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Friday, April 19, 2019

Guest post: "The Strange Brain of a Mystery Writer," by Randy Overbeck


THE STRANGE BRAIN OF A MYSTERY WRITER

The minds of mystery writers work in mysterious ways.
A few years ago, I came upon a 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, as I stared up at this historical architecture, I pictured a naked, dead body hanging from one cracked post. Weird, huh?
            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. Here were charming, quaint resort towns nestled 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, I

learned of the unusual duality of the history and culture of the area and was hooked. The Eastern Shore is steeped in the hallmarks of a proud New England heritage like fishing and shipping, but also with roots still very much in the south. The area was also 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 a student being lynched from the railing at a high school—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 help from the spirit world.
Early reviews for the novel have started coming in and here’s a sample:
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.”
As I travel, I keep my eyes and imagination open. When you possess the peculiar 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—which features, you guessed it, a naked, dead body hanging from a widow’s walk atop a high school—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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