JILLIAN: Today we have a special guest, Jeff Salter, who has a brand new release that sounds like a super great read. Welcome, Jeff.
JEFF: Introducing “The Overnighter’s Secrets”
By Jeff Salter
Very pleased to return to Southern Sizzle! My thanks to Jillian for inviting me back … to chat about my recent release, “The Overnighter’s Secrets”, published about two weeks ago by Astraea Press.
Though I’m previously published in non-fiction and poetry, my seventh completed fiction manuscript became my first novel to be released. The inspiration for this story came from examining the varied contents of an antique suitcase — I was one of only two people to see these items since my friend acquired them (some 16 years ago) from dumpster divers in Calif.
We were able to connect a diary, a family photo album, numerous Vaudeville programs, and photos from silent movie sets … all to one person — Lizette Thorne. Internet research revealed that she was an actress in nearly four dozen silent movies and spent one year (1916) in the same studio as Charlie Chaplin. By the time I’d written some 77,000 words in my first draft, my earliest research finally put me in contact with the granddaughter of that actress!
So how did an actual silent movie actress (and her belongings) inspire the fictional plot and characters of a contemporary novel of romantic suspense? This excerpt and blurb will give you an idea, but you’ll need to invest $3 in an electronic copy to really appreciate it!
Before Beth could even scream, the filthy punk in a hooded sweatshirt crashed through the back door and covered her mouth with thin, smoky hands. She struggled to get off the couch but couldn’t squeeze loose from his grip. She tried kicking with her knees and bare feet, but the intruder stayed clear. Eyes opened impossibly wide, Beth’s most cogent thought was that Shane should be there.
“Hold still! I didn’t come for you. But you gotta be quiet. Unnerstand?” He waited as if expecting an answer, though his hand remained over her mouth. “Nod if you unnerstand.”
Bethany Muse nodded once, quickly. Her limbs were rigid and her insides felt like ice; she was nauseous from his stink.
“I got a gun and I’ll use it if I have to.” He displayed the revolver jammed into his waistband. “I’m gonna take my hand off…but no noise. I also got a stun gun…and it ain’t as loud as bullets. Unnerstand?”
Trembling, Beth barely nodded.
“Okay…” He kept his bony fingers near her mouth, probably in case she changed her mind.
“I don’t have anything.” She could taste his nasty smell. “What do you want?”
“I’ll know it when I see it.” He quickly assessed the primary rooms in her small cottage. “We start in the bedroom.”
Beth shook her head slowly sideways. “No. I’ll stay here. I won’t be any trouble.”
“You’re coming with me.” He produced the stun device from his hoody’s pouch. “Bedroom.”
If Shane Holder were here, this punk would be quickly reduced to about 140 pounds of bloody ground meat…but Beth’s ex-lover was two thousand miles away.
When Beth left suddenly, it broke two hearts … but she’d had no choice. Shane, a rugged, ex-Airborne biker, handled it badly … but so had she. Three years later and 2000 miles away, she desperately needs her ex-lover’s protection from a violent menace with ‘bad history’ who’ll do anything to reclaim a mysterious suitcase Beth possesses.
Long before Shane acquired that overnighter, a silent movie actress kept secrets there … and now several lives are in jeopardy. An ambitious female state senate candidate hires a ruthless investigator to eliminate potential campaign problems like her dark family secret — a bizarre 1889 murder.
Is Beth’s terrifying ordeal simply because she unwittingly possesses the overnighter’s secrets? Or is it due to the meth-fueled dumpster-diver’s unfinished business?
Shane will likely return to California after he resolves this Tennessee situation … so Beth struggles to resist her reawakened feelings. But before she can sort out their renewed relationship … Beth is kidnapped! To rescue her, Shane enters an obvious trap in a dilapidated hotel. Only with Beth’s help can both survive the violent struggle against her kidnappers.