Interview with Jan Moran
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, SCENT OF TRIUMPH is one woman’s story of courage, spirit, and resilience.
Please tell us a little about your book. Why is it a must-read?
SCENT OF TRIUMPH is a character-driven story set against a tumultuous time of history—World War II. The protagonist, Danielle Bretancourt, is the kind of modern young woman that you really want to know, and, despite her mistakes, that you can root for. She’s a hard worker, cherishes her family, and longs for a partner. She’s wonderfully creative and has a sense of innate sense of style—even I envy her for that.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
It’s hard to say, because the book is an original idea. Personally, I like to read a wide range of historical and mainstream fiction, if that helps. Some of my faves are on my Goodreads page. Stop by and say hello.
Some other books in which perfumes make a significant appearance include The Perfume Collector, The Book of Lost Fragrances, and Perfume.
What was the inspiration behind SCENT OF TRIUMPH?
SCENT OF TRIUMPH was initially inspired by my love of perfumery, but the main character quickly took charge and began building a business, despite her many setbacks. I was inspired by female entrepreneurs from the early part of the twentieth century, such as Elizabeth Arden, Coco Chanel, Madame Gres, Nina Ricci, Estee Lauder, Eleanor Roosevelt, and many others in the beauty and fashion industries. Family is also vitally important in this story; Danielle’s love and devotion to her children is really the root of her ambition, as it is with many female entrepreneurs who wish to create a better life for themselves and their children. She is an ordinary woman, who achieves extraordinary things. Like any one of us can.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
SCENT OF TRIUMPH is a highly emotional story. Readers tell me they get emotionally invested in the main character, Danielle. They pull for her success, they cry with her during her periods of grief, and they fall in love with her lovers.
What can modern women learn from your protagonist, Danielle Bretancourt?
The story of Danielle Bretancourt is really the story of a woman’s journey on the entrepreneur’s path. It’s a story of creativity and innovation, and of courage of convictions. Since the story begins in 1939, I had to understand the challenges that faced women at that time, such as the lack of credit or borrowing power for women who wanted to start their own business, among others. While opportunities have improved for women around the world, there are still so many women who suffer from inequalities, lack of knowledge, poor access to capital, and cultural oppression.
For this story, I drew on memories from my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother – their memories of joy over gaining the right to vote, owning property in their name, and creating their own income. The challenges they faced and overcame inspired me to become an entrepreneur, and to help spread the word today about women’s entrepreneurial efforts as a positive economic force for change.
We love the romantic aspect of SCENT OF TRIUMPH, so tell us, what is your favorite romantic scent?
When I was writing SCENT OF TRIUMPH, I created a cast of characters and imagined, what fragrances they would wear? How would perfume add to their characterization? What would their choices reveal about them? I used fragrances to reveal a character’s personality, heritage, or psychological nature. For example, Tabac Blond, and Jicky were considered fairly avant-garde in the first part of the twentieth century, so I gave these fabulous vintage scents to two of the more extravagant characters in the books. Personally, I adore Mitsouko, so this one has a special passage in the book, too.
If you were casting a movie for SCENT OF TRIUMPH, who would you cast?
It’s open to interpretation, but here’s a start:
Danielle Bretancourt: Keira Knightley, Audrey Tatou, Emma Stone
Jonathan Newell-Grey: Chris Hemsworth
Max von Hoffman: Jude Law
Cameron Murphy: Ryan Gosling, Ryan Reynolds
Marie Bretancourt: Meryl Streep, Juliette Binoche
Erica Evans: Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek
How did you come up with the idea for SCENT OF TRIUMPH?
I drew on my entrepreneurial experience in the perfume industry to create a vivid, compelling world. Equal parts artist and businesswoman, my gutsy heroine Danielle Bretancourt enchants men and women alike with a magical perfume blended in France and launched in Hollywood, while World War II rages across the continents.
I’d also like to add that 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, SCENT OF TRIUMPH is one woman’s story of courage, spirit, and resilience. So many of us have our own stories of resilience, of fighting for our principles, or for our families—I wanted to write a story that people of any age or circumstance could relate to, a story that would uplift the spirit.
Tell us about SCENT OF TRIUMPH in one sentence.
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.
Tell us about a favorite character from one of your books.
In SCENT OF TRIUMPH, French-born Danielle Bretancourt is an incredibly talented young woman; in the lexicon of perfumery, she is a “Nose.” During the first half of the twentieth century, most perfumers were men, but Danielle has a special gift—an unparalleled olfactory sense—and the ability to breathe life into artistic ideas. She’s an entrepreneur, but she’s also a realist, determined to do whatever she must to keep her family together despite the horrors of World War II.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
SCENT OF TRIUMPH was inspired by my love of perfumery. My creation of Scentsa for Sephora and other work in the fragrance industry also inspired me. The idea for the World War II period was inspired by my parent’s memories of their lives during the war, and by accounts from French perfumers and fashion designers who lived through the war.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
For SCENT OF TRIUMPH, the first draft was written in about a year, but there were many, many rounds of revisions and edits that took several years while I was working full time.
Do you have a favorite character?
Danielle is wonderfully creative, never takes no for an answer, but has her flaws in her choice of men. Max is a leader, and magnetic and persevering, Jon is sexy, charismatic, and caring, and Cameron is a fun-loving Hollywood bad boy with a heart of gold. Danielle’s friend Abigail is also a wonderful person, and work tirelessly on behalf of orphaned children to help find adoptive families. I had fun with Lou Silverman, too, a Hollywood studio boss, as well as Danielle’s uncle, a noted French perfumer. I hope everyone enjoys the diversity of the cast.
Is SCENT OF TRIUMPH only for female readers?
Not at all. If you visit Amazon or Goodreads, you’ll see reviews from many of my male fans. SCENT OF TRIUMPH resonates with both genders. Entrepreneurial struggles, family, love, and World War II are topics that both men and women can relate to.
Publication Date: March 31, 2015 | St. Martin's Griffin | Formats: eBook, Paperback | 384 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
When French perfumer Danielle Bretancourt steps aboard a luxury ocean liner, leaving her son behind in Poland with his grandmother, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. The year is 1939, and the declaration of war on the European continent soon threatens her beloved family, scattered across many countries. Traveling through London and Paris into occupied Poland, Danielle searches desperately for her the remains of her family, relying on the strength and support of Jonathan Newell-Grey, a young captain. Finally, she is forced to gather the fragments of her impoverished family and flee to America. There she vows to begin life anew, in 1940s Los Angeles.
Through determination and talent, she rises high from meager jobs in her quest for success as a perfumer and fashion designer to Hollywood elite. Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, Scent of Triumph is one woman's story of courage, spirit, and resilience.
Praise for Scent of Triumph"SCENT OF TRIUMPH [is a] World War II epic." -Los Angeles Times
"Though romance figures importantly in [SCENT OF TRIUMPH], Danielle's professional life is most appealing, profiting from perfume expert Moran's (Fabulous Fragrances, 1994, etc.) authentic experience...The casual demeanor with which Danielle always notices scents in her environment helps establish her character and professional credibility in a charming way...Danielle makes for a strong, unusual heroine who doesn't always make wise decisions, although her resilience, style and knowledge remain admirable.... [A] historical fiction carried by a complex, resourceful heroine with a nose for business." -Kirkus Reviews
“Warm and well written, with characters who attract the reader’s sympathy and affection. A lovely story well-told, which will appeal to romantics, fashion and perfume devotees, and fans of historical fiction.” -Amy Edelman, founder of IndieReader.com
Buy Scent of TriumphAmazon
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Jan has been featured in numerous publications and on television and radio, including CNN, 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 such as Cosmopolitan, Elle, Costco Connection, and Porthole Cruise.
A perfume and beauty industry expert, she is the creator of Scentsa, a touch screen fragrance finder in Sephora stores.
From Jan: "I love smart and fierce female protagonists. I hope you enjoy these books, and if you'd like to Skype me into your book club meeting, simply send me a message!"
For more information and to sign up for Jan Moran's newsletter visit her official website. Jan blogs at Jan Moran Writes. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Goodreads, and LinkedIn.
Special Offer from Jan Moran!
Jan Moran is running a special incentive on her website for a free digital ebook of her new non-fiction book, Vintage Perfumes, to everyone who purchases Scent of Triumph from March 31 to April 30! All you have to do is email your receipt to Jan Moran at email@example.com, along with a photo of yourself with the Scent of Triumph book, eBook, or your tablet.
Scent of Triumph Blog Tour ScheduleWednesday, April 1
Interview & Excerpt at Passages to the Past
Thursday, April 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight & Excerpt at Genre Queen
Friday, April 3
Review & Excerpt at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Interview at Let Them Read Books
Monday, April 6
Guest Post at The Maiden's Court
Tuesday, April 7
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Wednesday, April 8
Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book
Thursday, April 9
Review at The Eclectic Reader
Tuesday, April 14
Interview at A Literary Vacation
Thursday, April 16
Guest Post at Book Nerd
Friday, April 17
Review at The Lit Bitch
Guest Post at Mina's Bookshelf
Interview at Reading Lark
GiveawayTo enter to win a signed copy of Scent of Triumph, please complete the giveaway form below.
Giveaway starts on April 1st at 12:01am EST and ends at 11:59pm EST on April 17th.
Giveaway is open to residents in the US only and you must be 18 or older to enter.
Winners will be chosen via GLEAM on April 18th and notified via email.
Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Please email Amy @ firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Scent of Triumph