Author Interview Randy Overbeck: Scarlet At Crystal River

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

Author Interview: Randy Overbeck

1. How did you choose your genre? What made you write this book?

I’m a very eclectic reader though my preferences run toward mystery and thriller. So it seemed natural, when I decided to step into the writing world, that I’d choose to pen a mystery—or in the case of the Haunted Shores Mysteries, “a cold case murder mystery wrapped in a ghost story served with a side of romance, all set in a beautiful resort location.” (Special thanks to the early reviewer who coined this apt description.) SCARLET AT CRYSTAL RIVER follows in this same vein, though it is also a Christmas mystery. As the third entry in the series, the novel completes the arc of the romantic narrative and seemed the perfect capstone for the trilogy.

2. Writers write what they know and must observe the world. Are you a firstborn, middle or last child, and how does this shape your view of the world?

I’m neither the first, middle or last born. In fact, I’m one of seven brothers, arriving somewhere in the middle. Perhaps, my almost middle child status is why I gravitated toward service and helping others. In fact, I spent more than 35 years serving children in education, first as a teacher, then as a college prof, finally as a school leader. These decades of educational experience has provided me with a rich resource of characters, situations, and crises to weave into my fiction. I do in fact write what I know and that is why all my fictional heroes are teachers—much as my real-world ones are as well.

3. Where is your favorite place to write?

I’m very fortunate that I’m able to write in most any place—the back of a restaurant at lunch, a coffee shop with staff and customers bustling around me, even in the waiting room of my doctor’s office. But without a doubt, my favorite place to write is my office. A few years ago, we designed and built a new house and I was able to design my office the way I wanted. What a treat! With a large L-shaped wooded desk, file cabinet and printer nearby, I have all my resources close at hand. It doesn’t hurt to have a huge window on one side, with a view of the pond and the woods beyond. And since SCARLET AT CRYSTAL RIVER was written mostly during the pandemic shutdown, my office became the perfect oasis to create another world, this one on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida.

4. How do you feel about killing your darlings, and what do you do with the remains?

As they say in the commercials, I do it all the time. I actually enjoy the process of editing and revising, watching my best writing come to the fore. Of course, this means killing my darlings at times. Usually I drop them into a file of murdered darlings, knowing some at least will see the light of day again, that is, if they are as good as I thought they were.

5. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?

That’s easy. My favorite author is best-selling mystery writer William Kent Kreuger, author of the award-winning Cork O’Connor series. I’ve met and talked with Kent at writing conferences several times over the years. In fact, he wrote a great blurb for the first book in the series, BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE. We first met several years ago when I was trying to balance a demanding career with wanting to write. I knew he had done the same for his first few books, so I asked how he managed it. His answer was so simple and so profound, it helped steer me on the correct writing path.

“For those who enjoy a mixed bag in the books they read, Randy Overbeck has performed a nifty literary feat. Within a web woven of threads from a number of genres—a bit of romance, a lot of mystery, and a good deal of old-fashioned ghost whispering—he’s written a pretty solid social commentary.  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.  The first of three in a projected trilogy, it’ll be a hard wait for the books that follow.”—William Kent Kreuger

6. Inquiring minds want to know…tell readers something about you that no one knows.

Many years ago, I received instruction from a trained belly dancer so I could make a ship, painted across my stomach, dance on cue for the musical, South Pacific. It was hilarious and great fun.

7. You are stranded on a deserted island with only a backpack for company. What three items are in your survival pack?

Assuming I have access to water and some food—those life-sustaining essentials—I’d want to have with me at least one compilation of great works, perhaps by William Shakespeare for inspiration and intellectual sustenance. The other two items would likely be a tablet (the kind with paper, not the electronic type) and a good pencil. That way I’d have the ability to record my adventures—which, when I got rescued, would no doubt become a runaway bestseller.

8. If you could have one superpower in your existence, what would it be?

I think I’d love to have Wonder Woman’s truth lasso. I simply think it would be great to make anyone and everyone tell the truth. What a perfect weapon that would be in our present world bombarded with so much misinformation and falsehoods.

9. Favorite snack?

That’s hard to say, but it would probably be something in the sweet category. I’m a real sucker for a perfectly baked and gracefully iced Danish. Oh, this is making me hungry.

10. Indy 500 – Do you know how to get where you’re going, or do you drive the speed limit?

I usually know where I’m going, and I mostly am plowing full speed ahead. For example, I’m almost 75% completed my next writing task, another amateur sleuth mystery about some new drugs that five graders get ahold of and end up killing five students. I’m also knee-deep in the research and planning of my next narrative—as much as my time will allow.

Scarlet At Crystal River

by Randy Overbeck


GENRE: Mystery



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 get 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.



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.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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–, “Gold Award”—Literary Titan, “Mystery of the Year”— 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.

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In The Key Of Love

I should have known I would end up here... Give me a good book and I'm in heaven. Especially romance, mystery, mayhem, the fantastic and the fey. Give me a laptop and I'm writing any one of these, and not in any particular order.

9 thoughts on “Author Interview Randy Overbeck: Scarlet At Crystal River”

  1. Thanks so much for hosting and for the interview. I’m on the road again today–another author talk–but will try to catch up with all when I get home tonight.

  2. You might want to check SCARLET AT CRYSTAL RIVER out. It has already won two national awards and multiple five star reviews!

  3. That’s awesome,Randy! It’s a pleasure to have you here! Congratulations on this exciting release!

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