Jan Moran is a bestselling and award winning author. She writes historical women's fiction for St. Martin's Press, contemporary women's fiction, and nonfiction books. Her stories are smart and stylish, and written with emotional depth. Jan often draws on her international travel and business experiences, infusing her books with realistic details. TheMidwest Book Review and Kirkus have recommended her books, calling her heroines strong, complex, and resourceful. Visit www.JanMoran.com to learn more.
Literary Juice: With your professional background in beauty and fragrance, we can find these elements deeply rooted in your writing. For instance, your recent novel, Scent of Triumph: A Novel of Perfume andPassion, tells the story of a French perfumer who leaves behind her son and her home in Poland at the brink of the Second World War. In what ways is fragrance—as well as beauty, if applicable—used to influence this particular story? How does it help evoke emotion, or convey the message you hope to share with your readers?
Jan Moran: In Scent of Triumph, perfume and the natural ingredients from which fragrance compounds are derived at this time in history figure prominently in the story. Besides being the main character Danielle’s profession, perfume and ingredients are used in characterization, mood, and setting. The journal entries at the beginning of each chapter often relate to something in the chapter, or are used to set the mood. Indeed, every aroma, plant, essential oil, and perfume was carefully chosen.
LJ: On Amazon, one reviewer wrote, in regards to Scent of Triumph, “The one word I would use to describe this sweeping story is passion. Not romantic passion, although there is a wonderful love story that develops, but a woman’s passion for her family, heritage, and country.” These are meaningful words, and there are many more remarkable reviews like it. What is it that influences, or brings about such passion in your writing? From where did you draw your inspiration for Scent of Triumph?
JM: We all harbor deep desires, and I think readers are picking up on these human commonalities. For example, family is 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 women who wish to create a better life for themselves and their children. She is an ordinary woman, who achieves extraordinary things despite heartache, tragedy, and setbacks. Often Danielle must make a choice between equally heartbreaking options. Sometimes she makes mistakes – as any of us might. But still, she forges on and does the best she can. We admire those who have fine, strong beliefs and never give up, especially in the face of adversity.
LJ: Not only are you an author, but an entrepreneur, consultant and a major brand/retailer spokesperson as well, according to TheBentAgency.com. When did you start feeling the call to write fiction? Have you always wanted to write fiction?
JM: I began writing fiction as a young girl, but life intervened. However, I believe my work now is more layered now due to the experiences I’ve had in life and in business. Scent of Triumph was a labor of love, a fifteen year effort – on and off, course – but like Danielle, I was determined. To me it was a story that must be told.
LJ: What time management strategies do you employ that help you dedicate time to writing your books while juggling other multiple roles in such a busy lifestyle? How long does it normally take you to complete one book?
JM: Ah, time—the ticking clock is the bane of my existence! Fortunately, I don’t juggle everything at once, though I do love having a grand idea and seeing it through to fruition.
As I mentioned, Scent of Triumph was a fifteen-year effort, but now, a year is average for my historical novels, with a few more months for editing. Historical fiction is a demanding mistress – it involves intricate historical timelines onto which every action and detail must be pegged and verified. I love including small details, but the research involved is quite time consuming. Still, I love writing historical fiction.
My contemporary fiction requires less time. I write it in between historical novels for fun and as a way to recharge. I like to include authentic details in these works, too, so many of these books draw on my personal travels and experiences. Although the setting and tone in my contemporary works are different from my historical novels, what these books have in common is the heroines’ determination, values, and creativity.
LJ: Since publishing Scent of Triumph, are you currently working on any other books? If so, can you give a hint of what readers can look forward to in the future?
JM: Right now I’m editing a historical novel that’s near to my heart. It takes place in Italy, Paris, and California, where I live. Though not set during World War II as Scent of Triumph is, the World Wars do impact the story. This saga deals with secrets that often thread through families, and I’m terribly excited about it. Again, I did a tremendous amount of research and traveled to get a sense of history and place. Look for it in spring of 2016 from St. Martin’s.
In the meantime, I have a couple of new novels in my contemporary beauty series that will be published later in 2015. After Flawless and Beauty Mark, which are available now, the next up is Runway. These stories are drawn from my experiences in the beauty industry, and from my years of living in Beverly Hills. I really enjoy writing these, too.
Historical Fiction by Jan Moran
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Paperback: 384pp, $11.99; Kindle: $9.99
About this Book: 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.