By the age of eight, Sandra Montanino, lived in three different countries. Born into a large Italian, Basque, and Panamanian family, these rich exposures immersed her into a wealth of cultures, languages, provincial superstitions, and an endless fascination with her family of storytellers. The stories enriched her life and ignited her imagination.
The Original Recipe was an article featured in Ancestry Magazine about her family’s obsession with "who makes the best pasta sauce." Sandra found that her treasure chest of tales, mystical superstitions, adventures and wisdom came from her own family and she has committed to print for everyone to enjoy.
Sandra's longtime husband Gennaro comes from a family originating in Naples and 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 fourteen grandchildren and while they lived in Southern California for the majority of their lives, they now reside in Provo, Utah.
THE WEIGHT OF SALT (Book One) 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.
While I inherited their joy of storytelling, it took me a long time to realize that these stories were in danger of becoming lost treasures. 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 the events of those that came before us and was honored to win numerous awards from the League of Utah Writers.
After receiving such recognition, League members asked me to reveal a bit about the book I was writing. But I was not writing a book. When the question persisted, I decided I had better get busy. So, I fell into deep thought about my life's experiences. I traveled through time and considered everything I had accomplished and everything I had failed at and everyone I had known. Like all inspirations, the vision came in a flash of my Sicilian grandmother, Angelina. I rushed to the computer, grabbed the keyboard, and typed the outline for the first eighteen chapters. Though everyone had died and with no one was left to interview, the compelling drama still lit a powerful fire. I gathered all the information I had and connected the remainder with my imagination and my knowledge of their powerful personalities.
My cousin told me once, "Never forget you come from strong stock, and you are much stronger than you think." This novel is a story about such strength.