The Witch on Twisted Oak
by Susan C. Muller
Crystal: Today as part of the Goddess Fish Virtual Book tour, I have the opportunity to interview Susan C. Muller Would you share a little bit about yourself with us today?
Susan: I’ve loved to read since I could first hold a book in my hands. I remember a Christmas when I was about six years-old. One of my presents was a book called The Horse who got his picture in the paper. While the rest of my family madly tore into to their presents, I sat cross-legged in the middle of the floor and calmly read my book. I still have that book today.
Crystal: Where did you come up with the idea for The Witch on Twisted Oak Living Backwards?
Susan: I’m not crazy about vampires with their cold blood, and werewolves make me think about the need for electrolysis. Zombies just don’t do it for me, but my first book in this series featured a ghost and I needed something paranormal for my second book.
I attended a workshop where an agent from Homeland Security was speaking and he mentioned that many of the smugglers along the Texas/Mexico border were superstitious and consulted psychics before setting out on a run. After the lecture someone mentioned that many psychics are witches and the idea for The Witch on Twisted Oak was born.
Crystal: What are you currently working on?
The third book in the series is Voodoo on Bayou Lafonte. I’m polishing it now and it should be out by the first of the year.
Crystal: Do you have any special routine that you follow when you are writing?
Susan: I’m retired and live alone since my husband passed so I don’t follow any type of routine for anything except my morning walk. Six days a week I meet a friend and we take our dogs for an hour walk. In the winter, we leave at 8:30, but in the summer we leave at 7:45. Hey, I live in Texas and any later we’d have a heat stroke. Since I’ve been known to write till two or three in the morning when I’m on a deadline, that makes getting up tough. But I do it anyway.
Crystal: Did you have to do a lot of research for this book or any other? If so do you have a fascinating fact that you have learned you would like to share with us?
Susan: At any writers group I hear people saying “Write what you know.” That’s impossible. No one knows everything. I’ve had to look things up on Google (how to make a meth lab,) ask friends (where does the Houston tunnel system go?) and phone the police department (what floor is the Homicide Department on?) I’ve driven places to see what it looked like and how long it took to get there. I’ve sat in the mall to watch how people dress and studied menus to see what my heroine might order. I’ve stopped a deputy sheriff on the street to ask about shotguns. For this book I had to figure out what kind of boat my hero would own and what fish were in Lake Livingston.
The most interesting thing I learned for this book was about the Wiccan religion. Not all witches are Wiccans, but all Wiccans are witches. I describe it as a cross between the Golden Rule and karma is a bitch. Wiccans may live their life any way they wish as long as they don’t harm another. That includes animals and the earth itself which grows and changes. But they also believe that what you do in this life, good or bad, comes back on you three fold.
Crystal: Who are some of your favorite authors that you like to read?
Susan:I like humor, so I read Christie Craig and Janet Evanovich. I like mysteries so I read Robert Crais and John Sandford. I like paranormal, so I read Jim Butcher. Above all, I love good writing so I read Elmore Lenard, Cormac McCarthy, and Larry McMurtry.
Crystal: Is there any genre you haven't written that you would like to try?
Susan: I have an idea for a new series that will be straight mystery and I’d like to try my hand at humor.
Crystal: Do you have a favorite scene you would like to share with us?
Susan: Detective Ruben Marquez is protecting a witness in the case he’s investigating.
Author Favorite Scene Excerpt:
Tessa studied him over the rim of her glass. “What kind of fish do you catch around here?”
“The usual; bass, crappie, catfish.”
Her eyes got wide and she leaned forward. “Ooh, catfish. Have you ever done that noodling thing I saw on TV?”
She actually looked interested—in fishing.
“I’ve seen that, but I’m not sure I’m brave enough to try it. Sticking my hand down in muddy water and feeling under logs and things? There are creatures in this lake that bite.”
“You have to admit, they make it look fun on TV.” She took a sip of wine and settled back in the booth, a mischievous smile on her face.
“I’ll tell you what. You try it, and I’ll wait in the boat to rush you to the hospital.”
Ruben laughed more over the next hour than he had in years. He’d finally found someone he could talk to about music and art, even fishing. She wasn’t crazy about football, but nobody was perfect. Still, she came damn close.
Tessa pushed her plate away. “This was nice. Almost like a date.”
It was nice. Better than any date he’d been on lately. But not so nice that he had a drink or took his eyes off the door.
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 career, his family, and the Witch on Twisted Oak.
Ruben stood beside her shattered back door, a huge mountain of a man in his bulletproof vest. A gun as large as he was hung from his side. His gold detective’s badge clipped to his belt looked out of place with his jeans and t-shirt.
“I’ve phoned this in, but you can’t stay here.”
What did he mean, not stay here? This was her home. The only place she’d ever felt truly safe. “It’ll be okay. I’ll get someone out to fix the door.”
He took her arm and placed her in front of the back door. “Look at that door. You had it locked, but one good kick and he was inside.” He turned her toward him and stared into her eyes. “You can’t stay here. It’s not safe until we catch him.”
He wasn’t going to keep her from her own house. She twisted out of his grip and ran inside.
Her eyes darted from side to side, seeing the destruction but not taking it in fully.
She sank to the floor in the middle of her bedroom when he caught up with her.
“Who would do a thing like this?” She held up pieces of a broken orange and gold necklace. “I made this myself. And the shower curtain he ripped down in the bathroom? I hand painted that.”
He made a strange sound and she looked up. His face was flushed. Maybe he wasn’t as cold as she thought.
“You need to pack a small bag. Nothing much, just a few casual clothes. I’ll take you someplace safe.”
She glanced around the room. How could she pack? She’d never find two pieces that matched, or both of a pair of shoes. Her eyes fell on a pile of her underwear and bras, scattered across the floor and her breath caught.
Who did she mind the most seeing her underthings, a nameless, faceless intruder, or the man standing next to her?
Him. She knew him. He had no right to look at the contents of her drawers, her closets.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Susan C. Muller is a fourth generation Texan. She attended Stephen F. Austin State University where she majored in Business Administration. She started her first novel at age eleven, but it wasn’t until after she had worked many years and raised a family that she returned to her first love, writing. She is a member of Northwest Houston RWA, Kiss of Death online RWA, and The Houston Writers Guild. Her novel, The Secrets on Forest Bend, has won several awards.
Susan and her husband, Sid, live in Spring, Texas with their rescue dog, Buster, a 120 pound black lab of advanced age. They have two children and four grandchildren. They love to travel and have been fortunate to see much of the world. Her favorite places include Kenya, New Zealand, and the Galapagos Islands. When not writing, she can be found doing volunteer work at a local hospital. She loves to read, travel, snorkel and take long walks.
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