If you go

What: Steph Davis book signing and appearance

When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl St., Boulder

More info: http://boulderbookstore.net/event

I n Steph Davis' new memoir "Learning to Fly: An Uncommon Memoir of Human Flight, Unexpected Love and One Amazing Dog," much of the content revolves around Davis' passions: climbing, base jumping and skydiving.

But in the end, Davis says, the book is more about the relationships in her life than the sports themselves. She writes about her divorce, a low point in her life, and how skydiving one summer in Boulder started her on a path to regain happiness. Davis will appear at the Boulder Book Store on Tuesday.


You write about your dog Fletch throughout the novel and even included her in the book's title. Why was she such a big part of this book and of your life?

I don't know if it was because it was my first dog that I had. I don't know if that's just how it is with certain dogs. She meant everything to me. I don't even know how to describe it. In the book, I said I thought she was my alter ego. She was also my role model and to me, she was this really perfect creature, not just having shared my whole life with her, but I learned a lot from her.


This is your second book. What prompted you to write this memoir?

I had ACL surgery in 2009 at the end of the year, so you have a little downtime when that happens. I had it in my head that I was really just so happy in life right then. I'd become a jumper, and by the end of the book everything had gone in this great direction, and I thought (base jumping and skydiving) was such a cool world I wanted to share that with people. I would really like to tell these stories about these communities and these places and these people and these sports.

Steph Davis, pictured here free soloing Outer Limits in Yosemite, will be at the Boulder Book Store on Tuesday.
Steph Davis, pictured here free soloing Outer Limits in Yosemite, will be at the Boulder Book Store on Tuesday. (Courtesy photo)

I wanted to write the book about those beginning years. All the stuff I write about, it's something everyone faces when they start jumping and figuring out where those limits are.

After reading the book, it seems to be more about relationships and less about sports. Is that what you intended?

That was a huge part of this book, all these amazing people and the communities. One goal I did have with the book, I really wanted it to be something that when you finish reading it, all those questions you've ever had about base jumping, skydiving, wingsuit flying -- those would all be answered, too.

I was kind of thinking of it from this finished place, as "Oh yeah, this will be cool to share these experiences." When I sat down to write it, I have to go back to all this personal stuff I didn't really want to go back to.

On some level, did you hope to raise awareness about jumping, skydiving and wingsuit flying?

At this point, they've become so much more in the mainstream, I think everybody's pretty aware of it. At the same time, there are misconceptions about a lot of these sports.

You wrote about a few gnarly injuries from jumping or skydiving. Did you ever think about quitting these sports?

No, not really. I've never been the person that does something perfectly the first time. Those people are probably pretty rare, so I tend to be pretty hard on myself when I make mistakes that I think are avoidable. You get better.

--Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.