Author Q&A: Story about Catholic church set in 1960s

Exploring the power of the Roman Catholic Church in the 1960s, Phil Stephens has written a dark tale with everything from comedy to sorrow in it.

Stephens’ book “The Altar Boy” will be released after the final editing is finished. The retail price of the hard copy book will also be established once the novel is released. An e-book version will also eventually be available, Stephens said.


Stephens decided to write the fictional novel about the church in the 1960s since writing a novel wasn’t something he had done before. He is the current director of the Brown County Recycling Center and the Brown County Solid Waste Management District.

The novel tells the story of a young boy growing up in the 60s — and later a grown man in the 80s — and his family’s conflicted past both within their own family unit and the Catholic church.

Set in the 1960s, the novel doesn’t shy away from the rock and roll, social disruptions and “boyhood pranks” the decade also brought.

Phil Stephens
Phil Stephens

Q: Have you written any other books?

A: No, not as of yet, however, if this book is successful I have other fiction story ideas I’ll be working on.

Q: What are your connections to Brown County?

A: I reside in Brown County with my wife, Marie. We live up in the Cordry-Sweetwater Lakes area. I am also a member of the Brown County Masonic Lodge, Brown County Shrine Club and Lions Club. I also serve on the board of the newly established Keep Brown County Beautiful environmental alliance.

Q: What’s your writing ritual? In what environment do you work best?

A: I set my office up to be more of a “writing studio.” I furnished it with mentally stimulating artwork and made it a peaceful environment as well. I write on pre-designated evenings. Friday and Sunday have worked best for some reason.

Q: What’s the last book you read? Do you have a favorite?

“St. Peter’s Banker” by Luigi DiFonzo is the latest book I’ve read. I have many favorites, but one in my top five is “The Reckoning” by David Halberstam.

Q: Do you have any book signings or related events planned? 

I will once the book is published.

Q: Anything else?

Make sure you hire a competent editor. Professional editing of your work is extremely important.