Saturday, July 28, 2012

Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran: Character Interview, Author Interview, Excerpt

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.

"Scent of Triumph will appeal to anyone who enjoys historical romance...filled with love, loss, struggle, triumph. Moran writes in such a way that you will feel as if you were transported back to the era. Her characters are well developed. Very unique, an enjoyable read." -- Rebecca's Reads Review

"Jan Moran is the new queen of the epic romance."- USA Today Bestselling Author Rebecca Forster, Author of Expert Witness

“Scent of Triumph is a rich tapestry that weaves fragrance into an already compelling story of love and perseverance during WWII. Jan's skillful writing, combined with her wealth of olfactory knowledge, makes this a great read for all, but especially the perfume enthusiast.” - Karen Adams, Sniffapalooza

"Jan Moran has created a resilient, talented character in Danielle. Her story will resonate with any woman who has faced the challenges of parenting, loving, and working to build a future for herself--and those who are looking for a good read, and a satisfying ending."
--Kelly James-Enger, author White Bikini Panties and The Honesty Index

"Jan is an exceedingly articulate and vivacious authority on her area of specialty: fragrance. She is also a charismatic and elegant presence who knows her business, lives it and loves it." --Stephanie Stephens, Host & Executive Producer:

From the Author: "Scent of Triumph was inspired by my love of perfume and its creative process. It was based in part on research I did in creating Scentsa, the touch screen fragrance finder now in all Sephora stores, and in creating my own perfumes. But I also drew upon my own family history and my mother's memories of World War II. I imagined a young entrepreneur whose talent, determination, and fearlessness catapult her to the pinnacle of success, despite mounting personal tragedies and the elusiveness of love."

 Kindle  |  Paperback  |   Goodreads 

From SCENT OF TRIUMPH – by Jan Moran 

Merci, Danielle,” the young woman said with a smile as Danielle placed an armload of fragrant white lilies next to the blush pink roses she had already chosen.  “You always chose my best flowers.”
Danielle winked at her friend, the owner of the Flower Pot in Beverly Hills.  “And you always have the best flowers in town, Mimi.  Especially this spring.”

  “Mais oui!  It’s a good season.  Are these for a special occasion or party?”

“These are just for me.  You know I can’t resist walking past your beautiful flowers.”  Danielle buried her nose in the bouquet of roses that Mimi had already wrapped in newspaper.  “I feel so much better when my home is full of flowers.  Their perfume always lifts my spirits.” 

“Mine, too.  That reminds me, my brother just sent some potted gardenias from the farm.  They’re full of buds and would be perfect for the windows in your boudoir.  Did you see them?  They’re in the front of the shop.”

“I’ll take a look.”  Danielle meandered through a brilliant maze of cut flowers, charming topiaries, and magnificent floral arrangements.  She loved the scents that swirled through the air, and they really did lift her spirits. 
After she had committed Cameron to the sanitarium for his alcohol and drug addictions, she tried to banish the turmoil that had been in their home.  Not only had his behavior affected her, but it had also disturbed Liliana, Jasmin, and Marie.  Once he was gone, she had asked a friend, who was an interior designer, to make subtle changes throughout their home using an ancient Chinese design theory called feng shui, which they all found calming and healing.  The sound of waterfalls and the aroma of flowers had helped restore balance and happiness to their home, and reminded her of her uncle’s flower fields in Grasse.  Since then, Danielle managed to find time in her busy schedule to shop for fresh bouquets every week, and she felt better than she had in years.
She drank in the heady aromas wafting through the air, closing her eyes from time to time as she leaned into an exotic flower or plant to breathe in its scent.  I could almost be in Grasse, she thought.
She loved her friend’s shop, in fact, she had helped Mimi and her brother start their business with a small investment.  They were from the Provence region of France, and while Mimi ran the retail shop, her brother oversaw their farm in a valley north of Los Angeles where they grew the flowers and plants.
The shop was busy this Saturday morning in May, bustling with people in their casual weekend clothes enjoying the warm spring weather.  Danielle folded up the long sleeves on her white cotton shirt, and as sunshine streamed through the front windows, she pulled her dark sunglasses from their casual perch atop her head, shielding her eyes against the bright glare.  She spied the gardenias and made her way to them. 
She rubbed the glossy green leaves, touched the moist earth in the pot, and let her fingers trail along a fresh white flower bursting from a tightly swirled bud.  Instinctively, she sniffed her fingers. 
Perhaps I’ll capture this aroma, she thought to herself, smiling.  Cool greens combined with sweet gardenia, the moist earth, the warmth of the sun—it would be perfect for this season.  Maybe a new line of garden-inspired perfumes—
She squeezed her eyes shut, her fingers still hovering beneath her nose.  Am I hearing things?  She heard someone call her name.  And not just anyone, but it sounded just like—  And that scent...the patchouli, the hint of was Spanish Leather and the scent of his warm skin...oh, mon Dieu!  She felt a hand on her shoulder, and felt a shiver of remembrance course through her.
Slowly she swung around.  The shop seemed to fall away, and she felt suspended in the moment.  She pushed her sunglasses up on her head and blinked, staring at the handsome man who stood before her.  Jon? 

“It must be kismet.”  A wondrous smile spread across his face.  “I stopped to buy flowers for Abigail, and I thought I saw you through the window.”  He ran his hand down her shoulder and caught her hand, drawing her to him, intensifying the delicious scent of him in her nose. 
“I can’t believe it, what brings you here?” She felt her heart beating wildly, and was certain he could see it beneath her blouse.

“We have a ship going out on the Pacific from Long Beach.  I didn’t have much notice, what with security and all.  So I thought I’d surprise Abigail.”

Danielle laughed nervously.  “Oh, you would have.  But she’s not here.  She’s in San Francisco with Lou.  He has a film shooting on location there.”

He ran a hand through his thick hair, releasing a faint scent of the sea.  “Ah, once again, I should have called ahead.”

He smiled wistfully at her, his warm eyes crinkling at the corners.  She noticed his face was leaner than before, but his chest was broad, and he looked more muscular.  He’s even more magnificent than I remembered. 

“Then our meeting really is kismet,” he murmured.  His voice sounded low and gentle, yet charged with emotion and strength.  “You look so different, Danielle, you’ve bloomed, just like these flowers.  How many years has it been since that day outside of your apartment?”
Danielle felt her face flush, and moistened her lips to speak, but at that moment, Mimi bustled toward them.
“Did you find the gardenias?”  Mimi paused and tilted her head.  “Ah, I see you’ve found a friend instead.  Who is this?” she asked with a curious smile.
“Jon is an old friend, and Abigail’s brother.”
“I am so very pleased to meet you,” she said, her eyes darting between Danielle and Jon.  “Danielle, I have your flowers ready.  Did you want the gardenias, too?”
“Oh yes, of course.  I’ll take two of these.”

“Let me help you,” Jon said.  “Which ones do you want?”

Reining in her emotions, Danielle pointed to two lush plants, and Jon swept them up in his arms.  “What else do you have?”
Mimi gestured to the counter.  “She has quite a few roses and lilies.”  She glanced at Danielle and added, “How nice that you ran into Jon.” 
“Yes, what luck,” Jon said with broad smile as they wound through the shop.

Danielle felt her pulse quicken, and yet, she marveled at how easily they fell into step together.  It had been three, no, almost four years since they’d seen one another.  Before Cameron, she thought with a jolt.

Jon paid for the flowers and scooped them into his arms.  Laughing, Danielle said, “Here, I can manage the lilies.”
“How far do we have to go with these?”
“I’m parked in the back, follow me.”  As he held the door for her, she glanced over her shoulder, and noticed his gaze lingering on her body, then he met her eyes. 
“Nice flowers,” he said with grin. 
She laughed nervously and shook her head.  “I’m in the Delahaye.”
Jon walked to the car and let out a low whistle.  “What a beauty—the car, too,” he added, looking appraisingly at Danielle.
“Jon, you’re being naughty.  And I’m supposed to be mad at you.”  She unlocked the doors.
“At me?  Why?” 
“Well, why shouldn’t I be?  You show up again, with no notice at all.”
“Danielle, let’s not waste time on the past.”  Taking the keys from her, he opened the trunk and placed the flowers inside.  He drew a deep breath.  “I didn’t call you, or anyone, because I didn’t know how much time I would have.  As it is, I only have a few hours, and I don’t know when I’ll return.”  A serious look shadowed his face for an instant.  He took her hands in his.  “But I’m here now, and it’s a beautiful day.  May we enjoy it together?”
She smiled up at him.  “Come with me to the house.  My mother and the girls are visiting friends in San Diego.  And you know where Cameron is.  I wrote to you about that.” 
He nodded.  “Is he any better?”

“He’s taking this opportunity to work on new songs, and is looking forward to coming home soon.”  She paused, then sighed deeply.  That had been her standard answer to the press for months.  Why should I lie to Jon?  “Actually, he was released from the sanitarium to work on his new album, but after just a month, he had a horrible relapse and returned.  But let’s not talk about Cameron.”  She flipped her sunglasses back on her nose.  “Want to drive?”

Hello Jan, Welcome!! Thanks so much for stopping by today!

How did you start your writing career?

My first volume of poetry: 4th grade. My first novel: 7th grade.  Both are, thankfully, forgotten!  The ULCA Writer’s Program in Los Angeles was my next stop along the writer’s route.  The RWA (Romance Writer’s of America) is also an excellent organization for learning and support.

Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

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.

Where do you dream of traveling to and why? 

As a young girl, books were my magic passport to faraway lands.  As an adult, so many of these travel dreams have come true, but I still dream of visiting Brazil, Argentina, Bora Bora, Russia, and Africa.  I just returned from France and Denmark, two countries that stole my heart.

Does travel play in the writing of your books?

Absolutely! I love to write about different countries and cultures, share experiences I’ve had, and introduce readers to new places and people.

Tell us about your current release. 

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.

Who is your favorite author?

So many wonderful writers! Barbara Taylor Bradford writes with elegance and a designer’s eye for detail; Lisa See paints vivid portraits of time and place; Philippa Gregory enchants with historical details.  And all of them portray strong, accomplished women.

When in the day/night do you write? How long per day? 

My days are filled with business, so my writing time is limited to crazy late night spurts and weekend marathons.  But it’s also how I relax.

Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.

They’re ALL the best!  I cherish (and save!) every letter I receive, and am so touched when people take time out their busy day to write to me.  I love it when people share memories or places they’ve visited, or stories of a perfume that touched their soul—perhaps one that a beloved family member once wore.  What an incredible honor to receive a letter—especially today!  Email?  Works for me, too!  And I love to send fan letters, too J. 

I'm excited for this opportunity to find out more about Danielle Bretancourt, the heroine of Scent of Triumph. Welcome Danielle!

Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

Since I’m from Europe, I’d love to see more of the United States, my adopted country.  I’d love to visit San Francisco and New York (I hear there are some excellent, authentic French restaurants there!), and ski the snowy mountains of Utah and Colorado.  Of course, I’ll always love France; it’s the heart of perfumery, which is my true passion.

Do you play any sports?

I love to dance! My mother took me to the ballet when I was a young girl in Paris, and I talked her into allowing me to take lessons.  But I love all forms of dance—jazz, tango, and all the new dances in America!

What are you passionate about these days?

Without giving away my story, my family and my creative work are my twin passions.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I love to garden…I love the aromas of fresh spring blossoms and sun-warmed herbs, even moist black dirt! 

What one word best describes you?

Just one? How about two or three? Creative, determined, and tenacious.

You just won a huge lottery what is the first thing you'll buy?

All the original perfumes I can find!

Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? What is it?

“Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.”  It’s a complicated French phrase, but it means that the more things change, the more they remain the same (literally), but it also means that even though we might change our lives, we might continue to struggle with the same problems.  Real change requires a fundamental shift.

Is there a piece of advice that you have received that has really stuck with you? If so, what was it? 

Winston Churchill once advised, “Never give up!”

Jan Moran is a writer and entrepreneur living in San Diego, California. She is the author of the new Scent of Triumph, a historical novel, and Fabulous Fragrances I and II, which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list.

As a fragrance expert, she has been featured in numerous publications and on television and radio, including CNN, Elle, Women's Wear Daily, Allure, and O Magazine. As an editor and writer, she has covered fragrance, beauty, and spa travel. She has spoken before Fashion Group International, The Fragrance Foundation, and The American Society of Perfumers. She is the founder and creator of Scentsa, a touch-screen software program for retailers such as Sephora, and brands. Her proprietary Scentsa® Content Program is a database of beauty descriptions and articles licensed to retailers in several languages.

Website  |  Twitter  |  Video  |  Goodreads  

Here's a link to a fun post for perfume lovers: 

Vintage Perfume Guide - from my Goodreads blog

Two Winners. First name drawn gets their choice of a Print or Kindle Formatted copy of
Scent of Triumph.
Second Place winner receives the format not chosen by the first place winner.
Print book may Ship Internationally!
Comment on this post for a bonus entry. Follow the author on Twitter for another bonus entry.
Giveaway ends August 25th 11:59 PM CDT


Karielle Stephanie said...

Scent of Triumph sounds great! Thanks for a great post!

Lori said...

Great opportunity to enjoy historical fiction and learn more about the perfume industry.

intensev5 said...

Thanks for the chance to win

LAWonder said...

I love Historical romance and fiction. I would love to win.

intensev5 said...

Thanks for the chance to win.

Leocadia said...

Thanks for the giveaway !

daveshir2005 said...

Awesome contest! Thanks


Sarah Yurga said...

I love having a new book in my handds - thanks !