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Army Colonel turned novelist



Strong Hope native and current Gluckstadt resident Dale Beasley started evolving into a novelist while serving in the Iraqi War.

 

            In Iraq, the now-retired Army Lieutenant Colonel tried focusing on good things back home -- his memories of his grandmother taking him to Yazoo City for the summer, for example.  The memories became note.  The notes turned into chapters.  And presto. A book -- What I Learned at the Zoo.

 

            There were a couple of more steps.

 

            His father (the late Brigadier General Glenn D. Beasley, Sr.) laughed when he read the book, finding it humorous, and encouraged him to publish it.  Then he returned to college for nursing classes after his service as an army trauma nurse, and took literature courses as well as electives that helped polish his own writing skills.  Since high school, where he became a Willie Morris fan, he had always been drawn to Southern literature.

 

            Beasley’s first novel is a fictionalized version of a teenage boy coming of age in the 1970s during a summer in Yazoo (Zoo) City.  The boy is surrounded by an eccentric family and colorful characters set in locations spanning Copiah County, Yazoo City, and even Germany.  Beasley says there is something for everyone in the story.  The teenage protagonist has grandparents in both Yazoo and Copiah Counties, and there are scenes of old Hazlehurst businesses, many of which no longer exist.  Part of the story revolves around a plot to smuggle Cold War secrets from Mississippi to spies in East Germany.

 

            Beasley has since written a prequel to the novel that features many of the same characters -- What I Learned in Havana.  He is also co-author of Will I Be Home for Christmas, which features letters form soldiers.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: The 2023 Copiah County Bicentennial year has ended, but Wesson News continues to feature sketches of past and present visual artists, musicians, authors and photographers who are natives of the county excerpted from Tricia Nelson’s reporting in A Shared History:  Copiah County, Mississippi 1823-2023 edited and compiled by Paul C. Cartwright and available through Cartwright for $25 plus $5 for shipping at 3 Waverly Circle, Hattiesburg, MS 39402.  Nelson is a Crystal Springs writer who contributes to the Copiah County Monitor.






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