Stephens Gerard Malone wrote his first novel at twelve, inspired by a really nice cover on a book about Napoleon. Thankfully, it has not survived. His mom often helped retype later attempts using a rented IBM Selectric on the dining room table. When it all appeared to be in vain, Colleen McCullough (The Thorn Birds) told him to "keep plodding on." So he did. The author of Big Town and The History of Rain — Jumbo is his sixth novel.