“First, write what you know."
In pursuing his literary career, Dr. Randy Overbeck has clearly heeded this sage advice. From the beginning, he has chosen to set his narratives—whether edge-of-your-seat thriller, classical whodunit, or eerie ghost story—squarely in the realm of school. His three plus decades of experience as a teacher, professor and school leader has infused his writing with a rare authenticity about the world of education, even as the protagonists of his tales tackle daunting, out-sized challenges.
In his career, Dr. Overbeck has held a wide range of positions and has brought this knowledge and insight to the characters he has created. For example, in his early years, he served as an English teacher and student newspaper adviser, much the same as Dee Dee Sterber, the heroine of Leave No Child Behind. (Leave No Child Behind, a thriller about the terrorist takeover of a small town school and the teacher who confronts the intruders in her own hallways, was published in 2010).
Dr. Randy Overbeck
Then, like Ken Parks, the assistant superintendent and protagonist in Hard Lessons, Overbeck has also served in the role of school investigator, interrogating students and teachers in order to uncover the truth behind a crime at school. (Hard Lessons, a traditional mystery about the death of four elementary students from a strange drug and the drive to uncover the murderer and drug dealer, is a novel in process and is set for publication in 2022). His doctoral studies instilled in Dr. Overbeck an enhanced skill set for research and analysis that inspired him to imbue the character of Darrell Henshaw, history teacher and amateur researcher of Blood on the Chesapeake with similar abilities. (Blood on the Chesapeake is the first entry in the new ghost story/mystery series, “The Haunted Shores Mysteries,” and became an Amazon and B & N Bestseller in 2021. Crimson at Cape May and Scarlet at Crystal River are entries 2 and 3 in the award-winning series.
Though generally well regarded in his profession, Dr. Overbeck has had his own share of struggles. During his years as an educator and student advocate, he has had to confront those in power—like his characters of Dee Dee and Darrell—often asking the hard questions, sometimes even costing him his job. In reality, Overbeck’s passionate work for literacy education has been well recognized by his colleagues and earned him both state and national awards including “The Teacher Leader Award” from the Reading Recovery Council of North America. Not surprisingly, his writing has earned similar notoriety, with Leave No Child Behind winning the Silver Award for “Thriller of the Year” from ReadersFavorite.com. His newest works, the Haunted Shores Mysteries have garnered 9 national awards thus far.
When he is not writing, Dr. Overbeck is often in demand as a speaker to groups, large and small. His speaking experiences run the gamut from delivering a keynote at a national conference to a participant in a federal policy debate on education. During the past several years, he has shared his tribute, “Teachers--the Real American Heroes” with more than 150 clubs and organizations, introducing audiences across the country to his first novel, Leave No Child Behind. More Recently, Dr. Overbeck has shared his two new programs, about ghosts “Things Still Go Bump in the Night,” and "A Few Favorite Haunts." Click here to request Dr. Overbeck speak to your organization, chapter or book club.
Dr. Overbeck and family
Dr. Overbeck and his wife, Cathy
A member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Overbeck is 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. He also currently serves as Past President of the 20,000 member Ohio Retired Teachers Association (ORTA) with members in more than thirty states.
Dr. Overbeck is married to Cathy, his wife and partner of 46 years, and they have three grown children—settled in three different states across the country—as well as seven grandchildren, who he loves to spoil. For him, time not devoted to writing and speaking is spent traveling to visit family and other favorite spots around the US.