Monday, October 24, 2011

Today’s Guest Blogger: Rochelle Staab

Welcome to Rochelle Staab, the author of WHO DO, VOODOO?, the first book in her new Mind for Murder mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime.

Tell us about your hobbies and books, Rochelle...

First I want to send a huge thank you to Linda O. Johnston for inviting me to share my killer hobby here today. What started as a mindless pastime ended up as a creative joy.

I’m a ripper. Not that kind. I claim no resemblance to the 19th century London killer. Nope, my ripping is focused on photos and articles from magazines, newspapers, or off the Internet. Clever sayings, cute outfits, furniture, oddities, recipes, holiday ideas, headlines, and quotes—if something catches my eye, I rip, cut, or tear it out to file for future inspiration.

My habit became a valuable tool as I wrote Who Do, Voodoo?, the first novel in my Mind for Murder mystery series. Being a visually oriented gal, I craved illustrations of my characters and settings beyond what I envisioned in my head. I began to scour catalogs, magazines, and the Internet for representations of the world of my story. If I spotted a brunette catalog model in an outfit my character Liz Cooper would wear, I tore out the page. I drove to actual locations used in the story and took photos. I even printed out the Internet sales page for dinnerware I used in a scene. And when my stack of tear-sheets grew unwieldy, I had the idea to create a Who Do, Voodoo?scrapbook.

The result was a cool and helpful keepsake. Each major character and theme, like voodoo, has a page. Each page holds photos of what my character might look like, how they might decorate their home, and oddities they might collect. The photos aren’t literal—Liz Cooper, Nick Garfield, Robin Bloom, and the rest of the gang don’t look exactly like the people on their scrapbook pages, but close enough.

And because my Who Do, Voodoo?scrapbook helped to spark my writing, I built another scrapbook for Bruja Brouhaha, the second novel in the series, and I’m in the process of starting a third.

An added bonus was the creative distraction I got from organizing the pages. I’m still learning how to add the frills that come with real scrapbooking. I could spend hours in the scrapbook aisle shopping for stickers and backgrounds.

When I hit a writing standstill the cross-creative activity of populating the scrapbook inspires me. When words won’t come, the plot is stuck, or the characters take an artistic break, I flip through magazines for photos and clever headlines to stimulate my imagination. The exercise reignites my creative right brain and gives my over-thinking, analytical left-brain a time out. And sometimes I just pull out the scrapbook as a reminder of how much I love working with my fictional pals. It’s my family album of characters. ~ Rochelle

Who Do, Voodoo?, the first novel in Rochelle Staab’s Mind for Murder Mystery series featuring Los Angeles psychologist Liz Cooper and Religious Philosophy Professor Nick Garfield was released by Berkley Prime Crime on November 1.

When Liz Cooper’s friend Robin Bloom discovers a threatening tarot card tacked to her front door, Liz writes the card off as a prank. Robin refuses to ignore the omen—two years ago her late husband drew the same card, the Three of Swords, in a tarot reading the night before he was killed in a car accident. As more cards and darker threats appear on Robin’s door, Liz realizes someone very dangerous is upping the ante. Her brother’s old college roommate, occult expert Nick Garfield, takes Liz into the voodoo community to locate the origin of the deck. Their search ends with a dead body and Robin becomes the prime murder suspect. Determined to clear her friend, Liz joins forces with Nick to unravel otherworldly secrets and seek help from beyond—or risk being outwitted by a cunning killer.

Rochelle Staab is an award-winning, former radio and music industry executive.
Visit her website at:

One lucky commenter will win a copy of WHO DO, VOODOO? (US residents only) Be sure to give a good email address.

No comments: