Interview: Author Randy Overbeck
Today, I’m delighted to welcome Author Randy Overbeck. Talk about suspenseful books! I have so many questions!
But first, welcome Randy! Thank you for sharing your time.
I really appreciate the opportunity. You know we authors are always glad to have an audience.
Before we get to your writing and your latest release, Scarlet at Crystal River, won’t you tell us a little about yourself?
Well, I’m a long time educator, serving children as a teacher, college professor and school leader for almost 40 years. For the past ten years, I devoted much of my time to writing , an avocation I’m finding I enjoy almost as much as I did helping children learn. My wife and I have been married for 50 years and we have three great kids (adults now) and are blessed with seven remarkable grandkids.
Your books are adding up! You’re working on your fourth now, aren’t you? And it hasn’t taken you very long to write them. I stand in awe.
Actually I’m shopping my fifth and I’m working on my sixth. My first published novel, LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND, was published in 2011. It is a thriller about a terrorist cell which takes over a high school and the teacher and volunteer who battle the intruders. More recently, I’ve penned three paranormal mysteries in my Haunted Shores Mysteries series, released in 2019, 2020 and 2021. And I’m shopping my fifth, an amateur sleuth mystery, which may well be the start of a new series.
It all sounds amazing. You are prolific! Do you have a favorite time and place to write?
Actually, I’m very lucky. I can write almost anyplace and almost anytime. I carry my computer with me and I squeeze in time anytime and anyplace I can—waiting for my car being worked on, sitting in a doctor’s office, grabbing lunch or dinner alone. But I’m quite blessed to have a great office to work in, with a huge L-shaped wooden desk, a large monitor (my eyesight is not as good as it used to be) plenty of research documents and a beautiful view out the wide windows. I find I do some of my finest work there.
A perfect setup!
You have a great, bookish podcast, too. Please tell us about it.
It’s called “Great Stories about Great Storytellers” and in each episode, I share the inside story of famous authors, poets and directors. So far, I’ve profiled greats like John Grisham, Agatha Christie and Walt Disney. Maybe the best way to explain it is this. One of the reviewers called it “Paul Harvey’s The Rest of Story” for famous storytellers. But your readers would have to be a certain age to get the reference. Basically, I give the weird and unusual backstories most people don’t know about the famous storytellers they do know. The podcast is available wherever you get your podcasts—Spotify, iHeart radio, Apple podcasts, etc. and I’m working hard to build my listener base.
And now, for your books! I’ve enjoyed getting to know you through our publisher, The Wild Rose Press. You always encourage fellow writers, cheer us on, offer help… For someone with such a positive and sunny disposition, your books seem to be, well, bone-chilling! Ghosts! Murder! Eeek! How did you come to write paranormal thrillers?
My first book in the series didn’t start off as paranormal. A few years ago, I was attending a writer’s conference and sat in on a session about ghost hunting. Skeptical at first, I was so taken in by what I learned that session (and the remarkable amount of research and scientific manner of the process), I decided I wanted to find a way to include a bit of “whoo-hoo” in my tales. Like everything else I write, I’ve done extensive research into ghosts and have included slivers of what has been documented about them in my tales.
I’m only afraid of the dark after I’ve read something scary. Then, I’m turning on lights before entering rooms! Clearly, you’re not so easily intimidated. But does your writing ever keep you up at night?
The writing yes, the subject no. Let me explain. My stories are a bit scary but not terrifying. I’ve worked hard to make the portrayal of ghosts as realistic as possible—which, based on the bulk of paranormal research that been done, tells us ghosts are usually not scary. (Apologies to Steven King and Dean Koontz).
However, there are many nights when I lay my head on my pillow and my mind will not stop racing through language and ideas about my latest writing project. Most times I try to fall asleep figuring I’ll remember it in the morning—if it’s important. But there have been many nights I have to get up, get down on paper (okay, computer) what’s rolling around in my brain before my mind will let me go to sleep.
Please tell us about your Haunted Shores Mysteries and especially about your latest release, Scarlet at Crystal River.
SCARLET is the third entry in my series and was the most fun to research and write. In this story, Darrell Henshaw, history teacher and researcher—and ghost whisperer—and his new wife Erin have arrived in Crystal River, a beautiful old Florida town on the Gulf coast at the start of the Christmas holidays. They want only to have a great honeymoon, jog on some of the scenic trails, swim with manatees and enjoy seafood at the great local restaurants. However, the ghosts of two murdered migrant children have other ideas and haunt Darrell, asking for his help to find justice for them. Darrell, a man who has dedicated his life to children, can’t ignore them and begins researching what might have happened to the two kids. His research leads him to an amazing young artist, a mega-agribusinessman and eventually to a migrant camp. However, there are those who don’t want Darrell to discover the truth and will do almost anything—including murder—to keep their secret. I’m thrilled that SCARLET, like the first two in the Haunted Shores Mysteries series, has won three national awards and garnered scores of five star reviews. Oh, and did I mention, it’s a Christmas mystery, perfect for that reader who’s looking for a Christmas tale with a great deal of suspense, a bit of romance, incredible scenery and just the right amount of whoo-hoo.
Before we go, would you tell us just a little bit about the book you’re working on now? We can keep a secret.
My newest writing project is one unlike anything I’ve tried before. I’m working on a historical suspense (with romantic elements, probably) set during the Revolutionary War. Without giving too much away, I’ll simply say that the heroine is a teacher (of course) and that she will make a significant contribution to helping turn the tide against the British in the war. The writing is requiring an immense amount of research—which I love—and is a major challenge for me. I’m only about a third of the way into the tale but I’m excited to see where this leads. Stay tuned.
We absolutely will stay tuned!
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Landing my BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE at Wild Rose Press has introduced me many talented young (and not so young) writers like you. I’ve enjoyed working with them and love the way we support each other. I’ve found WRP to be a great home for me, my hero Darrell and a few ghosts who came along for the ride.
I agree. My experience with The Wild Rose Press has been wonderful.
Randy, thank you for joining us today. Your books get such great reviews. I wish you continued success.
Thanks, Anastasia for hosting me. I’ve been thrilled and humbled by the tremendous response my books have garnered and I’m delighted to have a chance to share my stories with my readers.
Dr. Randy Overbeck is a best-selling author of the award-winning series, The Haunted Shores Mysteries, each a cold case murder mystery wrapped in ghost story served with a side romance, set in a beautiful resort location. He is the author and voice of a new podcast, “Great Stories about Great Storytellers,” which reveals the unusual backstories of famous authors, directors and poets. He is also a speaker in much demand, sharing his multi-media presentations, “Thanks Still Go Bump in the Night” and “A Few Favorite Haunts” with audiences all over the country. More info about his novels, programs and podcast can be found at his website.
A cold-case murder mystery wrapped in a ghost story served with a side of romance all set in a beautiful resort location You get it all in the award-winning SCARLET AT CRYSTAL RIVER.
Christmas time, 1999.
All Darrell Henshaw wanted was to enjoy his honeymoon with his beautiful wife, Erin in the charming town of Crystal River on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida.
But his carefully laid plans go sideways when they discover a hidden painting of two young Latino children, which turns out to be haunted.
Is Darrell willing to derail their entire honeymoon in this perfect, quiet corner of the world to unravel the mystery of the children's deaths?
Darrell ran harder, finishing the loop and circling back to Erin. She was so engrossed in her paperback he managed to sneak up behind her. He leaned and in and grabbed another long kiss.
She kissed him back, smiling. “Now that’s better than a little fictional romance.” She got up and stretched her long legs.
“You ready for some waves?” he asked.
“If you’re up to it, let’s do a mile or so on the sand first.”
“You’re on.” Darrell gave a gentlemanly wave of his hand.
“I’ll race you.”
Erin took off like a shot, and Darrell hurried after her. Since the beach was small, they covered the same ground Darrell had a few minutes earlier, passing the family sandcastle builders, another jogger, and the same strolling couples. As usual, she was quick, and he had to hustle to keep up, using some fancy footwork to sidestep sunbathers as they ran. When they got to the north end of the beach where Darrell had turned to double back, Erin headed for a little spit of land that strutted out into the water. He looked beyond and saw what she was headed for. Accelerating, he passed her.
Ahead, at the far end of the beach, a pair of young kids, he’d guess about six, sat in the sand as the waves rolled over their legs. Their small hands busied with a primitive sandcastle. One had long, brown hair tied into pigtails, and the other had a full head of brown hair, unkempt and in need of a trim. He came up to them and stopped, Erin a few seconds behind.
The kids wore street clothes, not swimsuits, but he didn’t think much about it. Then he noticed something about the young boy. His right leg was stuck out at a grotesque angle, as if it had been broken and never set. Both kids giggled at the gurgling water that rolled up around their bare feet and pooled in the makeshift moat they’d dug around their sand creation. The castle was crude, a nearly round construction with seashells sticking up like turrets. The two kids glanced up, caramel eyes wide and pleading with half smiles of white teeth.
In unison, they said, “Ayudaños?”
“Huh?” Darrell said.
“Cute castle, huh?” Erin stared at the sand and looked up at Darrell. “I wonder who made it?” Her eyes roamed around the area. “Out here on this spit of land it isn’t going to last very long.”
“Those kids—” he started, pointing to the pair. When he looked down, the sandcastle sat alone, the gulf water flowing around the construction and into the crude moat.
His glance darted out to the waves, thinking they’d abandoned their work and ran into the water, even in their street clothes, though he wondered how the boy could have run.
No girl or boy.
Oh, God! The same two kids? “You vill have two visitors.”
“What’d you say?” Erin asked, her gaze meeting his.
The ghosts. Erin hadn’t seen them!
Shit, he couldn’t tell her. Not now. Not here.
“Nothing,” he managed around the lump in his throat and glanced back down at the sand.
There at his feet, the crude sand construction they’d been working on, complete with the three blue seashells sticking out of the top, sat alone on the sand. He reached down and grabbed one of the small seashells as the prickle on his neck returned and sizzled. Then he sensed something else, something ominous. No, not ominous, malevolent. More of Natalia’s warning came back to him.
“I see a malevolence, a great danger lurking nearby.”
A big wave rushed in, rolling over their ankles and leveling the mound of sand, leaving the beach empty. As if nothing had ever been there.
What a fantastic tribute! Looks like an amazing book!!
Thank you for stopping by, Jennifer! I agree -- it does look amazing!
Sounds like a great read! Wishing you continued success, Randy!
Thank you for stopping by, Judith. :) I want to read it and I'm scared all at once! :)
Terrific interview. All three of Randy's Haunted Shores books were terrific. Can't wait to see the historical novel.
Thank you so much for stopping by, Kim! :)
Your latest book sounds very intriguing, but I have to say, the one you're working on around the Revolutionary War? Can't wait to read that one! Wishing you all the best with Scarlett at Crystal River!
Hi, Barb! And I'm with you. I would looove a romantic suspense set during the Revolutionary War!
Great blog guys. Really interesting 👌
Thank you, Lynn!
This one sounds as great as your other two! Best on the book!
Thank you for stopping by, Ilona! :)
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A Little of This, a Little of That
Keep me away from the wisdom that does not cry, the philosophy that does not laugh, and the greatness which does not bow before children. – Gibran Khalil Gibran
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