Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Garden Interview with Randy Overbeck

Hello Randy

Welcome to our garden interviews.

·         Are your characters based on real people?
·         Yes and no. Most of my characters are actually composites of actual people I’ve met, known and worked with. I like to borrow a characteristic from one person and a trait from another to create a believable fictional character. In my decades of work in education, I’ve met just about every kind of character—teachers, parents, administrators, staff members and of course students--most of them quite good, more than a few fairly evil. I found these decades of experience a deep well to draw on to develop believable and realistic characters.
·         Do you have set times during the day that you write?
·         Like other committed authors, I recognize the importance of writing on a regular basis, pretty much everyday. For me, I find that my best writing happens in small chunks, usually between 90 and 150 minutes. I do have a routine, but I’m not tied to it. Most days I write in the late morning for a couple of hours, but I often find time later in the day for either research or more writing. It depends on life’s other demands.
·         Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
·         I believe, if you’re going to write and put yourself out there, then it’s important to write something that matters. I subscribe to a belief I learned from author S. J. Rosan, “Nonfiction is about reality; fiction is about truth.” I write to include important meaning about life within the pages of a good story. For example, my new novel, Blood on the Chesapeake, is a cold case murder mystery wrapped in a ghost story, served with a side of romance. But the book also carries an important message about discrimination and racism and the ways we look at each other and treat others differently.
·         Do you have to travel researching your book(s)?
·         My current series, the Haunted Shores Mysteries, feature stories set in resort towns on the water. Each novel takes place in a different setting, so it’s critical that I research each setting. That requires me to travel multiple times to the location to learn the people, the culture, the history as well as the geography. So far, that has meant repeated trips to the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, to the incredible resort town of Cape May and more recently, to the gulf coast of Florida. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.
·         What tips would you give a new writer?

·         As an emerging author, I’ve benefitted a great deal from help, insight and support from other writers, both beginning writers and best-selling authors. So my advice follows from this positive experience. First, I’d recommend participating in writers’ conferences. I’ve attended Killer Nashville, Midwest Writers Workshop and Sleuthfest among others. Each conference has its own strengths and I’d recommend any of them. Second, try to find a strong writers’ critique group.  While it’s true that writing is a solitary act, I’ve found my writing (and revising) has benefitted greatly from the input and feedback from fellow writers. Other writers often see things I miss and the differing perspectives can be used to strengthen the manuscript as long as I keep in mind the decision on any revision is mine.

·         Do you enjoy giving interviews?
o   The short answer is yes. Whenever I have a chance to share my story and my writing, I’m glad for the opportunity. Frankly, it doesn’t happen enough. In some interviews, the interviewer will ask a question I hadn’t expected and I may have a little trouble responding, but that simply gives me an opportunity to think on my feet. Live interviews on TV are a little more challenging, but I can usually handle it. Bring on more.
·         Are you jealous of other writers?
o   Not really. Of course, I’d love to have a bestseller or a six-figure advance and it’s not hard to envy that. But that’s not why I write. The truth is nearly all the successful writers I’ve met have been supportive and generous with their knowledge, experience and time. I’ve learned a great deal from writers like William Kent Krueger, Hank Phillipi Ryan, Zoe Sharp and Alexandra Ivy and have realized that their success is hard won and well deserved. And they have all worked really hard to get to where they are. They inspire me to reach for higher goals.
·         Have you ever found true love?
o   This is not a hard question since I’ve been very lucky in that department. I’ve met my true love, Cathy, more than 50 years ago and have been married to her for an amazing 47 years. In fact, that true love has blossomed into three beautiful, successful children, three in-laws and seven magnificent grandchildren. I feel very blessed in this vein and try never to forget this.
·         Who do you see as a hero/heroine in your life?
o   I have two answers for this question. My first and personal heroine was my mother. My mom and dad got divorced when I was in junior high and my mother raised six boys on her own. She hadn’t had a job outside the home, but when this happened, she sacrificed everything, learned new work skills, and helped my brothers and me become successful, caring men. This was with almost no help or support from anyone. In my book, that’s truly heroic. The second part of the answer is less personal and more professional. In my decades of experience in education, I had the privilege to work with many dedicated, committed teachers and administrators and watched them do incredible good for students and their families. More to the point, I watched them do many heroic things, helping kids lift their lives out of poverty. For these reasons, I cast educators as heroes in my fiction.
·         What is your favorite time of year and why?
o   I enjoy all times of the year. I live in the Midwest (Ohio) and we get all the seasons there and I’ve learned there are things I love about each season. But, if I had to choose one time of year, it would likely be the fall. The autumn with the crisp temperatures, magnificent changing foliage, football games, and most important the start of school—all these reasons make this season my favorite. Also, as a teacher, fall meant a chance to start over, a brand new beginning. Perhaps this is the reason I chose fall as the setting in BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE, the first book in my Haunted Shores Mysteries series.

Download Blood on the Chesapeake from Amazon and other online retailers

Dr. Randy Overbeck
Author of the new paranormal mystery, 
Blood on the Chesapeake 
#1 of the Haunted Shores Mysteries series


GiniRifkin said...

Hi Randy: I'm from Illinois, and I love the fall season two. Thank you for being a teacher.
Continued success with your writing.

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

I enjoyed your interview and getting to know you better.
Your stories sound intriguing. Love ghost stories.