WALLINGFORD — Initially, Wallingford native Stephen Hoag did not want to be a writer, but he is currently gearing up to launch his fifth book, “Main Street.”
“Main Street” features a group of young characters who attempt to define themselves during high school. Some are based on real people that Hoag knew during his time at Lyman Hall High School. The story takes place on a street in “any town” in the United States.
The subtitle, “Anyone’s Town, Everyone’s Forever,” conveys the idea that all readers can relate to the story after experiencing high school.
“There is a beauty of what happens in a high school,” Hoag said. “There’s a beauty of the first look you get from a young lady or vice versa.”
The one character that isn’t based on a real person is Julia – she came directly from Hoag’s heart.
“She is kind of the embodiment of so many things,” Hoag said. “No she is not popular, no she is not the cheerleader, no she is not the class president. She’s none of that.”
When Hoag writes his books, except for his first one, “A Son’s Handbook,” he does not know what the ending will bring.
“It’s a moment and then putting the moments together and that’s how I write,” Hoag said.
Hoag has been writing in journals since 1962. Hoag worked for 40 years in education and still has a family residence in Wallingford.
Eventually his twin daughters encouraged him to publish “A Son’s Handbook” – a book about taking care of his mother with Alzheimer’s.
“The success of that book led to the decision, mine, to write ‘Whisper of a Kiss,’” Hoag said.
“Whisper of a Kiss” includes a couple, Kyle and Denise, who appear again in his third book, “Vows.” The couple is also included in “Main Street.”
Jill DeChello, Hoag’s literary handler, said that while the setting of his romance books is broad, Hoag’s love for Wallingford shines through.
“He has such a love of Wallingford,” DeChello said. “Such a deep love of his town that he writes about Wallingford no matter what.”
Hoag’s “Main Street” bears no relationship to the Sinclair Lewis novel of the same name, which Hoag’s points out is a completely different genre. Launch party
DeChello is planning a book launch for “Main Street” on Nov. 2 at The Library Wine Bar & Bistro, 60 N. Main St., from 5 to 8 p.m.
The launch is open to the public and free of charge.
“It is an interactive launch,” Hoag said. “It embodies the characters. The cocktails that will be available at the bar are named after the characters based on their characteristics.”
At the launch, there will be a replica of the First Lighting of the Lantern Gala, which is an event in the book.
“You get a taste and a feel of that element of romance that’s been lost,” Hoag said.
Along with the dancing and the music, DeChello is recreating the prophecy of the lantern that Hoag mentions in his book.
“The prophecy for Stephen was that if you kiss under this lantern, your heart will forever be filled with moonlight and I thought it was such an important part of his story that I’m actually going to bring the lantern, create the lantern and let people kiss under it,” DeChello said.
“Main Street” will be available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers in mid-October.
The book is published through AuthorHouse. Hoag will have a sequel to “Main Street” released next summer.
“When I’ve written and I’ve been asked the question, ‘How do you see people reading this book?” Hoag said, “... I say with a glass of wine and put your seatbelt on and let it touch your heart.”