Guest Post by Trini Amador, author of Gracianna

Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press

Publication Date: July 23, 2013

Book Links:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: 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.

Author Bio: 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.

Amador resides in Sonoma County with his family.

Guest Post: 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. Suddenly, fifty years had gone by and it was time to tell the story about this strong Basque woman, my “Grandma Lasaga.” As a brand marketing executive that owns his own business I travel a lot. Last year I put in 250,000 miles worldwide. I live in Sonoma County, California but nearly all of my work is outside the US.  I wrote Gracianna in over thirteen countries! Rather than list them, I thought I’d pull out some highlights to help you see some of my inspirations. Gracianna took eight months to write but nearly two years to edit.

I fly to Asia quite a lot…Cathay Pacific is a wonderful airline that flies the Southeast Asia routes including Karachi, Pakistan where I am writing this now. The airline’s logo has a “bird” in it that represents flight. It reminded me that Gracianna was on a flight in her life, and at various points had decisions to make about what direction she should go. That is why in the art direction of the chapter breaks from chapter to chapter I have the bird switching her flight directions, flying one way then the next. I imagine that when you read Gracianna you will understand the symbolism of the other two birds in the trees that she is flying between.

There is more symbolism in the trees of those chapter breaks as well, and if you look closely enough you will see that the German Luger that plays a central role in the story will appear to you. But if you find it don’t show anyone.

At one point my business took me to Warsaw, Poland. I was writing the book during this excursion as well. For some reason and it had not occurred to me to extend my research to Krakow and Auschwitz on that trip. But that ended when I was tackled by the Polish night as the bitter cold overwhelmed me when the door of the plane opened. I was traveling from South America and inconveniently left my winter coat in California.

The burst of cold enveloped me.  The thought of my grandmother’s sister (or anyone) withstanding that sort of cold in a concentration camp drew me to Auschwitz. I needed to see where she had been.  I took hundreds of photos while I was there but have been unable to look at them since. Several of my Auschwitz photos were chosen by the producer of the Gracianna book video trailer accompanies this posting. Have a look. If you have any questions or want to know more inside stories about the book just contact me—I would love to hear from you.


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