What was the inspiration behind 'The Witch on Twisted Oak'?
I heard a speaker from Homeland Security talking about smuggling along the Texas/Mexico border. He claimed that many of the smugglers were so superstitious that they consulted psychics before heading out on a run. The psychics would then turn around and sell the information to the border patrol. When I learned that many psychics are witches, the book was born.Which character was the most fun to write?
I love the hero, Ruben, but his mother, Mamacita was fun to write. I also kind of liked writing in the dog’s POV.What kind of research did you have to do for this book?
I did quite a bit of research on the Wiccan religion. It’s very interesting and one of the fastest growing religions in the country. In the book I describe it as a cross between the Golden Rule and karma is a bitch. Not all witches practice Wicca but all Wiccans are witches.Will we ever see these characters again?
Absolutely. I have already finished the next book in the series and left an opening for one more.What makes the blend of paranormal, romance, and suspense so appealing as a writer?
I enjoy the freedom it gives me. Most authors write in one genre. I get to write in three, all at the same time.What draws readers to this kind of book?
Hopefully, it appeals to readers of romance, suspense, or paranormal stories, but doesn’t turn off readers of the other genres.How do you make yourself stand out in this genre?
You write a fantastic book, and then you write another, even better one.The tagline on your website reads, "Life is a mystery. Reading is the clue." Why did you choose this?
I have loved to read since I was six years-old. If it’s true that God doesn’t subtract the hours you spend reading from your life toll, I’ll pass the century mark with flying colors. And one of the things I love to read is mysteries.Please tell us about your other published works.
I do believe that life is a mystery. I also believe that while reading can’t solve all your problems, it can open your mind to the world around us and new possibilities.
The first book in this series, The Secrets on Forest Bend, features Ruben’s partner, Adam. A detective uncovers a crooked cop, an intriguing woman, and a vengeful ghost.On what other projects are you currently working?
I also have a novella, Redeeming Santa, which was inspired by the true story of Texas most notorious bank robbery.
My short story, The Glove and the Shawl, was featured in the July edition of BTS magazine.
I am just finishing the third book in the series, Voodoo on Bayou Lafonte. You can find the first chapter in the back of The Witch on Twisted Oak. In it, Remy Steinberg must return to Louisiana to find his kidnapped daughter, leaving him to face the two things he fears most in the world; the swamp and the ex-wife he never stopped loving.Does your past work in business administration influence your writing at all?
The only way it helped me was to help send my kids to college, so that I could retire and start writing. Maybe someday I’ll have a character works in business administration, but that would make for a boring book!You are a fourth generation Texan. What are some of the best things about living in Texas?
The weather, the scenery, and the people. I know, it’s summer and it’s hot in Texas, but you’re never more than a few steps from air conditioning. In the winter, when large parts of the country are shoveling snow, Texans are playing golf and enjoying the outdoors. Texas features blue skies and green trees year round.Is there anything else that you would like to add?
We have beaches, mountains, big cities with symphonies and art museums, and country towns with flavor and character. The hill country has lakes with fishing and waterskiing, and a stark, native beauty. We have dude ranches and real ranches, cattle and horses, a view of the Milky Way to rival any observatory, and a booming economy.
The people here are open and friendly. They are always courteous and helpful to friends or strangers. If it weren’t for the mosquitoes it would be darn near perfect. Can you tell I love it here?
Here’s a short excerpt from The Witch on Twisted Oak in which Tessa sees Ruben’s cabin for the first time and is swept away by the beauty of the lake. The cabin, not so much.Thank you so much for your time!
Tessa stopped. Rubin had warned her that the cabin was rustic, whatever that meant, and Ms. Marquez had grunted her disapproval, but this was frigging beautiful. Not the cabin, that remained to be seen, but the scenery.
Woods surrounded a small clearing beside an inlet off the main lake. The first week in November and leaves floated to earth with each stir of a gentle breeze. The late afternoon sun turned the ground to gold.
Ripples washed across the lake and onto the bank with a welcoming splash. A boat waited next to a floating dock. If that little building off to the side was a storage shed and not an outhouse, Ruben had found a slice of Paradise.
Tessa followed Ruben and his mother into the cabin. She pivoted around, trying to take it all in. Okay, rustic was one way to describe it. The cabin was basically one large room with a closed door might be, please God, a bathroom.
Animals watched her from every inch of wall space. Deer heads, moose heads, fox, javelina, some type of cat—bobcat, mountain lion, she didn’t know. They didn’t even have moose in Texas; she wasn’t real sure about some of the others.
“Make yourselves comfortable. I’ll go back for the next load.” Ruben was out the door before she could answer.
How could she ever be comfortable here? Eyes stared at her from every direction. Was it too late to go home? How about a motel? No, she didn’t have the money to pay for a motel, not even a cheap one.
Thank you for having me. This was fun, even if your questions were tough!
by Susan C. Muller
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.
Read an excerpt:
Ruben slid Mamacita’s full-sized bag in the trunk next to Tessa’s overnighter and his duffle. Mamacita sat in front, next to him, and Tessa sat in the back between her cat’s travel crate and Molly’s.
They stopped by the kennel to drop off Molly, but the office had already closed. If Jillian and Adam weren’t off playing footsie he could leave the cat or the dog at her place. Or maybe Mamacita. Disapproval radiated off of her like steam.
Or he could stay at Jillian’s and let Tessa, Mamacita, Molly and the cat duke it out. He’d go back tomorrow and see who was left standing.
He watched in the rear-view mirror as Tessa spoke softly to each animal and tried to calm them. It would work for a few minutes until one hissed or the other barked.
This was going to be one long weekend.
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.