Back-Story: The Overnighter’s Secrets

                                                         By Jeff Salter 

            On Apr. 30 this year, I was proofing galleys for “The Overnighter’s Secrets”.  Why do I highlight that bit of info?  Because, on Apr. 30, one YEAR ago, I was standing in my friend’s garage examining an antique suitcase’s contents — which became the inspiration for my 7th novel manuscript.  Yes, my 7th was first to be published … and was released by Astraea Press one week ago.  [I will list buy links at the bottom of this post.]
            By October last year, I’d finished and revised my manuscript and submitted it to two publishers.  I’m extremely fortunate that the right one was interested — I had a signed contract with  Astraea Press by the end of the year.
            If you read my novel, you will hopefully also peruse my Afterword and Special Author’s Note at the end.  In those, I detail the rather amazing – and, to me, quite miraculous – circumstances which contributed to this novel.  I won’t repeat EVERYthing here, of course, but bear with me as I highlight a few items:
*          My friend had acquired these items some 16 years ago, from dumpster divers in Calif.  During that entire time he’d only shown them to one other person.
*          We were able to find a name (Lizette Madigan) on the back of one photo from a family album … and there were names of cast members (including Lizetta Holdsworth) in several Vaudeville programs;  we also found a name (Lizette Thorne) in the front cover of a diary and on the backs of a few photos from silent movie sets.  But it was only through one of the legal documents in that overnighter that we conclusively connected all those variant names to the same individual!
*          It was mid-May last year before I realized I HAD to write a story using this material … and arrived at an approach to my new novel.
*          By mid-July last year, I’d written some 77,000 words.  My research put me in contact with the granddaughter of the silent movie actress whose items had inspired my story.
*          My friend willingly GAVE all those personal mementoes to the family which had lost them years ago.

Fact to fiction
            So how did an actual silent movie actress (and her belongings) inspire the plot and characters of a contemporary novel of romantic suspense?  This blurb will give you an idea, but you’ll need to invest $3 in an electronic copy to really appreciate it!

Blurb:
            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.

Buy links:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Overnighters-Secrets-ebook/dp/B0085RQ5KO/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338003149&sr=1-1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-overnighters-secrets-jl-salter/1111080540?ean=2940014364515

http://www.astraeapress.com/#ecwid:category=662245&mode=product&product=11343705

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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30 Responses to Back-Story: The Overnighter’s Secrets

  1. Tonya Kappes says:

    Very cool, Jeff!! I absolutely love the cover and excited to read it! Congrats!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks, Tonya. Elaina Lee created my cover. It’s a different perspective — I had ‘pictured’ it from the outside, looking AT the hotel — but I think she had a good instinct.
      Hope you enjoy it when you get a chance to read.

      Like

  2. Dianne says:

    I’m halfway through reading it – it’s a good story!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks, Dianne. I think the pace picks up in the second half … and your heart should be pounding in the final third.

      Like

  3. Micki Gibson says:

    As someone who desperately needs to clean out her own garage, I’m sorry to report that there is nothing as cool as that suitcase hiding among the many, many boxes cluttering up my garage. That is so awesome that you were able to find someone in the family to return the “artifacts”. Congratulations on your release!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      I really need to clear out my garage also, Micki. But my friend, Dean, has TWO garages … and both are very well organized. Hardly any clutter.

      Like

  4. jbrayweber says:

    I remember you telling me the back story last year of The Overnighter’s Secrets. Simply fascinating! I get chill bumps every just thinking of the true story, as well as your fictional one. I just know I’m going to enjoy this book!

    Congrats again, Jeff!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks, Jenn. I thought I recalled telling you (and a few others) about this back-story. Yeah, it gives me chill bumps too. I mean what are the chances of this granddaughter seeing the message I posted on the International Movie Database? Wow.

      Like

  5. lisaorchard says:

    I’m definitely putting this story on my TBR Pile! I love mysteries! 🙂

    Like

  6. crbwrites says:

    Can’t wait for the lunch hour to start reading!

    Like

  7. Congratulations, Jeff!! What an intriguing storyline. I can’t wait to read it!. 🙂 Mystery/Suspense is my favorite! Off to get my copy now! Wishing you tons of sales!!

    Like

  8. This will be on the top of my summer reading list! I love good suspense based around real life. I’m almost as anxious to read the story behind the story as the adventure itself. Congratulations, Jeff!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Yes, Stacey, the tie-in to real life is a big draw for me also. From my many years of librarianship, I know that lots of readers really enjoy stories which link to actual people or events.

      Like

  9. Lindsay says:

    Interesting story on how the book came to be. I’ve already got the book somewhere in my TBR pile and can’t wait to read it.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks, Lindsay. If it’s like the ‘pile’ on my new Kindle, I usually have difficulty deciding which one to start first.

      Like

  10. Great story. Gave me chills. How wonderful that these items were not only used for your inspiration but got back to the original famly. Well done, you and your friend!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Yes, Jillian … chills for me too. My buddy and I frequently speak of this and we both consider it just short of miraculous. I mean what are the odds of us even figuring out who those items belonged to? Much less it being a silent movie actress. And all the rest. Miracles.

      Like

  11. Tonette says:

    I am so glad that the overnight bag was rescued by your friend; so many people’s stories are lost.EVERYONE has stories and they should be told.I can understand how you could be inspired greatly by this Jeff and your book is sitting in my computer, waiting for me.I may just delve into the Afterword and Special Author’s Note first. I am finishing a play based on an unusual experience and by going through my aunt’s things for the article onher,I have also been inspired to do a novel or play inspired by her and other members’ of the family’s lives, I assume the way the findings in the bad awoke something in you…in there somewhere,I promise myself to get to The Overnighter’s Secrets.
    Elaina did her usual magic on the cover! It’s great!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks, Tonette. And the actress died in 1970 … it was over 25 years later that the items were trashed (either by the people who broke in to the family’s storage unit … or possibly by the owners of the storage unit).
      That’s awesome that you have access to your aunt’s mementoes. I hope you can garner all the time you need to make it into a great ‘read’.

      Like

  12. Tonette says:

    That was supposed to be’BAG’, not bad…I was distracted!

    Like

  13. Laurie Ryan says:

    So happy for you, Jeff. I LOVE seeing your cover on the roll for this blog. Congratulations! I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I’m looking forward to curling up with it one of these days.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thank you, Laurie. I know you’re busy reading and writing your own stories, so I’m sure mine will keep … until you can curl up with it. LOL

      Like

  14. I’m so happy for you! Congrats on the book, the sale, and the publication! YAY!!!!!

    Like

  15. Anne Kemp says:

    I am so excited to read this!!! Very cool 🙂

    Anne

    Like

  16. Pingback: How My First Published Novel Came to Be | Four Foxes, One Hound

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