Finally, the audiobook of Falling is in the final stages of production. In prison lingo, it has been a stretch of time. Although the book is doing well, the best way to get the women inmates’ voices over the wire, is by producing an audiobook. I offer an audio sample of my favorite passage: The Stars, a fire drill under night sky with the Lifers.
Audio Excerpt of the Upcoming Audible Version of Falling

Audio Excerpt of the Upcoming Audible Version of FallingI began my research for the audiobook over a year ago. The studio production cost of a book half the size of Falling was $5,000. I would have figure out how to do it myself. First, I needed a voice coach. I took a chance and asked my favorite actor, K.T. Vogt of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to listen and advise. I chose provocative pieces such as Mitten’s life as an exotic dancer and my favorite passage: The Stars. When I finished, she looked at me with tender eyes, “Your voice is fine, Karen.” You have to do it. The voices are in your head.

I needed a home recording studio. I googled DIY home recording studios and found all kinds of pandemic home options. But the press on foam pads for my office closet would run at least $1,000. I stared out my office window onto the back yard. A lonely patio table and chairs awaited healthy guests. “That’s it!” I shouted. “I have twelve chair pads!” I scooped them up giggling and hoping. As a trial, I placed a large one on the floor and made a igloo around me.

“Testing 1,2,3. Mayday, Mayday. Tramps like us baby we were born to run! This is going to work.”

Audio Excerpt of the Upcoming Audible Version of FallingI moved the cone of silence to the top of my desk lay pads underneath and against the windows. Thankfully, my publicist, Cornelius Matteo is still with me. One of his many talents was producing podcasts. He suggested a good microphone, we did a test recording and we were in business.

I spent days and months in the cone of silence. Inside the walls, I created charts with sketches of the women, the staff of DOC and my family. For example, for Buzz Cut I crossed my arms and made wild eyes and a crooked smile as I read. For Sinful, I leaned forward, put one hand on my thigh and thought to myself, listen you dumb shit. For Big Buck, tilted my chin down, and looked through my eyebrows and thought, capisice? I was isolating again, but I had the company of the women of Coffee Creek Correctional Facility. My heart grew tender when I read Mittens and Celly. I laughed with Hippie Chick. Over the months, I allowed myself to feel a deeper layer of heartbreak when I read the voices of my children.

When I finished a section, I would send it to Cornelius. He shaved of the highs and lows and sent if back for my approval. The voices of the women had different inflections and cadence but alas, they all were read with my lingering Minnesota accent. But in spite imperfections, the story must be told.

Reading the first pages, I remember the terror before I went in. I wondered if I would survive. Would I experience a medical complication from the car accident? Would my family still love me? Would I get beat up? Would I lose heart and become hard?

The experience did change me but not as I expected. It tenderized me. Despite their tragic histories, It was the very women I feared that showed me the way. Falling is a promise to free the women’s voices so that the American public would have a profound look into the lives of women inmate of a full custody prison.

Audio Excerpt of the Upcoming Audible Version of Falling

In 2022, Colette Peters formerly the Superintendent of Oregon Corrections read the book and ordered it to be in every prison library in the State. In August, 2022, Colette Peters has been promoted to the Director of Federal Bureau of Prisons in the United States. Perhaps now, the audiobook has a chance to shine the light to millions. A better way up and out with prison reform.

Audio Excerpt of the Upcoming Audible Version of Falling

Audio Excerpt of the Upcoming Audible Version of Falling

Photos by Federico Beccari and Jukka Aalho  on Unsplash