Archive for September 17th, 2021

“Overbeck’s pace is spot on and makes for a thoroughly engaging and quick read…a clear look at the way racism and bigotry continued to leak far beyond the bounds of the deep South even after desegregation began to make its way across the US.” ★★★★★—Literary Titan

Real Life Inspiration

            As I’ve given author talks around the country, one of the most common question I get is “Where do you get your inspiration?” I don’t pretend to have any great revelations. My writing inspiration have sprung from pretty ordinary circumstances.

The inspiration for the first book in my series, BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE, arose from our many visits to the Eastern Shore—but perhaps not the way you think. We’d made a couple trips to the Chesapeake Bay, drawn by incredible scenery, unforgettable sailing experiences, some of best cuisine anywhere and the natives’ hospitality.

I thought what a scenic place to set a my murder mystery. But it wasn’t until our third trip to the shore that I noticed some of the more nuanced characteristics of this area. This region is seized by a certain dichotomy, a split personality, so to speak. On the one hand, the Eastern Shore is steeped in the New England tradition of shipping and fishing. But the area still clings to its more Southern heritage. Confederate flags still hang from more than a few homes and establishments.

As I pondered this seeming contradiction—and at the same time, the political world was deteriorating into a more partisan realm—I thought the Eastern Shore would be a perfect setting for a story I’d been working on that centered around racial injustice and, hence, the seeds of BLOOD were germinated.

For the second entry, CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY, the genesis was based more on a single experience. A few years earlier, I’d visited Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. I expected to learn about the many stations of the Underground Railroad which dot the landscape around the city, and I did. But the museum is actually dedicated to exposing the horrendous crime of human trafficking going on around the world. I was so stunned by what I learned that I decided to craft the second murder mystery I’d been percolating around the crime of human trafficking. When I was fortunate enough, a few years later, to pay a visit to the wonderful city of Cape May, the pieces came together. (Insert pic of Cape May beach) Cape May is located only a few miles away from one of the busiest shipping routes in the country—and one often used for human smuggling as well. The charming town, the beautiful shore, the crime, both large and small, became book number two.

For my newest work, SCARLET AT CRYSTAL RIVER, the origin is a bit more humble—our local grocery store. Our family has really tried to maintain more healthy diets. For us, that has meant a generous helping of fresh produce daily. We have fresh fruit almost everyday and most dinners include freshly cooked vegetables or crisp salads. I have to admit that I never gave much thought as to how those rows of broccoli and coolers of strawberries got from the field to the stores. Then, as fate would have it, a current political discussion about illegal immigrants led me an older article about migrant workers laboring in the fields (the same one discovered by Darrell in the novel).

The details in the article shocked me and, as I did more research into the issue, I realized that our bounty and good health arise from the difficult and poorly paid work of migrant workers, many of them illegal. These interests led me to research towns in Florida—I try to find a truly memorable location for each of my stories—and I discovered the enchanting town of Crystal River, complete with manatees. Combined, these gave me more than enough inspiration for SCARLET AT CRYSTAL RIVER, the story of a very different kind of murder of some very unusual victims, that I’d been working on. It was the perfect fit.

If you pick up any one of the Haunted Shores Mysteries, you’ll not only be able to savor an eerie adventure and solve a puzzling whodunit and you might gain some insight into a few heady areas you weren’t even considering.

“I loved everything about this book. As a ghost story combined with a mystery, a romance, a social injustice and stunning historical details, CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY has something for everyone. The most sobering storyline in the book for me was the human trafficking angle. Overbeck puts a spotlight on this social justice issue in a way that makes you shake your head in disbelief and will hopefully, enlighten more people on the matter.” ★★★★★—ReadersView

Dr. Randy Overbeck is an award-winning educator, author and speaker. As an educator, he served children for four decades in a range of roles captured in his novels, from teacher and coach to principal and superintendent. His thriller, Leave No Child Behind (2012) and his recent mysteries, the Amazon No. 1 Best Seller, Blood on the Chesapeake, Crimson at Cape May and Scarlet at Crystal River have earned five star reviews and garnered national awards including “Thriller of the Year–ReadersFavorite.com, “Gold Award”—Literary Titan, “Mystery of the Year”—ReadersView.com and “Crowned Heart of Excellence”—InD’Tale Magazine. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Overbeck is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ critique group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville and the Midwest Writers Workshop. When he’s not writing or researching his next exciting novel or sharing his presentation, “Things Still Go Bump in the Night,” he’s spending time with his incredible family of wife, three children (and their spouses) and seven wonderful grandchildren.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: