While Rochelle is fascinated by the supernatural. I am mesmerized by the Winchester brothers on CW’s smash hit series, Supernatural! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Jensen and Jared. Toss in Misha… and well…let’s not tease a gal is all I’m sayin’!
Rochelle’s interest in the mystical was sparked as a child when she overheard her Mother and Aunts whisper behind closed doors about trips to a fortuneteller — a scandalous taboo in their devout Catholic family. As a teen, she and her friends dabbled in the occult until a rainy afternoon at the Ouija board scared them straight. After Hurricane Katrina, a tour of the New Orleans French Quarter with a voodoo priestess inspired Rochelle to weave elements of the supernatural into her writing.
Rochelle loves mystery. As for my obsession with mysteries… two words – Nancy Drew!
Rochelle’s dream to become a novelist came true in the UCLA Writers’ Program — a “do it or quit talking about it” challenge she gave herself. While in the Writers’ Program, she started Who Do, Voodoo?, her first mystery novel. After completion, Who Do, Voodoo? won a Conference Choice Award at the San Diego State University 2010 Writer’s Conference, was a 2010 RWA Golden Heart finalist in the Contemporary Series – Mystery/Adventure/Suspense category, and sold to Berkley Prime Crime. Who Do, Voodoo? is out now.
Rochelle took time to walk away from her crystal ball part pajama party to share her Thanksgiving memories with me. Enjoy!
What are you most grateful for?
What an amazing year it’s been. I’m grateful for my dear friends, my supportive family, the gift of my two adorable great-grandnieces — Maddie (born in April) and Ellie (born in August) — and for the best-selling launch of Who Do, Voodoo?, my first novel. I’m bursting with joy.
Favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
Thanksgiving dinner is my favorite meal of all and any time, so everything about the day excites me. But my favorite? (Looks around, whispers,) I can’t wait for the turkey to come out of the oven so I can tear off a crispy piece of skin to munch on. Is that gross?
Where will you spend Thanksgiving this year?
I’ll be celebrating here in Los Angeles at the home of a dear friend with her extended family and friends. Adults in holiday gear, kids, babies, dogs, cats, too much food, football, music, too many people in the kitchen. I can’t wait!
Most memorable Thanksgiving memory
Oh, that’s easy. I’ll NEVER forget the year I was a guest at a very special, catered Thanksgiving in a Manhattan penthouse. Famous guests. Beautiful dinnerware. Silver. Crystal. After we sat down and spread our linen napkins on our laps, our hostess stood with an announcement, “By the way, Granddad is on a low-sodium diet so we instructed the caterers to season the entire meal with onion powder.” Ack! Have you ever tasted turkey seasoned with onion powder? Don’t.
What do you do the eve before Thanksgiving?
If there’s a holiday music special, I’ll put on TV in the background to get in the spirit of the season. This Thanksgiving eve I’ll be baking two pecan pies. One is for the big dinner; the other is a bribe for my trainer to open the gym early on Thanksgiving morning. Here’s my no-guilt theory: exercise at dawn, eat with abandon for the rest of the day.
What’s your number one splurge food?
My Thanksgiving splurge is a tossup between gravy-soaked stuffing (with crusty edges) and the brown-sugar coated yams with toasted marshmallows.
What do you prefer, sweet or salty?
Salty, all the way.
What are your plans for the holidays this year?
I’m spending December at the computer with the characters in the third novel of my Mind For Mystery Series. I’m on deadline so my playtime is on hold. I’ll party when I’m done! But I’ll definitely sneak away to put up a tree, and on Christmas Day I’ll be at the movies then dinner with friends, a tradition our group started years ago.
Which food and drink combo says it’s the holiday season to you?
Eggnog and powdered-sugar-dusted Mexican Wedding Cake cookies. Yum!
What are the five tools you must have in the kitchen for Thanksgiving dinner?
Measuring cups and spoons, massive platters, the old black-covered roaster, the potato masher — and my Betty Crocker Cookbook, of course.
Please share a favorite Thanksgiving recipe.
Mexican Wedding Cakes are my favorite holiday cookie, and just bite-sized enough to pop in your mouth after dinner and pie. And they’re a perfect touch of sweet to follow turkey sandwiches all weekend.
1 cup salted butter, softened
½ cup confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose whole wheat flour (don’t use self-rising)
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup finely chopped pecans
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper (or use ungreased baking sheet)
Mix butter, sugar, and vanilla together thoroughly in a bowl.
Work in flour, salt and nuts until dough holds together.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and set on baking sheet (they can be fairly close, the cookies do not spread during baking.)
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown.
Sprinkle with or roll in confectioner’s sugar while still warm.
Roll or sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar again.
If you could have a dream Thanksgiving dinner party, who would you invite?
How fun! If no rules apply, I would invite characters from my favorite novels, one group of characters each year. This year would be my characters from Who Do, Voodoo?, the second year Nancy Drew and her friends, the third year Amelia Peabody’s family, and so on. Oh, do you mean real people? In that case, my dream Thanksgiving would be to have everyone I love, no matter where they live, at the table. Being with those dearest to me would make my heart very happy.
What’s the one Thanksgiving dish your family can’t live without?
What do you do after the meal is finished? Play football? Watch football? Movies?
Thanksgiving football is another of my favorite traditions. I am a die-hard NFL fan, I don’t care who is playing. The TV is locked on the games from morning until late night.
Pumpkin, Pecan or Apple?
Definitely pecan but pass me a piece of pumpkin, too.
Are you up early the next morning to kick off your holiday shopping?
When I’m celebrating Thanksgiving with my family in Milwaukee, my cousin Carla will have me up at 4am and to the mall to stand in line for bargains. When I’m home in Los Angeles — no Friday shopping, I’m not that organized. I prefer the after-Christmas sales. However, this year I WILL be in the thick of the holiday rush because I’m doing an author Meet & Greet at the Barnes & Noble/Westside Pavilion on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Thank you so much for this warm Thanksgiving memory.
Thank you so much for inviting me to share! Your questions stirred fond memories. I wish you a happy and joyful Thanksgiving!
Thank you, Rochelle, for the fun time. Ah, that Ouija board you’re wrapping isn’t by any chance for me, is it? (an unemotional Botox face would be more appropriate for Rochelle at this moment than the frozen look of utter horror I’m sportin’) Oh. No. Rochelle, please there’s no need. I just couldn’t accept such a dark… err, I mean darlin’ sentiment, Rochelle. Please pass it on to someone who wants to sleep with their eyes open for all of their lives. I prefer other types of bumps in the night. Meow!
Happy Thanksgiving from my house to yours! Thanksgiving wishes from the Blogcritics team, too.