Paris-born Danielle Bretancourt von Hoffman is a modern young woman with a natural gift. In the language of perfumery, she is a Nose, with the rare ability to recognize thousands of essences by memory.
The year is 1939, and on the day that England declares war on Germany, 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 their only son are stranded behind enemy lines. Summoning her courage, she spies for the French resistance, 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 stars, then gambles to win wealth and success as a couturier. Her intelligence and flair attracts the adoration of Jonathan Newell-Grey, head 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.
Q&A 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!
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.
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.
Question: 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.
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, Facebook and Twitter. Stay tuned on http://www.janmoran.com, where I’ll post previews. Better yet, sign up for my every-so-often newsletter.
Can you tell us something about yourself that people might not know?
A lot of people might know that I’ve written earlier nonfiction books on fragrances, Fabulous Fragrances I & II, which grew into the immensely popular Scentsa touch-screen fragrance and skincare finders in Sephora stores around the world, but not many people know that I’ve also guided the creative effort on a fine perfume, and blended several artisan scents. These incredible experiences helped me breathe life into the character of Danielle Bretancourt, a French perfumer, in Scent of Triumph.
What’s the best fan letter you’ve 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.
Where did the idea come from for your books?
Most of my ideas stem from my personal experience, although my books are not autobiographical per se. But in both Scent of Triumph and Hostile Beauty you will learn about places I’ve lived and traveled (such as Paris, Beverly Hills, New York), 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, and I suppose that stems from my own experience as well.
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
What were your first career dreams?
A ballerina or a model! My mother studied under Russian ballet masters and danced in the Houston, Texas ballet. I entered ballet classes at the age of three, and continued until adulthood. However, I’m petite; I never gained enough height for a career in either ballet or modeling!
What sports do you like to do?
In the winter, I love to visit the mountains to ski. My favorite destinations are Queenstown, New Zealand, Mammoth Lakes, California, and Vail, Colorado. Otherwise, you can find me walking by the ocean at home in San Diego, riding a bike, or in a pilates or zumba class at the gym. I love to swim, too.
What are your favorite colors?
Red, red, and red!
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated.
I enjoyed this book! It is a story of Danielle Bretancourt who is a french perfumer and it is set in World War II. This is an amazingly accurate story that draws you in and immerses you in the passion and pain that Danielle experiences.
I cried when the ship was attacked and lives were lost and I cheered when she began her new life in America. This is a woman that has the strength to fight for what she believes is right and to carry on when life kicks her down. Her knowledge of scents allows her to discover a whole new world and her and her family’s place in it. The story ends the way I would expect it to in a rather traditional way but the journey was an intricate weaving of words that took my breath away.
Jan Moran is an amazing storyteller and I am in rapture of her way with words.
Rated 4 Bookworms
Jan Moran is offering an awesome giveaway! Click HERE to check it out!!