The Haunted Shores Mysteries, Book 2
What if you needed to escape a haunted past and a town furious with you for exposing its ugly secret? With no job and few options, Darrell Henshaw—teacher, coach and paranormal sensitive—heads for Cape May to accept an offer to coach a summer football camp. And the resort town, with gorgeous beaches, rich history and famous Victorian mansions, might be just the getaway he needs.
Only, no one told him Cape May is home to even more horrors as the most haunted seaport on the East coast. The new town launches his gift of seeing ghosts into overdrive and one resident ghost, the Haunted Bride, stalks him, begging for help. Darrell can’t refuse.
Joining forces with Cassie, a street-wise teen and another sensitive, he investigates the bride’s death and discovers an even greater crime. Can Darrell and Cassie expose the killer before they meet the same fate?
When and where do you prefer to write?
I’ve been fortunate to have a great office to work in, with my files and resource materials, my laptop and a REALLY large screen. I can retreat to this sanctuary pretty much any time of the day for peace, quiet and concentration. However, unlike many other writers, I don’t have a set time to write. Most days I write in the later morning, but I’ve also sat down mid-afternoon to draft and even on some evenings. Usually I’m able to write a few hours each day and then my muse seems to evaporate and I move off to something else, only to return refreshed the next day.
Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
Many of the characters in my fiction are actually composites of people I’ve known, worked with and sometimes worked for. My stories are generally set in school settings and, as a result, many characters come from these environs. After working in education for almost forty years as a teacher, college professor and school leader, I encountered and worked with thousands of individuals—teachers, administrators, students, parents, board members and staff members. The vast majority of these are unselfish, compassionate and caring individuals, really good people and with many varied characteristics to tap. But education is just like every other field of human endeavour and I’ve also interacted with a number of selfish, entitled, and even evil real-life characters. This experience has provided me with a huge well to draw on to craft the heroes and villains of my novel as well as credible minor characters who give breath and breadth to the narrative.
Which genre do you not like at all?
That is a tough question to answer because I’m a very eclectic reader. I’m very into mysteries now, but I often include a good thriller as well in my reading list. I’ve read several good sci-fi books (Recently I’d recommend K. M. O’Brien’s The Sculpted Ship or Jeremy Findley’s The Darkest Time of Night.) However, I also enjoy history and historical fiction. (Check out Valiant Ambition by Nathaniel Philbrick. I love Ken Follett’s historical sagas like The Pillars of the Earth, but my favorite historical novel is Gore Vidal’s Burr.) I even enjoy horror—I know, big surprise since I’m writing ghost stories—but tend to avoid horror that gets overly gory. Even though my new novels are classified as paranormal mysteries, I’m not much taken in by the vampire/zombie craze. I can even be convinced to read a little romance if the author mixes in some suspense. And okay, I probably wouldn’t buy something strictly chick lit but hey, I’m a guy. The bottom line, though, is if the writing is good enough, I’ll invest my time to read the work, regardless of genre.
If you had the chance to co-write a book, whom would it be with?
I’ve met and have great respect for a number of recognized, successful writers and would jump at the chance to co-write with any one of them, if only to learn from their craft. If I got to choose, I’d probably ask to collaborate with William Kent Krueger, author of the best-selling Cork O’Connor series and winner of the Edgar. I’ve learned from him at a few writing conferences and he was even generous enough to write an insightful blurb for the first entry in the series, Blood on the Chesapeake. His writing style—his pacing, his focus on characterization and his adept use of setting is close enough to mine—though far more skilled—I think a collaboration might just work.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
I don’t have any particular method or inspiration. I try to make sure the name fits a particular character, at least in my mind. Also a name for a particular character may change as I move through the process of completing the manuscript. I do have a few guidelines though. I try to select fairly “normal” and recognized names, as I don’t want my readers to have to spend their time trying to decipher the pronunciation of a name and thus take away from their engagement in the story. Also, I try to make sure the names I select are disparate enough that readers moving through the narrative are unlikely to confuse character A with character B.
If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
For me this is not simply a rhetorical question. Since my current series is the “Haunted Shores Mysteries,” the selection of the setting for each book has been a major decision. Of course, the location has to be a beach town—Haunted Shores, after all—and I want to have enough variety of locations to keep readers coming back. The first book was set on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, one of the undiscovered gems in the US, in my humble opinion. The second is of course Cape May, New Jersey (Crimson at the Cape May). The third instalment, which I’m completing now, is set on the gulf coast of Florida. If I were to take my hero—Darrell, teacher, coach and paranormal sensitive—out of the country, I’d most likely send him to some ancient, alluring Mediterranean resort town, with a rich history of ghosts. I’m thinking someplace in the Greek isles. And I’d have to spend a few weeks there, strictly for research, of course. I need to remember the sunblock.
Whom did you inherit your love for books/reading from?
It started early. My mom read to me when I was quite young and I’m told I was reading when I was three. But during my later school years, I lost most of my passion for reading. I was so busy reading what I had to read, I didn’t have time to read what I wanted to read. It wasn’t till I was finished with college that I again discovered the thrill of getting lost in a book and now have always had one (or two or three) that I’m reading.
If a movie or series would be made from your books, would you be happy with the ‘based on’ version or would you rather like they showed it exactly the way you created it?
I only wish I’d be fortunate enough to have to make this decision, though more than one reviewer has commented on the cinematic nature of my writing. (One critic actually wrote, “I see a movie in Overbeck’s future.”) However, I’m still waiting. Perhaps, I could interest Steven Speilberg. He hasn’t done a ghost story/mystery yet, has he? If I were asked, I’d likely take the route Lee Child chose when Tom Cruise wanted to purchase the movie rights for his work. Fans of the novels were stunned and shocked. The hero of his novels, a loner named Jack Reacher, is tall and huge and intimidating, and Tom Cruise is, well, really short. When they asked Lee Child, his response was “If the money’s good enough, they can do whatever they want.” I think I’d lean toward Lee. Just show me the money.
Who would you like/have liked to interview?
Since I’ve had the chance to meet and learn from—even though not exactly interview—a good number of current successful writers (Krueger, CJ Box, Zoe Sharp, Hank Phillipi Ryan, David Morell, Alexandra Ivy, Ken Follett, Andrew Gross to name a few) I like the idea of interviewing a historical figure. Since we’re merely in the fantasy category here, having a chance to sit down with an author like William Shakespeare or Edgar Allen Poe or Jane Austen, an author that carved the way for fiction and story would be totally enlightening and inspiring. I’m always looking to learn and any of those would be incredible teachers, even if only for the short time of an interview.
Which character would you like to be in this book?
That’s easy. In an earlier life, I’d love to play Darrell, the heroic teacher and coach who also sees ghosts. Although we have a few things in common (I started out as a high school teacher and coach, though my area was English and reading and I dedicated my career to ensuring children had a better life through school) but I’m certainly no sensitive. For those who want to know, yes,I do believe in ghosts, but no, I haven’t encountered one personally. I certainly don’t have Darrell’s gift. Although family and friends tell me a have a few OCD tendencies (don’t we all?) I don’t have anything like the full-blown case like our hero.
Thank you, Dr. Randy Overbeck and RABT Book Tours
About the author
Dr. Randy Overbeck is a veteran educator who has served children for more than three decades as a teacher and school leader, winning national recognition for his work. Over that time, he has performed many of the roles depicted in his fiction, with responsibilities ranging from coach and yearbook advisor to principal and superintendent. An accomplished writer, he has been published in academia, the popular press and, more recently, in better bookstores. His first novel, Leave No Child Behind, won the 2011 Silver Award for Thriller of the Year from ReadersFavorite.com. His second novel, Blood on the Chesapeake, a ghost story/mystery released this year by the Wild Rose Press, has earned 5 STAR REVIEWS from RaeadersFavorite.com, Long and Short Reviews, Literary Titan and Chanticleer Book Reviews. It also garnered national awards, the GOLD AWARD from Literary Titan and Honorable Mention from Readers View. Blood is the first in a new series called the “Haunted Shores Mysteries.” Dr. Overbeck is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and an active member of the literary community.