#Interview with Randy Overbeck, author of Scarlet at Crystal River

Today you are going to meet author Randy Overbeck. He’s going to tell us more about himself as well as his latest book Scarlet at Crystal River. You can also enjoy an excerpt before you download your own copy. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for even more! Best of luck entering the giveaway!

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. Only a pair of ghosts decide to intrude on their celebration. And not just any ghosts, the spirits of two young Latino children. Unwilling at first to derail the honeymoon for yet another ghost hunt, Darrell finally concedes when a painting of the kids comes alive, weeping and pleading for his help.

When he and Erin track down the artist, they discover the children’s family were migrant workers the next county over. But when they travel there, their questions about the kids gets their car shot up and Erin hospitalized. Torn between fear and rage, Darrell must decide how far he will go to get justice for two young children he never even knew.

Read an excerpt:

Darrell started, “Like I said back there, it’s complicated. We—”

Erin’s side window exploded. The fractured glass shot slivers across the front seat. The sound of an explosion followed a beat behind. Erin screamed. Something stung Darrell’s right arm. He grabbed a cut on his skin and then looked across the seat. Damn. Erin’s arm was bleeding, bad.

He couldn’t breathe. “Erin?” He stared at her for a second and then jerked his gaze back to the road and straightened the car.

Something hit the rear window. Luis yelped. The glass shattered and a second later, another crack followed. Luis fell forward. Was he hit? Darrell’s gaze jumped from the road to Erin to the back seat. Luis had fallen to the floor. Darrell couldn’t see him.

“Luis?” Erin called.

No answer.

Dragging his eyes from the road, Darrell shot another glance at Erin. Her entire arm was now turning red, the edge of her short sleeve wicking up the scarlet. The fingers of her left hand gripped tight around her right arm, the knuckles turning white. The blood still seeped through.
Dragging his eyes from Erin for a second, he turned in his seat to try to look.

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Describe your book in one sentence or fewer than 25 words.

SCARLET AT CRYSTAL RIVER is a cold-case murder mystery, wrapped in a ghost story, served with a generous side of romance, all set in a gorgeous resort location. And to top it off, it’s a Christmas mystery to boot.

What was the inspiration behind this book?

As I considered how to approach this, the third entry in my Haunted Shores Mysteries, I knew I wanted to do something different. For the first, the #1 Amazon and B & N Best Seller, BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE, I created a ghost of huge black teen murdered three decades earlier. For the second installment, another Amazon Best Seller, CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY, my ghost became the specter of a young bride murdered on her wedding night, still bleeding on her white dress. For number three, a Christmas mystery set on the Gulf coast of Florida, I wanted to find something fitting, fitting to the setting, to the season, to the story.

On a break from my brainstorming, I was thumbing through family pictures and came upon a photo of my grandkids playing on a playground.

Staring at the images of the smiling faces, it hit me. What if the mystery was about the death of two kids? Two kids whose ghosts haunt my hero to find justice for them? The rest, as they say, is history.

What kind of research did you have to do for it?

One aspect of my preparation for my novels that I really enjoy is the research , and I do a great deal of it. For the novels in my Haunted Shores Mysteries Series, I invested my time researching all aspects of each novel. Here are just a few examples. 

Each location is new to me (much the same as it is for my protagonist) and I research each setting extensively, getting to know locals, merchants, geography, customs, etc., so that my portrait of the area is faithful and accurate.

Because I work to make my passages about ghosts as close to what has been actually documented by those who study this phenomena—with some literary freedom, of course—I do a great deal of research on how ghosts interact with the living.  

Since the story each of my novels revolves around a current social concern, in the case of SCARLET, the abuse of migrant workers and the entire issue of immigration, this takes meticulous research to get it right.

Throw in the fact that my stories take place twenty years earlier and I have to be careful to portray the culture and times accurately, in songs, money, dialect, political issues, etc. All of this calls for extensive and careful research. 

So far, according to my readers and the reviewers, I‘ve done pretty well in this arena.

Dr. Randy Overbeck is an award-winning educator, author and speaker. As an educator, he served children for more than three 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 and Crimson at Cape May 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.

Social Media Handles

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Randy Overbeck will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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