Deborah Santana has spent decades traveling the world with her
husband of 31 years, rock ‘n’ roll icon Carlos Santana. But as the
daughter of a biracial marriage and survivor of an abusive
relationship, the San Francisco native has more to say about more
than what she’s known for.
Deborah Santana has spent decades traveling the world with her husband of 31 years, rock ‘n’ roll icon Carlos Santana. But as the daughter of a biracial marriage and survivor of an abusive relationship, the San Francisco native has more to say about more than what she’s known for.
“Many people see me only in the context of Carlos’s life. … I am Carlos’s wife, but I am first myself – a body of cells, emotions, beliefs, perspectives, and intelligence,” Deborah writes in “Space Between the Stars,” her first book, which offers an intimate look into her life.
The autobiography, released March 1, took Deborah seven years to write, and she will present her work at a reading and book signing at 2pm Saturday at Booksmart in Morgan Hill, 17415 Monterey Road, Suite A. The appearance is part of her two-month, eight-state book tour.
Born in 1951, Deborah grew up with an Irish-American mother and a black father, the legendary blues guitarist Saunders King.
In school as a child, Deborah said she felt judged for the color of her skin, and she depended on her parents’ love and strength to pull her through those tough years.
When Deborah first left home to go to college in Los Angeles, she became involved with rhythm-and-blues musician Sly Stone in a 1 1/2-year relationship that involved abuse and drugs.
After breaking ties with him, she returned home to attend San Francisco State University and, within months, she met Carlos.
The couple married in Oakland in 1973 and soon became involved with a spiritual guru named Sri Chinmoy, who inspired Deborah to open a vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco with her older sister, Kitsaun, which they ran for nearly 10 years.
But in 1981, Carlos and Deborah broke away from Chinmoy after deciding their relationship with him was unhealthy.
Two years later, the Santanas had their first child, a son named Salvador. Their daughter Stella was born in 1985, followed by a second daughter, Angelica, in 1989. Deborah returned to school in 1990, first at Dominican University in San Rafael, then at Mills College in Oakland. Four years later she began managing the business aspects of her husband’s band.
In 1998, the Santanas founded the Milagro Foundation, a philanthropic nonprofit organization where Deborah serves as vice president.
“Space Between the Stars” is based on personal journals Deborah kept throughout her life. Two underlying currents in the book are Deborah’s revelations on femininity and her quest for spirituality, said Cinda Meister, owner of Booksmart.
“(Deborah) has a lot to say about being a woman and maintaining one’s sense of self, especially when your spouse is such a celebrity,” Meister said. “I really liked it. She is a deeply spiritual person.”
The book also is available on CD, which features musical recordings from Carlos Santana and his son.