Audio engineers, if they so choose, can make just about any sputtering noise sound like a well-oiled machine. I have heard my stutter on a rebroadcast miraculously wiped clean of all its hesitations, prolongations and repetitions. It sounds much better, but it’s not me.

When Stephen Usery and I sat down for a 45-minute interview for the Memphis Public Library’s WYPL Book Talk, I requested that my speech not be “sanitized” through any digital magic. Here is what Steven says in the introduction to his syndicated podcast: “The protagonist of COPYBOY, Victor Vollmer, has a stutter much like Vince has. In order to honor Vince and Victor’s situation, I won’t be editing our conversation as I normally do. It has only been cut for length. You’ll hear Vince in his true voice, and you’ll hear me in mine.”

Thanks, Stephen, for honoring my wishes. Blackbird Studios in Nashville also honored my same request when I recorded the two-page author’s note for the PAPERBOY audio book.

Just as I strive for truth in my writing, I also want readers, for better or worse, to hear the voice that is mine. I tell speech pathologists that my definition of fluency is “to be able to say anything I want to say, anytime I want to say it. Everything else is just window dressing.” In my opinion the goal for people who stutter should be finding one’s voice instead of chasing that elusive butterfly called “fluency.”

You can find the podcast interview on COPYBOY here. We discussed such wide-ranging topics as why I wrote the sequel to PAPERBOY and what climate change has done to the Louisiana coast.

WYPL’s Book Talk and Stephen Usery deserve a huge shout out for the work they have been doing in the community since 1993. Stephen has conducted hundreds of interviews with Mid-South authors over the years. He is a consummate professional who is always well prepared. (Yes, he reads all those books!)

Learn more about Book Talk here. You will find links to older Book Talk episodes.

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