From the darkness of a six by eight foot cell in solitary confinement to the top of the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere, this is the captivating story of one man’s struggle to recover from a troubled past.
Charlie is known to his friends as an accomplished mountain climber and entertaining storyteller. Few know the story of his childhood, filled with neglect and abuse. Fewer still realize that he spent seven years of his youth in the shadow of juvenile detention and prison.
After relegating those painful memories to a place far from his current life, Charlie is confronted with his past as he tries to enter Canada for an ice climbing vacation with friends.
“Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” the Canadian Border Services Officer inquired. “No,” I responded with a straight face and sweaty palms. “Are you sure you’ve never been convicted of a felony?” he repeated. “Not since 1955,” I admitted, guiltily. So began my journey back in time to a place I thought I had forever left behind.
Charlie faces his past once again, finding strength in his unconquerable spirit, unique sense of humor, and the focus he’s found through his passion for mountaineering. He takes you from the tenements and alleys of pre-World War II Chicago through jails, reformatories, and the hell that was prison. From solitary confinement to the jungles of the Amazon, the heights of the Himalayas, the isolation of the desert Southwest, and many points in between. His story will move you, entertain you, frustrate you, and ultimately inspire you to turn the dark shadows of life into the triumphant shadows cast by the mountains you climb — whatever form they may take.
Targeted Age Group: 18+
Genre: Memoir / Adventure
For decades I had been tinkering with writing a novel based on my life. Being denied entry to Canada for an ice climbing trip several years ago brought many difficult and painful memories to mind — memories which I thought I had set aside for good. Finally, following a climbing accident at age 72, I found myself flat on my back for months. I had plenty of time to think and reflect, and plenty of time to write. I wanted to tell the true story of my life to demonstrate how extremely difficult obstacles early in life can be overcome. I’m proud of how my life turned out, and hope others can be inspired by my story.
Plus, I love telling climbing stories.
When you wrote the book did you know you were going to offer it as an audio book?
No, that hadn’t occurred to me. I daydreamed of having a movie made about my life, but so far nothing’s happening in that department.
Why did you decide to produce an audio book?
The audio book was actually my wife’s idea. Diane is the “publicist” for all our books — even the ones with traditional publishers. Two Shadows is a book filled with tales, so it seemed to lend itself very well to audio. We imagine many climbers will listen to it during road trips and while backpacking, and hope it will get them psyched up for their own adventures.
How did you choose the reader for the book and the production company?
We’ve had good experiences with Amazon’s Kindle program and thought using ACX (another Amazon company) to search for a narrator would be a good fit. We listened to a number of audio samples to find voices and styles which seemed right for the job, then asked a few narrators to submit auditions. We intentionally chose excerpts from the book with very different moods: straight narrative, a dramatic mountaineering situation, and a humorous section. We’re very pleased with the results from using Paul Kelly to narrate the book.