Monday, August 06, 2012

Scene of the Crime with Author Rochelle Staab!

This week's featured author is celebrating the release of the second book in her Mind for Murder mystery series, Bruja Brouhaha, which is officially available tomorrow. I've reviewed the first book, Who Do, Voodoo?, and just posted my thoughts on Bruja Brouhaha. Here I am, completely caught up with the adventures of psychologist Liz Cooper and her boyfriend, Professor Nick Garfield, and all I can do is wonder when the third book will be out.

Rochelle Staab
I think it's time I ask a few questions that do have immediate answers. I know you're wanting to skip ahead and read my interview with Rochelle Staab, creator of the Mind for Murder cozy series, but first let me share some links so you can find out even more information about Rochelle and her books:

Now it's time for the fun part-- the interview!

What was the very first book you remember reading and loving? What makes that book so special? 

The first mystery I checked out of the Finney Public Library. For the life of me, I can’t remember the title, and I barely recall the plot: something about nosy children who found a mysterious statue in an antiques store. There may have been a message inside the statue. What I DO remember is the thrill I felt following the characters as they unraveled clues to the statue’s origin then solved the mystery within. I checked out and read the book at least three times, my gateway to a lifelong love of mysteries from Nancy Drew to Sherlock Holmes, Hammett, Chandler, and on to contemporary writers. I knew from that first novel I wanted to write and solve my own mystery plots.

Outside of your writing and all associated commitments, what do you like to do in your free time?

My friends energize me—when I’m not handcuffed to my computer I adore going out to lunch with fellow writers or my old chums from the music biz. I’m also a big NFL fan so from August to February you’ll find me watching games and reading football stats (I know, geeky). And I enjoy going to the movies on opening weekend or curling up at home with a classic black & white mystery or screwball comedy.

If I were to visit your hometown, where would you recommend that I go? (I like seeing and doing things that aren't in all the guide books.)

Milwaukee River Flushing Station
You must visit my hometown of Milwaukee to coincide with the Wisconsin State Fair in mid-August to have a cream puff in the Dairy Building. You’ll thank me. I’d also send you for morning coffee at the Alterra CafĂ© on Lincoln Memorial Drive, located at the lakefront inside the old Milwaukee River Flushing Station built in 1888. Sip coffee in a historical landmark while watching sailboats on Lake Michigan.

You have total control over casting a movie based on your life. Which actor would you cast as you?

Diane Keaton
Diane Keaton—smart, quirky, and very much her own woman with a colorful past. I like her style. But I’d be more interested in casting my love interests! How many do I get?

[It's your movie... as many as you like!]

Who is your favorite recurring character in crime fiction?

Oh, tough question. Holmes, of course. Nick & Nora Charles. Nancy Drew. Amelia Peabody. I follow a list of contemporary protagonists from Connelly’s Bosch and Haller, to Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, and there are so many characters I’ve yet to discover. My current running favorite is Harlan Coben’s Win Lockwood from the Myron Bolitar series. Lockwood is cold, fearless, complex, and ruthless. I have a mean crush going on Win.

Name one book that you've read that you wish you had written. What is it about that book that made it come to mind?

My “wow” book? The Maltese Falcon. I spent a summer reading all of Dashiell Hammett’s work and never wanted the summer (or his stories) to end. His twisty plotting, complex characters, and 1930 San Francisco settings enthralled me. Hammett’s ability to weave settings as character is a skill I hope to develop. 

How did you celebrate when you first heard you were to be published? What did you do the first time you saw one of your books on a shelf in a bookstore?

I was getting my hair cut on April Fool’s Day 2010 at a salon in Beverly Hills across the street from the building where I set the climax for WHO DO, VOODOO? My agent called mid-cut with the news I sold. My hairdresser had a hell of a time finishing the trim—I gasped, squirmed, and bounced in the chair, telling everyone the news—I was a published author! It was all incredibly wonderful and bizarre all at the same time. I walked outside and stared across the street, trying to absorb the feeling of a dream come true. Then I got in my car and cheered. Loud.

When I committed to write fiction I began without a timetable. I had one goal in my heart: to see my name on the spine of a novel in a bookstore. The first time, and every time I see my actual novels on a bookshelf the feeling is dizzying—the wash of pride and sense of accomplishment takes my breath away. I still feel like I’m dreaming!

I don't know if you've seen it, but I love Parnell Hall's video about book signings. What is the most unusual experience you've had at a book signing or author event?

Parnell’s video is a hoot! I’ve been fortunate at signings and author events. My most unusual (and apt for the premise of my series) occurrence happened during the Los Angeles Times 2012 Festival of Books at the USC campus. In an attempt to garner attention from the thousands of book lovers strolling the grounds, I offered one-card tarot readings—a skill I acquired in writing Who Do, Voodoo? As I drew tarot cards for Festival attendees throughout the day, the same six cards kept popping up from the seventy-eight card deck, including The Fool (new journey), the Nine of Cups (Your Wish Is Granted), the Six of Cups (A Blast from the Past). I sold a lot of books and had some great conversations that day, but I went home with the feeling that the cards were meant for me!

What's the best thing about eBooks? What's the worst?

The best eBook feature, for me, is portability and speed of access. And the beauty of not having to prop a book open on the table with salt and pepper shakers while I’m trying to eat a sandwich and read at the same time. After I finish an eBook I love, love, love, I buy a copy of the book-book to keep on my bookshelf.

The worst: Well, there’s nothing like holding a book in my hand, seeing an old friend on my bookshelf, or strolling through a bookstore with thousands of titles and covers and authors beckoning me. I love the sight and smell of actual books. And I confess: I’m a cheater. I WILL read the last page to see whodunit. Can’t really do that (or at least it’s not as simple) with an eBook.

I’m on the hunt for an old-skool autograph book. If I’m fortunate enough to meet my favorite authors, I could have them sign my little autograph book then paste a mini of the cover on the page. I used to do it with my favorite singers when I was a kid and I think it would make a very cool keepsake.

Cathy, thank you so very much for inviting me here to Kittling. It’s a joy to be here and your questions stirred a lot of great memories (I’m jones-ing for a cream puff and a reread of some old Hammett)!

On Sale Now!
You're welcome, Rochelle-- it was wonderful having you here! We appreciate the opportunity to get to know you a little better. (And that autograph book idea is a winner!)

May your book sales do nothing but increase!


  1. How funny to learn you sneak a peak to find out whodunit, Rochelle. I had no idea! My favorite part of reading a mystery is to study each clue only to discover I'm wrong at the end. Rarely happens, though—she says with not a small amount of hubris. :)

    Mmm…cream puffs.

  2. Cannot wait to read this one. It sounds like such a hoot.

  3. Thank you, Maria! It feels odd to admit that writing murder mysteries is "fun" but the characters keep me engaged, and my lifelong love of mystery keeps me inspired.

  4. I'm also looking forward to the read. Congratulations! Rochelle.
    Also, this was a very interesting interview. Great questions! Loved it!

  5. Robena, so good to see you, thanks so much for stopping by. Yes, isn't Cathy a wonderful interviewer? She made this so much fun.

    I hope you enjoy Bruja Brouhaha!

  6. Great interview! I have the first book, and will make sure I pick up this one!

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

    1. Thanks so much, Shelleyrae! I hope you enjoy Bruja Brouhaha. :)

    2. I hope you enjoy them, Shelleyrae! I hope your winter has been a mild one.

  7. I just recently heard how fabulous this book is! I love the cover. I really enjoyed this interview and found out all kinds of fun things about the author. It was great to hear how Rochelle got the news about being published. I have never heard of the book she recommended- but I have added it to my list. I look forward to reading Bruja Brouhaha, too! :)

    1. Thank you for stopping by and for all the kind words, Jess. I really lucked out with my cover artist. He did both novels and I smile every time I look at them.
      Hope you enjoy Bruja Brouahaha!

    2. I never knew how many "cover junkies" there were until I began my book blog!

  8. I had no idea you peeked ahead in mysteries to find out whodunit. Shame on you, Rochelle! Does this mean you consider yourself more of a destination girl than a journey girl?

    Wishing you brilliant success with BRUJA BROUHAHA!

    1. She made me laugh when she admitted that, *and* when she told us that eBooks make skipping to the end more difficult! :-)

  9. Great interview. I'd love Diane Keaton to star in anything that I'd written.

  10. Terrific interview, so many fun facts and great memories that you have shared today! Best wishes on the new book!

  11. VR, guilty of peeking. But eBooks are teaching me to live in the moment and love the page I'm on.

    Janie, I blushed when I gave my Diane Keaton answer. As if she'd play me! One can only wish. I think she's the greatest and Something's Gotta Give is one of my favorite movies. Her sobbing while writing scene is priceless!

    Veronica, thank you so much for your lovely words. Cathy made it easy for me to shine!

    1. Au contraire-- it takes two to make an interview a good one, Rochelle. Thank you!

  12. I've also peeked at the ending in books--and the peek doesn't ruin the book for me.

    Thanks Cathy and Rochelle for a fun interview. If I ever get to the Wisconsin State Fair, I'm buying a cream puff.

    Can't wait to read Bruja Brouhaha.

  13. Great answers to those interview questions, Rochelle. I'm looking forward to reading Bruja Brouhaha. Love the title, too!


Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!