Beverly’s third book takes readers on road trip

By HASKEL BURNS,

Jason Beverly’s first book, “Ghosts of Beauvoir,” took readers to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Beauvoir – the home of former Confederate President Jefferson Davis – while his second book, “The Flying Church of Orleans Parish,” visits New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

The Hattiesburg native brings his subject material back to the Magnolia State with his recently-released third novel, “Mississippi Revival Roads,” which tells the story of a retired police officer who takes a road trip across Mississippi after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Accompanied by his dog, Baby, main character Eddie Sullivan embarks on a trip that takes the duo from the Gulf Coast to the Mississippi Delta, all the while visiting historical sites, checking off bucket list items, and mending damaged relationships.

The novel, which was released by Kellan Publishing, was a personal one for Beverly, written after his wife gave him a Husky/Labrador puppy for his birthday.

“We knew that the dog was going to get too big, so we ended up having to give it away, and that really hurt me a lot,” said Beverly, who serves as Dean of Student Services at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. “So that situation, and the fact that I love Tim McGraw’s song ‘Live Like You Were Dying,’ motivated me to write that book. (Sullivan and Baby) live it up like they’re about to die.”

Sullivan’s first stop on the statewide trip is to Gulfport, where he confides in his wife about his struggles with alcohol. He then travels to Starkville, where he makes amends with his son, Evan, before doing the same with his daughter, Gracie, during a dance in a downtown Oxford café.

From there, it’s on to Greenville, where Sullivan reconnects with his estranged father, Edward.

“Mississippi Revival Roads” can be purchased at www.jasonbeverly.com for $3.99 for the electronic version or $16 for the paperback.

“I always want to make sure I showcase Mississippi in a positive light in all of my stories,” Beverly said. “With this latest one … for one thing, I want people to know that we’ve got to make the most of our time here on Earth, to live every moment as if it’s our last moment.

“Don’t wait to try to resolve friendships and patch up bad relationships; do it now while you’ve still got time, because tomorrow is not promised to anyone. From a bigger standpoint, I want the world to see that Mississippi has some talented people who can do a lot of things – from writing to making music, Mississippi is a state of talented folks.”

Beverly, who still lives in Hattiesburg, received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi. Before going into higher education, he worked in television, radio and print media.

“(Hattiesburg) is the place where I was born and raised,” Beverly said. “After I graduated the first time from Southern Miss, my wife and I moved to the Coast for maybe about a year and a half, but we ended up coming back to Hattiesburg and we’ve been here ever since.

“It’s a nice community and I love the people, and all my family and friends are here. It’s just a place that’s very significant to me, and any opportunity I get, I always try to promote Hattiesburg in a positive light. I want to let people in Mississippi and throughout this country know that Hattiesburg has a lot going on for itself.”

Beverly hopes that in the future his novels can be adapted into films, and has made a few connections in that direction over the years.

“Recently, I shot a small role for a movie called ‘Portrait of Private Eyes,’ and I was able to make some connections with different people,” he said. “So who knows – hopefully one day soon I might see some of my stuff on the big screen.”