Hello, Trini. I am currently reading, Gracianna and it is a beautiful story. Please tell your audience a little about it and what inspired you to write it.
Hi Stephanie and thanks so much for inviting me to Layered Pages. I really appreciate your work. I was inspired to write Gracianna because my great-grandmother, Gracianna, used to say to be “thankful” when I was little. At four-years old how can a little boy understand that concept? But over the years I wondered about its meaning. As I say, to many folks, one may not be able to fully understand what “gratitude” really means until we are in our 40’s or 50’s or even older.
What are some of the true aspects in your book?
The story is bookended… the very open of the story and the very end are factual. And interspersed throughout the book are many, many factual elements. When I was a very young boy I was found walking around my grandmother’s living room with a loaded German Luger in my hand. While doing research for the book I learned that my aunt met her grandmother Gracianna’s sister, who I had not heard of and remembers seeing the “mark,” the “tattoo” under her forearm. She remembers the whispers and that it was not polite to point it out. My grandfather was a shepherd when he came to the US with his wife. The story of the coin (as an IOU) in the book is all true.
Was there research involved?
Yes, there was tons and tons research! Everything from learning the myth of the Pyrenees Mountains to learning details of World War II, the French Resistance and Auschwitz. I traveled to the Basque Country – my great-grandmothers homeland to get the feel of the topography, (steep) culture (hard work, food and wine) and feeling (a contradiction of the old and the new). That took me to Paris. I learned about the occupation and the attitude of the Parisians and France as a whole. It was depressing. I sat in the middle of the city taking it all in and then imagined the panzers and half-tracks rolling down the streets. I studied the Le Meurice Hotel, a grand dame hotel whose history is undeniable. I wanted to ensure readers considered what it must have been like for frolicking glitterati of Paris to have been there one day and the entire European Nazi Command rattling through its halls the next.
Then there was Auschwitz. My research took me to Warsaw and Krakow. It was bitter cold. The day I arrived at the concentration camp it was sunny but still bitterly cold. Everyone I came in contact with had a red nose and cheeks. One’s breath fell from the weight of its moisture. The area was devoid of emotion. It was sullen, silent and sunny…but frozen. I could not imagine the desperation. But I tried to convey the feeling I had that day.
What is the most challenging thing about writing stories that take place in the past?
For me writing about to day or the past is the same. Am I able to convey the emotion appropriately? Can my reader appreciate what the character is feeling? Am I appropriately delivering an evocative scenario? Is it real? Is it relevant? Believable? Does it move the story forward? Is it compelling? Is it interesting?
What was the most challenging scene you wrote and why?
Wow, there were several but one that comes to mind, without spoiling the story line was the very traumatic experience that Gracianna experienced when she was eight years old. Born, “Father Unknown,” Gracianna’s mother was her only link to the future. But when her mother had complications in childbirth everything changed. I dug deep to find an experience that I could relate to in my own life that helped me to express the depth of fear, anger and hurt that she may have experienced.
Is there a character in your story you relate to the most as far as personality?
It’s funny. Readers that know me have recently told me that they see me in Gracianna. I did not write the story from that perspective. In reality I think I am reflected in parts of each character.
What is your next book project?
Why Stephanie… you are incorrigible. My publisher and others are encouraging me to write the sequel to the Gracianna story. But I have already written an outline for a book that depicts an experience that I had when I was in the music business in Hollywood in the early 90’s. My editor, Hillel Black, who has edited 20 New York Times best sellers has also expressed his interest in working with me again as well. What a joy! I may have to write another book just to have the chance to collaborate with Hillel again.
What genre do you like most?
I enjoy reading short stories. I enjoy to feeling a story develop quickly and get to the point. The opposite of what I just wrote. I knew the story I was telling but I purposefully tried not to get there too fast. This piece need a long introduction to clearly understand the characters and their motivation. I wanted the reader to fully appreciate why they would act the way they would in the future.
What is the truly last great book you have read and that inspired you?
I am inspired by anything that F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote. I love the pacing and the clarity and the delivery. There are some linkages between Gatsby and my story. Constance, Gracianna’s sister had many of the characteristics of Daisy Buchanan. She was an attractive and bubbly, shallow and selfish unaware how her actions could affect anyone. Both became acutely aware of their actions along the way.
What is your favorite quote?
…from Chilkoot Charlie’s in Anchorage, Alaska, “Where we cheat the other guys and pass the savings on to you.” 🙂
Thanks for inviting me, Stephanie!
Thank you, Trini!
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.
Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/graciannavirtualtour/
Twitter Hashtag: #GraciannaTour