Stephen Russell Payne is a fourth generation Vermonter from St. Johnsbury in the heart of the Northeast Kingdom. First inspired to write by a visit to his seventh grade English class by Sheffield poet, Gallway Kinnell, Payne has gone on to be a lifelong writer, publishing fiction, non-fiction and poetry in a number of publications including Vermont Life magazine, the Tufts Review, The Vermont Literary Review, Livin’ the Vermont Way magazine and Route 7- Vermont Literary Journal.
Stephen then studied premed and English at Tufts University, receiving his Masters in English before entering medical school at the University of Vermont in 1979. After finishing his surgical training he went into practice at Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans, Vermont. He has also taught at the UVM College of Medicine as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery since 1988. Over the years, he has studied with and/or been mentored by poets X. J. Kennedy, Galway Kinnell, and the late, Denise Levertov, as well as with novelists Howard Frank Mosher, Jennifer Finney Boylan and Chris Bohjalian. He credits the devoted mentorship and friendship of Irasburg author, Mosher, with greatly advancing his writing and helping launch his publishing career.
Stephen lives on a Vermont hill farm with his family where their land is managed by a local organic farmer. Stephen loves cutting his own firewood and spends much of his free time in the woods, where he often comes up with and develops story ideas.
From one of New England's finest writers of regional fiction comes a terrific new collection of Vermont-based short stories that are both thoroughly entertaining and deeply-moving. Payne takes us inside the real world of rural Vermont in ways that invite readers to become an integral part of these complex and fascinating communities.
Set on the rocky and at times unforgiving coast of Maine, Stephen Russell Payne's emotionally powerful debut novel, Cliff Walking, shares a poignant tale of loss and love that weaves together the lives of three desperate people who struggle mightily to find a way to save each other. Kate Johnson is a recovering addict from California, married to a cunning, cruel man named Leland Johnson.