A Corinth man brings southern hospitality and real life characters from McNairy County to his new fictional book “Just Over the Next Hill.”
Author Jay Baxter began writing his book in 2018 before finishing it in 2019.
“I rewrote the book multiple times to make sure it flowed right. Sometimes it didn’t fit so I had to change it, “ said Jay Baxter, a Jackson, Tenn., native.
This is the retired businessman’s first published novel. Baxter published his book through Page Publishing which is based out of Pennsylvania.
According to the local author, “Just Over the Next Hill” is about a multimillionaire ranch owner from Oklahoma who decides to take a vacation to the town of Selmer, Tenn. The wealthy man shows up with nothing, but the clothes on his back and wonders how people will treat him without knowing he’s rich. The man is treated with lots of kindness from the locals. Real life people from McNairy County such as Jack Reynolds, Buford Pusser and Joe Dan Maness are mentioned in the book.
The Dixie Cafe which was owned by Maness and was once a popular hot spot in Selmer years ago is also mentioned in the story.
“This book displays how nice the people are in McNairy County. Even though this is a fiction novel there is a lot of truth to it,” said the 77-year-old.
Finding a publisher was a difficult task, said Baxter, who pitched his 61 page book to multiple publishing houses.
“I submitted it to a company who sent it right back to me. They weren’t interested so I sent it to Page Publishing, who rejected it and also sent it back,” said Baxter.
Not too long after the rejection, Page Publishing gave Baxter a call back and asked about the legendary Buford Pusser being from McNairy County. The company decided to publish Baxter’s novel.
“I was so excited because this was a big accomplishment for me. I always said I wanted to write a book and I finally did,” he said.
Baxter has been writing for years, including poetry and commercials. The Corinth resident once owned and operated seven radio stations in four states. He was also in the entertainment industry for many years.
Since the book was recently released, Baxter has sold around 100 copies with hopes of selling more.
“My advice to those who are working on writing books is before you publish it make sure you read it, re-read it and then let someone else read it. Whatever you do don’t let the criticism get next to you,” said Baxter, who currently owns a mobile home park.
The author is married to his wife Kathy Jourdan, a Burnsville native. The couple has been married for 27 years and has a total of four children. They also have five grandchildren. When Baxter isn’t writing, he is either fishing or raising honeybees.