Only Love Can Break Your Heart wasn’t the debut novel Ed Tarkington had in mind when he first started writing in earnest. But after turning out a very different novel that never found a publisher, Tarkington found his voice by mining his own family’s experiences. The protagonist of the resulting coming-of-age novel, Rocky Askew, is a boy growing up in a fractured upper-middle-class family in southern Virginia during the late 1970s. When Rocky’s older brother Paul goes missing, it is just another in a string of abandonments that haunt the Askew family and those who are close to them.
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Stephen Usery is the producer of Book Talk, an author-interview program that airs daily on WYPL FM 89.3 and is sponsored by the Memphis Public Library. Usery also produces Mysterypod, an independent podcast focused on mysteries, thrillers, and crime novels. He lives in Memphis.