Topic of the Week: August 2-6, 2010

Jeffrey Stepakoff

Women don’t own the market on women’s fiction or romance. Some of the most enduring novels of love and passion have been written by men. Love Story by Erich Segal often tops lists as the greatest contemporary love story. Recent years have produced a plethora of commercially successful tales of love and loss by Nicholas Sparks. The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller and The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans continually revolve through bookstores and libraries. Add classics such as Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and you have some of the most powerful love stories ever written. This week in #litchat we’ll discuss love stories written by men.

Joining us on Friday, August 6, is Jeffrey Stepakoff, author of Fireworks Over Toccoa (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s). A slim volume easily read over a beach weekend, Fireworks Over Toccoa recreates small-town life in tiny Toccoa, Georgia, in the waning years of World War II. Take a fiery southern belle married too young to a soldier still at war and a fuming war veteran of Italian descent, put them in a sultry summer setting and watch their fuses ignite against each other. Stepakoff skillfully packs cultural taboos, societal expectations, and family obligation, into a story that sizzles to the last page.

After receiving his BA in Journalism from UNC Chapel Hill, Stepakoff went on to earn an MFA in Playwriting from Carnegie Mellon. He has written for film and television, including “written by” or “story by” credits on thirty-six television episodes, has written for fourteen different series, has worked on seven primetime staffs, created and developed pilots for most tof the major studios and networks, and has producing hundreds of hours of internationally-recognized television. Stepakoff recently left Hollywood to return to his hometown of Atlanta and began writing fiction. Fireworks Over Toccoa is his first novel. Presently, he speaks around the country, teaches dramatic writing at Kennesaw State University, and is hard at work on his second novel for St. Martin’s Press.

Follow Jeffrey Stepakoff on Twitter at @JeffStepakoff

Read chatscript of Jeffrey Stepakoff visit in #litchat.

Read chatscript of Monday and Wednesday Men In Love open topic discussions.