Those who know West Hartford will find some familiar places populating the pages of David H. Steinberg’s new novel, “Last Stop This Town.”
There’s , from which the four main characters are about to graduate. There’s West Hartford Center, there’s Trout Brook Drive. Even though the book is set in the present, Friendly’s is there, as is Steak & Egg Kitchen which has been gone from Farmington Ave. for at least 20 years.
Steinberg will be in West Hartford this week, and has a book signing scheduled at in Blue Back Square on Wednesday, April 4, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Many may know Steinberg as a Hollywood screenwriter and director. His credits as a writer include the sequel to “American Pie,” “American Pie: Book of Love,” and “Slackers,” as well as the G-rated animated film “Puss in Boots” which was released last fall.
The 1987 Hall graduate (whose West Hartford schooling also included Bugbee and Kingswood Oxford), actually left town at age 16 to attend Yale, then continued “a typical West Hartford track” and got his J.D. at Duke Law School. Four years later, he realized he didn’t like what he was doing, and secretly applied the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC.
After being admitted, Steinberg headed for California with his first screenplay in hand – a “Chris-Farley-type” comedy. He was in a class full of budding producers, and they all wanted to produce his screenplay. Steinberg soon realized that he wanted to write full time.
It’s commonly believed that writers write about what they know, and while Steinberg said “the sexual stuff [in ‘Last Stop This Town] is all made up,” a lot of the other crazy stuff, like the house parties and racing around the streets of West Hartford, is based on personal experience. “When my mom found out – like last week – she said, ‘You really did that?’” Steinberg said.
“Last Stop This Town” was a story that Steinberg really wanted to tell, and that’s one of the reasons why he re-crafted what was originally written as a screenplay into a novel.
“I wanted to tell this story without someone changing it, without the collaborative effort,” he said. “Screenplays can be very limiting because everything needs to be able to be shown on film. With a novel, you can write what the characters are thinking.”
“Last Stop This Town” is a coming-of-age story of four high school seniors, Dylan, Noah, Pike, and Walker, about to graduate from high school and move on to the next phase in their lives. They have some crazy (non G-rated) experiences, but ultimately deal with their fears of leaving the nest and going off to college.
Steinberg said his novel was classified as “Young Adult” because all the main characters are teenagers and their parents are not part of the story. He hopes it appeals to both high school kids who can identify with the emotions of the main characters, as well as to adults who “want to have that nostalgic look back.”
Steinberg said that although he still considers screenwriting to be his “day job,” writing a novel was fun. He plans to continue working in multiple mediums, including movie screenwriting, television screenwriting, and directing. He is also working on his next novel – which he said “is not racy” – about a teenage girl who is a journalist for her high school newspaper.
Steinberg’s other ongoing projects include the romantic comedy “Miss Dial,” a movie that he wrote and directed, and which should be released in late 2012. He is also hoping that ABC Family picks up his pilot for “Phys Ed,” and has pitched a story to MTV about a couple that gets married in high school.
“I try to have as many projects going as possible, hoping one will stick,” Steinberg said. He believes if he’s not giving his agents work, he’s not doing his job. Writing novels is what he does as a vacation.
Steinberg lives in Santa Monica, CA, with his wife Keetgi Kogan (a producer, with whom he has collaborated on several projects), 6-year-old Max, 4-year-old Hannah, and Henry, the family’s bearded collie.
Steinberg’s parents, Lewis and Paula Steinberg, still live in West Hartford, as does his sister Laurie Kaufman and her family.
In addition to his book signing, Steinberg’s visit to town will include speaking to the journalism class at Hall. “That will be weird; I haven’t been there in 25 years,” he said.
More information about Steinberg and the book is available at Amazon.com.
In the young adult novel “Last Stop This Town” (ISBN 1469902664), screenwriter David H. Steinberg delivers a raunchy but heartfelt coming-of-age comedy that will remind readers of “Superbad” and “American Pie.” Steinberg has written three movies in the wildly successful “American Pie” franchise, and his novel pulses with the same outrageous, racy humor and heartfelt emotional core of those popular teen comedies.
The book follows high school seniors Dylan, Noah, Pike and Walker as they spend their days drag racing down residential suburban streets, bribing homeless guys to buy them beer, and signing yearbooks at pathetic house parties. When Dylan suggests they live up their last weekend of high school at an underground rave in New York, the guys are ready to go crazy and make memories for the ages.
In the Big Apple, they have run-ins with a drug dealer with a penchant for fire extinguishers, a karmic Chinese restaurant owner, an Albanian street gang, hookers, performance artists, and a gaggle of hot, degenerate rich girls. Over the course of one outrageous night, Pike learns the side-effects of too many drugs, Noah wins back his girlfriend, Walker finds true love, and Dylan reveals a secret none of them saw coming.
In the end, the young boys realize their friendship is fleeting and that part of growing up means having to face their futures alone. Both raunchy and sweet, “Last Stop This Town” is a laugh-out loud comedy about the excitement of growing up and moving on to life’s next big chapter, but also the fear and anxiety that comes from leaving behind the safety net of high school.