You could say Blood on the Chesapeake had two parents. First—for let’s say, the mother—my extensive experience in education, at all levels, has given birth to my fiction. I’ve found with the diversity of individuals I’ve encountered—parents, kids, teachers, principals, board members, administrators—I can draw on a vast reservoir of characters to populate my novels. Besides, I discovered that everything happens in a school. Most of the time wonderful things happen like opening kids’ minds and helping children succeed and giving students a chance at a better life. But you’ll also find everything from political sniping to saving children’s lives (both literally and figuratively), from victimizing kids to greed and even theft. Add to that, the public school is such a common experience for millions of readers and I’ve found it a good place to start.
If the mother of the tale is my experience as an educator, the father of my narrative then would certainly be the new places I’ve encountered in my travels. When visiting an area, I’ve always been intrigued by the possibilities of unfamiliar places, the “I wonder if” notion. The initial idea for Blood on the Chesapeake actually sprang from a visit to a coastal New England town. The town boasted an old high school with an unusual architectural feature, a faux widow’s walk atop the second floor of the school building—which readers will discover is a critical part of the setting and narrative of Blood on the Chesapeake. When I later journeyed to the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, I was overwhelmed by the quiet, scenic beauty of the region— 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 breathtaking sunsets over a multi-colored canopy of trees. Later, when I learned of the unusual duality of the history and culture of the area, I became even more captivated. As a region, 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 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 some kid being lynched—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 local help.
Dr. Randy Overbeck is a writer, educator, researcher and speaker in much demand. During his three plus decades of educational experience, he has perfomed 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, 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