Thursday, January 9, 2014

Author Interview & Spotlight: Voodoo on Bayou Lafonte by Susan C. Muller

Voodoo on Bayou Lafonte
Occult Series
Book 3
Susan C. Muller
 
Genre: Paranormal romantic suspense
Publisher:  Soul Mate Publishing
Date of Publication: January 2, 2014
Cover Artist: Rae Monet
 
Book Description:
A frantic phone call leads Detective Remy Steinberg racing through the night toward the one place he vowed never to return. With the life of his kidnapped daughter at stake, he willingly faces shotgun-wielding drug dealers, corrupt law-enforcement officials, and a raging hurricane. 
Scouring the seedy back alleys of New Orleans for information, he goes undercover at a sinister voodoo ceremony, and struggles to understand the forces of black magic that hold his daughter hostage. 
With time ticking down, he battles for his life against a high voodoo priest, but can he face the two things he fears most: the swamp that terrorized his childhood, and the ex-wife he’s never stopped loving? 
Detective Remy Steinberg must return to Louisiana in search of his kidnapped daughter. Can he save her before the swamp swallows her up and he loses any chance at happiness?


Our Interview with author Susan Muller:
Susan, welcome to Paranormal Romance Fans for Life. Can you tell us where are you from and from where/who did your love for writing come from?
I have always lived in Texas. I was born in Houston, grew up in Bellaire, and attended college in Nacogdoches. I currently live in Spring, a suburb on the northwest side of Houston. Both my parents were avid readers and books filled our home. I was never restricted in my reading and had read such tomes as Anthony Adverse and Dante’s Inferno while in high school.
Can you say that your journey to publication was difficult? If so, what were the hardest moments to get through?
Rejections are always tough, no matter how much you pretend they aren’t. After all, that is your baby someone doesn’t like. But the hardest part is admitting you don’t know everything and need to study craft and take lessons. That doesn’t stop with publication. If you stop learning, your writing will become stale and repetitive. 
How do you overcome I-suck-at-this, that little voice in your head that tells you your writing isn’t good enough?
Oh, you don’t. You never do. You just keep doing it anyway. 
What is your dream vacation?
As I write this, I am on an airplane headed to Winter Park, Colorado, to visit my daughter. In Houston, we experience snow about once a decade, and then only an inch which melts quickly. So I’m excited to see what it’s like. While I don’t plan to ski, I want to take a dogsled ride and take a gondola to the top of a mountain. However, my ideal vacation is somewhere I can snorkel.
Describe your writing style in five words.
Gritty, suspenseful, humorous, plot twist.
What movies are you currently excited to see?
I’ve only been to a movie theater once since my husband passed two years ago. I went to see The Hunger Games.  I loved it and might go see Girl on Fire.  I watched the first Hobbit movie on TV last night and want to see the next one.
What are you currently reading?
I just finished The Devil’s Star, by Jo Nesbo, a Danish author. It is considered Euro Noir. At home I have Gone Girl, on my nightstand, but in my suitcase is A Dish Served Cold, by Craig Johnson, author of the Longmire series on A&E.
If you weren’t a writer, what other careers would you pursue?
I always thought I would make a good lawyer, but since I studied accounting, that never happened.
If you could create a holiday of your own, what would it be called?
Read a Book Day.
For people who haven’t read your novel, how would you summarize the plot?
In Voodoo on Bayou Lafonte, Detective Remy Steinberg must return to Louisiana in search of his kidnapped daughter. While there, he faces the only two things in the world that frighten him: the swamp and the ex-wife he’s never stopped loving.
What are two of your pet-peeves?
Rude and insensitive people.
To you, what makes a good story?
Good characters and a good plot. Without either one, your story falls flat. Master both of those, and your reader will forgive you anything.
What usually turns you off about a story?
I have read many books where the protagonist is a thief, a hit man, even a terrorist. This can work if the author makes us understand what makes him tick, what drives him. He must still be likable with a moral code however twisted, and people he tries to protect. The reader has to have someone in the story to root for, otherwise, down the book goes.
If you could collaborate with any author, who would you choose, and why?
I love to read John Sandford, Lee Childs, and Robert Crais. Can you imagine how much you could learn from those masters?
What is on your night stand?
Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn.
What is your favorite book?
I could never pick one. That would be like trying to pick your favorite child.

Thank you, Susan, and good luck with your book, Voodoo on Bayon Lafonte.

Excerpt:
Gabby didn’t speak on the way to Sherri Lynn’s, the next stop on their interrogation route. Her hands were shaking and her voice probably was, too. Besides, what could she say to Remy? You shouldn’t have beat up that guy? That would have been a lie. The creep deserved everything he got. I didn’t know you could do that? Maybe. At least that would have been the truth. You shouldn’t have told Dan to shut his trap or called him a walking piece of shit? That was very true. Dan Cryer never forgot, and he never forgave.
Oh, and by the way, for someone who seemed so eager to sever the marital connection, when did I become your wife again?
She clasped her still-trembling hands in her lap and stared out the front window.
Remy didn’t take his eyes off the road as he spoke. “Would you like to get a cup of coffee, something to eat, before we try the next girl?”
Eat? How could she eat? Her stomach was in knots and her heart was about to punch a hole in her chest. “Don’t you think we should try to get to Sherri Lynn’s before Claudine or her father decides to call over there?”
“Claudine’s not going to say anything, not for a long time. And Dan is inside changing his underwear and trying to convince himself the last fifteen minutes never happened. The last thing he’ll ever do is tell anyone. Right now we’re both upset, and Sherri Lynn is our last chance. We need to calm down before we face her.”
Gabby sighed. Remy was right. They did need to settle down. “Papite’s is still on Pecan Street, and they still make the best shrimp po’boys in three parishes.”
They didn’t speak again until they were settled in a high-backed booth in the far corner. The vinyl seats were cracked and held together with duct tape, but their voices couldn’t be heard over the hum of the air conditioning unit. No point letting the whole parish in on their discussion.
She waited until the waiter left with their order before broaching the subject she’d debated sharing with Remy. “Starting something with Don Cryer might not have been the best idea. He’s not a very nice man and he holds a grudge.”
Remy flashed her a cocky grin. “You haven’t been around me much over the last years, but I can be a badass myself, if need be. I don’t hold a grudge, but I don’t put up with shit, either. Cryer pointed a loaded gun at us. If I’d backed down, I’d have lost the respect of every man for a hundred miles, and no one in this parish would have told me anything. I don’t care about popularity, but I do intend to find my daughter, and that takes information.”
Gabby felt a knot form in her stomach. Just like always, Remy wasn’t listening to her. “Did you see that house? And the land it sat on? The place must be worth millions. Dan didn’t get that playing by the rules. Now there’s rumors Dan’s bringing drugs in from Texas, maybe even New Orleans and Baton Rouge. 
You can’t find Adrienne if you’re dead. And even if he doesn’t kill you, Adrienne and I have to live in this town after you’re gone.”
Oops. Had she really said that? She sank back against the cushions. Well, it was true. Like before, Remy would rush in, think he had to save her, and just when she got used to having him around, he’d be gone. And she’d have to learn to live without him all over again.
“Is that what this is about, the elephant in the room? I’m sorry I called you my wife. If it insults you that much, I’ll go back and retract the statement.”

About the Author: 

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.

Author Contacts: