October 30, 2013

Trini Amador's Gracianna--Guest Post and {Giveaway}

Why Gratitude?

Gracianna was my great-grandmother and when I was a child she used to talk a lot about being thankful. “Grateful?” Who talks to a four year old about that concept? Later in life I began linking shreds of stories I had been told with my own my beliefs to a jolting incident of being found walking around her house at four years old with a loaded German Luger. As a brand marketing executive that owns his own business I travel a lot. In the last few years I have put in over 750,000 miles worldwide and took advantage of that flying time by writing.

I live in Sonoma County, California where my family owns the lauded Gracianna Winery in the Russian River Valley but nearly all of my marketing work is outside the US. I wrote Gracianna in over thirteen countries. Gracianna took eight months to write but nearly two years in editing with the talented Hillel Black, who has edited over 20 New York Times bestsellers, and who gave Gracianna its wonderful tempo and grace notes.

After reflecting on the legacy of powerful values and a powerful woman, we arrive here.

Gracianna is the story I pieced together from bits I picked up from my family, some of my own memories, and memories of memories, and well-known family stories and interviews.

The rest is how I imagined my great-grandmother would have acted, based on my observations of her worried mind; controlling tendency; and pensive inward-looking gaze; and also of my perceptions of her joy, sadness, and beliefs.

But this will not be forgotten. Gracianna’s sister miraculously did live through Birkenau, where it is estimated that between 700,000 and 1 million people were gassed, hanged, or shot.

I needed to tell the story about my lifelong belief of how that gun had gotten into my grandmother’s nightstand and into my boy-hand.

I wanted to convey my understanding of her values and what they meant to her, and what they took from her and what she gave us. I believe these values were always on her mind, never far from her always-moist, pursed lips and French-accented thoughts. I wanted to understand her values and convictions and compare them to now-values, and I wondered, “What might this generation believe in so strongly that it would cause them to act so desperately….What is it that is so important that each of us would act upon it, based on our values, beliefs, and attitudes today?”

But gratitude stuck with me throughout the years, from “Grandma Lasaga.” I did not understand what gratitude was until I was in my forties. When I was young, she used the word “thankful” in a powerful way.

She spoke to me as an adult, I think, hoping that this message would stay with me; maybe reasserting itself when I was able to understand. And it did.

So, I wanted to bring Gracianna and her values to life, while revealing their meaning in mine. Now, modern research tells us that living a “grateful” life calms us, allows us a bit more peace and happiness and that those of us considering the things we should be thankful for live longer. Think about it.

All these years later, my family, the Amadors of Sonoma County, started our winery as a way to express the hand-me-down gratitude of Gracianna. And now folks from all over the world share our Sonoma County wine with their friends and family and appreciate that Gracianna wines are for those with something to be grateful for.If you have any questions or want to know more inside stories about the book just contact me—I would enjoy hearing from you. Trini.Amador3@Gracianna.net

About the book
Publication Date: July 23, 2013
Greenleaf Book Group Press
Hardcover; 296p
ISBN-10: 1608325709

The gripping story of Gracianna–a French-Basque girl forced to make impossible decisions after being recruited into the French Resistance in Nazi-occupied Paris.

Gracianna is inspired by true events in the life of Trini Amador’s great-grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga. As an adult, Amador was haunted by the vivid memory of finding a loaded German Luger tucked away in a nightstand while wandering his great-grandmother’s home in Southern California. He was only four years old at the time, but the memory remained and he knew he had to explore the story behind the gun.

Decades later, Amador would delve into the remarkable odyssey of his Gracianna’s past, a road that led him to an incredible surprise. In Gracianna, Amador weaves fact and fiction to tell his great-grandmother’s story.

Gracianna bravely sets off to Paris in the early 1940s–on her way to America, she hopes–but is soon swept into the escalation of the war and the Nazi occupation of Paris. After chilling life-and-death struggles, she discovers that her missing sister has surfaced as a laborer in Auschwitz. When she finds an opportunity to fight back against the Nazis to try to free her sister, she takes it–even if it means using lethal force.

As Amador tells the imagined story of how his great-grandmother risked it all, he delivers richly drawn characters and a heart-wrenching page-turner that readers won’t soon forget.

Praise for Gracianna

“Gracianna is a riveting and remarkable narrative. The characters come alive through their unassuming but compelling stories, as Nazi-occupied Paris unfolds before our eyes. We come to care deeply about the characters, which makes putting down the book almost impossible. Highly recommended.” – Stacey Katz Bourns, Director of Language Programs, Dept. of Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University

“While wine is obviously a significant part of life’s enjoyment, the story behind the wine can be even more gratifying. You will be fixated on this thrilling story written by Trini Amador which was inspired by Gracianna, his great-grandmother, the French Basque namesake of his family’s award-winning winery in Sonoma County.” – Bob Cabral, Director of Winemaking & General Manager, Williams Selyem Winery

“Gracianna is a gripping story about human courage and determination. This book truly deserves a movie because of the action and emotions in it. Trini Amador has done a fantastic job in bringing the story of his amazing grandmother to life. A must read for fiction and non-fiction lovers alike.” —Felipe Korzenny, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication, Florida State University.

About the author
Trini Amador vividly remembers the day he found a loaded German Luger tucked away in a nightstand while wandering through his great-grandmother’s home in Southern California. He was only four years old at the time, but the memory remained and he knew he had to explore the story behind the gun. This experience sparked a journey towards Gracianna, Amador’s debut novel, inspired by true events and weaving reality with imagination. It’s a tale drawing from real-life family experiences.

Mr. Amador is a traveled global marketing “insighter.” He is a sought-after guru teaching multinational brand marketers to understand how customer and consumer segments behave based on their needs, values, motivations, feeling and values. He has trained over five thousand brand marketers on how to grow brands in over 20 countries in the last 15 years. His counseling has been valued at global brands including General Electric, Microsoft, AT&T, Yahoo!, Sun Microsystems, Google, Jack Daniel’s, The J.M. Smucker Co., DuPont, Mattel, and Rodale, Inc..

Amador is also a founding partner with his wife and children of Gracianna Winery, an award-winning winery located in Healdsburg, California. The winery also pays tribute to the Amador Family’s maternal grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga. Her message of being thankful lives on through them. The Gracianna winery strives to keep Gracianna’s gratitude alive through their wine. Learn more at: www.gracianna.com, like Gracianna Winery on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @GraciannaWinery.

Amador resides in Sonoma County with his family.

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Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below to enter for a chance to win a print copy of Gracianna by Trini Amador (U.S. only)!
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  1. What a fascinating-sounding novel! I love when authors can take their family histories and write about them because more often than not, truth is stranger than fiction :) Looking forward to this read, and thank you for the giveaway!

  2. Very nice post.

    I am reading it now and am loving it.

    It is a beautiful story and tribute.

    Leaving a link to my blog if you want to stop by. There is a book giveaway post titled GUESS THE AUTHOR if you want to stop by.

    Have a great day!!

    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog

  3. This novel sounds absolutely fascinating. I love stories based on family background. thanks for the giveaway.

    1. It is sooooo good. I hate when I have to put it down. :)

  4. Thanks for the insightful guest post. It is amazing that Gracianna’s sister lived through Birkenau, when so many did not. That would certainly be a life changing experience for all concerned. I think this would be a great read, thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  5. I have a black leather suitcase of letters that my parents wrote during WWII. My mother was a school teacher and led her 4H group in collecting stuff for the war effort. My father flew a cub plane over France Germany and Switzerland and took reconnaisance pictures. It is great to read about what was going on in their daily loves during the war.


    1. That is wonderful you have those letters. I bet my mother kept her correspondence with my father. I will have to ask her.

      THANKS for sharing, Carol.

      Silver's Reviews
      My Blog

  6. I don't have personal knowledge about WWII, but my parents fled the revolution in Russia, and that has just made me even more interested in history and the wars. I would love to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway!
    bettimace at gmail dot com

  7. I love reading historical fiction based on true family history and WWII is on of my favorite time periods to read about. Family sagas are wonderful.

  8. I love any historical fiction related to Paris, especially of WWII

  9. My favorite era is the 1930's to the 1940's and this always included World War 11. I have read fiction, non-fiction and many novels and stories about the Holocaust. This author has written a captivating novel which is a treasure. What a wonderful giveaway. I enjoy books with depths and meaning and this is enthralling. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  10. I was always interested in my grandparents' stories. I just wish I had been born sooner so I could have known them longer. It seems to me that writing a book about someone's life is the greatest tribute one can give.
    This looks like a very intriguing story! Thanks for the chance to win.
    Mcstone84 (at) gmail (dot) com

  11. This novel sounds so interesting!!


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