"Steplings is a tender and deeply touching story that deftly
unwinds the tale of an endearing young man's coming-of-age
and first love with such pitch-perfect dialogue and engrossing
plot that its characters that leap off of the page and into your
heart. Steplings is a novel as timeless as it is unforgettable." ~
-Sarah Bird, How Perfect Is That, The Yokota Officers’ Club, and The Gap Year
"You know when some horrible accident occurs and you can't look away? Something that commands your reluctant horrified attention? Like a train wreck, plane crash, volcanic eruption? Meet Jason Sanborn. He is that train....." ~
Texas Book Girl and Library Thing
(read full review)
“Launched with scenes and exchanges of dialogue that are laugh-out-loud funny, C.W. Smith's Steplings maintains the rare wit but sobers up in a hurry. A nineteen-year-old boy, grieving over a first love's broken heart, and his eleven-year-old stepsister, yearning for her prior home and family, take off hitchhiking in the middle of the night and share an adventure that is hair-raising, tender, and wise. Here is an accomplished novelist at the top of his game.” ~
-Jan Reid, author of Comanche Sundown and
The Bullet Meant for Me
".... The author tucks in complications and minor adventures for all (the young folk are never put into real danger), plus a realistic if poignant resolution, but these only form a backdrop for his exploration of each character’s constellation of strengths and flaws.... rich in psychological insight and lit by occasional flashes of humor. (Fiction. 15-19, adult)" ~
-Kirkus Review (Aug 1, 2011)
(read full review)
“With Steplings, Charlie Smith has flawlessly captured the experience of being young, misunderstood, and full of longing. He manages to craft a tale that is at once gorgeously heartbreaking and a page-turning adventure. His ear for dialogue and lyrical prose are irresistible, as are his complex, loveable Jason and Emily—these aren't characters in a novel, they're people I know. Smith has accomplished that rarest of literary feats: to leave the reader on the final page equal parts exhilarated at having finished a gripping work of fiction, and forlorn at not being able to spend more time in the world he crafted.” ~
-Melissa Kirsch, author of The Girl's Guide to Absolutely Everything
"Smith’s prose is rich and sophisticated, yet accessible, and the dialogue is right on….Though Jason and Emily grapple with universal teen issues, their troubles feel like uncharted territory when expressed through pitch-perfect narrative voices. Steplings is “a friendly, hopeful, humorous, and thoughtful book about growing up,” said Powell, though “watching Jason self-destruct is akin to watching someone in a horror film go down into the basement.” ~
-Mary Powell, author of Auslander and
"Steplings touches our hearts with the struggles and failures that are a part of finding our way, whatever our age. With both sensitivity and a strong narrative thrust, the book portrays the tugs between generations, couples, and, most especially those conflicts within ourselves as we come into adulthood, which often takes an entire lifetime. C.W. Smith's deftly written book is compelling on many levels.” ~
-Kate Lehrer, author of Confessions of a Bigamist
"Lordy, Steplings is a novel you read with increasing awe and dread, for C. W. Smith, page by page by artful page, is laying bare the illusions by which the American family sustains--and deceives--itself. In the matters of romantic love, marriage, community, school, class, and work, we're in peril, not least from our benighted yearnings for grace and harmony. Mr. Smith has used his great compassion and his enviable gifts as a storyteller without peer to detail what so animated Updike in the Rabbit series of novels: our innocence and our sentimentality for what never was. You won't read a more achingly beautiful book this season."~
-Lee K. Abbott, author of Dreams of Distant Lives, Living After Midnight, and All Things, All at Once
Read a sampling of Steplings
Buy this book at Amazon
View all of C.W. Smith's books
C.W. Smith is the author of nine novels, a collection of short stories, and a memoir. Aside from a long
career in teaching, he has worked as a musician, a newspaper reporter, a swamper on a pipe truck, a
roustabout, a paper delivery boy, oil field hand, frame carpenter, and roofer. When he's not teaching
and writing and reading, he likes to be in his kayak or on his bike accompanied by his wife, Marcia.
He has twice received the Jesse H. Jones Novel Award from the Texas Institute of Letters; the
Southwestern Library Association Award for Best Novel; the Dobie-Paisano Creative Writing
Fellowship from the University of Texas; National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing
Fellowships in 1976 and 1990; the Texas Headliner's Feature Story award; the Frank O'Connor
Memorial Short Story Award from Quartet magazine; the John H. McGinnis Short Story Award
from Southwest Review; a Pushcart Prize Nomination from Southwest Review; Special Merit Award
for Feature Writing from the Penney-Missouri Foundation; the Stanley Walker Award for Journalism
from the Texas Institute of Letters, an SMU Research-Travel Grant, and an award for Best Nonfiction
Book by a Texan in 1987 from the Southwestern Booksellers Association, and an award for Outstanding
Book of the Southwest from the Border Regional Library Association. The Texas Institute of Letters
named him a Lon Tinkle Fellow for "sustained excellence in a career," and gave him the Kay Cattarulla
Award for Best Short Story of 2009. He belongs to PEN, The Authors Guild, Writer's Guild of America
West, and the Texas Institute of Letters.
You can find additional information about C.W. Smith on Wikipedia.
The “Bremen Town Musicians” – a donkey, a dog, a cat, and a rooster -- always stuck with me from boyhood and next thing I knew I had a collection of critter combos.
We groove in Vapi India to celebrate a family wedding while citizens shake their heads and mutter, “Only mad dogs and Englishmen….
The Genealogy Study of the Smith and Leftwich Families.