Blog Tour & Interview with Sherm Davis



Welcome to my tour stop of "Learning to Stutter" by Sherm Davis, presented by Elite Book Tours.  To follow the full tour, please visit here.




LEARNING TO STUTTER IS FREE ON JULY 4, 5 AND 6!


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Kenneth Kocher seems to have it all - a good heart, a sense of humor, decent looks, and lots of money. What he doesn't have is something most of us take for granted - freedom of speech. Kenneth lives with a severe stutter which has wreaked havoc with his life since childhood.

After much embarrassment, pain and soul-searching, Kenneth realizes that to free his inner self he must accept the fact that he cannot be cured, and that he must learn to stutter with grace. Along the way he meets another stutterer and a young widow who are both dealing with the stumbling blocks in their own lives.

Using an experimental syntax to portray the neurological component of the syndrome, the novel gives the reader a unique view of stuttering from the inside out.



PRAISES FOR "LEARNING TO STUTTER"

This is an extraordinary book. It’s the inside dope on stuttering. And if one person was born to tell the story, it’s David Sherman. And does he have a story to tell. The plot is consummate, the writing proficient, the pacing skillful, with a clarity of detail that renders it very realistic. After awhile, I found myself caring about all the characters, even (or particularly) the minor ones, oftentimes because they reminded me of myself, and were therefore incredible familiar. It is a reflection of the author’s versatility –as educator, in math and Language Arts, as musician and writer –and diversity –Jewish, New York born and bred, having resided all over the world –that some parts of the writing even speak to the Oriental in me. As each of the characters, stuttering and non-, go about their lives, problem-solving, adapting, you cannot help but see the parables at a universal level. Resonant, poignant, and ultimately elucidatory, this book get an A+ from me.

---- Ling T., Guatemala

In addition to those who struggle with dysfluency and their friends and family, I highly recommend this novel to educators and speech pathologists to ensure their understanding of the multi-faceted impact that this neurological syndrome can have on one’s identity.

---- Shari Mayerson, MS, CCC-SLP


INTERVIEW WITH SHERM DAVIS

BookZone: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I was a very early reader, and when I was about three, my grandfather decided to buy me a typewriter. I was ecstatic. I pecked away on it for fun, not really writing anything profound. Then as I grew and began stuttering, writing became a vital means of self-expression when I was unable to say what I needed to say.

BookZone: I was a journaler myself. What inspired you to write your first book?

I had written poetry and plays in my twenties, but the novel came out of my own experiences as a stutterer, and perhaps more importantly, as a person who overcame not stuttering, exactly, but letting stuttering stop me. I felt like a guidebook needed to be written for fluent people who have someone in their lives who stutter, and want to understand what is going on beyond the simple repetition of sounds. 

BookZone: Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

Because we all have blocks in the way of expressing our highest truth, and Learning to Stutter is really about learning to speak your truth, no matter what the cost.

BookZone: I believe that every author infuses his or her book(s) with a piece of himself or herself. What piece of you would you say resides within the pages of your book?

The thing I most accurately rendered in the book was definitely the internal mechanics of stuttering. The main character is nothing like me, but he stutters exactly like me, and it is this neurological component of stuttering, expressed through a lexicon of symbols, that is my true contribution – a piece of myself that I worked hard to translate in an original way.

BookZone: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in this book?

Of course, there is always editing and changing things. I could re-write this book for 20 years and still find ways to make it better, but at some point you’ve got to say “Ok, enough’s enough.”

BookZone: Nice. How did you come up with the title?

The title came from the general public’s misperceptions about stuttering. True stuttering can not be cured, only dealt with and overcome from the inside-out. And even then, the neurological footprints remain. People think that you can somehow learn not to stutter, to be fluent. There are tricks for sure, and ways to fool a fluent person into thinking that you are not stuttering, but the title “Learning to Stutter” implies self-acceptance and learning to stutter with grace. The title is meant to give pause, as the most obvious question is “why would someone want to learn to stutter?”

BookZone: Who designed the cover?

I did. I went to Egypt several years ago, and I loved the thought of hieroglyphics on the cover to imply language in all its forms. I took that photo, and because the three main characters in the book are two men and a woman, I chose that particular photo.

BookZone: How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

By beginning to write the second one! Writing a book and selling it are two completely different animals, which is why I finally decided to do a virtual book tour. Most writers would rather be writing than marketing, but in this world, you have to do both if you want to succeed.

BookZone: If readers get nothing else from your book, what is the one takeaway that you hope they do not miss?

That we all get stuck in ruts and patterns, and only consciousness and perseverance will take us where we need to go. Stuttering is a literal universal metaphor for getting stuck.

BookZone: Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.

I am a musician and an international educator in addition to being a writer, and honestly I don’t think this book has gotten the exposure it deserves, yet. But an old friend with a 12 year-old son who stutters read the book and thanked me profusely for giving her information about stuttering that she never had, and insight that she never expected.

BookZone: True. Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Does my wife count as family? She was ok with me taking a year off of teaching to write this book, and for that I am eternally grateful.

BookZone: She most certainly does…lol. What would equate success for you, with regards to the release of this title?
  • Purchases
  • Kudos on your writing skills
  • Message received by intended audience
  • All of the above?
At this point, sales and the message. If 1% of the world’s population stutters, that’s about 70 million people. If I could get this book to a fraction of the loved one of those 70 million, my mission would be successful.

BookZone: What did you want to be when you grew up…was author on the list?

At first I think I wanted to be a pediatrician, then I gravitated toward music and writing. After about the age of twelve I never wanted to choose an occupation. Now that I’ve been teaching for over fifteen years, I think education suits me.

BookZone: Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?

Yes, I just completed a bilingual collection of short stories, which is available on Amazon and CreateSpace. It is entitled “The Hair Collector & Other Stories,” and it is in English and Spanish. The translation process was incredibly interesting and time-consuming, but I am very happy with the final product.

BookZone: Favorite Candy?

Dark chocolate.

BookZone: Favorite scripture/quote?

“90% of the game is half mental” – Yogi Berra

BookZone: Pet peeve?

Wal-Mart

BookZone: Guilty Pleasure?

Video games when I have insomnia.

BookZone: TV or Movies ?

Neither. I am a very acoustic person and I prefer to listen to music. I can’t sit still for more than 45 minutes at a time, so I’d have to say TV, but I really don’t watch much outside of Star Trek reruns and soccer matches.

BookZone: I am a music lover as well. Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

Well, I’m Jewish, so Happy Holidays.

BookZone: Coke or Pepsi?

Neither. I don’t drink cola.

BookZone: What was your favorite children’s book?

The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster. When I read that as a kid, I my world really opened up as to what a book could provide for the imagination.

BookZone: What book(s) has most influenced your life?

I think the work of Philip K Dick influenced me a lot in my college years and beyond, because he really tore the veil off society and made you see things in a totally different light. His worlds were so perfectly twisted, and his characters were so deranged yet lucid. My writing is nothing like his, but his psychological fiction left an indelible mark on me as a reader and a writer.

BookZone: Do you have a specific writing style?

My style has changed a lot over the years, and I don’t like to define it. Let other people do that.

BookZone: What’s your favorite season/weather?

Funny question. I like fall, especially when I am living somewhere where the leaves are changing colors. I’ve lived in Central America for a few years, and I really miss the North American autumn.

BookZone: Do you prefer a bunch of small gifts or one big expensive one?

Depends on who’s giving the gifts and what they are. In general, I am a minimalist, so one well-thought-out gift is more meaningful than several small ones.

BookZone: In the 1999 film, The Matrix, the main character Neo is offered the choice between a red pill and a blue pill. The blue pill would allow him to remain in the fabricated reality of the Matrix. The red pill would lead to his escape from the Matrix and into the “real world”. If you were given such a choice, which pill would you choose and why?

I think we are offered that choice every day. I chose to leave the United States and the security of my home, family, and language, and instead for the past ten years I have lived as an expat, become fluent in Spanish, and traveled the world. That is my red pill, and I take it every day when I wake up. The day I stop challenging myself is the day I really need to re-evaluate my lifestyle.

BookZone: That is one of the best responses I have had to this question. It was a pleasure having you share a bit of yourself via this interview. Thanks on behalf of my readers and myself.


Visitors can find Sherm Davis at: www.learningtostutter.com

OTHER BOOKS FROM SHERM DAVIS



This bilingual English/Spanish collection contains pieces ranging from flash fiction to folktale. Set in New York, New & Old Mexico, Guatemala, Italy, and the future, eight morsels of Zap Fiction lead off the collection, and five longer stories close it out. The Spanish translations, the product of a team of professionals, are as true to the original English as possible. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Howard Sherman Davis is a writer, musician and international educator who has taught in five countries on four continents. Born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised on Long Island, he currently lives by Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. His journalism and fiction have appeared in the United States, Canada, Guatemala, and online. 






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