HOLLIE OVERTON on Criminal Inspiration

Written by Hollie Overton

Growing up in South Texas, there were two things I knew with absolute certainty, 1) that my father loved me and 2) that he was deeply troubled. There were moments when he appeared perfectly normal, a handsome charming man with midnight black hair, smooth olive skin and a smile that you had to earn. Other times, darkness consumed him as he sought refuge in a bottle of Jack Daniels, often numbing his pain with whatever else he could get his hands on. Once he had his fix, he would turn his rage towards my mother and my stepmother, terrorizing and battering them, while my twin sister and I pleaded for him to stop.


As my father’s addictions grew, his body began to rebel and then his mind faltered. By the time I was fifteen, he was a ghost of himself. His body held on, battling one illness after another and he finally died when I was in my early twenties. It was only then that I learned the truth about who he was and the things he’d done.

My father, Darrell Overton was a true Texas outlaw, a member of the Overton Gang, helping his brothers and fellow gang members dominate the crime scene in Austin and surrounding areas in the 1960’s. They ran drugs, guns, and girls, determined to establish their supremacy and fill their pockets.  When my Dad was just twenty-one, he went to prison for manslaughter. An act of self-defense when a wronged husband came knocking with a sawed-off shotgun, he served seven years of a ten-year sentence.

At the time when I discovered my father’s secret history, I was pursuing a career as an actress, wanting to escape the things I experienced as a child, immersing myself in a world of make-believe.  It was only after learning about the Overton Gang and my father’s role in it, that I began writing about my early experiences.

Over the years, I began to focus on writing fiction, first in TV and then novels, but of course my early exposure to violence and my father’s past life seeped in. Writing allowed me to move forward. My only regret is that I never had the chance talk to my father about the things he did, to hear his reasons for his choosing a life of crime, to ask him what he might have done differently. Despite all of this, I’ve moved on, using my love of storytelling to entertain others. I realize now all of those experiences have helped shape me, both as a person and a writer and for that I am very grateful. 

To learn more about Hollie and her writing, visit her website.

Meanwhile check out her books ....

               

Read SHOTS' review                        Century (10 Aug. 2017)

Hollie Overton



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