Katherine Preston is the author of Out With It: How Stuttering Helped Me Find My Voice. She visited AIS to several years ago in order to interview Catherine Montgomery and visit with our Tuesday night support/practice group. Its been along time coming, but her book is finally hitting the shelves! She was kind enough to participate in a brief interview about her book with AIS clinician Carl Herder.
What led you to write this book?
In 2008, I felt like I was trapped and living someone else’s life. I had a good, sensible job in asset management in London but I was worried that I would never fulfill whatever potential I had. I was afraid that my life would be ruled by something as uncontrollable as my voice. So I decided to face my biggest fear. I set off on a year long adventure to interview over a hundred stutterers, researchers and speech therapists all over America (even talking to celebrities like Emily Blunt and Bill Withers). I wanted to immerse myself in stuttering, to find out why it happened and how people were living their lives. I hoped that I would be able to turn my experiences into a book of oral histories and, more quietly, I imagined that I might stumble upon a cure.
When I began writing Out With It I envisioned it as a collection of stories from all the people I interviewed. Yet, in writing it I realized that I couldn’t do their stories justice without being honest and vulnerable myself. So the book evolved into a memoir and an investigation of stuttering through the voices of the people I interviewed. The book begins the day I start stuttering and tracks the long and, somewhat flawed, journey I took to find my voice. It is about learning that the part of myself that I always wanted to hide is, in fact, the best part of me.