Photo credit: Janette Beckman.


About Stephen

I was born in 1955 in Richmond, Va., a segregated town given to memorializing a war it had lost 90 years before. My parents had neither money nor social status, and yet my upbringing was pathologically cheerful. I was baptized Roman Catholic and I played with Protestant friends. My father belonged to the Knights of Columbus and designed floats for the Tobacco Parade. One year I rode the float dressed as a monk. A legacy from that moment is that I felt in my heart I would be famous.

The world was being transformed by social revolutions associated with sex and drugs, and I wanted to contribute. Indeed, my prowess in drug abuse was so great that I never finished high school and only made it to college at the age of 28. By then I’d been properly chastised by life and was attending 12-step meetings. Eventually I graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University (English) and headed to New York City to seek my fame. Luckily for me, I arrived just in time to be swept away by the intense cultural fervor of the Giuliani years. I wound up living in Ridgewood, Queens.

My Ph.D. dissertation (NYU) concerned one of the great losers of American literary history, James Branch Cabell. Cabell inspired me, and I dreamed of achieving a similar notoriety for obscurity. When I was in my forties, a novel I wrote was accepted by an unknown house that went bankrupt just before the book was due to appear. Did I lose hope? Oh no, I never forgot that I'd once been a monk on a float in Richmond’s Tobacco Parade.

As you see, such rugged determination has paid off. My novel, If Jack’s in Love, is soon to be published by Amy Einhorn Books. I should point out that If Jack’s in Love is not to be confused with the one that didn’t appear, the ghost of which still haunts the pages of Amazon.