this, a Shakespeare poster fell off her wall for no reason. It's possible she had it rigged with a string or something, but we looked and looked and couldn't find any source of trickery...!

Paula Gail Benson said...

Rochelle, thank you for being with us on WWK and congratulations on your nominations this year!

Misty Dietz said...

Sounds like a really fun series, Rochelle! And I love the titles!

Rochelle Staab said...

You guys are so wonderful, thanks so much for stopping to comment (you know you made my day )

Julia, I made a hard fast rule to never put my purse on the floor after researching superstitions for WDV. According to legend, the ground drains your fortune. I don't have a fortune to spare.

Laura, I LOVE your Shakespeare poster story! I could write an entire blog on eerie coincidences that happened to me while writing Liz and Nick's adventures.

Jacqui Nelson said...

While I have very few superstitions (so far) I do love learning about them so that's part of why I love reading your Mind for Murder series, Rochelle. The other part is your unique characters and setting. Best of luck in the Daphne!