I would like to thank Rochelle Staab, Author of Who Do, Voodoo? for taking the time to visit the Socrates Book Review Blog and the Socrates Cozy Cafe. Your book is wonderful and we love having you here!
Inspiration. Ideas pop into our dreams, form out of current news stories, or follow us from childhood. My idea for WHO DO, VOODOO? came on a night I waited for a restaurant valet to deliver my car. Next door, a mysterious Psychic Reader shop—open, but no customers, no movement inside. A devious plot began to form in my mind. But my core fascination with the supernatural began a long, long time ago… from TV and films.
My big brother is twelve years my senior. Here was his idea of Friday night babysitting me between the ages of three and six: Plop me in the center of our rose-velvet sofa, turn off all the lights, flip TV to the Friday Fright Movie Festival, sneak out of the room, wait for a bone-chilling scene, and then creep back in behind the sofa to freak me out of my pink pajama-ed wits. I loved every shrieking minute. However, to this day I’ll cringe back if you walk at me with Frankenstein arms. I give my brother credit for assuring me the ghosts and monsters weren’t real. It took some convincing, but I went with it.
As my developing literary taste segued from Rootie Kazootie—Detective to comic books and Nancy Drew, I still watched every detective/screwball/supernatural TV and movie offering I could lock my innocent eyes on. Child psychology? Not invented yet. Movie ratings? Midwest kids in the 50s and 60s could view anything without an X. And I did.
On weekends our local Milwaukee stations took the cheap programming route and reran old 30’s and 40’s black-and-white movies. The Friday Frights included The Mummy, The Wolf Man, Dracula, Olsen & Johnson in Ghost Catchers, and Bob Hope in Ghost Breakers. Saturdays featured detectives like Sherlock Holmes and Charlie Chan, or the witty banter of screwball comedies like Cary Grant in Philadelphia Story, Bringing Up Baby, and The Awful Truth; and the Tracy/Hepburn Adam’s Rib and Pat and Mike. Mix in the sweetness of James Stewart’s invisible rabbit Harvey or the romantic The Ghost and Mrs. Muir; throw in TV series like Topper and later, Bewitched, and you get the gist of what inspired me to write supernatural-themed mysteries.
Later I was drawn to Ghostbusters, The Exorcist, Witches of Eastwick, Angel Heart (when Mickey Rourke was cute), and the mystical cult of baseball in Bull Durham (when Kevin Costner was cute.) I still catch the genius Columbo reruns when I can. When Murder She Wrote hit CBS in ’84, I decided I wanted to grow up to be a writer like Jessica Fletcher. The ultimate paranormal series? For me, The X-Files (Muldaur. Deep sigh.) These days I like watching the observational skills of The Mentalist and the pretend powers on Psych.
Embracing favorite themes, I envisioned Who Do, Voodoo? as a witty murder mystery with a twist of supernatural. Characters with clever repartee and a healthy dose of doubt engaged in a supernatural plot. For background on charlatans I watched Tyrone Powers as a carnival con in Nightmare Alley, Charlie Chan’s Meeting at Midnight for séance tricks, and Whoopie Goldberg’s phony seer with real powers in Ghost.
What about you? Do you remember your first scary movie or TV show? Would you watch it again? If not, tell me what you’re watching now (when you’re not reading, of course.)
Rochelle Staab, a former award-winning radio programmer and music industry marketing executive, blended 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 BRUJA BROUHAHA, the second novel in the series will be released in August.
WHO DO, VOODOO? features no-nonsense Liz Cooper, a Los Angeles psychologist forced to embrace the occult to clear her best friend of murder. When Liz’s friend Robin Bloom finds an unusual tarot card tacked to her front door, Liz—the practical-minded shrink—dismisses the card as a prank. Robin refuses to ignore the omen; her late husband drew the same card, the Three of Swords, in a reading the night before he was killed in a car accident. More cards and darker threats begin to appear at Robin’s doorstep, and Liz realizes someone very dangerous is upping the ante. She turns to her brother’s old college roommate, occult expert Nick Garfield. As Nick guides her into the voodoo community to locate the origin of the deck, she can't ignore their attraction to each other. But Liz and Nick’s search into the supernatural subculture leads to murder and Robin becomes the prime 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.