Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Interview with Rochelle Staab and Giveaway - November 1, 2011

Please welcome Rochelle Staab to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge interviews. Rochelle's debut, Who Do, Voodoo? is published today!

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Rochelle:  Patchouli incense and a lost sense of time. I have to have my patchouli incense or candle burning in the background, no music. And I can go through an entire week thinking every day is the day in the scene I’m writing. An overriding Sunday afternoon or Friday night frame of mind can mess with my actual Monday through Friday appointments. I use calendar alerts to shake me out of the world of the story and into the real world to keep my life in order.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Rochelle:  I’m an avid reader and discover new favorites all the time. Lesley Kagen has a brilliant, descriptive voice that pulls me into whatever time and place she chooses in her novels. My longtime favorite authors are Elizabeth Peters, Michael Connelly, Cleo Coyle, Hank Phillippi Ryan, and the classics by Hammett, Chandler, Poe, Oscar Wilde, P.G. Wodehouse (as you can see, I’m all over the genre and time map.) And I have to mention Carolyn Keene and Arthur Conan Doyle because my love for mystery originated with Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes. The writers who influence my writing are those who dare to show themselves. I applaud rule breakers. Cormac McCarthy may not be my genre cup of tea but he writes to please himself. I admire that.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Rochelle:  I create a plot with Post-its on a white board, write Character Profiles for the cast, and then I let the characters take me wherever they want to go. I’ll refer to my outline board if I slow down or get stuck, but the characters always come up with a better plan than mine. You could say I’m a plotter outvoted by pantser characters.

TQ:  Describe Who Do, Voodoo? in 140 characters or less.

Rochelle:  Mysterious tarot cards, a voodoo spell book, and a best friend falsely accused team psychologist Liz Cooper with professor Nick Garfield to hunt for a killer.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Who Do, Voodoo?

Rochelle:  The inspiration came after dinner with a friend in Hollywood. We stood talking outside the restaurant next door to an open but empty Psychic Reading shop, one of hundreds of psychic shops in the city. I wondered how ten-dollar psychic readings paid the rent on one of the busiest and most expensive streets in Los Angeles. Could be the owner had a real gift and loyal customers, but my imagination created charlatans and back room conspiracy theories. My curiosity that night grew into an idea for amateur sleuths investigating supernatural or occult based crimes in Los Angeles.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Who Do, Voodoo?

Rochelle:  A few of my excursions were bizarre and really fun. I signed up for tarot classes to write their definitions and symbolism accurately, took a voodoo tour of the New Orleans French Quarter for background and insight, spent hours with a LAPD homicide detective, and read a stack of books on the history of Vodoun. Chilling in parts, but so interesting. But there were so many times I wished I had married a detective or my brother had gone to law school. Murder and voodoo are a complicated subjects. I had so many questions!

TQ:  Why did you set the novel in Los Angeles?

Rochelle:  Los Angeles has a rich and fascinating culture, including a wide variety of alternative belief systems. The large geographical area and dense population makes it easy for subcultures to sprout and thrive unnoticed. One of my interviews for the novel included a Hollywood occult shop owner who happened to mention that she was invited to a local crucifixion. I was shocked but not surprised. I won’t ever forget that conversation. The downside of the L.A. setting is the amount of time my characters must spend in their cars. We count distance here in freeway time—rush hour versus non-rush hour.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Rochelle:  The easiest character was Liz’s mother, Vivian Gordon, who is outspoken and self-obsessed. Viv always steps to the forefront of my imagination when I need her. The hardest character was LAPD Detective Carla Pratt whose professional ambitions tended to mask her human qualities. It was tough finding a softer side to her.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in the novel?

Rochelle:  Not fair, they’re all my favorites! The most colorful and fun scenes to write were the séance and the voodoo ceremony. I’ve been to a few séances led by mystics with a sixth sense for hustle. The experience was good theater. The voodoo ceremony wrote itself, based on some New Orleans research and a lot of imagination. As I wrote the voodoo scenes, I kept looking up saying, “Fiction. Remember, this is just fiction.”

TQ:  Who should play Liz Cooper (psychologist) and Nick Garfield (occult expert) if Who Do, Voodoo? is made into a movie?

Rochelle:  So tough to choose because in my mind Liz is very much her own person. Nick always reminds me of young Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. I’ll answer two ways:
Classic: Myrna Loy as Liz, and young Harrison Ford as Nick.
Contemporary: A brunette Gwyneth Paltrow or Reese Witherspoon as Liz, and Simon Baker as Nick.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Mind for Murder mystery series?

Rochelle:  Right now three, including Who Do, Voodoo? But the more I write this cast of characters, the more fun I have with them.

TQ:  What's next?

RochelleBruja Brouhaha, the second novel coming next summer, is set near L.A.’s legendary MacArthur Park in a neighborhood swirling with Santeria superstitions and beliefs. But right now, today, I’m living the dream of having my first novel in bookstores. It’s an unbelievable rush, and I’m thrilled to share the day with your readers.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Rochelle:  Thank you, so very much, for inviting me—I had a lot of fun!

About the Mind for Murder Mysteries

Who Do, Voodoo?
Mind for Murder Mysteries 1
Berkley, November 1, 2011
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages

Clinical psychologist Liz Cooper doesn't believe in the supernatural. But when her best friend finds a tarot card tacked to her front door-and is then accused of murder-Liz will have to find a way to embrace the occult if she wants to outwit the real killer...

About Rochelle

Rochelle Staab is an award-winning, former radio and music industry executive. Who Do, Voodoo? is the first novel in her Mind for Murder mystery series featuring Los Angeles psychologist Liz Cooper and religious philosophy professor Nick Garfield.

Rochelle's Links:


The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a copy of Who Do, Voodoo? (A Mind for Murder Mystery 1) from The Qwillery.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

Tarot Cards or Palm Reading?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)  Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)  Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)  Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Tuesday, November 8, 2011. Void where prohibited by law. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. Happy release day! Who Do Voodoo is such a great read - so pleased everyone gets a chance to enjoy it now!


  2. This seems like it will be a fun read! Congratulations, Rochelle!

    I think I'm more fascinated with palm reading- just something about it interests me more than the "chance" of tarot cards.

  3. Congrats on getting your book published. Here's to many more!

    I love the idea of mixing the cozy genre with paranormal since I'm a fan of both. Looking forward to reading Voodoo.

    Not really a believer of Tarot or palm reading, but I'd go with Tarot readings for the showmanship.

    GFC Anne38


  4. oops...

    debbie at burdeen.com for the above entry.

  5. Seems like a good read! Definately going on the TBr list!

    I have had my tarot cards read and my palm read, but if I had to choose i would say that I would rather have my cards read.

    My aunt read tarot cards right up until she passed away so i guess that is probably why i would choose them..it is kind of bred in me :)

    GFC Kristina Parmenter


  6. I think I'd have to go with tarot cards. I'm not a big fan of strangers touching me, lol!

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower
    +1 Tweeted (https://twitter.com/#!/RebeLovesBooks/status/131427551351537664)


  7. I've wanted to read this book since you first talked about it, Rochelle! As far as the question goes - I'll have to say both. I've had my tarot cards read by complete strangers, and I've had my palm read also by strangers. They are both FASCINATING experiences!

  8. Happy release day. congrats on the book. You are a new author for me and would love to win and read this book.
    I have never had either a tarot card or palm reading, so I really could not choose. But if I had to I would say Tarot card. I would love to have one done. I think it would be fun.
    Thanks for the chance to win.

  9. I really like tarot cards.

    +1 comment
    +1 gfc follower


  10. Happy happy release day Rochelle. I can't wait to go get Who Do Voodoo. This is a great interview and I too am a big fan of Patchouli but not incense. I didn't know they made candles - now I am on the hunt.

  11. Tarot cards or palm reading? Don't make me laugh! Tarot cards, of course! A tarot read helps the querent to think outside of the box and look inward, whereas a palm reading reveals how many dishes a querent has washed. ;)

    Happy release day, Rochelle!

  12. Congratulations, Rochelle! Can't wait to read it!

  13. I am so excited about Who Do, Voodoo? I recently saw the title on another post and thought I need to watch for this one. Thank you so much for sharing with us today and for the incredible opportunity to win a copy of what I believe will be an awesome read:) I have always been interested in Tarot and would actually love to learn, although I do not know if I have such a gift:)
    +1 comment
    +1 follower - you betcha
    +1 tweeted (actually found out the right way to copy the link LOL) here it is:


  14. Thank You to all for your good wishes and the interesting comments. Thought I'd add my two cents to the palm/tarot debate.

    I had my palm read once, a long time ago, and the reader freaked me out by reading a secret that NO ONE knew. I was pretty young. Could have been a lucky guess. But she shook me.

    When I learned tarot, I read my cards every day. Multiple shuffles, yet the same cards would come up consistently. I have to say, the readings made me dig deeper into myself. Was my subconscious trying to get my attention?

  15. I would have to go with the Tarot cards. I don't know why, I just wouldn't want my palm read...

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  16. both choices are creepy for me, but since i have to choose, i will choose palm reading.......

    thank you for this giveaway!!!

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower: cyn209
    +1 shared on FB: www.facebook.com/cyn209


  17. Palm reading sounds pretty cool :) edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom
    GFC Krystal Larson
    tweeted http://twitter.com/#!/Icecream1891/status/131522849662967809

  18. Palm reading!
    This series sounds great! I'd love to win the 1st one!
    Thanks for the contest!

    GFC Follower

  19. I love reading about the writing quirks. Thanks for sharing. I would have to say tarot for me.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  20. I have not done either, but I think I'd start with the tarot card reading. I think it would be fun! Happy Release Day to you Rochelle!

  21. Congrats on the release of your book! I also enjoyed the interview. I had my cards read once a long time ago, but have never had my palm read. I think I'll stick with tarot cards!
    +1 comment
    +1 GFC as MJB

    msmjb65 AT gmail DOT com

  22. I would choose palm reading, it seems less random.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com
    GFC follower

  23. I just wanted to pop back in to say THANK YOU to everyone who stopped to comment. You made a very special day a little extra special for me. xo

  24. Woho... Voodoo... scary but excited =D

    Congratulations on the release Rochelle!

    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 share on fb


  25. I love the idea of palm reading- seems more personal!
    great giveaway
    follow via gfc

  26. I think palm reading because it seems less ominous than tarot readings!!

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower
    +1 tweet: http://twitter.com/#!/jwitt33/status/131843801101778944

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  27. I would have to choose palm reading. I have done both and the palm reading was right on.....scary! Thanks for the chance to win.

    I am a follower
    sariahwalters at gmail dot com

  28. Neither Tarot Cards nor Palm Reading: I'd be too scared. I'd rather not know or worry.

    GFC: Mary Preston


  29. +1 Tarot cards
    +1 Follower
    +1 Tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/SweetNSensible/status/132800552986886144


  30. Tarot cards as the possibilites are so infinite.
    +1 comment
    +1 GFC-Lisa Richards
    +1 http://twitter.com/#!/alterlisa/status/133391586456383489


    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com