Hello, kittens! Happy Spring! We’re back here at the Southern Belle from Hell to welcome a sizzling new author, Jan Moran. Jan is here today to tell us a little about her new book Scent of Triumph.
Hi Alexandra, and thank for sharing your soapbox with me today! I’ve always been a fan of horror and creepy-crawly thing that go bump in the night.
People often ask where writers get their ideas. A couple of days ago on my blog tour I wrote about how I summon the muse, so today I thought I’d share more about how my work evolves. Writing is a different experience for every writer. Some writers plot heavily, while others are seat-of-the-pants writers (known affectionately as “pansters”). Me—I’m somewhere in between. I like to allow room for surprises.
When I begin thinking about a new book, I draw from subjects I know something about—or would like to learn more about. While I’m writing, I’d like to learn something fascinating, too.
Inspiration often comes when I’m walking on the beach or swimming laps. Sometimes flashes transpire in the middle of the night. (Always keep a notepad by your bed, even if it’s hard to decipher your midnight scribbles.)
So, here’s how I begin a new book:
1. Who’s the Protagonist? – Strong female protagonists and entrepreneurs who forge their own paths to success inspire me. I like to share their fascinating, adventurous, inspirational stories. The character’s name, heritage, background, physical attributes, and inner life come next. I wonder, what are her passions, flaws, and dreams? All of this goes into a master notebook. Once she becomes three dimensional, I’m ready to move on.
2. Where’s the Story Set? – Locations are one of my favorite things to think about. As a child, books were my magic carpets to the world. Travel is stimulating—I love to explore new cities, countries, customs, and cultures that I can share with readers. I find something intriguing about every place I visit, so it’s hard to choose, but France, England, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Spain, New York, Texas, and California (my home) are among my favorite places.
3. What’s Her Job? – Once I know what my protagonist does, and what’s important to her, the story begins to emerge. For example, during my career perfumery, fashion, and business were my passions. I’m also a strong advocate of the entrepreneurial path. So, in writing Scent of Triumph, I studied forward-thinking female entrepreneurs of the twentieth century in beauty and fashion: Coco Chanel, Nina Ricci, Elizabeth Arden, Estée Lauder, Madame Carven, Mary Kay. These smart, gutsy, entrepreneurial women lived cinematic lives steeped in creative endeavors, along with their share of drama. Of course, future protagonists will have different career paths, but you can bet that it will be something just as interesting.
4. What’s the Time Period? – I’ve always loved history, so it seems natural to set my stories in the not too distant past—within the last century. I also like to weave in generational stories, such as those of a mother or grandmother. Family relationships, especially children, are important to me, and often figure prominently in my work. And of course, there’s always a love interest or two…or three.
5. What Does She Learn? – The main character’s arc, or what she learns during the course of the story, is vital for a satisfactory story. My main character has flaws and makes mistakes (like all of us), but learns from her blunders. Ultimately, she should prevail over unimaginable adversity—whether from external forces or against her own internal struggles (or both). For example, Scent of Triumph is one woman’s journey, a journey filled with courage and creativity, with love and loss, and at the heart of it all, a relentless will to survive, to triumph on her own terms.
Great visiting with you and your readers here, Alexandra! I love to hear from readers and other writers, so feel free to say hello on my blog, Facebook, or Twitter.
I dunno about you guys, but I learned a lot from that post. That Jan Moran is one smart cookie! Not to mention that she’s written an amazing book. And speaking of, here’s a little more about that….
About Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran
Scent of Triumph is the story of Danielle Bretancourt, a talented young French perfumer with a flair for fashion and a natural olfactory gift. In the language of perfumery, she is a Nose, with the rare ability to recognize thousands of essences by memory. The story opens on the day England declares war on Germany, and Danielle and her family are caught in the midst of a raging disaster sweeping across Europe.
Her life takes a tragic turn when her husband and son are lost behind enemy lines. She spies for the French resistance, determined to find them, but is forced to flee Europe with fragments of her family. Destitute, she mines her talents to create a magnificent perfume that captures the hearts of Hollywood’s top stars, then gambles again to win wealth and success as a couturier. Her intelligence and flair attracts the adoration of Jonathan Newell-Grey, of England’s top shipping conglomerate, and Cameron Murphy, Hollywood’s most charismatic star.
Danielle charts her course through devastating wartime losses and revenge; lustful lovers and loveless marriages; and valiant struggles to reunite her family. Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, here is one woman’s story of courage, spirit, and resilience.
Jan Moran writes smart, stylish, sensual sagas. She’s also written several books on perfume.
“My most recent book, SCENT OF TRIUMPH, was inspired by my love of perfumery and history. In writing, I drew upon my own family history and my mother’s memories of World War II, imagining a young entrepreneur whose talent, determination, and fearlessness catapult her to the pinnacle of success, despite mounting personal tragedies and the elusiveness of love.
“I write about strong, capable, female entrepreneurs. I’m a world traveler, so I also enjoy writing about different destinations.”
Jan Moran is the author of SCENT OF TRIUMPH, a historical novel, and FABULOUS FRAGRANCES I and II, which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list. She is at work on more series in fiction and nonfiction.
As a fragrance and beauty expert, she has been featured in numerous publications and on television and radio, including CNN and Extra, Women’s Wear Daily, Allure, InStyle, and O Magazine. As an editor and writer, she has covered fragrance, beauty, and spa travel for a variety of publications.