Thursday, October 24, 2013

Susan C. Muller's THE WITCH ON TWISTED OAK || #Excerpt

Hi Susan, welcome to the Snarkology!

Please tell us what your writing space looks like?

I started writing in the upstairs guest bedroom. I had a computer desk and a nice window where I could stand whenever I hit a snag and watch the birds or squirrels. I wrote three novels in that room and I still love it, but it is a guest room and sometime I did have guests.

I now write in the living room. A room seldom entered in the first thirty years I lived in this house.

It’s a beautiful room with tall windows and French doors. I can look out into the back yard at any time and the room is filled with sunlight most days. My computer sits on a desk I inherited from my mother and has family photos wherever I look.

I’ve attached a photo which fortunately doesn’t show the floor where I’ve hidden all the books, papers, notes, pens, and extra glasses while I took this picture.

There’s one other thing that is always near me when I write: my dog. She stays by my side and reminds me that I need to get up and move around occasionally, and if I want to give her a treat or let her out for a few minutes, that’s okay, too.

How long have you been writing?

I’m starting into my sixth year of serious writing. I’ve always been a prolific reader. A man once told me in awe, “My wife probably reads a book a month.”

I looked him in the eyes and said, “I generally read a book or two a week.” I think he was too flabbergasted to answer.

I tried to write my first book when I was eleven, but I had a new bike, and the sun was shining, and that effort was doomed to failure. I didn’t start again until I was in my sixties, proving it’s never too late to do what you love.

What inspired your current book?

Detective Ruben Marquez was the hero’s partner and a secondary character in my first book The Secrets on Forest Bend. People kept asking me for his story, but writing in a male point-of-view is tough for a woman and writing a six foot eight Hispanic man seemed too much. I didn’t want to do it if I couldn’t do it right.

One Saturday, my local RWA chapter had a speaker from Homeland Security. He talked about smuggling along the Texas/Mexico border and mentioned that many of the smugglers are highly superstitious and often hire a psychic to advise them of the best time to start their run.

I already knew that many psychics are witches and I wondered what Ruben’s mother, Mamacita, would think of a witch setting up shop next door. I loved the thought of the murder victim being a psychic and Ruben declaring, “Not a very good one if she didn’t see this coming.”

Bingo, The Witch on Twisted Oak was born.

Please tell us about your current work in progress.

I just finished and am working on edits for the third book in the series, Voodoo on Bayou Lafonet. Remy Steinberg, another cop in Ruben’s squad, is half Jewish and half Cajun. He returns to Louisiana in search of his kidnapped daughter. While there he must face the only two things in the world that frighten him: the swamp and the ex-wife he never stopped loving.

The first chapter of Voodoo on Bayou Lafonte can be found in the back of The Witch on Twisted Oak.

How do you come up with your book titles?

I sweat bullets, shout curses and pound my head on my keyboard. I’m only half kidding here.

I’ve had a couple of books that I knew the title before I wrote the first word, But that’s not usually the case. The Secrets on Forest Bend went through multiple name changes before I finished. After that the next book in the series, The Witch on Twisted Oak, had to have a title that complimented the first one. The third book is Voodoo on Bayou Lafonte. I wanted to start the title with ‘The,’ but that just didn’t fit. The titles, (and the covers,) should show they belong together. That’s the plan, anyway.

Do you write with music going in the background? What are some of your favorite types/bands?

I don’t write with music, and my house is usually very quiet unless the dog tries to remind me she hasn’t been out lately. However, yesterday I was in Target and bought two CDs, the first I’ve bought in a couple of years. I bought one by Phillip Phillips, and one by Mumford and Sons. I think they have a similar sound, so that must be the type of music I like. I played the first one in the car today, VERY LOUD, and sang along with it. Just be glad you weren’t in the car. No, seriously, I mean that.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three modern conveniences would you take with you?

A boat with a motor and a GPS? Not fair? Okay, toilet paper. I was in Venezuela recently while they were having a toilet paper shortage and it doesn’t take long to appreciate that stuff.

Quick quiz:
·         Favorite food? Anything sweet
·         Favorite color? Blue or green
·         Favorite animal? Dog. Hey, I have one sitting in my lap now. What did you expect me to say?
·         Biggest pet peeve? Inconsiderate people
·         Dream car? I’m driving it, a Jaguar. It’s six years old, but I still love it.

Book blurb:

A powerful psychic is brutally murdered.  Secrets are revealed.  An old enemy is out for revenge.

Detective Ruben Marquez is thrust back into his childhood memories when he investigates a gruesome murder that occurs only feet from his mother's home.  Is the killer somehow connected to his own past?  Is the beautiful, mysterious daughter of the victim someone he can trust?  Or is her revelation that she’s a witch a sign he should stay clear.  But how can he, when it appears she’s next on the murderer’s to-do list.

In the ultimate test of courage, he uses himself as bait to protect all he holds dear . . . his family, his career, and the Witch on Twisted Oak. 


Ruben’s desk looked just as it had when he left on Friday. No little elves had come in and cleared it for him.

“Morning, partner. You look like shit.” Adam gazed at him over the rim of his coffee mug.

“Thanks. You look like sunshine yourself.” Actually, Adam did look pretty good. Smiling. Who smiled at 8:00 on Monday morning? Someone who’d had a better weekend than he had.

“Ready to go catch us a bad guy?”

“Couldn’t happen too soon for me. Someone broke into Tessa Reyna’s house on Saturday. I’ve had her stashed at my cabin all weekend.”

Adam’s eyebrows rose. “Was she hurt? Any idea who did it?”

“No, and no. Not unless I have a report hidden here somewhere about fingerprints.” Ruben shuffled through his in box. Nothing.

He glanced at Adam. “I’ll call Tessa and make sure she’s okay before we head out to question Jacinto.”

“She’s a witness, Ruben.” Adam sat his mug down and stared at him.

Wow, he must be serious. He let go of his coffee. “I know exactly what she is and I don’t need a Romeo, even a reformed Romeo, to remind me.” I also know what she thinks she is; a witch with magical powers.


For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a fourth generation Texan and I attended Stephen F. Austin State University where I majored in Business Administration, but took creative writing classes on the side because that’s where my heart was.

I have always loved reading and if it’s true that God doesn’t subtract the hours you spend reading from your life span, then I should pass the century mark with flying colors. I first tried my hand at writing when I was eleven, but the sun was shining and I had a new bike so that effort was doomed to failure.

I didn’t try writing again until I was well into my sixties. People ask me why I took it up then and my answer is simple, because my husband retired. If you don’t understand, just wait, you will.

My first novel, The Secrets on Forest Bend, won several awards. After that, I was hooked.

I’ve been blessed with two great kids and four grandkids. My late husband and I loved to travel and we saw much of the world. Kenya, New Zealand, and the Galapagos Islands are a few of my favorite places. After he passed, I thought my traveling days were over, yet I’ve since been to Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela.

I live in Spring, Texas where I currently serve as president of the Northwest Houston chapter of RWA and volunteer at a local hospital. I also enjoy speaking to book clubs and writers groups.

Learn more about Susan C. Muller:
Facebook: Susan C. Muller, Author, or Susan Muller
Twitter: @SusanCMuller

1 comment:

  1. Hi Susan,
    Thank you for visiting with us today. It's wonderful to have the opportunity to learn about your story. :-)