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SANDRA MONTANINO IS A PROFESSIONAL AUTHOR

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MY CRAZY-WONDERFUL ITALIAN LIFE!

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DARING ADVENTURE
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RELIVE HISTORY
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EDUCATIONAL READING
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CAPTIVATING STRUGGLE
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BETRAIL & SURVIVAL
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EXCELLENT DIALOGUE


SANDRA MONTANINO IS AN
ESTABLISHED & PROFESSIONAL AUTHOR

Born into a large Italian, Basque and Panamanian family of storytellers, Sandra Montanino was embraced by an avalanche of multi-linguists, multi-cultures, and a cornucopia of superstitions. Each one enriched her life and imagination.

The Original Recipe is an article featured in Ancestry Magazine about her family’s obsession with "who makes the best pasta sauce." Sandra has found that the riches source of material has come from her own family. It is why she is dedicated to committing their tales, mystical superstitions, adventures, and wisdom to print for everyone to enjoy.

Sandra's longtime husband was born into the immigrant world of Manhattan's Little Italy. From his experiences and those of his family, she is now compiling these stories for another book. Together she and her husband have five children and thirteen grandchildren and while they lived in Los Angeles for the majority of their marriage, they now reside in Provo, Utah.

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From the Author

THE WEIGHT OF SALT (working title) was inspired by both my grandmother Angelina and my great-grandfather Domenico. Their intense life stories have been a great topic of many conversations, told and retold by the family.

I inherited their joy of storytelling. But it took me a long time to realize that these stories would become lost treasures if no one took the initiative to write them down. Since my children have married into other wonderful European nationalities, they and their children will never know the passion of what it was like and what was sacrificed when their ancestors came to America. I began by writing short stories about their lives and was honored to win numerous awards from the League of Utah Writers.

After receiving such recognition, I was asked by League members to reveal a bit about the book I was writing. But I wasn't writing a book. When the question persisted, I decided I'd better get busy. So, I threw myself on my bed, stared at the ceiling and thought about my life's experiences. I traveled through time, and considered everything I had accomplished and everything I'd failed at and everyone I'd known. Like a flash of lightning, my Sicilian grandmother came into my mind. I gave a holler, sat strait up, and jumped out of bed. I grabbed a paper and pen and wrote the outline for the first eighteen chapters. Though everyone had passed away and with no one to interview, the compelling drama still lit a powerful fire. I quickly gathered all the information I had, and connected the remainder with my imagination and my knowledge of their powerful personalities.

My cousin told be once, "Never forget you are strong and you come from strong stock." This novel is such a story.

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It all happened in a corner to Tampa, Florida known as Ybor City and referred to as The Cigar Capital of the World. Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s immigrants from all over were drawn here to find work. Some Italians went to work in cigar factories, while others founded businesses to serve them.

In my book I recount the story of my great-grandfather, Domenico, who before he could speak English, carried a small wood burning stove to the Ybor City train terminal and timed cooking his sausage sandwiches in line with the arrival and departure of trains. He said "If you are going to sell something, sell food, so you will never go hungry." The smell of sausages lured hungry travelers and Domenico was able to earn enough to build a small grocery and sandwich shop at the edge of the terminal. He later built a home attached to the grocery store where he raised his six children. This is where the story begins.

SANDRA'S BOOKS ARE FULL OF DETAILED EXPERIENCES
AS WELL CAPTURE THE LIFE FOR EARLY ITALIANS IN SOUTHERN FLORIDA!

Join My Newsletter For Updates On My Upcoming Novel: The Weight Of Salt

THE JOURNEY TO AMERICA

Between 1876 and 1930, more than five million Italians immigrated to the United States—the majority fleeing grinding rural poverty in Southern Italy and Sicily. These immigrants were desperate enough to leave everything behind and journey to a new country with only a few dollars in their pockets, knowing no one, and unable to speak the language.
  • Today, Americans of Italian ancestry are the nation's
    fifth-largest ethnic group.
The Italians in Tampa

The Italians of Ybor City arrived almost exclusively from Sicily. Life was unimaginably hard in the mid-to late 1800s. Most of the immigrants came from Sicily’s southwestern region, a hilly area containing the towns of Santo Stefano Quisquina, Alessandria della Rocca, Cianciana and Bivona. These villagers struggled with poor soil, malaria, bandits, low birth rates, high land rents from absentee landlords, and even wolves.
  • The completion of the Plant Railway to Tampa (1884) and Vicente Martinez Ybor’s development of Ybor City (1886) made the Tampa area an attractive destination for these immigrants. Thousands–including the many Sicilians who either came directly to Tampa or moved there from their initial U.S. “landing spots”–found work in the cigar trade, as well as in the myriad of other enterprises that supported Italians in the community. Source: Cigar City Magazine
  • Italians mostly brought their entire families with them, unlike many of the other immigrants. Once arriving in Ybor City (pronounced ee-bor), Italians settled mainly in the eastern and southern fringes of the city. The area was referred to as La Pachata, after a Cuban rent collector in that area. It also became known as “Little Italy."
Ybor City comes to be known as The Cigar Capital of the World.

At first, Italians found it difficult to find employment in the cigar industry, which was dominated by Hispanic workers. The Italians arrived in the cigar town without cigar-making skills and started at the bottom of the ladder, positions which did not involve handling tobacco. Working beside unskilled Cubans, they swept, hauled, and were porters and doorkeepers.
  • The majority of the Italian women worked as cigar strippers, an undesirable position. Eventually, many Italian women became skilled cigar makers, earning as much as their male counterparts.
  • In the end, approximately 20% of the workers were Italian Americans.

READ the amazing story of survival & Betrayal in the early 1900's

Angelina Desperate Decisions and Travel a Perilous Road to an Unimaginable Betrayal.

Sandra Motanino has been recognized by the League of Utah Writers &
Received Numerous Awards for Both Fiction and Non-Fiction.

  • In 2013, the Southern California Writer’s Conference honored her by selecting her first novel as winner of The Outstanding Fiction Award.

  • Fill Out the Contact Form Below
  • sandramontanino@gmail.com
  • Provo, UT

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