Monday, March 25, 2019

The Strange is Sometimes Right in Front of You: Guest Post by Randy Overbeck

RANDY OVERBECK:
THE STRANGE IS SOMETIMES RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU 

The minds of mystery writers work in mysterious ways.

I came upon this traditional, two-story, red-bricked school building with this perfect widow’s walk atop the second floor, complete with white railing around three sides. And I pictured a naked, dead body hanging from one cracked post. Weird, huh?

I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Randy Overbeck, and I’m the author of the new ghost story/mystery, Blood on the Chesapeake, which features—among other usual twists—you guessed it, a naked, dead body hanging from a widow’s walk atop a high school.

Have you ever visited a place, been so captivated by everything about the area, you thought you might’ve just found your perfect place? That was my response to the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Charming, quaint resort towns nestle into coves along miles and miles of undulating shoreline, the quiet blue-green waters of the Bay stretching out in all directions and, when you take time to watch, breathtaking sunsets over a multi-colored canopy of trees. Then, when I learned of the unusual duality of the history and culture of the area, I was hooked. The hallmarks of a proud New England heritage like fishing and shipping run deep throughout the Chesapeake area, but the region also with roots still very much in the south. The area was home to infamous slave plantations, where the freedom fighters Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman were both born. It is little wonder that the area’s loyalties were divided during the Civil War.

I thought it’d be interesting to explore this historical dichotomy in a work of fiction. I wondered, in this most peaceful and beautiful setting on the Chesapeake Bay, what if something happened in a small town, something so horrific and vile—like some kid being lynched from that widow’s walk—it was buried deep in a town’s memory, an ugly secret festering below the surface? This is the intriguing (though entirely fictional) premise of my new book, Blood on the Chesapeake, a ghost story/mystery about a thirty-year-old murder and the newcomer who uncovers the secret—with a little ghostly help.

Oh and the whole story did all start with a widow’s walk atop the school in the photo above. I actually encountered that school building in another small town, this one in an actual New England town in Maine. Okay, so I took some liberty in transplanting it to the Eastern Shore, but that’s what literary license is for, right?

Early reviews for the novel have started coming in and I’m thrilled the response the book is generating.

William Kent Krueger, Edgar Award winner and best-selling author of Ordinary Grace wrote: “Blood on the Chesapeake is a tale to be savored in a darkened room, with an eye to all the possibilities lurking just out of sight.”

Here’s what Hank Phillipi Ryan, best-selling author of Trust Me, thought of Blood on the Chesapeake: "Timely and original, this contemporary ghost story is genuinely entertaining! A terrific, one-sitting read.”

Blood on the Chesapeake has even garnered notice across the pond. UK thriller writer, Zoe Sharp, author of Fox Hunter, penned: "An absorbing and genuinely creepy debut tale that will have you gripped to the final chapter!"

As I travel, I keep my eyes and imagination open. When you possess the strange mind of a mystery writer, especially a weird ghost story/mystery writer, you never know where the next inspiration is going to come from. Perhaps a painstakingly restored Victorian mansion?

***

Dr. Randy Overbeck is a writer, educator, researcher and speaker in much demand. During his three plus decades of educational experience, he has performed many of the roles depicted in his writing with responsibilities ranging from coach and yearbook advisor to principal and superintendent. His new ghost story/mystery, Blood on the Chesapeake, will be released on April 10, 2019 by The Wild Rose Press. As the title suggests, the novel is set on the famous Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, home to endless shorelines, incredible sunsets and some of the best sailing in the world. Blood is first in a new series of paranormal mysteries, The Haunted Shores Mysteries. Dr. Overbeck’s first novel, Leave No Child Behind, a thriller about the terrorist takeover of a Midwest high school and one teacher’s stand against the intruders, won the 2011 Silver Award for Thrillers from ReadersFavorite.com. Dr. Overbeck is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and an active member of the literary community. You can follow him on Twitter @OverbeckRandy, friend him on Facebook at Author Randy Overbeck or check out his webpage, www.authorrandyoverbeck.com

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