Mystery Lite: An Interview with Rochelle Staab

By - August 22, 2013

It's two a.m., and it's time for our next portion of the cozy mystery segment of the Trade the Day Blog-a-thon: MYSTERY LITE SO YOU CAN TURN OFF THE LIGHTS!  My next guest is none other than bestselling cozy mystery author, Rochelle Staab, who was kind enough to join me for an interview.

And don't forget to check out the bottom of this post for details on how to win Rochelle's giveaway, as well as an additional giveaway from cozy mystery author Gretchen Archer!

I sat down with Rochelle, and here's what she had to say:

CM:  Your A Mind for Murder mystery series involves a clinical psychologist who tries to unravel mysteries involving clues that often deal with supernatural materials such as witchcraft, tarot cards, and the occult.  Where did the idea for the A Mind for Murder mystery series come from?

RS: Along with being a lifelong mystery fan, I’m fascinated by the mystique of the occult. I did the circuit—Ouija boards, tarot cards, psychics, aura reads, and even séances—for fun. A 2006 newspaper articleabout a murder above a New Orleans voodoo shop, coupled with an idea I had about a religious philosophy professor moonlighting as an occult investigator, gave me the start of my first plot. When I told a psychologist friend I intended to write a mystery with anocculttwist, shewrinkled her nose and said, “Yuck. The supernatural is baloney. A crutch for the weak.” Her commentinspired me to create Liz Cooper, the pragmatic shrink, as a foil toreligious philosophy professor and occult specialist, Nick Garfield.

CM: Certain groups of people can be sensitive to subject matter involving witchcraft and its ilk. Have you encountered any objections to the premises of your books regarding things of this nature?

RS:  My titles (Who Do, Voodoo? Bruja Brouhaha, and Hex on the Ex) filter out the wary or the sensitive. Liz echoes the doubtful; Nick shows respect toward the history and theology of voodoo and Vodoun.I let the reader decide what to believe, and as a result, receive comments about Nick’s informative approach to alternative beliefs and Liz’s opposing skepticism.

CM:  In your newest book, Hex on the Ex, your main character sees a death omen before a murder occurs.  What sort of research did you have to do in regards to omens and magic for this book?

RS:  I own a large collection of books on superstitions, omens, and magic spells. My information on death omens came froman exhaustive Internet trail on symbolism. I can’t count the number of times I wound up at sites that spooked me. I’m drawn to dark, but not too dark! We connect ravens with omens, though not many people know crows and pigeons—birds in general—are the harbingers of good and bad news.

CM: What’s something readers would be surprised to know about you after they read one of your books?

RS:  Several scenes, the ritual in the back room of the Botanica in Bruja Brouhaha and the séance in Who Do, Voodoo? are based on personal experience. Many baseball players (a superstitious lot) believe in thethird basechalk-line superstition in Hex on the Ex.

CM:  What’s the best book you’ve ever read and why?

RS:  I read tons of fiction, am a mystery series fanatic, and I cherish too many authors and characters to isolate just one. In the past two years Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl made a haunting impression on me—brilliantly plotted and executed. My favorite books are dictionaries. I grew up fascinated by words and can spend hours paging through Merriam-Webster. I keep a dictionary at my side when I read and there are three on my Internet Bookmarks bar for use in writing. I love to learn new words, word origins, synonyms, antonyms, and the history of language.

CM:  What is your favorite word?

RS:  Yes.

CM:  Least favorite word?

RS:  It’s a phrase: “We’ll see.”

CM:  What is the one question you’ve always wanted to be asked that no one has ever asked in an interview?

RS:  No one asks why Liz Cooper formed a negative attitude about the supernatural, especially since her mother is a strong believer. Like most psychological puzzles, Liz’s doubtsbegan young, in her case at the wise age of six. Yes, Vivian brought Liz up in a mystical environment—from silly superstitions to psychics and Tarot cards—but doubts formed afteryoung Liz’s“fairy godmother” didn’t deliver the magic wand she wished for every night. Influenced by her logical father,Liz begansearching for facts.In college she made a pragmatic right turn into science.I can’t comment on her history with Santa or the Tooth Fairy!

From Rochelle: 

Thank you to everyone who took time to stop by, read, and comment. I’m proud to participate in Trade the Day Charity Blog-a-thon to benefit Team Alaina and the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. Here’s to twenty-four hours of great success!!!

Hugs, Rochelle


***Rochelle is giving away a signed copy of Hex on the Ex to one lucky commenter today, so be sure to comment!***

ABOUT ROCHELLE:  Rochelle Staab, a former Los Angeles radio programmer and music industry marketing executive, blends her fascination with the supernatural and love for mystery in the bestselling Mind for Murder series featuring L.A. psychologist Liz Cooper and occult expert Nick Garfield. According to Library Journal, “Staab sets her fairly sophisticated blend of the occult in a flashy West Coast locale for great escape reading." Her debut, Who Do, Voodoo? garnered Agatha, Anthony, and Eureka! Best First Mystery nominations; the follow-up,Bruja Brouhaha, won the Left Coast Crime Watson award for Best Sidekick and was a 2013 Daphne du Maurier Award nominee. Hex on the Ex, the third Mind for Murder Mystery, was released in May. Find out more at .


With An Additional Giveaway From



***Another lucky commenter on this post will win a prize pack containing a signed copy of Double Whammy by Gretchen Archer, along with assorted author swag.***

ABOUT DOUBLE WHAMMYDavis Way thinks she's hit the jackpot when she lands a job as the fifth wheel on an elite security team at the fabulous Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. But once there, she runs straight into her ex-ex husband, a rigged slot machine, her evil twin, and a trail of dead bodies. Davis learns the truth and it does not set her free--in fact, it lands her in the pokey.

Buried under a mistaken identity, unable to seek help from her family, her hot streak runs cold until her landlord Bradley Cole steps in. Make that her landlord, lawyer, and love interest. With his help, Davis must win this high stakes game before her luck runs out.

Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all! DOUBLE WHAMMY is the first book in the Davis Way humorous mystery series. Bonus: Includes book club discussion questions. Learn more at .


Comment for your chance to win both Rochelle's and Gretchen's giveaways!


What do you wish a fortune teller would tell you about your future?


  • 8/26/2013 - 12:52pm Colby Marshall says
    *****WINNERS!***** Here are the giveaway winners for this post. TO CLAIM YOUR PRIZE, winners must e-mail colby [at] colbymarshall [dot] com and provide a shipping address for their items by Mon., September 2, 2013 (7 days following notification). If winner does not claim prize by this date, another winner will be selected at random from the original contest entrants. ROCHELLE'S GIVEAWAY goes to Randy Roberts. GRETCHEN ARCHER'S GIVEAWAY goes to Lesley Cookman.
  • 8/24/2013 - 6:22am Rochelle Staab says
    Marilyn, Lesley, and Randy—THANK YOU for getting up to comment! Your kind words kick started my day :) I'm working on my next novel now, but it's in sooper sekrit mode. Sorry, Marilyn—I'm superstitious about talking about it yet. I promise it will be fun.
  • 8/23/2013 - 7:58pm Karen says
    If I'd read this question two weeks ago, I would have asked if our house would have sold lol. But I'd probably ask where our next posting will be.
  • 8/23/2013 - 7:46pm Jessica says
    I've never heard of Rochelle before and wow, I've been missing out! Sounds like a great series and I'm adding them to my TBR pile.
  • 8/23/2013 - 7:14pm Danielle says
    I'd be more inclined to ask a fortune teller for a fortune if I had had better experiences with them. I saw one in New Orleans and she couldn't tell me that the friend who was on the trip with me was about to hook up with my then-boyfriend. If only I could meet one of the fortune tellers in books!
  • 8/23/2013 - 9:01am Ashlee says
    These books are going on my to-read list. They sound right up my alley!
  • 8/23/2013 - 6:16am Rochelle Staab says
    Marilyn, Lesley, and Randy—THANK YOU for getting up to comment! Your kind words kick started my day :) I'm working on my next novel now, but it's in sooper sekrit mode. Sorry, Marilyn—I'm superstitious about talking about it yet. I promise it will be fun.
  • 8/23/2013 - 4:09am Randy Roberts says
    Have her first 2 , and really enjoy her style in how she gets me hooked in reading more pages, I love these type of books.
  • 8/23/2013 - 2:43am Colby Marshall says
    Thanks for stopping by, Lesley! If you're a fan of "Mystery Lite" make sure to check out the post just before Rochelle's- another mystery author giving away a signed book ;0) Marilyn, perhaps Rochelle will stop in soon to answer a couple of questions. Thanks for commenting!
  • 8/23/2013 - 2:31am Lesley Cookman says
    I love "Mystery Lite" - I must introduce the name to all my UK writer friends. This sounds a great series. I shall start with the first.
  • 8/23/2013 - 2:31am Marilyn Gardner says
    Loved all three and looking forward to your next one, any hints on what it'll be called or when it might be available?
  • 8/22/2013 - 11:52pm Colby Marshall says
    Continue to comment all day for your chance to win these great giveaways!

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