Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"Gracianna": A Gripping Tale Set Against the Backdrop of Nazi-Occupied France by Author Trini Amador with Book Giveaway

Debut Novelist Trini Amador Pens Gracianna
A Gripping Tale Based on His Great-Grandmother’s Journey to America
Set Against the Backdrop of Nazi Occupied France


Sonoma County, CA—“Odds are I was the only four-year-old to have ever freely fumbled a loaded German Luger,” notes Trini Amador. “How could I have known at the time that it was a real gun?” But the gun was real. “I can still remember the weight of the Luger; feel the scratchiness of the cross-hatched grip on the handle, the smoothness of the worn parts.” And years after his great-grandmother calmly ordered him to put it down, not even touching it herself, the memory remained and he knew he had to explore the story behind it.

Decades later, Trini Amador would delve into the remarkable odyssey of his great-grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga’s past. The resulting novel, Gracianna (Greenleaf Press, July 2013), inspired by true events and weaving reality with imagination, is the remarkable tale of dreams of adventure, love affairs and survival of the human spirit.

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 story of how Gracianna risked it all, he delivers richly drawn characters and a heart-wrenching page-turner that readers won’t soon forget.

Amador remembers his great-grandmother’s message of being thankful. It has become the foundation for his family’s winery, Gracianna in Healdsburg, California. Learn more at: www.gracianna.com.

Signed Copy | Amazon | B&N

Praise for Gracianna
"Debut novelist Trini Amador sparkles as this riveting story unfolds. His characters are deeply endowed with vibrant features and flaws and his evocative descriptions allow readers to experience each environment as though they had been there themselves.

"The story is carefully crafted, flowing smoothly and constantly, with impressive purpose and inspiration. More than a tale of good and evil,
Gracianna is spun from convincing and memorable scenes and vivid personalities—a compelling and inspiring novel whose chronicle and characters will remain in the reader’s memory long after."
New York Journal of Books

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, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University


An Interview with Author Trini Amador
It’s wonderful to have you join me and the readers today, Trini. Please tell us, what inspired you to write this book?
Thanks for the chance to spend this time with you MK. I really appreciate you inviting me to join your post. I had an experience as a boy at my great-grandmothers house in Southern California. I had picked up a German Luger and she caught me walking around with it. Through the years it had roiled and roiled – “what was my grandmother doing with a loaded gun in her house?” Finally I decided I need to fill in the entire story and write it. This book is the result of my efforts. 

What is your favorite scene in Gracianna?
I attempted to project a sweetness to the “ancient dance” I refer to. It is intended to help the reader harken back to the moment they a realized they were smitten or in love or in some other way attracted to another.

So as not to imply that his intentions were anything but wholesome he needed to make it clear that he only sought the company of another person. His sheepishness persisted.
       He could see by her shifting eyes that Gracianna was deciding whether to stay or not.
     “I’m so sorry, Juan,” she looked at him plainly and flatly for the first time ever and he could see her face, open and practical. Their eyes locked. Deep. This was their moment. He was overcome.
     “I was hoping to start back to the ranch early. There is so much work to do there.” She made moves to ready her horse for the long way back, even though it was late afternoon now and the sun on the horizon was too low for her to go far. It was silly of her to start the trek back—he knew it, she knew it—but her motions of closing and tying her saddle packs, settling and petting her horse, retying her shoes, were all acts signaling Juan that she was making a run for it.
   “All right,” he said and shrugged. “Who would want to spend time with a lonely shepherd?    
      And who am I to force anyone to stay when they do not want to?”
Then he looked at her directly, in an honest moment and whisper-pleaded, “But Gracianna, you are welcome to stay if you change your mind. I wish you would....”
      She felt the truth of the compliment.
     “And I can protect you from the wolves.” Even Juan was unsure where the words were coming from. He really wanted this. “I can protect you.”
      Juan was not looking at her but began to stoke the fire and settle the camp.
     She, preparing for departure—he, preparing for settlement.
    Her actions shouted what she wanted him to hear so he responded in unspoken signals meant to quell her, flow with her, cajole her. Juan acquiesced into a sympathetic silhouette that answered her moves. She was leading and he was following toward an agreement. Neither had danced this dance before but each knew what to do. Here they were, miles from nowhere in a ballet of opposing body language.
     It was an ancient dance of innocence. Ceremoniously, Juan moved some stump seats into place for a long evening, swept the earth for a smooth conversation pit, placed the coffee pot as sentry for the next morning, shook and then carefully laid out his thick, wool bedroll—like a Turkish carpet man rolls out his wool for a buyer to inspect and admire—careful not to look her in the eye, but using motions and hand gestures to trick her eye into looking at the welcoming spot on the ground.

How long did it take to get this book from idea to being published? What was the most grueling process?  
It was about three years. It took 8 months to write the book and about 20 months to edit it completely. Grueling was editing. Reviewing the competing points of view regarding the “right way” to write was a shock. It was comical as if there is only one way. I took risks in stretching words and meanings and feelings and ruffled feathers along the way.

Did you have difficulty naming the book?
It was staring me in the face the entire time. I struggled with it. But it was really not apparent until I was finished with it that Gracianna was the right name.

Laptop, desktop or notebook and pen/pencil for writing?
Only laptop. When I write we become one. J However I did start outlining my next book and did that on my Blackberry. (Interviewer insert: I’m impressed. I couldn’t even figure out how to properly text on a BB).

Do you believe in writer’s block? Has it ever happened to you?
I don’t believe in “block” for me. For me I just need to be in the right “space” to write, meaning, I like to have a clear mind- “life,” needs to be at bay for the moment. Other project, work, etc., all need to be put aside for the moment. Then I can rip. I prefer to start late in the day, 4-5PM and then I will writ all night – easily until 30 or 4AM.

If you were casting your main characters for a movie, who would be your top picks?
Young French actresses, real sisters, as Gracianna and Constance would be my hope. I would want to ensure the authenticity of their relationship.

Did the plot of the book turn out the way you planned or did something change during the process of writing it?
I stayed true to the story and my outline. However, I was surprised at how I agonized over certain passages coming back to them over and over. This is one that I wrote and re-wrote. I came back to it at least 15-20 times to the get the right tone and sinister emotion:

Chapter 12
Gracianna’s Shock
The Nazis arrived with efficiency at 8 p.m. sharp. Black ink had arrived in the dining room; their dark boots wrote evil words on the tiled floor as they cracked. Gracianna wondered how she would scrub the evil imprints of their footsteps off the floor.
      Eyes flitted from host to host—Dom’ to the bartenders, to the cooks peeking from behind a grate in the wall, and to Gracianna, who was looking at the floor. Everyone was nervous.
    Through the night, the “guests” were mockingly unaware of any discomfort. To the contrary, they overextended their stay, drank nearly all the beer in the house, and then moved to wine. Finally, to the aperitifs.
     On cue, they all stood up and exited as one man motioned to pay the bill.
    As Gracianna took his money, they both knew he was the same man who had given her the once-over only the day before.
     His eyes lingered on her face again.
   She did not like the superior sentiment that exuded from him, and she looked away quickly.
     Standing up, he slid a crooked smile across his face and then walked out, bumping into the doorframe on the way.
     The staff smirked at that and did not dare to look at one another as he walked in front of the window, peering in to ensure no one had laughed at him behind his back. He stopped at the last windowpane, backed up, and cupped his hands on the glass and looked in, lingering on Gracianna for a long moment before disappearing into the night.

Who designed the cover?  
Kim Lance was the graphic artists at Greenleaf Book Group. She is a listener. A wonderful attribute in a creative professional. I was impressed with many of the cover ideas she sent me. One made me burst out weeping when I saw it. It was late at night and I was in Argentina in my hotel room. I nervously opened each image, my mouth agape. POW! There was one powerful image after another. Ultimately, I did not use that cover because it centered on one aspect of the story that was not the main focal point but it was  

What are you doing to market the book?  Are you using social media?
I am a brand marketer by trade. My publisher said they had never seen a marketing plan like ours. Press, book tours, signings, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, feature articles, book readings, appearance at universities, feature table at Hudsons Booksellers all of August and September and more. (Interviewer insert: I’m impressed again. Very nice Trini!)

Book Giveaway
The author is giving away two print copies of Gracianna to lucky commenters! 
Restricted to lower 48 states.  
Giveaway ends 11.07.13 

Meet 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!, Charles Schwab, 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.


12 comments:

  1. What a BEAUTIFUL BLOG and review. Going to follow.

    I am enjoying this book very much. I am on the tour too.

    Have a wonderful day!!

    I am leaving a link to my blog below. There is also a giveaway going on called GUESS THE AUTHOR if you want to stop by to enter.

    Elizabeth
    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Elizabeth. I'm going to leave your link because it's a great blog and I hope others stop on by over there. Thank you for sharing the giveaway information. I'll be stopping by your blog on the tour to check out your book review. :)

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    2. Thank you for leaving my link.

      My review won't be up until November 22.

      I hope you can enter the giveaway.

      Have a great day.

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    3. Excellent! I'll check back on the 22nd. I figured out the answer to the giveaway, so I just might. What a fun idea. :) Have a wonderful Halloween!

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    4. It was fun wasn't it?

      Glad you entered.

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  2. I'm so interested to find out about Trini's great grandmother coming to America. I also found it interesting about the Lugar. The entire review just sounded amazing. Would love to win this. I know if I won it would get read by my sister too. She loves these kind of books too. Thanks for the chance to enter.

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    1. The blurb and interview are really appealing, but it was the cover that first drew my interest. I've ordered the book and look forward to reading it. Thank you for stopping to visit, Gayle.

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  3. These are the kinds of stories that really intrigue me, and as a high school librarian, I then love sharing them with my students, and also the teachers that are into this subject as well.

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    1. Hello Lisa! Thank you for stopping by to visit the blog and Trini. This does sound like it would be a great book for students. I'll be recommending it to my local library.

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  4. Welcome to the blog! Congratulations on the book release and tour, Trini. I wish you the best of success for what sounds like a compelling and interesting book.

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  5. I love historical fiction from this time period.

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  6. Hi MK. This book sounds great. Loved your interview. I so want to win one of these books. I've not heard of this author, but he has quire a resume. WOW! Please put my name in the drawing and I hope to be one of the names pulled out. Thanks to you and Trini for the give-away. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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