Welcome Susan C. Muller with her new release The Witch on Twisted Oak. I have a special place in my heart for witches 🙂 and just had to interview Susan to see how she ticks.
Susan will be awarding a $20 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a $20 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn host.
Susan C. Muller Interview
Woohoo! You are a published author. Describe a strong character trait you possess, good or bad, and how it helped you become a published author. I’m not sure if this is a good character trait or a bad one, but I’m just plain stubborn, that’s all there is to it. If you want me to do something, tell me I can’t. The first book I ever wrote was awful. I had over a hundred (well deserved) rejections. In fact, I threw that book away the other day and I saw a man digging in my recycle bin. He didn’t take it either, so I guess you can say I was rejected 101 times.
I didn’t give up. I read books on craft, took classes, found critique partners, and, when I felt I had improved, entered contests. I didn’t submit again until I had won my first contest. That’s when Soul Mate Publishing offered me a contract.
Sometimes an author begins writing a story before they are aware of its genre. Did you choose your genre, or did it choose you? I’ve always liked mysteries, so I intended to write romantic suspense. When my D-I-L told me that paranormal romance was the in thing, I thought, I can do that. But it turned out I couldn’t. I’m not big on zombies with all that rotting flesh, and werewolves make me wonder how much electrolysis the couple’s offspring might need. As for vampires, their blood is always cold. Can you imagine you heroine saying, “Oh, baby. You’re so cold. You turn my blood to ice?”
I decided I, or my cop hero, could handle one little witch and my paranormal romantic suspense was born.
The plot thickens, or does it? Which one are you, a pantser or a plotter? I want to be a plotter, I truly do. Life would be so much easier if I had an outline, a roadmap if you will. With each new book, I sit down with a yellow legal pad and declare I’m going to outline. An hour later I’ve covered the page with doodles and let the dog out three times, but I haven’t even started an outline.
Here’s what I’ve found works for me. I know what the crime is, who did it, who will solve it, and the clue that will lead the hero in the right direction. I might know one or two things that will happen along the way. The rest is just as much a mystery to me as it is to the reader.
And that’s what makes writing so much fun.
Fear 101: As writers it is our duty to make our characters face their fears. Have you ever included one of your own fears in a storyline? I was, and still am, very shy. As a child I felt awkward, sure I didn’t fit in. In my grade school photos, I look like the little kid from two grades younger who wandered in by accident.
In The Witch on Twisted Oak, my hero, Ruben, has the opposite problem. By age eleven, he was taller than most grown men. He was a clumsy kid, often tripping over his own feet. Even as a grown man, he’s uncomfortable with his height and the attention it brings him. So, of course, I put him in situations where he felt awkward until he learned to accept himself.
Fear 102: Yes, deadlines are terrifying. Have you conquered the juggling act between writing and the rest of your life? What do you do when it feels like the balls are dropping all around you? No one completely conquers that juggling act. I’m retired and could write all day and well into the night if I wish, but things manage to distract me and it’s late afternoon before the words start flowing. Somehow, when that deadline looms, or disaster strike, I manage to shift into high gear and get it all done. At least that’s worked so far.
Switch positions with one of your main characters in a scene. What is the outcome, disaster or divine intervention? In The Witch on Twisted Oak, Ruben and Tessa are being chased through the woods by a very bad guy. Ruben needs to circle back and confront the villain, but he has to keep Tessa safe. He hollows out a spot under a tree and covers her with leaves. She is supposed to stay completely still until Ruben comes back. Naturally, her nose starts running, ants crawl up her leg, and she needs to go to the bathroom.
I wouldn’t have lasted five minutes without screaming.
Where is your favorite place to write? Add that one comfort food that you can’t do without. My house is forty years old and has a formal living room. Like most living rooms, it has seldom been used. Last summer I turned it into my office and that’s where you’ll find me most days. I prefer writing on my desktop computer. I have taken my laptop to Starbucks’ or Panera Bread, but I find the distractions, too . . . distracting.
I don’t eat while I’m writing, but if seven o’clock comes around and I’m still working, I’m not opposed to a glass of wine. Six o’clock if the scene’s giving me trouble.
Writing inspirations? Anyone who has gone through tough times and kept on going.
You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them? My favorite author is the one I’m reading at the time. I like John Sandford, Robert Crais, Jim Butcher, Lee Childs, and anyone else who kills people and blows things up. I’ve read most of what these prolific authors have to say about the writing process so if I were fortunate to meet one of them I would simply say, “Thank you.”
I’ve gone mad – why don’t you come with me? Some people just don’t understand us writers. Name a quirky, writer-thing you do that friends wish you didn’t. Whenever I hear a good description or an interesting colloquialism, I whip out my little notebook and write it down. Ditto an unusual name of a person or place. I’ve embarrassed my friends by asking a stranger to repeat something. But, hey, if you don’t write it down, you’ll never remember it. I have funny lists no one else would understand stuck everywhere.
The Witch on Twisted Oak 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.
The bell rang on the far elevator and Ruben twisted in time to see a tall woman step out. She was young, no more than twenty-eight or twenty-nine. He looked closer, thirty, maybe. Her build was hard to determine under a long, diaphanous skirt that almost brushed the floor and a gauzy blouse that hung to her hips.
Despite several people in the hall, she headed directly for him. Her skirt and blouse flowed back against her body, revealing a slim figure. Her eyes and hair were as dark as his own, and her olive complexion glowed like polished brass.
“I’m Theresa Reyna. Yolanda Garza’s . . . niece.”
“I’m Detective Ruben Marquez,” he said.
“Yes, I recognize you. You really haven’t changed much.”
What did she mean by that? He’d never seen her before. He’d have remembered that face. “Let’s get my partner and head into one of the interview rooms. It’ll be quieter in there.”
Ruben strode to the squad room and beckoned to Adam. When he looped back toward the woman he did a double take. She faced away from him and her hair hung past her shoulders in a black waterfall. The florescent lights that made most people look sickly, reflected off the darkness like the full moon in a mirror.
A feeling of déjà vu swept over him and was gone. Where had that come from?
Adam rounded the corner and she twisted back, her hair billowing around her, framing her face.
Ruben stumbled over the introductions and led them toward the furthest interview room. He needed the time to clear his head. He could feel Adam studying her. Adam might be spoken for, but he wasn’t dead.
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.