Author May to mark 1st novel with local signing

Published 5:00 am Thursday, August 26, 2004

When Brookhaven native Mack R. May started out to write a shortstory about the historical Grand Gulf in the early 1800s, the taletook on a life of its own.

Four years and 458 pages later, May proudly looks over thefinished novel, “The Consort,” a growing case of fictionalcharacters in and out of historical Grand Gulf during the 1800s. Hewill celebrate the release of his first novel with a signing at theBrookhaven library on Friday, Aug. 27, from 11 a.m. until 1p.m.

“It amazes me that this came from me,” May said about the book.”This is something I’ve never done before, but I feel good aboutit.”

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May, a graduate of the Brookhaven High School Class of 1969, didnot set out to write an epic novel, though. He got his inspirationfor writing the book from walking in the Grand Gulf cemetery, wherehe was fascinated by some of the tombstones and the stories behindthem.

“Writing this novel was such a strange experience. I just gotintrigued by a couple of the tombstones in the cemetery and thoughtI’d write a short little story about them,” May said. “I had someideas for the story in mind, but in the end, the characters decidedhow it all played out.”

May said what started out without no direction or plot inJanuary 2002 wrapped itself up in a finished novel in March 2004.Strong characters and historical settings of mid-19th centuryMississippi are wound into a book depicting how human spirittriumphs over evil.

And May’s knack for story-telling, which he acquired whileserving in the Air Force after high school, shines through in hiswriting.

“I like telling and hearing stories,” he said. “And you hear alot of stories in the Air Force.”

May, who has already done other book signings and madetelevision appearances across the state to promote the book, saidhis novel is being well received.

“I’ve gotten good reception. It’s already doing good,” Maysaid.

He hopes his Friday visit to the area will give him anopportunity to share with long-time and new friends his new book,experience and the thrill that comes with publishing his firstwork.

“I hope we get a good response, but if I don’t sell anotherbook, I’ll be happy,” said May.

May has lived with his wife, Claire, in the Port Gibson areasince 1979. He works as a senior instructor at the Grand GulfNuclear Station, but visits his parents in Brookhaven often. May iscurrently at work on his second novel, a prequel to “TheConsort.”

Copies of May’s book will be available for sale at the libraryfor $24, tax included. Books can also be purchased from LemuriaBookstore in Jackson or ordered from any of the onlinebookstores.