Exclusive Interview with

Randy Overbeck

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When did you start writing?

I've been writing most of my adult life, in a professional vein for both college and administrative positions. I turned my writing skills to fictional pursuits about 15 years ago and have been fairly steady since.

Randy Overbeck
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What makes writing your passion?

I'm thrilled to have a chance to share a "truth" with my readers through my fiction. I'm excited to use the story structure of mysteries and thrillers to both entertain and inform my readers. I believe my words cn make a difference.

Randy Overbeck
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How long have you been writing?

If you referring to my published fiction, then the correct answer is since the mid-2000's. But this storytelling is simply an extension and a twist on the writing I did in my earlier profession. And where did you think I get the great story ideas?

Randy Overbeck
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What was the feeling when you published your first book?

I had a sense of real accomplishment, like climbing a hill I never thought I'd conquer. Once I got to the top and looked around...whew, what a feeling!

Randy Overbeck
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What’s the story behind your choice of characters?

All of my characters--or at least almost all--come from my years of experience in education. After more than 35 years working with teachers, students, parents, administrators, support staff, I have a wealth of actual persons I can draw on to craft my characters--though most are actually composite of people I knew. This also helps keep my characters credible.

Randy Overbeck
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What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?

I guess what is most challenging is how incredibly hard it is to get readers to even be aware of your work. Regardless of how many awards the books earn--mine have 7 national awards--or how many 5 star reviews your writing garners, it is almost impossible to get readers to take note, largely because of the tsunami of titles they have to wade through to find yours.

Randy Overbeck
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How do you get over the “writer’s block”?

This has not yet been a problem for me. I always seem to have less time to write than I have ideas. And more ideas keep coming. It's a good problem to have.

Randy Overbeck
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We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?

Nothing great is ever achieved without struggle. It's true that writing, getting published and getting noticed is REALLY difficult. But if you really want to write, really have the itch--not just I want to finish a book so I can say I'm published--then it's worth the time and sweat and heartbreak.

Randy Overbeck
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If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?

Have more confidence and keep going, regardless of the naysayers and the rejections. Thomas Edison had more a thousand failures before he invented the lightbulb. John Grisham and J. K. Rowling both got a large number of "NO's" before they got one "YES." Stay focused and stay at it.

Randy Overbeck
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Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?

Yes, when I have time. I try to benefit from any review. If readers are positive, I like to learn what in particular they enjoyed. If they are critical, I try to read their comments to see if I can learn something to improve my next writing project.

Randy Overbeck
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What is the feeling when you get a good review?

Nothing fuels me more than when a reader writes that she stayed up all night to finish the book or when he writes he couldn't stop reading my novel or loves my characters.

Randy Overbeck
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Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?

Many of the details of my plots are twists on events I've witnessed or learned about in my 35+ experience in education. Most of my characters are composites of actual colleagues. I use these experiences to keep my fiction as real as possible.

Randy Overbeck
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Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?

None of my character are based on me, though several have some of my quirks, skills and flaws.

Randy Overbeck
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What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?

Because it's so difficult to get eyeballs on your work in the first place, your cover may well be the only part of your work readers will see. If it doesn't click, readers might simply move on to the next title.

Randy Overbeck
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Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?

I'm happy to connect with readers in any way I can. Since I do a number of in-person events, I often talk with readers. But I also interact with them via email and SM everyday.

Randy Overbeck
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How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?

I feel humble and excited at the same time.

Randy Overbeck
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Who is your favorite author? Why?

The award-winning and best-selling author William Kent Krueger, without a doubt. His Cork O'Connor series (now at 18) are some the best mysteries I've ever read and their characters and setting are to die for. He is also very supportive of emerging writers like me.

Randy Overbeck
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What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?

Like every other writer, I pined for having a #1 NYT best seller and doing the interview circuit (Glad to meet you, Oprah). But right now, I'm happy being me--although I wouldn't mind more sales.

Randy Overbeck
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Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?

Since all of my novels have been published by small presses, that is not really a possibility. But to answer the question, I'm always learning new skills and when I read any of my published works, I always think of small changes I could make to strengthen the work. Mostly, though I'm happy with the novels as they are.

Randy Overbeck