|Stein with Cathy Graham and Serena Wyckoff|
In 2004, Stein wrote a play called "Brother Jones" that was produced at a theater in Los Angeles. "Brother Jones" tells the story of the Riddell family, with the drama centering around prodigal son Jones who returns home to the family estate outside Seattle after a 24 year absence. When Stein finished the play, he realized he wanted to continue to flesh out the Riddell family story. "A Sudden Light" expands upon the play's characters and issues.
Stein also shared his thoughts about the writing process and the "inevitability" of a story. He compared writing a book to pushing a rock uphill. At first, his ego is in charge as he tells the story he envisioned. The point comes, however, when he gets to the top of the hill and the story is propelled forward of its own momentum. His job, he said, is to step aside from his own preconceptions and follow the story where it leads.
Stein also veered ever so diplomatically into some thoughts about the ongoing debacle that is our presidential race. He talked about the importance of civil discourse and respecting each other's ideas whether or not you agree with them. His analogy was a book group with dichotomous views on its latest read. An exchange of opinions can be passionate without becoming personal. Sadly, when it comes to presidential politics, that line seems to have been crossed some time ago.