Wednesday, July 31, 2013

HFVBT: Gracianna by Trini Amador--Guest Post and {Giveaway} #GraciannaTour


The Photos Story

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. Suddenly, fifty years had gone by and it was time to tell the story about how that Luger came to be in my boy-hand. 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! Folks have asked me about the photos in the book and I thought I’d spend some time with you telling you the inside story on where they came from. Gracianna took eight months to write but nearly two years editing with the talented Hillel Black, who has edited over 20 New York Times best sellers, and who gave Gracianna its wonderful tempo and grace notes.

Photos were sourced from World War II archives—it was obvious, once I saw each one of them which ones needed to be in the book. Below are some photos that are in the book with a brief description.

The owner of several of the archive images is a collector of World War two imagery from the United Kingdom. This candid photo of the German officers I found chilling for its realistic depiction of a field meeting—the casualness of the moment captured my attention. 

But there is one that got away. The photo of the 1936 Hispano Pourtout that Dom’, the owner of La Maison Cossette, cherished was impossible to source. In this day and age, my opinion is that with the internet folks are a lot less sensitive about using images that don’t belong to them. We searched and searched to be able to publish this photo with all the right permissions for commercial use but alas were unable to demonstrate the sweeping beauty of this sleek automobile as I introduce it sliding through the wet streets of Paris on the important flashpoint night of the Gracianna story. I add a link to it here however. This is the one that got away. 

The 1936 Hispano Pourtout: 

Recently, I was asked about my photos of Auschwitz. Here is how that came to be. At one point my business took me to Warsaw, Poland. I was writing the book during this business visit as well. For some reason 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 bitter cold Polish air as it 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. 

It was gray that day. I was numb already after walking in the camp for only 10 minutes. I was on a tour but loosely followed the group, in a daze really. I heard the stories from the guide from 20 paces back my mind racing backward in time and trying to rationalize what had happened here with the present day. My chest was as heavy as the solid air. My heart weighed low. My eyes teared. Several of my Auschwitz photos were chosen by the producer of the Gracianna book video trailer that accompanies this posting. Have a look and let me know if these photos convey the starkness of my visit. 
Lastly was Gracianna herself. I have no photos of her during the war. But I have been told she was pretty with her flowing white hair.

If you have any questions or want to know more inside stories about the book just contact me—I would enjoy hearing from you.

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

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:, like Gracianna Winery on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @GraciannaWinery.

Amador resides in Sonoma County with his family.

Visit other blogs on the tour--Tour Schedule
Twitter Hashtag: #GraciannaTour

Watch for my review of Gracianna...coming tomorrow!

One copy of Gracianna to a winner in the U.S./Canada. Please leave a comment and be sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you win (email address, Twitter handle, etc). Last day to enter is Wednesday, August 14 at 11:59pm CST. Good luck!


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Thank you for visiting and taking the time to comment. It means so much.

I apologize for word verification, but as soon as I changed the settings from only users with Google accounts, I started receiving a ton of spam comments...within one hour of changing the settings. The bots are on high alert apparently.

  1. I think it's so great how this book came into existence, starting with the experience of the author's grandmother.

    Thanks for being on the blog tour - I'd love to win a copy!

    funmail07 at gmail dot com

  2. Emma @ Words And PeaceJuly 31, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    wow, how did I miss that book? thanks for the giveaway, would love to read it. Emma @ Words And Peace ehc16e at yahoo dot com

  3. Thanks for the giveaway,I would love to win this book!!

  4. I love books with a WWII setting. This novel sounds wonderful. Thanks for the giveaway.

  5. This sounds like a great story, thanks for having a giveaway for it. I'd love to win a copy. carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

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