NAW Interview with Jan Moran

Jan Moran

JAN MORAN is the author of several books including Fabulous Fragrances, which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list. As a fragrance and beauty expert, she has been featured in numerous publications and on television and radio, including CNN, and has spoken before prestigious organizations, including The American Society of Perfumers.

She earned her MBA from Harvard Business School and attended the University of California at Los Angeles Extension Writers’ Program, studying fiction, nonfiction, and screenwriting. Visit her here.

NAW- Please tell us a little about SCENT OF TRIUMPH. 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.

NAW- 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.

NAW- Why did you want to become a writer?

As a child, I was an avid reader. Writers were my rock stars! Books were my passport to exotic locales and fascinating characters.

NAW- When did you begin writing?

My first volume of poetry: fourth grade. My first novel: seventh grade. Both are, thankfully, forgotten. The ULCA Writers Program in Los Angeles was my next stop along the writing route. The RWA (Romance Writers of America) is also an excellent organization for learning and support.

NAW- What inspires your writing?

Travel always inspires me—I love to explore new cities, countries, and cultures that I can share with readers. Strong female protagonists and entrepreneurs who forge their own paths to success are also a source of inspiration. Finally, I like to learn something fascinating along the way, about history, unusual careers, or interesting people.

NAW- What’SCENT OF TRIUMPH s your favorite part of the book?

I have a special place in my heart for Danielle’s perfumery journ
al, which gave me deeper insights into her character, and allowed me to share her interpretation of her work and world events. Each entry appears at the beginning of a chapter, and relates to flowers or perfumery ingredients in that particular chapter, or current events in her world.

For example, the entry for the first chapter is: A rose, the symbol of love, the queen of the perfumer’s palette. How then, does the perfume of war intoxicate even the most reasonable of men? Roses are a recurring symbol throughout the book, along with other flowers, such as iris and jasmine, which are all important to the perfumer. The story opens on the days that England and France declare war on Nazi Germany in response to the invasion of Poland.

Other favorite quotes include:

  • Perfume is my memory, the chronicle of my life.
  • Deep within the stench of despair blooms the perfume of hope.
  • Sandalwood, a stalwart of the perfumer’s palette. Impervious to termites, matured more than thirty years. A superb fixative, an anchor. Stable, rich, smooth. Important qualities—desirable in men as well.
  • The orchid, queen of exoticism, a mute observer slow to reveal the mysteries of her petals. Would that I had such patience, too.

NAW- Who are your favorite authors and books?

Favorite authors include: Kristin Hannah, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Jennifer Crusie, Anita Hughes, Michelle Gable, Barbara Delinsky, Elizabeth Adler, Tatiana de Rosney, and Gerard Macdonald. A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford was an early inspiration, and I adore A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable. I love Shanghai Girls and others by Lisa See and The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory. And who can forget Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, or War and Peace. There’s nothing like a smart, strong-willed heroine.

NAW- When did your love of perfumery first begin?

My love of perfumery was seeded by my mother and grandmother, who never left the house without perfume and lipstick. Fortunately, they had excellent taste and were generous with their knowledge.

NAW- Are your character based on real people? Or imaginary people?

All of my imaginary characters are jostling for headspace and attention. But there are many real stories of entrepreneurs and survivors that serve as inspiration, too. And remember, no one is safe around a writer!

NAW- Where did the idea come from for your books?

Many of my ideas stem from my personal experience, although my books are not autobiographical. But in both SCENT OF TRIUMPH and my next book you will learn about places I’ve lived and traveled (such as Paris, Beverly Hills, New York, Italy), the work I’ve done in perfume and beauty, period fashions, history, and more. I don’t like to drop designer names or labels simply for the sake of doing so, but I will when it’s germane to characterization, setting, or historical reference. I also like to include details about what it’s like to create a product, run a business, and obtain funding–keys aspects of any entrepreneur’s experience. My characters are quite entrepreneurial; of course, that stems from my own experience as well.

FLAWLESS A Hostile Beauty Novel

NAW- If you could tell your readers anything, what would it be?

Never give up!

NAW- What do you love most about the writing process?

Creating a world where anything can happen…

NAW- What’s your favorite genre?

I read across genres, but contemporary and historical fiction, epic sagas, mysteries, and biographies are among my favorites.

NAW- Who are your favorite authors?

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.

NAW- When do you write? 

I try to do most of my writing during the day, but I also write in crazy late night spurts and weekend marathons.

NAW- What are you working on now?

Several fiction and nonfiction projects. I have a couple of new novels underway, which will take readers to fabulous international locations and delve into sexy new stories. I’ll make announcements on my website, blog, Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter. Stay tuned on my website, where I’ll post previews. Better yet, sign up for my newsletter to learn about new books and enter to win Advance Reader Copies and autographed books.

Books by Jan Moran

Scent of Triumph: A Novel of Perfume and Passion

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pub Date: March 31, 2015

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press


“Jan Moran is the new queen of the epic romance.” 

– USA Today Bestselling Author Rebecca Forster, Author of Expert Witness

“A well-spun and sweeping debut novel about a fearless, headstrong woman. Spanning multiple continents and set against the backdrop of World War II, Jan Moran deftly weaves plotlines and tackles tough issues, all to a satisfying conclusion. Add in glimpses of the high-end fragrance trade, and Scent of Triumph offers a thoroughly engaging tale, rich in all five senses.” 

— Michelle Gable, Author of A Paris Apartment


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.

There, 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. 


Flawless: A Hostile Beauty Novel

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Series: Hostile Beauty

Pub Date: August 15, 2015

Publisher: Briarcliffe Press


“There’s always an ugly side to beauty.”

— Jan Moran

“An engrossing view into the world of ‘beautiful people’ with an ending that will leave you wanting more.”

— New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Melissa Foster

Verena Valent is at the helm of her family’s legendary Swiss skincare company, which caters to a glamorous clientele in the heart of Beverly Hills. After her parents are killed in an automobile accident, she becomes the sole provider for her younger twin sisters and her grandmother. Instead of attending college with her friends as planned, she rises to the challenge to guide and expand her family’s business. She is in the midst of a critical international expansion into Asia when her carefully organized life begins to unravel.

Verena is shaken to discover that her fiancé, Derrick, who is a venture capitalist, might be behind a scheme to take over her growing company. While she struggles to save the business that means everything to her, she meets Lance, an executive chef at the Beverly Hills Hotel. She encounters this intriguing man again while on a business trip to Paris, and soon gains a new perspective on relationships.

When the unthinkable occurs and Verena’s world collapses, her friends rally around her, among them Scarlett Sandoval, a top intellectual property attorney; Dahlia DuBois, a perfumer from an esteemed line of French perfumers; and Fianna Fitzgerald, a fashion designer with her own trendy boutique.

Ultimately, Verena learns that truth, family, friendship, and love are the unshakable pillars of life. But will she get a second chance in business, or in love?

Flawless is the first book in the Hostile Beauty Series. Follow a group of smart, stylish, entrepreneurial friends as they navigate the turbulences of modern life in the business of beauty. Set in Beverly Hills with action flung across the globe, the Hostile Beauty Series is an engaging series that features gutsy, determined best friends, and how they manage to live the lives of their dreams.

Other Works by Jan Moran

Fabulous Fragrances I (1992)

Fabulous Fragrances II (2000)

Scentsa for Sephora

Beauty Mark (December 2014)

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