Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Witch on Twisted Oak

Today's special guest is Susan C. Muller. Susan 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.


How did you decide to have the victim who is brutally murdered a powerful psychic? Do you have psychic abilities or did you research psychics for the book?

I heard a speaker from Homeland Security talking about smuggling along the Texas/Mexico border. He said that many of the drivers are superstitious and went to psychics to learn the most auspicious date to cross the border. Of course, many of the psychics turned around and sold that information to the Border Patrol, but that gave me the gem of an idea for the book.

 I myself have no psychic abilities whatsoever. I have been to one a couple of times and was always told that everything would turn out alright. So far, it has, so I guess I believe. I did learn that many psychics are witches.

That led me to research about witches and the Wiccan religion. All Wiccans are witches, but not all witches follow the Wiccan religion. Wicca is one of the fastest growing religions in the U.S. I was surprised to find, that when practiced the way it is intended, it is a very benign religion.

Wiccans follow the Rede, or poem, of eight words: If it harm none, do what you will.  But there’s a catch called the rule of three. Whatever you do, good or bad, comes back to you three fold. In The Witch on Twisted Oak, I described it as a cross between The Golden Rule and karma is a bitch.

How did you decide to make the daughter of the victim a witch? What abilities does she possess?

Tessa was taken from her mother at an early age, so she never realized she was a witch until she was grown. She always did have powers though, she just didn’t understand them. When she touched someone, or held their hand, she could see the color of their soul, and discover secrets about their past.  She soon learned to avoid shaking hands, an easy feat in this germaphobic society.

It wasn’t until she met Ruben Marquez that she first worried about the color of her own soul.

 Did you need to research detective investigative procedures?

 People often think that writers only need to do research if they write historical novels. That is definitely untrue. If I make a mistake on police procedures, I will hear about it. I have called the police department to ask questions, stopped officers on the street, and I use every opportunity to go to workshops or take classes on this subject.

I attended the RWA National Convention in Atlanta this July. While some of my writer friends learned about Indie Publishing, or attended chats on Inspirational Romance, I was learning how different jurisdictions overlap and about the different types of serial killers.

When I got home from Atlanta, my eight-year-old grandson came over to visit. He wanted me to play with him. I set down my notes on profiling the difference between Psychopaths and Sociopaths and got down on the floor to play Legos. You have to remember what’s most important in life.

Tell us about the relationship that develops between Detective Ruben Marquez and the Witch on Twisted Oak.

Ruben is attracted to Tessa the first time he sees her, but that’s as far as it goes. He’s trying to solve a case that has put his mother in danger.

Tessa remembers Ruben from their childhood and doesn’t care for him at all. In fact, she believes he’s responsible for her mother’s death.

It isn’t until the two are forced to spend time together hiding out in a cabin that they realize how much they have in common and that they enjoy each other’s company.

Just as he’s ready to admit how much he cares for her, she reveals that she’s a witch and their relationship comes to a screeching halt.

What are you working on next?

I’m just finishing the third book in the trilogy.  The first book, The Secrets on Forest Bend, was Ruben’s partner, Adam Campbell’s story.  Ruben’s story, The Witch on Twisted Oak, is the second book. The third book is Voodoo on Bayou Lafonte and is Remy Steinberg’s story. Remy is another detective in their squad.  It will be out in January of 2014.

I have left the series open for one more book. It’s possible the cursing, Bible-thumping detective know alternately as Tenequa the Terrible and Tenequa the Kid Whisperer will appear in her own story.


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.


“Did your mother have any dealings with him?” Sure she did. As soon as Ruben asked, he knew the answer. The guy had cut in line in front of him when the boys went to see the infamous fortuneteller.

“Not just her. I saw his soul, and it was pitch black. I was in charge of taking the tickets and I tested each customer as they came in and told her their color. He burned my hand when I touched him. I warned her, but the money was flowing in that night and she wouldn’t turn anyone away.”

What the hell was Tessa talking about? She saw his soul and it burned her hand? He knew her mother was bat-shit crazy, but did she have to be crazy too?

As is on cue, his hands began to tingle, exactly as they had last night when he’d helped her to her feet and she held on so tight. He’d seen snippets of her life pass by and everything had been shaded a soft pink. 

Ridiculous. He’d already explained that to his own satisfaction.


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.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: