Stefan Merrill Block's Literary Rise Has Roots in His Plano Family, City's Dark Past

Stefan Merrill Block frequently covers bleak territory in his novels, and his latest, Oliver Loving, is no exception. Block takes us inside the mind of a comatose West Texas teen who has been hit in the head during a mass shooting on the night of his high school prom. It’s a haunting tale, one that Block, who grew up in Plano, says draws partly on his hometown’s traumatic experiences with teen suicide and heroin overdoses when he was an adolescent there.But Block also has a joyfulness in his writing, perhaps a necessary component since he often mines the dark sides of life – often his own – in his literature.“When you’re telling the saddest stories,” he says, “that’s when you need humor the most.”The approach has worked for Block, 35, a critically lauded writer who will return to Plano on Tuesday, Jan. 30 to for a book-signing. Speaking by phone from Brooklyn, where he was looking at his month-old daughter – “She’s the cutest little girl” – he talked about his writing journey.  Continue reading...

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