PW: How did you come to be the narrator of Space Between the Stars?
Deborah Santana: I had the idea to ask a couple of actresses, but my agent, Random House and some of the people here [at Santana Management] said I should do it. The first thing they told me was that it would be abridged—and that I'd have to proof it one more time!
PW: What was the recording process like?
DS: It took two and a half days, and Carlos and I have a half-hour Q&A on the finished audiobook. When I recorded my audiobook, I had a physical response to speaking my book: I felt reborn. And to hear the music was to be transcended even more. My daughter said I over-enunciate, but I told her, "That's just the way I talk!"
PW: There is a generous amount of music on the audiobook, and even a bonus CD of music [not heard by PW]. How did that come about?
DS: I wanted original music for my audiobook, so I asked Carlos and Salvador to go into the studio and come up with some music. Also, I included music from my dad, plus unreleased Santana band music. So I had all the musicians in my life performing with me.
PW: Are you an audiobook listener?
DS: I love to listen to the spoken word! I listen to audiobooks all the time, mostly self-help, instructional, memoir.
PW: What has writing the book done for you?
DS: It helped me take all of my life experiences and put them in a larger context. When I was growing up, racism was a painful memory, but I was able to really heal through writing the book. Before I wrote this, I had all these pockets of hidden shame, hidden ideas that came from some other culture or other people. I never owned my power: I was always in Carlos's shadow, always sublimated my own desires for the needs of my family. But I'm not in competition with anyone else; I just have to be the best person I can be.
PW: Did Carlos—or your ex-boyfriend Sly Stone—have any qualms or reservations about your being so candid about your relationships?
DS: I haven't seen Sly for 28 years—he's such a faraway part of my life. Carlos has read my book, and he's proud and grateful. He feels remorse for his actions, and says he got off pretty easy.
PW: Was Carlos privy to your writing process?
DS: He was well aware of my journey, and made himself available. He read a very early draft and was blown away because he had been so busy with his life that he was unaware of the subtle nuances of mine. As you can imagine, I've heard his songs through every form from birth; here, he was trying to be as responsive to me as I've been to him [during his creative process].
PW: What do you want listeners to come away with?
DS: I hope women—and men—take from it that no one is immune to challenges, obstacles, betrayals; I've learned to transcend any negative experience and look at the positive illumination you get from it. I've come to a place where my heart is open in love.